Originally published at The Guardian
My daughter, who is 16, has a history of mental health issues. Her father is an alcoholic who left the family home when she was very young; she hasn’t seen him for some years and finds meetings with him upsetting. I am sure that this perceived rejection is at the root of her troubles as she suffers from very low self-esteem. She is overweight and was bullied at school, finally refusing to attend. She has been out of education since she was 12.
We have had some input from the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), but nothing has helped and she will no longer engage with them. She has never slept well and was prescribed melatonin. Then, last November, she was prescribed medication by a GP for persistent headaches and took a month’s supply in one go. To the family, this was the strongest example yet of her self-loathing and tendency to self-harm, albeit also perhaps a cry for help.
Following this, I had a telephone consultation with her psychiatrist, who raised the issue of autism – this has been a concern of mine, as she does display a number of traits associated with autism.
However, she is now convinced that she needs a sex change. Given that she has never previously shown any inclination to be anything other than female, it would appear that this is yet another form of self-harm and/or a cry for help.
I am worried that because of the amount of time she spends on the internet, she is being influenced to believing her intentions are correct.