16 year old daughter

Hi. New on here. I have a 16 year old daughter who is really struggling with depression, suicidal thoughts and self harm and we are working through an anorexia diagnosis. She is with CAHMS but really struggles to communicate in counselling and they have suggested theres little more they can do, she is on medication and it has been suggested that she may have ASD - but she refuses to undertake the assessment to get a diagnosis - she already feels like she is the odd one out and doesnt want the "label". She is isolated from her peers, shows no motivation to change or get better and my husband and I are terrified that she will take her own life. I don't really have a question but would really appreciate any support or words of advice from parents in a similar situation. I feel completely helpless, am struggling to cope and really fear for her future. Thanks

  • Hello,

    I’ve read your message and know that you will get support on this group. 

     You have done so much for your daughter already getting her in CAMHS and medical support. She has you and that’s a huge support for her and you care and you love her.  You must be a fantastic support to her. 

    You are doing all you can for your daughter and everything you have done shows you are not helpless you are proactive and supportive and a wonderful parent who will stand by her every step x 

  • My heart goes out to you. I can’t begin to imagine the emotional strain you must be feeling as a family right now. Can I ask, does your daughter feel like “the odd one out” because of her mental health diagnoses and labels, or because within herself she just doesn’t “get” the other kids and their interests etc.? If it’s the latter, then you may be able to explain to her that it’s worth pursuing the ASD assessment because it’ll help her to finally make sense of who she is and the world around her. And besides, she doesn’t have to share an ASD diagnosis with anyone she doesn’t want to. It’s about her—her self-awareness and self-empowerment.

    I honestly wish someone had given me the opportunity for an ASD assessment when I was your daughter’s age. I spent the first 30 years of my life going through the motions, feeling constantly like the odd one out, not fitting anywhere or being able to relate to anyone; and also feeling constantly stressed and constantly anxious about having to “perform” like a neurotypical person, which has had a recurrent and devastating impact on my physical health. From the age of 15 onwards, I also experienced a number of sexual assaults and rapes in large part because I couldn’t read other people’s body language or even imagine that they might be expecting something different from the situation than I was. I also feel I missed out a lot at university because I had zero support, so had a really rubbish time of it, but still got saddled with all the debt and all the attendant ASD-induced health problems, which have prevented me from working and earning to any kind of level or with any kind of frequency.

    I know I don’t need to tell you not to give up trying, but please find a way to get through to her. If need be, read this message to her or encourage her to read and research ASD online for herself. She may just need some space and time to come around to the idea and accept that there are some fundamental differences between how her brain is wired and that of her peers, but I promise you, when it clicks, it’s an incredibly liberating feeling and well worth the time and effort of the assessment process.

    Really wish you and your family all the strength and love you need to get through this. Xx

  • Hi - welcome to the group. I'm 25 and awaiting diagnosis. It took me a long time to realise that I wanted a diagnosis, as I struggled with the idea of being "labelled" for years. I now realise that getting a diagnosis would help me to get to know myself better, which may help me to take better care of myself, particularly when it comes to managing my mental health.

    It might be worth calling the NAS Helpline for advice. Even though your daughter isn't diagnosed, you might be able to identify some coping strategies for her. Here are their details: https://www.autism.org.uk/get-involved/about-us/contact-us.aspx