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A father’s account

Témoignage

Our daughter was just entering her teenage years. Just like any other teen, she loved her friends dearly, and she took on many of their problems as though they were her own. This unfortunately had a direct impact on her emotional state. At home, we were often the outlet for her emotions.

The two years that followed were increasingly difficult. My daughter was having trouble at school and was losing her self-confidence. Communication between the two of us was almost non-existent, and so her mother was left with the burden of her mood swings. Then, when my daughter broke up with her boyfriend, a deep fear of abandonment set in; we had to have her hospitalized as she had started to self-harm. During her stay at the hospital, the medical team kept promising to put us in touch with parental support services, but this never came to fruition. The same thing happened when she was transferred to another hospital. During her stay, she decided to cut ties with us. Since she was then 14, the hospital had to respect her request, and so they prevented us from seeing her. We were heartbroken. We felt rejected and powerless.

Around that time, we saw an ad on the internet about mental health. We contacted an organization, and they referred us to L’Accolade. From our first call with an Accolade counsellor, there was a glimpse of hope. She took the time to listen to me and to explain what was happening to us. My wife and I went to meet with her, and she gave us some literature on BPD (borderline personality disorder). Reading through it, we realized that our daughter had seven of the nine symptoms of BPD, but the most important thing we learned was that this illness could be managed if the person with BPD acknowledged they had it.

We proceeded to take a course on BPD. The meetings did us a lot of good, as we were able to talk to other people whose loved ones had the same illness. These classes, and the literature we read, helped us to set up a framework and to avoid falling deep into our daughter’s illness. Nathalie also helped us choose the right establishment for our daughter, so we could provide solid support throughout her therapy. That was a huge help. We were finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

After participating in a few workshops, we began to feel more confident. We now knew how to help our daughter. The book about borderline disorder in teens was a great help to us, while Paul Gervais’ book really helped my daughter to see herself in her emotional crisis. This was a decisive factor in her recovery. From the moment she started to acknowledge her illness, she began to open up, to trust us again. Following that, two years of group therapy for teens helped her learn to recognize her symptoms and control her emotions.

Today, our relationship with our daughter has greatly improved. Each of us is able to set our limits and respect them. L’Accolade also gave us the tools we needed to deal with potential relapses. A tremendous help to us, L’Accolade is an essential service for parents—and it’s a service that isn’t available elsewhere in the public sector. They gave us what we needed to help our daughter, and for that we will be eternally grateful.

A huge thanks to the counsellors.

A father

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