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I think Dd (15) is suffering from depression. How can I help her?(20 Posts)
I think my Dd is depressed. She has been distancing herself from her friends for a while but I just thought she wanted to spend more time with us at home. She always looks so sad and has no interest in doing anything, even things she usually enjoys. If she does do something she enjoys she will be fine while we are doing it but goes downhill again straight away.
I took her on a girly shopping trip last week because she needed new clothes (I offered her the money to go with her friends or said we could go together and she chose for us to go, she said it would be nice to spend time together ) she was ok for about half an hour then went really quiet and withdrawn.
Her grades dropped quite dramatically earlier on in the year but after spending time with her making sure she was putting the effort in she seems to have pulled them back up again.
She has been searching for ‘songs to help with depression ‘ and is always playing games on her mobile (brain teasers, suduko, solitaire) as If she needs to keep her mind busy. she is always twitching her hand or leg.
I have suffered with depression and anxiety since I was 14 (now 36) and her behaviour is just like mine when I am struggling ( I am on top of it most of the time at the moment and have been for a while and I’m not sure she is aware that I struggle)
I have tried to discuss it with her but she just says she is fine. I’m giving her lots of love and attention but trying to spot when she wants to be alone.
Do I come out and ask her straight? Speak to the school? Ask her best friend to talk to her ( I’ve known her since she was 3 so wouldn’t be too weird but I don’t want to upset Dd) if I spoke to the doctor would they see her and talk to her?
My parents just pretended it wasn’t happening which made me feel so isolated and unloved. I ended up self harming and suffering with anorexia and bulimia. It was only in my mid twenties that I realised how common it was and found strategies to help me cope although i still can’t talk to anyone about my feelings. I really don’t want her to feel like this but I also don’t want to project my feelings on to her and make it a bigger deal than it actually is.
Sorry for the brain dump. I need to get to sleep but my mind is going 1000000 miles an hour.
Any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you.
You have my sympathies. Nothing is more upsetting than seeing your child in pain.
First port of call needs to be school....just to rule out any bullying. She may simply have not confided but may be being excluded by her friends.
Second...if you find there are no issues with that sort of thing, then it's important to try to get her out into the fresh air on as regular a basis as possible.
There is proof that walking in green spaces helps depression enormously.
She may not want to...but you should exert some pressure to make her walk with you regularly.
Have you any way of looking at her social media?
Thank you Ajas. It is so hard, especially when I have felt the way she is feeling now so I know how awful it feels.
I’m going to ring school today and try and speak to someone, it’s just hard when they are in high school as there isn’t any one person to speak to like in primary school.
We have got a dog so I try and get us out most evenings for a walk and we are members of a gym so I try and go with her at least once a week. It does make a difference while we are there but she seems to drop again as soon as we get home.
She doesn’t really bother with social media. Speaks to her friends on Snapchat and family on Facebook (cousins and grandparents) but doesn’t spend lots of time on them. I will try and look tonight when she is in the shower.
She could benefit from a trip to the GP. have you tried talking with her about this?
A trip to GP and you letting her know you’ve noticed she’s very down atm will help.
Have you spoken to her? Asked her how she feels?
Offered to take her to her GP?
Don't ask her friend or school to speak to her (while it may be helpful once you know what's going on to also inform the school of course).
You can self refer to CAMHS.
Dd is depressed, the GP can't do anything for children unfortunately.
If you can afford it you might want to find some sort of private therapist, as camhs' waiting lists can be long and depending on where you are they may not see her beyond initial assessments.
The games and phone could be just masking the emotions by distracting her. Better if she could do some calming mindfulness. If you crack the meditation (takes perseverance, and you never 'get good at it' ime you get to know where you are heading with it, though, calmness depends very much on what is going on in your life imv) you can feel quite serene after, and see the world minus all its problems.
There might be meditation groups nearby.
I have spoken to her - she says she is ‘fine’ or ‘just tired ’ she is always tired even after a huge lie in.
I am sure the games and puzzles are to keep her mind busy and distracting her from how she is feeling - I do the same when I’m feeling low, although try not to do much when the children are around. I try and limit younger ds’ screen time but then feel torn because of Dd is using that as her crutch I don’t want to take it away from her.
I know how overstretched and slow CAHMS are from experience with work but would be wary of finding someone myself as I wouldn’t know where to start looking.
I will speak to school and ask them to discreetly keep an eye on her without talking to her. A boy in her year took his own life last year and I know that mental health was a big thing on their plan for this year so hopefully they will help as much as they can.
Thanks again for all your messages so far.
You could ask school about any services that can help her, there are often pre-CAMHS type things.
In our area it's the healthy child team or prevention services, it might be worth asking school what's available in your area.
I know what you mean about finding someone yourself, it's tricky to know what's needed.
I think there's something called compass buzz (possibly used to be compass reach) who you might be able to ring. I don't know if they're a national organisation though. Young Minds can also be helpful.
Ask her straight me share what you have experienced yourself. DS1 has suffered from depression and is still on meds. What you describe re distraction on her phone and twitching / bouncing limbs sounds very familiar. Try a self help plan with her - you will know what to do:
Give it till the summer hols then try the GP for meds. I doubt CAMHS will have the resources to help with low level depression. DS1 had a costly course of counselling at the Priory but I know that's not an option for everyone.
You can self refer to CAMHS.
Speak to her GP.
Gosh poor girl like both of you, I started to suffer when I was around that age. It is a hellish time with pressures plus hormones and I remember it well. I kept it well hidden from my parents. In a way it's good that you can see how she is feeling. Could you perhaps take up a hobby together? A martial art, yoga or something else therapeutic that involves exercise?
If she can get out of her head long enough and frequently enough, she'll be able to start putting things into perspective. The problem with using a screen to do this, is all the mental stimulation but with none of the physical energy expended.
What is her diet like? Would you consider herbal remedies? St Johns Wort, valerian root or even vitex if it's hormonal? Or maybe some rescue remedy if she's feeling panicky, which the constant fidgeting implies. There's tiny amounts of alcohol in all, but nothing I'd personally be worried about for a 15 yo although you may feel differently. Valerian root and exercise are what sorted me 10 years ago and I've been stable since.
It sounds as if both your DD and you need psychotherapy quite urgently. Suffering in silence is an acquired trait and can be unlearned given the right practitioner.
Could she go to GP at least about tiredness? It might be a starting point for a talk also she could have anemia or lack of vitamin B. These things will make depression worse.
I was quite depressed last year. There had been many traumatic events in my life in rapid succession and I hadn’t had time to process them. It all caught up with me and I was totally drained. The GP ran tests but there was nothing physically wrong to cause the intense fatigue. I just needed time to adjust and, more than anything, to rebuild boundaries and to take care of myself as first priority.
If you, OP, are prone to depression then the chances are that you have not taught your DD the skills that would enable her to take good care of herself. It’s very common for depression to run in families but it’s not so much genetic as cultural.
I think private counselling would be a good start if you can afford it.
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