Parenting advice for teenage daughter with depression

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Parenting advice for teenage daughter with depression

Hello,

 

I have a 17-year-old daughter who has recently been diagnosed with depression.  We have been struggling with her for a few years with lying, anger issues, and the fact that she isolates herself from our entire family stating over and over she can't wait to move out and get as far away from us as possible.  We had tried family therapy a few times over the last 3 years with no success as she was so vehemently opposed she would just refuse to speak then punish us for weeks afterwards by ignoring us.  About 6 months ago in the middle of a big blow-up she broke down and said that she thought she was suffering from depression.  I begged her to accept help and she finally agreed.  The psychiatrists in our area have waiting lists of 4-6 months to be seen and won't even put her on their waiting list until she has tried talk therapy first.  So we started her with a child/adolescent therapist who specializes in anxiety and depression disorders.  Initially, he felt she was not exhibiting signs of depression.  About 2 months ago she started going more frequently to see him and I got a message last week from him that he felt she needed to start on anti-depressant medication.  We saw our family doctor yesterday and she is starting on meds today.  I am very nervous about this new diagnosis as well as starting her on medication.  I have no experience with anything like this and I am at a loss  as to how to help her and let her know she is loved and supported.  Anything I say gets twisted around as criticism or judgement.  I feel like I can't even talk to her let alone parent or help her.  We live in a pretty rural area so there aren't many resources for parents here.  I'm hoping to get some advice from parents who have experienced this.  I have so many questions about what to do even on a day-to-day basis.  I don't want to make things worse and I don't even know where to begin.  Thank you for reading all this and I appreciate any advice. Smiley Happy

Prolific scribe

Re: Parenting advice for teenage daughter with depression

Hi @kokolika,

I can tell you about our experience with medication: it was hard. But, in the end, worth it. We had lots of false starts, had to wean my 14 yo off them, then start again on another medication. The first ones we tried did more harm than good: extreme sleepiness, constipation, blood in his stool, mania, mood swings, blah blah...

 

When we finally got it right the change was rapid. Trouble was by then we were using a mix of 5 different meds. So we had to wean him off most of them. He's down to two now, but one is just a backup.

 

I was initially against medication, but then pushed for it when I realised he really needed it. Everyone's different. 

 

You've just got to put up with the accusations/yelling/abuse. I don't know if there is an easy way out. I  responded occasionally, just so he knew he was out of line. But mostly we just have to cop it. That's hard. Look after yourself. Gradually my son came out of it, and started to say "thanks Dad"....makes it worthwhile.

 

With our son the meds took 1 to 4 weeks to show any change. During that time he could be up and down a lot. You've got to hang on during that time. It can be hard.

Cheers

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Re: Parenting advice for teenage daughter with depression

Hi @Schooner,

 

Thank you for your reply.  I appreciate you sharing your experience with me.  It's not surprising to hear that things may get significantly worse before they get better.  We will just have to ride it out!  I am very apprehensive about starting medication as well so I am really hoping that we are doing the right thing and that in the end we will be glad we did.  

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Re: Parenting advice for teenage daughter with depression

Hello @kokolika, welcome to ReachOut! We are so glad you have found our forums and made your first post. I will just let you know that we are an Australian website and it looks like you are from the USA, so any information or services we provide might not be suitable or helpful in your situation. That being said, you are looking for advice and peer support is something we can definitely provide for you here (we also have other international users), so welcome aboard!

@Schooner offers some really great advice here. Everyone responds to medication differently and results can take time to show. It is really important to look after yourself during this time and keep enjoying the things that you like to do. Is there any hobbies or self-care activities that you have? Sometimes you might also need some professional support for yourself.. is that an option near you?

 

I am going to take some members here for extra support Heart @taokat @sunflowermom @Happy @Helpful_Mum @Dakotah

Contributor

Re: Parenting advice for teenage daughter with depression

Hi @kokolika

I agree with @Schooner medication can be frustrating and can take a while to find the right type.  My daughter is in the process of weaning off another med to try something else that is more effective.  I usually see a difference in my daughter after about 2-3 weeks.  I dont expect medication to fix everything.  It still take quite a bit of therapy, and work in our house to keep communication open.  We are constantly adjusting and we are open to trying new things.

I know its difficult and scary to try a new approach, I am so glad to hear she is finally excepting outside help from a therapist.  Hang in there- we are here to listen and support you.

PS:  I put a "mood" app on my phone to track my daughters moods, sometimes helpful with new meds and you can put notes in there too about med, dosage- its helpful to look back on and see improvement.

Active scribe

Re: Parenting advice for teenage daughter with depression

Hi @Taylor-RO!

 

Yes, I am in the USA.  Smiley Happy. Thank you for clarifying with me.  Although I would love to find more resources locally, getting advice and support from anywhere is helpful!  I do have some hobbies that I find go by the wayside when things get overwhelming at home and I need to make a point of taking care of myself.  I love horseback riding so I need to just make the time to go.  I always feel better after I do!  My husband and I have a family therapist we have been seeing to help us with dealing with all that is going on.  It definitely helps to have professional help in knowing how to navigate all of this.  

 

Thank you so much for your kind words and support.  I really do appreciate it.  It is very isolating feeling to be dealing with all of this.  I completely understand and respect my daughter's need for privacy where this is concerned.  It is just so hard to be talking with other parents and to pretend that our priority right now is college applications and picking out graduation photos when honestly, our bigger concerns are did she get out of bed today?  Did I manage to get her to eat a meal?  And I'm not gonna share that with other parents so I just smile and chat about which photo she likes for the yearbook.  It's tough.  But I know you all get it.  Smiley Happy

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Re: Parenting advice for teenage daughter with depression

Hi @sunflowermom,

 

Thank you for the idea about the mood app.  That's actually a really good idea because I've been trying to keep track in a little journal but my phone would be so much more convenient!  We are very relieved she is finally accepting help from a therapist as well.  It was so hard before watching her just spiral down but refusing any assistance.  I have heard it can take a while to know if medication is helping too.  We are 5 days in and so far side effects have been minimal so I'm thankful for that.  She hasn't noticed any difference yet but I told her to be patient.  And if this doesn't work well for her we can try something else.  I hope that the new medication your daughter will be starting on works well for her! 

Frequent scribe

Re: Parenting advice for teenage daughter with depression

I am obviously an adult, but I tell you that antidepressant was the right thing for me. I took it for 5years and under doctor supervision I weaned it off in the course of 6-8months, lowering the dosage every 2months. The withdrawal was brutal, but lasted 3 days so I did on Thursdays so husband could care for the kids on the weekend.

 

The medication helped me to get out of bed, care for the kids and have a more relaxed life. I was in a very bad shape when I began and needed help until I was able to do my therapy and couples counseling. My point is, it can help her get over the hump. The right med and dosage is something that the doctor will help work with. 

 

I was very against medication, would rarely take ibuprofen, tried to fix everything with herbs and nutrition. But when I had this chemical imbalance, nothing was sufficient.

Active scribe

Re: Parenting advice for teenage daughter with depression

Thank you for sharing your experience @seekwisdom. That helps to know that the medication did finally help you out. My daughter also hardly ever takes any medication so this is new territory for us. I'm so glad to hear that it helped you out!
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Re: Parenting advice for teenage daughter with depression

Yesterday was pretty awful.  I had suspected my daughter might be self harming because I saw some self harm marks on her wrist last week which she brushed off as nothing.  Yesterday evening I got a text message from her while I was at home working in the yard asking me to come to the bathroom because she needed help.  I found her with her in the bathroom after self harming.  She had hurt herself pretty badly.  She just kept saying "I did a really stupid thing" over and over.  I calmly wrapped her arm in a towel to apply pressure and had her sit down in the hallway.  She was very concerned that her sisters would be upset if they saw.  She wanted me to clean it up before they came upstairs so I did.  I talked with her primary care and her therapist and they arranged for us to go to the ER.  Her therapist did confirm that she has been self harming.  I feel so lost.  What are we supposed to do now??  Her sisters are terrified and worried. My husband is freaking out and slept on the floor outside her room last night.  Her therapist can't get us in to talk with him until Wednesday and she doesn't see him until Friday.  What do we do until then?  She's home from school today and won't get out of bed.  She insists she just wants to sleep.  She wants her door closed but I told her it needs to stay open.  Do I force her to get up and do something?  Do I leave her alone? I have so many questions and nobody to answer any of them.  I've read about self harm and it's not generally a suicidal gesture but gosh....it sure feels like one!!  I'm hoping someone has some experience with this and can offer some advice about what we can do for her at home.