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Depression Guilt

Discussion forum for parents in Australia


Depression Guilt

After developing PND after my 2nd (of 3) child, it turned into full-blown depression within 6 months. I spent periods of time in mental health facilities to try to get better. Over the coming years I had a few other medical issues that meant long hospital stays to try and fix things. The result of all this being that my middle child from around age 8 developed severe anxiety, OCD and depression and this has carried on to now (16yrs old) she has been admitted to hospital for eating disorders, has school refusal, won't basically leave her room just lying in the dark on her phone watching sitcoms. We have seen multiple psychologists who have all pulled the pin on treatment as she just refuses to engage with them and says they can't help if she won't open up. She is extremely clever, but uses this to manipulate people and is extremely convincing. My husband and I fight constantly as her behaviour has put so much stress on the family. My husband says it's the psychologist job to get her to talk and they are not doing their job properly if they can't get her to open up, so wants me to find another one. I let her choose the last one we saw from a picture of psychologists that we could travel to. I thought by letting her have some control and choosing, she would open up, nope. We are in so much debt trying to get help for her but unless she is willing to open up, I just see us heading down the same path. She openly blames me for her mental health issues saying if I wasn't away so much with my own health she would have been fine. She can be extremely vicious in things she says to me but my husband tells me I have to just ignore it as its not her fault. He also supports her notion of my own health issues impacting her growing up. I feel so guilty and in the past have had periods of suicidal thoughts or thoughts of just walking away so that I dont do any further damage. My illness mental and physical is nothing I planned or could have avoided, they just happened. I just feel no matter what I do, I cannot help her. I hate what it has done to our relationship, my marriage and our family as a whole. I have my own psychologist and no matter how we discuss things, I know I am to blame for her mental illnesses, I cant change it, I cant fix it and its killing me more and more each day to see her throw her life away. I cant keep going on being an emotional punching bag but I cant see a way out of it. I dont know what to do anymore.
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Re: Depression Guilt

Hi @MummaJ, thanks for sharing your story. I can hear that your own mental health journey has been difficult and that you are now worried about the impact that this has had on your child. It sounds like you have always done your best to recieve support for yourself and now your daughter too. It must have been so challenging to try to help yourself while also helping your daughter Heart

You are right in that therapy is a two way street - your daughter will need to engage for it to be beneficial. Sometimes teenagers aren't ready to do so and it makes it incredibly difficult for themselves and their families. In another sense, there is no issue with seeking another psychologist but as you said, the issue may remain if she is unwilling to open up again.

The blame game is never helpful but this may be something your daughter is not old enough to realise yet. It wasn't your fault and you reached out for help in whatever way you could. I think there are all times where we wish we had a time machine to go back and have another shot but what you did back then was what you thought was right. No one believes that they will end up being a punching bag to their children. Seems like a terrible place for all of you. What sort of support would be helpful for you right now?