07-06-2017 08:58 PM - last edited on 07-06-2017 09:30 PM by TOM-RO
My soon to be 17 yr old daughter has been diagnosed with severe depression, placed on medication and weekly pyscologist visits. She is self harming. I am besides myself with worry she is my only child. She is very bright at school but hates it. She now has a boyfriend whom i truly like but he has suffered depression but he seems to relate to her better than me. I know i shouldn't take her moods and anger personally but i am. I would like to hear from others who have experienced this.
07-06-2017 09:36 PM
Hi there @Mumof1,
Welcome to ReachOut parents, you've taken a great step in the right direction seeking insight from others going through similar experiences with their adolescents. I am sorry to hear about your daughter, this sounds like a very trying time for yourself and her.
One resource I would like to link you into is Suicide Callback Service, this organisation work around self-harming as well as how to help you with strategies to cope, their number is 1300 659 467.
Have you been able to exercise any self care for yourself at all such as long walks, meditation etc?
Just a heads up I edited your post due to our community guidelines [click here], we need to be mindful about particular methods of self-harm. Look forward to hearing from you.
07-07-2017 02:21 AM - edited 07-07-2017 07:49 PM
It's great to see you on the forum @Mumof1, welcome. It is a wonderful thing you've done reaching out for help and you've come to very supportive community.
It sounds like both you and your daughter are struggling and I'm really sorry to hear that. It must be hard for you both living with your daughter's depression. I have an only child/daughter as well, and I know it's difficult as a mum when you love so much and you are the one they lash out at. I let my daughter know how it makes me feel as having a mental health condition isn't an excuse for rudeness or abuse. She is more aware now, and through me learning new communication skills, and modelling the behaviour I want to see from her, it's worked really well in strengthening our bond.
I've provided you a link here to some great info on depression in teens, which also offers things to try. And here is one about self harm. Another fabbo resource is the ReachOut parent coaching. It's free and done over the phone and online. Your coach will give you some new things you can try immediately, and you can utilise up to 4 sessions. Check out the link here if you'd like to have a look.
It's great that your daughter is seeing a psychologist weekly. How long has she been seeing them and taking the medication? Hopefully they will both help her. I have depression as well and something I do each day is find something to be grateful for. On my worst days it might be something as small as being grateful for the pillow my head is laying on! It reminds me there is something to be content about each and every day, no matter how small that something is, even when everything else feels crappy. How do you think your daughter would feel about the suggestion of doing something like that? Or even giving it a trial run for a couple of weeks and seeing how she feels?
07-07-2017 01:28 PM
Hi @Mumof1. I'm really glad you've found the forums for support because I have been in your place and I found a lot of support here. My daughter is 15 and also has severe depression. She had a breakdown last August. Since then she has spent some time in hospital, self harmed, is taking medication and is still seeing her case worker once every week or 2 weeks (depending on how she's travelling) and the psychiatrist when he visits about once a month.
I am thinking that at this point too much information will overwhelm you so I am going to give you ONE piece of advice (for now).... take life 5 minutes at a time ... 10 on a good day.
You are dealing with a huge stress and at this point in time your life is all about survival.
Try now to look for reasons why (or blame yourself) because there may not be one in particular ...ok ... that was two pieces of advise
Stay in touch. We're here even if it's just for a "hi".
07-07-2017 04:00 PM
07-07-2017 05:03 PM - edited 07-07-2017 05:03 PM
I'm not sure if this helps @Mumof1 as I don't know your daughter but I also have a friend with an 18 year old daughter who has had some issues herself but is in a relationship with a boy who has had severe depression himself. My friend was concerned for all the same reasons. Turns out that they are happy together and have been a wonderful support for each other. They have been together for a couple of years now. I'm thinking that perhaps young people like your daughter and mine need / connect with people who understand. And they would probably understand each other more than most.
07-07-2017 05:42 PM
It is really hard to be a parent when your kids are suffering so much. My son was diagnosed with severe depression late in 2015, he tried self hard a couple of times too. Last year he basically gave up on school.
The turning point for us was getting his medication working. That took 10 months for us, due to a number of false starts. It sounds like you have started that journey already. The difficulties in finding the right mix were unexpected for me, and I found that time very frustrating and exhausting. I hope your daughter makes faster progress.
It is difficult to constantly deflect the moods from our depressed kids. I always think "that is the medication/depression talking, not my son". Slowly, slowly he has come back from that dark place, and I find he now says "sorry dad" and "thanks dad" from time to time. We still have a long way to go, and I can't help worrying every time he is irritable or moody "are we going down again??" The stress of that worry is exhausting.
In regards to the relationship, I guess I would worry about what happens if it ends, at the same time I'd welcome the support they (should) get from a relationship. It sounds like so far it has been positive for her.
In the early days I did not look after myself enough. As everyone else has said, it is important. It is going to be a long journey! This forum helps, you can put down your story, whinges and all, and someone will lend a sympathetic ear.
07-07-2017 06:55 PM - edited 07-07-2017 07:01 PM
Hi @Mumof1 So sorry to hear about your daughter suffering at this time ! Major Depressive Disorder can be a crippling and painful experience. The apparatus for" picking your socks up " and getting on with it just isn't there . It's like throwing seed on concrete and telling it to grow . The emotional paralysis can bring with it , anger , deep sadness , despair , guilt , hostility and a weight so heavy you feel as if you have mountains that are just too high to climb . Motivation to get out there and bring good things into your life seem an impossibility . Even if the desire to get better is strong .
You have done all the right things . Getting her a psych and medication will help , over time . Her boyfriend , your love and her friends are vital at this time to keep her hoping for a better future . Some things you can remind her of daily , to help allay your fears of what she send her boyfriend might talk/ think about and share that may not be beneficial to either of their wellbeings when they are alone :
1. This too will pass . The way you feel in the moment is not permanent . Feelings are like waves , they ebb and flow and the intensity can be ridden and pass and it to that with some one who loves you .
2. The darkest moments need to be shared . Teach her to be mindful of her escalating negative thought patterns and get her to voice this too you when ever it happens .
3. Encourage her daily to seek you or another loved one out when the emotions become intense and she feels the urge to self harm . Tell her that you are there to intercede and carry her through that wave .
4. Make sure she us aware there are always alternatives to damaging self harm such as , elastic around the wrists which are snapped , and hands in ice if she does find herself alone and the urge overwhelms her . ( Psych should educate her around this but it needs to be mentioned many times )
5. Get her to call a support line if she can't reach you when she is in extreme emotional distress and they will talk her through until the urge to harm has passed .
6. Having an emergency plan in place which she is reminded of frequently will instil in her the need to be proactive with her own illness and recognise her own signs .
7. Ask her what she would implement for a friend who self harms to protect her and help her / him manage it . What would she like yo see them doing to protect themselves ?
8. It is imperative that she " truly gets it " that she is ill and that her cognitive functioning is not at its best and therefore her rational thinking will be compromised enormously. For this reason she needs to be aware she is in danger of making rash decisions so it's best to check in with Mum or another loved one for a second opinion - just in case !!
9. Tell her the past does not represent the future and that the way she feels now will improve , have hope and hold her hand . You can get there together !!
10. Make sure you use the resources of other close family members to support you and help you cope with the ongoing worry, concern and supervision of her ( without smothering) her , knowing she is surrounded with love support and acceptance will be a buffer for the weight of the dark times . She will be more resilient as a result and be more willing to shout out when she is unable to cope with the intensity of the bad thoughts and feelings .
My thoughts are with you at this very troubling anxious time , stay strong and determined , together you can manage this well !
07-07-2017 09:10 PM
Welcome @Mumof1 - I am so sorry to hear of your daughter's struggle with depression but am glad you found your way here to the Reachout parent forums.
You've received some amazing advice which I cant really add to - but I feel for your daughter and for you very much - and I hope that these forums can bring some support to you during this terribly worrying time.