They tried to make her go to rehab

She needed help and fast.

I was left no choice but to take her to A & E – even though it meant she could be taken away from me I knew I had to put her needs first.

A decision no parent should have to face.

It feels so bitter for me; this time six years ago I was at this very hospital with PDA daughter as she entered the world.

It was just her and me and she was cradled up, looking perfect.

The only worry I had back then was if I was feeding her correctly or if I could move away from her hospital crib to go to the toilet.

It was all so new and fresh and I was on cloud nine.

She was tiny and untouched by this over powering world.

But this time we are here on terms I would never have deemed possible.

You think of the ‘what ifs’ when they are born.

What if she doesn’t put on weight?

What if I dropped her?

What if somebody stole my baby?

Never once did I think to myself what if she had a disability so bad that it would riddle her mental health – so much so that she would be admitted to hospital for not only her safety but the safety of those closest around her?

Or that she would be assessed and deemed high risk and have management plans to deal with her unpredictable state of mind.

These are concepts completely foreign to me and things that I have to learn to live with.

I look at her right now in her hospital bed so peaceful and serene, so in touch with her surroundings. 

It feels like we have been on a roller coaster and it has somehow paused for just a moment.  Being in this bubble has restored some inner calm, but we both know it’s only a temporary solution.

We need to still go back out again into the big bad world and to face being warriors again.

Did it have to come to this?

Why did nobody listen to me from the beginning?

I’m so mixed up right now.

I feel so angry and frustrated at a system and a world that has contributed to both of our demises.

I’m jealous of my own life I had before; of the freedom that has disappeared and the prisoner I’ve become.

But most of all, I’m sad.

I’m broken by the child I witness in so much pain and distress.

Friends and family keep asking if I’m ok – they fear that I’m falling shortly behind PDA child and I’m swiftly on the edge.

On the day I took her to A & E my own mum looked at me frantically – she was concerned that I was not capable of looking after myself, let alone three small infants.

I had stopped still, unable to carry on, quietly in my own solitude as the chaos continued to spin around me.

My mum told me there and then to make a call to cancel an upcoming TAF meeting – she felt it would be the final straw to send me over.

Ironic really as the team around a family should make things feel better and not frustrate or isolate us further.

The continual fight when you feel trapped in a corner is contributing to my own destruction.

I’m not saying I don’t have fight, or that I don’t have spirit, but when you are forced into a defensive mode most of the time it can send anyone over the edge.

More importantly, it’s zapping me of valuable energy sources that are already on the brink of depletion from parenting at the extreme.

A system around me should be beneficial and not contributing to the problem.

Forgetting my own need for tranquility, what actually sent her over the edge?

How did we enter this crisis point?

In actual fact it has just been a steady incline of events which culminated recently by her telling us, “I want to die.”

She was still aged five.

She actively tried to pursue this desire.

At first, she tried to throw herself out of a window.  It had safety locks on so this didn’t work.  She then slapped herself around the face and hit her head against the wall and when that all failed she hung on the banister to fall down the stairs.

She said I shouldn’t have born her with this brain – it’s all my fault.

Finally, she picked up a butter knife and started making marks on her arms.

All of this was being witnessed by two small cousins and a four year old sister, the latter of which was panic stricken and crying “mummy, I don’t want my sister to die!”

They are affected, we as parents are affected, her grandparents are affected.

That night she cried in bed that she didn’t want to go back to school and here was my major mistake – I carried on sending her into an environment that she is unable to fit into.

So she school refused and when I finally coaxed her into the grounds, she absconded.

And what is even more unbelievable is that I still have a fight on my hands to find her an appropriate placement.  Is not acting upon suicidal thoughts enough evidence for the local authority?!?

On the day we came to hospital, I was at my wit’s end.

I was unable to manoeuvre around incidents and navigate the realm of our delicate ship. 

Instead, we were all sinking and I was powerless to keep anyone afloat.  We needed medical intervention and fast.

When you have a child who is unable to smile anymore, who punches and kicks at anyone, or screams at a baby sibling as soon as they murmur, violently trying to attack them with no obvious trigger, you know that things can’t carry on.

When you have pleaded to every service possible and nobody listens.

When you are crying silently inside, please help me.

When you want to give up, but can’t.

When you dream of running away as far as possible, but you can’t.

When you feel trapped in your own mental prison just as much as your child is in theirs.

It was time to say enough is enough, we can’t do this alone anymore.  We have tried our best as a family, but the what ifs have become too much of a reality.

Who needs it most?

They say she needs to go to rehab…

She says NO, NO, NO.



  1. Jojo

    I understand, unfortunately I really do. I have a 5 year old son who we thankfully had already decided to home educate before he was born, well before we discovered he had PDA. He finds life terribly difficult and it’s excruciating as a parent feeling so helpless.

  2. Stephs Two Girls

    So sorry you and she are going through this. It really shouldn’t get to this point 🙁 I doubt it helps to know there are others in your situation; I wish they weren’t there either. Desperately hoping you both get some help locally soon x

  3. Jules

    My 10 year old was on the end of unfair treatment at school today then came home to discover that, of the two fidget spinners that I’d bought, the one for her sibling was apparently a limited edition one (I didn’t know) – cue huge meltdown and her screaming that she was ‘going to commit to suicide’ because that’ll teach us – it terrifies me that one day she will do something spur of the moment, not for a minute with the intention of it happening but without the understanding of what she’s actually doing and that’s how these tragedies happen. How on earth do you handle that and treat it? I hope you and your PDA child and family find your way through your crisis today and some more peace comes your way soon, even for a bit of temporary respite xx

  4. Julia Allen

    Thankyou for sharinging that with us all. Its never easy to write negatively about your child. Im also worried about my sons mental health, but not because he self harms, just because he has no self confidence, fortunately i home ed him, and im going to be fighting to the bitter end sround a school place, as he has told me ” school isnt the right place for me mummmy!”
    Lots of hugs to you all x

  5. Bex

    Having my then 14/15 year old go through major mental health issues and try to take her life aged 16 I can only imagine a small amount of what you are going through. She is now 19 and relatively stable. My heart goes out to you and I really hope you and your daughter get the help you so desperately need. Hang in there xxxx

  6. Emily

    This is so sad to read, and so brave of you to write about it. I am so sorry to hear what you are going through. It must be heartbreaking. I hope that you get the support that you all need. Xxx

  7. Reneé @ Mummy Tries

    Utterly heart wrenching read 🙁 I can relate to so much, but after two years of home ed we are in a better place. When it’s your eldest with the ‘extras’ it can feel like the whole world is against you. But, with a big leap of faith, even on our worst days now I’m able to see that we made the best decision removing the stress and anxiety that school was causing. Sending you so much love xxx

  8. Laura

    Going through something so similar with my daughter at the moment, we have been fighting for support for 7 years now. She is 10. Camhs keep knocking back referrals saying it’s behaviour, it clearly is deeper than that then attachment disorder but it’s more than that. Shes suffering, I’m convinced it’s PDA I can’t get anyone to listen. I understand our struggle so much I feel your pain. My daughter has 2 younger siblings 5 and 2… It’s extremely difficult. You feel isolated, trapped, alone, helpless, but have to be a parent and remain strong…and be there though every meltdown for all. Keep going mamma you’re the strongest link she has xxx

    1. PDA Parenting

      Hi Laura, wow our situations sound very similar and I’m so sorry to hear you can’t access the right help for your daughter too. This post was actually from 16 months ago and we have moved on massively. Everyone working with us just says PDA now, it’s been a fight to say the least. My other two children are also 5 and 2, it is so challenging to live with. I hope things improve for you xxx

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