Is our daughter depressed?

(15 Posts)
Linclass Sat 09-Mar-13 22:16:10

Hi All

I have come here looking for support, help & advice.

My 19 yr old DD is intelligent, quiet, has a tendency to over think things, and over reacts [especially with us. maybe not with friends] she suffers from social anxiety and finds making friends hard. She's not into partying or drinking.

She is the first to fly the nest and is away at Uni [10 hr round trip]. We did worry how she would cope socially etc. and although on the face of things, she appears to have settled, made some friends [though doesn't socialise with flatmates, complete opposite to her, drink, partying etc] she's even got her first boyfriend, [did have an online bf in the states, who came to visit].

SO on the face of things she seems to be coping BUT she thinks growing up and becoming independent means she doesn't have to communicate with us. We're lucky if we get a reply to a text, if she'll stick to the once a week SKYPE chat or talk type on facebook. However on her Tumblr account [she doesn't know I know she has one] she treats it like a diary and there are times where she posts dark, depressing, negative thoughts such as

"Sometimes I feel like i should apologise to everybody everywhere for being such a useless waste of space" or anxieties about her taking 14 hrs to pluck up the courage to go into the shared kitchen to get a bowl of cereal. Or how she feels bad thinking her flatmates hate her because she doesn't socialise/speak with them, BUT then she's being judgemental on them for thinking this.

These negative thoughts seem to crop up more at the weekend, when she is less occupied and her bf is working. I've tried sending her cheery postcards timed to arrive for the weekend to let her know we are thinking about her. BUT she can't be bothered to pick up her post so may get 2 or 3 in one go when she eventually goes, if I suggest she collects post she gets hostile. IF I try to contact at times when I know she is down, she shuns all forms of contact, doesn't reply to text's, blocks me online on FB and SKYPE and if we try to ring her mobile she switches it off. It leaves us feeling helpless and worried, knowing she is suffering, having dark thoughts and claims us telling her we are worried about her is emotional blackmail. Sometimes she ends up posting tirades of nasty over exaggerated comments on her Tumblr account. We just can not get through to her, if I suggest she may have depression [I suffered from this in my teens and get mild bouts now] she flies off the handle. She suffers from poor sleep, due to anxiety issues, bad dreams often has bouts of bad stomach ache, poor diet [can't be bothered to cook and eat often] I have seen she can go 1-2 days without eating and when she does it is often junk.

Just had another run in with her she has switched her phone off, several negative comments on her Tumblr account though no direct attacks at me at moment. Just feel so powerless and worried, we can not get through to her at all.

HELP!! What do I do, sit back and don't bother contacting her, ignore all the negative thoughts she writes. I don't think I could live with myself knowing she was hurting and I did nothing to try and reach out and help her. BUT at the same time all this IS hurting me. No birthday card from her despite the fact our birthdays are a few days apart, and despite text reminders from her dad no mothers day card either. She knows what she is doing ignoring me/us is hurting us, yet she continues to do so. BUT knowing this can be a symptom of depression then makes me feel bad too.

I just feel so helpless.

lalabaloo Sun 10-Mar-13 19:01:41

Hi, I just came across this when browsing through unanswered messages, I don't have teenagers myself, but this does sound as if it could be depression. I had depression around a similar age (and like you it still rears its ugly head from time to time) and a lot of the lack of social contact and anxiety sounds familiar. There will be someone at the university incharge of pastoral care, so if I were you I would contact her course leader in confidence (you should be able to find this on the uni website) and ask them to keep an eye out and signpost her to student services if the opportunity arises. If she is feeling depressed it won't be too long until this is reflected in her work, so I'm sure they won't see it as interfering. Also, do you have contact information for any of her friends, if you know them well might you be able to get in touch and ask them what their view is?

Linclass Sun 10-Mar-13 21:59:41

Well managed to text her bf [got his number off her mobile phone bill], he is now with her, says he's fed her and cheered her up a bit. He is a trained student counsellor and it has put our minds at ease knowing she is not alone.

She is still refusing/blocking all attempts of direct communication with us sad

Selks Sun 10-Mar-13 22:10:40

Well whether she is depressed or not, she is certainly very anxious and it's having a major impact on her life. Anxiety at that level can lead on to low mood. I'd suggest that she gets treatment for her anxiety - go to GP and request referral for CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) or get private CBT if she/you can afford it.

I hear your concern over her unwillingless for contact, but try not to take it personally. She's in a difficult place in herself and may feel ashamed / not want to inflict it on anyone. If I were you I would not push her on this, maybe even back off a little (as it sounds like your efforts to engage her in more frequent contact is actually making her reject it more), just let her know you are there for her when she needs you.

But you could try enlisting her boyfriend - could you let him know how worried you are and maybe he could support her to go to the GP?

Linclass Sun 24-Mar-13 09:22:15

Relieved and worried at the same time!!!

DD allowed us 'contact' 5 days later, ultimatum if she didn't we would have to go to see her the following weekend [I don't think asking for contact twice a week is excessive] I think she refuses as a way of hiding how she is. Anyway this time when I brought up the subject of depression, she didn't get angry with me!

Not had any 'meaningful' contact with her until yesterday when she agreed to a SKYPE call [first in a month]. Obvious she was down. it's always the weekends that are worse,she's stuck in a flat with students she has not 'gelled' with, they all drink & party and she doesn't [Why do Universities bother with profile questionnaires then ignore the results!!!] Anyway after suggesting she gets some help, she told me she had been to the well being centre last weekend with the support & help of her bf. Relieved she has finally admitted she needs help BUT worried because they can not offer her any help for a month!! I have written to them myself now, relaying my concerns!

Had a short text conversation with her bf [not met] BUT I am so pleased she has him. He sounds like he is sensible and very supportive, told us she is too hard on herself and should be proud of her fantastic results she has had of late [we've no idea how she's doing]. When I asked if it was affecting her work she got teary eyed with us, so maybe she's being to hard on herself academically too!

She'll be home for 2 weeks over the Easter break [she's arranged to travel around UK with a couple of her European Uni friends] So wondered IF we paid for private CBT whilst she's home any benefit could be gained in this short period.

Selks Sun 24-Mar-13 11:39:56

I don't think paying for private CBT for a two week period is a good idea - for a start two weeks is no time for it to be of any use; for CBT to work the person needs to want up have it; plus she might just want to rest and recuperate over Easter.
To be honest you sound a bit pushy. I know you're just being like that over concern for our daughter but it really runs the risk of damaging your relationship and pushing her further away.
If you want her to talk to you more about how she is feeling then I would back off a bit, let her rest over Easter and just be there if she wants to talk. Try and spend some enjoyable time together that is not relate to her depression.

Selks Sun 24-Mar-13 11:40:51

Typo -YOUR daughter.

mindfulmum Sun 24-Mar-13 14:03:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Linclass Sun 24-Mar-13 22:03:30

Err thanks Selks your negative comments on my character based on a few posts is not helpful!

It was DD who said she was willing to try CBT and it would only be if there was any benefit to be gained in such a short period, which I am making enquiries about.

Fortunately she has arranged to travel round the UK with some of her Uni friends for some of her Easter break, which we are happy about.

Selks Sun 24-Mar-13 22:47:05

Negative comments on your character?? You mean where I said you seem a bit pushy?

Not a comment on your character but on your behaviour, and I said it to try to help, not to criticise. As you can see from the rest of my posts I have attempted to offer some help and advice, but if you want to take umbridge just at that one comment rather than take it in the spirit it was intended then go ahead.

I hope things improve for your daughter.

Selks Sun 24-Mar-13 23:14:09

Anyway I'm sorry to have caused offence; it was not intended.

Coffeenowplease Sun 24-Mar-13 23:20:37

For what Its worth I think selks has a point. I know you re trying to do your best but I imagine it might feel very suffocating for your DD. I have depression and sometimes I just need space and cant deal with conversations with people at all.
I just want to be let be.

I wonder if you can set up some kind of system where she can tell you this and you will leave it for a set period then either you contact her/she contacts you to let you know shes ok and she can have some breathing space too ?

The pressure of having to talk to you and talk about how she feels could maybe be a negative for her even if it isnt meant to be. Just throwing that out there feel free to ignore me if you want.

slippysofa Mon 25-Mar-13 08:50:32

This was me a bit at uni. You may be right about the depression but:

Remember she is now growing up and leaving the nest - this means she needs to prove she is independent. This is proved by her cutting contact so that she can prove to you that she van survive without relying on mum and dad (teenage logic)

Students are depressed. It's partof the student culture.

She is now comparing to other people from all walks of life, many of whom she will think are better than her.

I read my brother's student diary. He got a scholarship to Oxford which meant he was the cleverest in his college in his year for his course. His diary was full of comments saying that he felt inferior to everyone and how he wished he was a s clever as them. Teenage angst it's compulsory.

A friend has a son who doesn't socialise. He lives v close to his uni so will be living at home for years 2&3. This is a big mistake for him. At least your DD will ride out uni learning to live with herself. She will make more friends.

I only contacted my my parents when i wanted more money or a train ticket home. Don't judge her, don't piss on her patch and don't interfere with her tutors. Be supportive and loving when she does contact you, limit the amount of correspondence you send to her (what's her local supermarket? Senf her supermarket gift tokens so that you know she can eat) and generally be there for her.

EggyFucker Mon 25-Mar-13 09:13:38

I agree with selks,, op and think it was your response to her genuine attempt to help that was out of line

You sound like a very lovely and concerned mum, but coming on too strong

I have a teenage dd and she would consider this amount of attempted control in her life to be counterproductive

Let her be a bit, and she will come to you if she needs you

orangesmarties Mon 25-Mar-13 16:03:43

Linclass - I fail to see how anyone can think of you or your actions as being pushy. At the end of the day, keep remembering that you know your daughter better than anyone else here. Reading your OP and the posts your DD put on tumblr I would think that you have every reason to be concerned for her. I can only imagine that not being allowed/able to communicate with her regularly, must make you feel helpless.
I have never been in your situation so do not feel qualified to offer any useful advice. Everyone is different. What works for some doesn't always work for others and that is no different when trying to help someone suffering from depression or anxiety. For every person here who posts advising that your DD's behaviour is normal for a teenager, there will be someone else to dispute it. Personally, my belief is that you should keep on doing what you're doing, keeping a watchful eye and offering subtle support from a safe distance. Have you arranged to meet BF yet or any of her other friends from Uni?? Hopefully as long as she knows you're there for here if she needs you, then everything will be fine. Good luck.

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