I'm at a loss to try to help and inspire 19 year old daughter struggling with severe depression.

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I'm at a loss to try to help and inspire 19 year old daughter struggling with severe depression.

 
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Re: I'm at a loss to try to help and inspire 19 year old daughter struggling with severe depression.

Hey @Bazinga That can be an incredibly hard situation to be in. As parents, we want to support our teenagers through their difficult times but when they're struggling with something like depression the lines are really blurred. Firstly, it can keep going for a long time so it's often not feasible to put everything on hold while they recuperate. And secondly, there's not one way of managing it. For some young people experiencing depression, clinical or otherwise, they need to rest and put down their commitments and just focus on themselves, for others they need to establish a routine and get back into life.

Usually, teenagers in this situation are resistant to either and their resistance is not always a sign that this approach is the wrong one.

 

When my eldest was really struggling she needed to have all her responsibilities removed from her plate, except for study where she actually needed the reverse approach and needed help maintaining her study routine etc. I offered her many times the option of dropping out and just relaxing for a bit but it made her anxiety so much worse it was counterproductive.

 

So my questions for you are, what have you tried already? What's worked and what hasn't? And what does your daughter say she wants to do?

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Re: I'm at a loss to try to help and inspire 19 year old daughter struggling with severe depression.

Hi all! I am new to the forum and really don't know where to begin! My 19 year old daughter has struggled with severe depression for the past four years! We are now at the stage of multiple admissions to hospital to undergo invasive treatments including TMS and ECT - which l was seriously against but at 19 l have lost that level of decision making.  The medication path - although this has improved her ability to cope has further exasperated her self esteem by gaining a huge amount of weight. Her loss of confidence is frightening and she now views the hospital admissions as a way out of having to cope with life. Infrequently attending uni and has recently quit her part time job, which was at least a connection out there.This is so so scary for me to see her withdrawal from her friends and is now choosing to chill with friends she has met in hospital who are also struggling with their issues. Feeling a connection is great but I'm worried that the influence is not uplifting or positive and they are using marijuana in this group. I know Im asking a lot but l need some way to break into those walls of self loathing and feeling worthless. She is adored and loved and we are able to talk openly and honestly but Im not enough, I'm desperate to find some way to help her feel valued and wanted.

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Re: I'm at a loss to try to help and inspire 19 year old daughter struggling with severe depression.

Thank you! I have encouraged her to keep going to uni which she is keen on continuing, dropping to minimal subjects to allow her to cope, even so she still wants me to drop her off and pick her up and of course l am willing to do everything l can so l happily do this. But l feel like l can't do anything except be there whenever and wherever she needs me. Now that uni is on holidays l was so looking forward to her putting herself out there in her part time job but two days in she quit and now there is nothing that she has to do and I'm worried that this will lead to even more feelings of being a disappointment.

Parent Peer Supporter

Re: I'm at a loss to try to help and inspire 19 year old daughter struggling with severe depression.

Hi @Bazinga, welcome to the forum. You sound like such a loving mum, your daughter is lucky to have someone who supports her unconditionally. 

 

Depression is a tough one because as @Ngaio-RO says, it is often long term and teens respond differently to its effects. My daughter has bipolar and depression is a component of that. My daughter spent a year shut off from school and friends, and I was so worried that this wasn't going to improve. Things have though, and fingers crossed she will be going to tafe next year after having a basic education via distance education. 

 

It is hard because we can't control their recovery or 'fix' their self esteem issues. It has to come from within themselves. With my daughter I think the best thing I can do is acknowledge and celebrate her wins. I also tell her when she's done well coping with something, and help her be more forgiving towards herself. Having those open lines of communication is such an asset and so beneficial for our kids. 

 

My daughter put on loads of weight with one of her meds, which like your daughter, didn't help her self esteem. We were able to change the medication, so wondering if that might be an option for you guys as well? Does your daughter have a psychiatrist or psychologist that she sees on a regular basis? 

Active scribe

Re: I'm at a loss to try to help and inspire 19 year old daughter struggling with severe depression.

Hi thank you! l know there are so many of us dealing with this issue and its so nice to hear there is a light at the end of this tunnel. Yes we do have weekly visits to both psychologist and psychiatrist and even today have asked for her medication to be changed, something has to give here it's just so traumatising to feel like nothing is working. She has been diagnosed with bi polar but yeah I really don't see that rings true and have asked for a second opinion to try and get some clarity. We are lucky that we do have a good relationship and she does tell me whats going on and even the not so cool stuff, she does know l will react and give my opinion always even if that is not what she wants to hear. In saying that l do always try and build up the good things and focus on any positives out there l can grab on to, but like you said she will always tear herself down and think she is a dissapointment to everyone. Any ideas to get her inerested in Something! Anything!
Parent Peer Supporter

Re: I'm at a loss to try to help and inspire 19 year old daughter struggling with severe depression.

Hi @Bazinga it must be terribly hard to see your daughter struggling so much, and for such a long time. No wonder you are at a loss for how to help her. If you feel that your daughters current treatment is not as effective anymore it is very wise of you to get a second opinion about the diagnosis, and request a review of her medication. Treatments need to be reviewed from time-to-time to make sure they are still working at their best.

 

It is hard to suggest ideas that might interest your daughter.  What sort of things is she interested in?

ReachOut offers fantastic coaching for parents - it is very practical and might offer tips and suggestions that you can use straight away. The link is here if you'd like to check it out. It's free, done online and over the phone and is very flexible. 

 

I can sense the bond and love you have for your daughter, and despite everything that you are experiencing you are able to communicate and remain close. Continue to encourage her uni studies and focus and on the positives - you sound like a loving mum who is doing her best.