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PTSD and hallucinations
Old 11-10-2017, 08:22 PM
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I’m concerned about a student I teach- she’s a 17-year senior in high school struggling with what seems to be PTSD from watching her mother almost die two years ago. One top of that, she’s dealing with emotional and verbal abuse from both her parents, chronic sleep deprivation, and hallucinations. The hallucinations she describes involve "knowing someone is watching you and you see them out of the corner of your eye but no one is actually there when you look” and, "hearing gibberish… It’s the same voice, and it’s sick and psychotic, and there’s laughing and screaming and words that don’t make sense (yet somehow I know that they have bad intentions- that they are harmful and degrading and twisted...I know that the person saying them is crazy and that they are amused with themselves, and that they know all of my deepest and darkest fears and want to use those things to break me down...I don’t know how I know it but I just do”

The hallucinations seem to be getting more frequent and worse, and sleeping has become more and more difficult to her. Last year, I encouraged her to talk to her parents about getting her to a therapist. Her parents responded horribly. They threatened to lock her in her room until she was “cured”, took away her car keys and told her she couldn’t leave the house, and taunted her with jokes about her being suicidal. It was a rough couple of weeks, but they eventually relented and agreed to get her to a therapist. Unfortunately, the therapist they chose for her wasn’t helpful. The therapist openly shared information from sessions with the parents, at which point the trust was broken. The student stopped therapy soon after.

After the terrible response her parents gave the first time she asked to see a therapist, I haven’t encouraged her to try asking her parents again about therapy. I also know that if I shared my concerns with her parents, that her parents would also react poorly. From what I know about them, I could see them punishing her for “making a scene” at school and making the teachers worry. They have forbade her from talking to anyone about her PTSD, hallucinations, etc.

We’re a small school, and don’t have any resources on campus for her. We don’t have a counselor or nurse. Both the principal and vice principal are aware of the situation, but haven’t been any help. So far, my plan has been to be a sounding board for the student, and to encourage her to keep talking about the things she’s going through with me and others. I’ve told her that talking about these things over and over can help make these things lose their power.
I’ve also encouraged her to seek out mental health resources on campus next year when she goes to college. I’m hoping she can hold out until then. While she’s going through a lot, she is high-functioning. I don’t know what else can be done right now. Do you have any advice on resources that can help her cope with this until she’s out of the house and able to seek treatment on her own?

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