We told our daughter about her cousin's suicide during a therapy session yesterday. We wanted to make sure she had enough support to process everything. She was devastated. She cried nearly the entire session. There were two therapists, a therapy dog with his handler, and her dad and I were on the video call. I can't tell you how much it hurt to see her cry so much and not be able to hold her. She said she was confused because her cousin was so fun and great to be around. She loved playing games with him and hearing him laugh. I told her I knew his mom and dad had done everything they could possibly do for him, but that often, depression is something people keep hidden. You can't help someone who doesn't tell you what is really going on. You need to learn to ask for help when you need it, and that's a skill lots of teenagers (and some adults) just don't have yet.
The funeral for my cousin is tomorrow two states away. I am so torn about what to do. On one hand, I very much want to see my cousin (his mom) and give her a hug and tell her how much I love her. On the other, I'm terrified about being out of touch with my daughter while traveling. After we checked her into her facility, she didn't eat for 30 hours. They tried to call me to talk with her and encourage her to eat, but they couldn't reach me because I was driving in a dead area. They were able to reach her father and he was able to give her the encouragement she needed. When I found out about it, though, I was wracked with worry and guilt. I didn't fall asleep in my hotel room until 7:00am the next morning. My husband was worried about me and didn't want me to drive the full nine hours home the next day because I hadn't slept more than two hours. We finally agreed that I would drive four of the nine hours and then stop for the night. I really haven't slept well since.
I spoke with her on the phone later last night and she sounded so sad and lost. I asked her where she was on her anxiety scale and she said she was a four out of 10. I asked her if she was downplaying how she really felt, and she said yes. I then asked her where she was on her self-harm scale and she said that she didn't have anything to hurt herself with, but she was a six out of 10. I told her how much I loved her and how I knew how awful it was to hear of her cousin's death, but that I was glad she was in a safe place with support. I also told her how much I wished I could hold her. She started crying and I told her I wanted to call the nurse when we were done and ask for extra support. Our call time was nearly up, so there was no more time to say the soothing things I wanted to say, and the ache of not being with her when she was hurting was excruciating. She agreed that she needed the extra support and she understood why I was calling the nurse. I told her I loved her again, and we had to hang up.
I called the nurse and explained what my daughter had told me about her anxiety and self harm thoughts. I said that I thought she needed a dose of her anxiety medicine and someone to sit with her for a while. The nurse said she understood and said she would go see her right away. I'm grateful everyone at her facility cares so much for her. As hard as this is being away from her, I'm grateful she is in a caring environment - something that hasn't been the case with the other places we have had to take her to for emergency psychiatric care.
Right now, I'm waiting on a special video call to follow up with my daughter after yesterday. There was a mix-up in time zones, so the call is later than we expected. When I called the nurse to ask what was happening with the call, she sounded teary and told us how sorry she was for everything we were going through. Her care and concern gave me a safe place to cry again myself and again made me feel grateful that my daughter was being well cared for. As grateful as I feel, I also feel guilty that my cousin never had the chance to get her son in a facility like this that could have helped him. I would give anything to have that sweet, wonderful boy back in our lives.