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How to set boundaries with mental illness

How to set boundaries with mental illness

Casual scribe

How to set boundaries with mental illness

My 17 year old daughter has suffered from depression and anxiety for several years and has been to several psychologists over the years and has been on medication for over a year.  It has been just her and I since she was 18 months old as her father had major alcohol and drug issues (probable mental health issues being self medicated) which ended with his sudden death late last year. She always had regular if somewhat complicated contact with him. She is in her final year at school and has had a lot to deal with this past year. My problem is she is sabotaging herself with school and life in general. I have tried everything I can think of to help including conventional and not so conventional therapies. any time now I try to discuss my concerns with her she will state that it is because she is “obviously unwell” and “feels like s**t” and wants to hurt herself. It is as if she has taken herself hostage and if I say the wrong thing she threatens to hurt the hostage. I have tried everything from psychologists/ psychiatrists, medication, hypnosis, massage, chiropractic, meditation, anxiety blankets, everything but she refuses to even entertain simple strategies such as exercise or eating healthier expecting meds to act as a magic wand to make her feel better. The trouble is she also expects to get the marks for university and go to uni next year. I have been told I should stop doing so much for her and she may then understand the natural consequences of her actions (or lack of actions) but she has a way of twisting my concerns to make me the villain “nothing I do is ever good enough” is a common accusation made against me when all I want her to do is pick up her dirty clothes or do her chores (nothing too strenuous). I have been cutting her some slack because of exams but I think she may be taking advantage of me because she hasn’t been studying or doing the limited chores that I really rely on her to do and can’t pick up myself, she also tells lies about having done things (such as feeding the dogs in the morning when I am at work when there is proof that she hasn’t and she is totally unapologetic) I don’t know how to get her to help herself even a little bit and I have run out of ways to help. Is there such a thing as too much support? At what point can you pull back a bit and how do you do it without being made to feel like you are making things worse/ harder for them? What sort of consequences are reasonable? I really don’t know what to do. Any suggestions would be great.

Community Manager

Re: How to set boundaries with mental illness

Aw @Anxietyprincess reading through this I felt like first and foremost it was important to acknowledge you. You have really done so much, gone above and beyond to be there for your daughter. The fierce love you have for her is clear. I can also hear how much pain your daughter is in and that would be incredibly hard for you both to go through. 


I'm just wondering if you have any friends/family members that are helping you through this hard time? Maybe even a counselor for yourself, to chat through some of the questions you have around how to support your daughter.