08-25-2018 04:28 AM
My 15 year old daughter has a habit of answering questions and presenting herself the way that she thinks people want her to. So, telling us what she believes we would want to hear, rather than how she is actually feeling. A few months ago she was hospitalized for depression, two weeks of treatment and she was released on medications for depression and anxiety and has been stable ever since. Or so we believed. School has just started and last night I asked to see her composition book she had been taking notes in. It was on the table and I picked it up and started to open it. I was simply expecting to see notes on rules or a list of supplies she needed to pick up. Before I could open it, she snatched it from me and took a folded piece of paper from the back and refused to share what it was. She retreated to her room. When she came out, she said she was sorry and not sure why she reacted that way. I again asked to see the paper and she started crying and asked me to please just forget any of this happened. Stating everything had been going so good lately and she was having such a good night. She was begging. I told her that after the incidents this summer, I wasn't sure if she had the liberty to withhold items from me. Part of her treatment is being open and communicating with me. She again apologized and asked me to please forget it happened. When I didn't tell her it was ok, she got mad and went to her room. Later, she came out and I told her I was going to need her to relinquish her phone today.. response crying and begging me to forget it.
I feel like I have been led to believe that she is better by her own words. She says the medication is working, she isn't as depressed or anxious on the medications. She has appeared very stable and even tempered. After last night, I feel like she is just presenting what she thinks I want to see and hear, that I actually saw her in a real light on accident.
How do you, as a parent determine between deception and truth? Where do you draw the line regarding them hiding things and how on earth to you balance those boundaries without pushing them further away or conditioning them to have smarter responses to hide their real feelings?
08-25-2018 01:26 PM
It sounds like your daughter has gone through a lot @Momm-o and perhaps she's in that stage that while she's more stable she may still be experiencing some challenging emotions and thoughts that she is trying to work through and doesn't want to alarm you with them? as you may understandably be worried about her and concerned for her safety
Does she see a counsellor or psychologist? Perhaps, it's worth working together with a professional about reuilding your trust, boundaries and what open communication is? Or if you can work on it together so expectations are clear?
08-27-2018 03:01 PM
We are really glad you found us too It's great to hear she is seeing someone- hopefully this will help her to be more open and honest with you about what is happening for her.
I know that for a lot of young people going through anxiety and depression, that sometimes they try to "mask" the pain from other people. This can be for many reasons such as wanting to protect other people from seeing how distressed they really feel, or feeling like if they act like they are okay, then things will be okay. Often we find that over time, it's too hard to keep this mask up forever (it is very exhausting!) and the mask will come down, allowing people to start to see how they are really feeling underneath.
It sounds like this has been one of those times where the mask has begun to "slip" and you are seeing more about what's happening under the surface. It's a really tough place to be in for you and for her too Have you got someone in your life that you turn to about all of this? A support person/friend/family member/health professional that you can talk things through with?
We are always here to lend an ear and send our support
08-30-2018 03:27 PM
Sorry to hear you are having such a tough time with your daughter. I am glad she has someone she is talking to and maybe there is a possibility you could speak to this councillor before her next session? That way you could mention her withholding something she had written from you. Maybe you could find a compromise with your daughter, explaining to her that her health and safety is all you're concerned about, and if she was able to show the councillor what she'd written then she wouldn't be under any pressure to show you? The councillor could hopefully then reassure you that she is doing ok.
Maybe writing her thoughts down on paper is something your daughter does to get things out of her head, it can be a really helpful tool. And maybe what she writes is just for her own processing and she doesn't want you to read it as she would fear you would be worried or need her to talk more about what she's writing or something else.
See if you can find a compromise with her, something that gives her the control and privacy of her own processing but at the same time gives you the reassurances you need to know that she is doing ok.
08-30-2018 04:10 PM
Parenting a 15 year old teenager is a hard job, even without the extra issues we face when we are dealing with our children that suffer mental health issues. In your post you have said that her moods have been pretty stable on the medication , which is great. Maybe the paper just had something private she didn't feel she could share with her mum on it? I know I used to write poetry at that age to work through my emotions but would never show my mum. It sounds also like you have been very active in her treatment. Perhaps it is time for another conversation with her and work out some guidelines and boundaries for you both in regards to things she feels she wants private and things you need to know to keep her well. A solid foundation of trust goes a long way. Let her know that if she breaks that trust that things will change again. Good luck and keep in touch with how things go.