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Ask Dr. Charogat Your Own Question

Dr. Charogat
Dr. Charogat, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 1803
Experience:  Licensed in both NYS and NJ with experience in surgery and medicine.
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Hello, We have heard 3 days ago from her husband that our

Resolved Question:

Hello,
We have heard 3 days ago from her husband that our daughter, 26, has been self-harming for several months. She hid the intensity of her stress (professional) from us all. She has seld-admitted into a pychiatric unit where she has been receiving medication and CBT for a week now. She had asked her husband not to tell us or her sisters to protect us from worrying etc.
Now that we all know, we do not know how to best make contact with L. and let her know we are there to support her through recovery. Should we wait until she's willing to contact us, in her own time? Could our contacting her be detrimental to her health recovery or "set her back"?
We have an excellent close relationship with our daughter and understand why she wants to protect us from "bad news" (as she apparently always talks about suffering from "guilt") but, on the other hand, we feel we want to offer support as quickly as possible. How long can we wait?
Thank you for any advice you may give us.
Christine
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. Charogat replied 2 years ago.
Dr. Charogat :

Hi, and thank you for coming to JustAnswer.com with you quetsion

Dr. Charogat :

You are certainly dealing with a rough scenario there, and your daughter is so lucky to have you.

Customer:

Hello,

Dr. Charogat :

The fact is that at this point you know about these behaviors. You can contact her at any time and just offer your unconditional love. You don't have to understand what she did or why she did (does) it, you don't have to tell her not to (at least not at this point).

Dr. Charogat :

Just let her know that you are there for her. She can discuss anything she wants with you. There will be no judgement.

Dr. Charogat :

You can tell her that when SHE is ready, you will be ready to discuss any way you might be able to be helpful to her with her. You can ask if she wants her doctor to educate you more about this, or if she wants you to learn about it, or if she wants you to just be there as you are. No understanding necessary (of the disease process that leads to self injurious behavior)

Customer:

Yes that's the way we would like to approach it. However, she had asked her husband NOT to tell us about her admission last week or any self harming and he DID this week end because he thinks it's time we ought to know and be all together for support. What we all fear is that she looses trust in her husband for telling us and also that it makes her worse at this moment.

Dr. Charogat :

I don't know her, so I can't tell you definitely. But usually in a situation such as you are describing a patient would appreciate her family (as you said, you are all very close) being there for her. She might initially be upset that her husband told you, but over time the benefit will outweigh the way she feels about him having told you.

Dr. Charogat :

You can tell / ask him first that you will be contacting her and that maybe he wants to tell her himself that he let you know.

Dr. Charogat :

Does this help?

Dr. Charogat :

Is there anything more I can tell you?

Customer:

Yes, that is what I was feeling, that we should let her know in order to start a support system as soon as possible. I didn't feel isolation for too long was the answer. Other family members and her husband think we should wait until she comes forward herself.

Dr. Charogat :

Maybe you shouldn't ALL go in at once, but waiting for her to come to you herself will require her to "get over" some major issues (such as guilt) and not knowing how to approach you with it. For most people it would be better if you let her know that you already know.

Dr. Charogat :

Again, I am basing this on your description of your relationship with her.

Dr. Charogat :

Does this help? Is there more information you are looking for?

Customer:

Yes, thank you, ***** ***** so too. She always has been very forward with her problems in the past, this who she is and, as you say, the "guilt" issue is preventing her to do this at the moment, yet it is what needs to be addressed. Thank you for your help. I just wanted to make sure there wasn't any psychological counterindication at this time to go against something she had asked. Thanks.

Dr. Charogat :

Please feel free to come back with any more questions.

Dr. Charogat :

Once you rate me I think the "chat" will be over, but we can still be in touch over question/answer mode.

Dr. Charogat :

G-d Bless

Customer:

Many thanks and kind Regards.

Dr. Charogat :

Wishing you all the best!

Dr. Charogat, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 1803
Experience: Licensed in both NYS and NJ with experience in surgery and medicine.
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