Thursday 4 May 2017

The urgent letter I emailed to CAMHS that morning

In an ideal world, I'd have picked up the phone first thing in the morning and talked to the CAMHS eating disorder treatment team. But we weren't allowed to call them direct; we had to send emails and hope that they'd get passed on. So I sent the following email and called the CAMHS receptionist with the urgent instruction to make sure our psychiatrist saw it right away. Thankfully she did and later that day we were sitting in front of her, as described in my previous blog post.

Urgent – Ben at risk

Last night Ben had a serious breakdown which was worse than anything he’s had before.

At around 8pm I found him in a severely distressed and 'manic' state trying to climb out of the Velux window in the loft. Half his body was already out; I had to pull him back in.

To me it looked as if he was going to kill himself although he later said he was 'just going to climb onto the roof, but he didn’t really care what happened'.

Had he climbed onto the roof he could have easily killed himself by slipping and falling. There is no doubt about that. It’s a very high roof with a very long drop to the ground.

I believe that it was ONLY my swift action that prevented him from climbing out and falling. Last night Ben could have very easily been killed.

Over the past few days it’s as if he’s been catapulted back to where he was in the winter, before the treatment – if not worse.

He has been severely depressed and with increasing 'manic' behaviour – and his old anorexic behaviour has come back with a vengeance. It may be the looming GCSEs, but whatever it is, we need to take very fast action before something serious really does happen.

Last night I was so terrified I nearly called 999 – for the clich├ęd 'men in white coats' to 'take him away'. I have no idea what a parent is supposed to do in this situation.

In short, I believe Ben is in danger of getting himself into a situation where he is so distressed he (perhaps unintentionally) kills himself.

This is no 'neurotic mother' over-exaggeration.

I believe while Ben is as depressed and distressed as he is at the moment that he is at serious risk.

This is something that MUST NOT BE IGNORED.

If he does kill himself, or sustain serious injury, I believe it will be as a result of a spur-of-the-moment act when he is too distressed to think clearly or rationally. It may not be premeditated, so we CANNOT accept his word that he would 'never kill himself'. It MUST be taken very seriously indeed.

Anorexia is well known to have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder – and many of these deaths are due to suicide.

This is a risk we can't ignore – and, as his mother, I certainly can't ignore it. Something urgent needs to be done.

A short-term solution may be to prescribe medication while he gets through his exams and hopefully prevent him from getting into such a distressed state that he does (maybe unintentionally) kill himself.

But what then? Where do we go from here?

We need an urgent meeting with you (without Ben). My husband is working away next week, so it would just be me.

Also urgent advice on who to call / what to do in an emergency (including night time) should the above happen again.

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