Sunday, December 26, 2010

Tall Niece

Excuse me while I brag a bit. Tall Niece is a high school senior this year. She has a genius level IQ, and is applying to very exclusive universities. She wants to get a PhD in neurobiology and do research. Her grades and test scores are sky high, and in addition to being so intelligent, she is also a very compassionate person.
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Tall Niece's Friend is also very intelligent, and has done well in school and on her exams. She wants to leave the area and study in a scientific field at a more exclusive school. Her parents don't understand or approve of this desire, and are frustrated because TNF has turned her back on their religion. TNF does not get recognition, praise, or support at home.
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This fall there was an awards program at their high school. The top student in each subject would get recognition. Tall Niece received an award, as did several of her friends. TNF lost out on the award she could have received to a girl who had not taken the top classes in the subject. TN was upset, because she knew the school politics that played into TNF's loss of the award. She told her mom, Far Away Sister, that she didn't need the award, because TN gets recognition and praise at home. She said that TNF had really needed that recognition. Far Away Sister told me TN couldn't celebrate her achievement because of her frustration that TNF was overlooked for recognition she desperately needed.
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Last night Far Away Sister called. TN was very concerned about TNF. She and another friend had already decided that on Monday they were going to go to TNF's parents and urge them to get her treatment for severe depression. They were concerned, because they feared that they wouldn't take their concerns seriously, and they saw TNF as a suicide risk. Yesterday, TNF was talking about suicide. She had a plan. There is a family history of suicide at Christmas. She wouldn't promise TN that she wouldn't hurt herself.
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Far Away Sister and Tall Niece wanted my ideas on how to handle it. I gave them a run down of the resources and procedures for getting someone admitted and held in the psych unit. I assured them that with TNF's messages to TN (they were text messaging), they could get her admitted. Far Away Sister and TN found TNF. TN convinced her to go with her to the ER. They live much further west, so at 2:15 this morning TN called and asked me to tell TNF this was the right thing to do. I croaked out some reassurances (TN claims I was coherent), and after we hung up, I prayed for TN and TNF and went back to sleep. After TNF was admitted to the hospital, TN and Far Away Sister went and talked to TNF's parents (she didn't want to see her parents, but told TN that she could tell them she was suicidal and that was why she'd been admitted-- she wouldn't give the hospital permission to tell them anything. They knew she was in the hospital because they got a call at 2:00 in the morning requesting insurance information).
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One of Tall Niece's concerns was that TNF would be mad at her and never speak to her again. I told TN it was easier to live with her alive and mad at her than with the aftermath of her suicide. TN has been to the hospital to visit TNF today and take her some things. TNF is still speaking to her, and TN thinks she's doing better today.
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I'm very proud of TN. She recognized the warning signs for suicide. She knew that a plan and the refusal to commit to not harming herself were major danger signs. She sought out the help and advice she needed to make a plan that would get TNF the help she needed. Another of her friends is the daughter of a physician, so I suggested she make contact with him for more help with specific resources in the area and his thoughts on the best ER to take her. She did, and he gave her the information she needed. I think TN may have saved a life last night. I'm very proud of her. She is a remarkable young woman. I look forward to seeing the difference she is going to make in our world. She already has made a difference.

1 comment:

Dan.Eliot said...
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