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Depressed teenage daughter, urgent advice needed.

(19 Posts)
deste Mon 29-May-06 23:06:00

Please can someone out there help. My younger daughter since the age of thirteen has been set on going to Drama school. She has been now since last summer, but has been terribly homesick. She is now depressed and wants to come home. I have suspected for the last week something was not right. She is flying home on Friday and says she doesnt think she can go back. I cant send her if she is ill, but this is a crucial time for assessments and exams and that is worrying her.

She was given two scholarships because of her talents and it would be terribly sad for her if she had to give up. She was looking forward to this for so long and now it is falling apart for her.

She has not told any of her tutors and doesnt want me to tell them, but she says that she thinks they are noticing that she is not putting in any effort. She was such a confident girl and I dont think anyone would believe this is happening to her. I am going to try and get her a doctors appointment for Saturday.

She wants to know if she gets medication how long will it be till she notices the difference.(she is nineteen).

WishICouldGiveUpWork Mon 29-May-06 23:12:53

SO sorry DD is going through this.

I am not really qualified to give any sound advice on this but it sounds likethere is something else at the bottom of this....

As fro medication,even the strongest anti-depressants will take a minimum of 2 weeks to have any effect and to someone who is in need this seems like a lifetime.

Wish I had more advice for you-any chance you could go and stay near her during the crucial time?

spacedonkey Mon 29-May-06 23:12:58

Really sorry to hear this deste

I think she really does need to talk to her tutors or someone else at her drama school (there's probably a counsellor there) but if she is depressed then that could seem an almost insurmountable task at the moment.

You've done the right thing to get her a doctor's appointment - the sooner the better. The drama school may be able to work around a period of illness in terms of assessments and so on while she has some time off to start getting better. Typically anti-depressants take around a month to work, if that's the route the doctor decides is appropriate. Ideally this would be in combination with a talking therapy of some kind. CBT might be helpful as a short term therapy?

singledadofthree Mon 29-May-06 23:13:27

i also have a 19 year old dd at uni who with similar circumstances. she has said she doesnt want to go back - the course is ok but the place is a dump and she has few friends.
i wouldnt consider putting her on meds just because shes homesick - thats not an illness - its a state of mind and to go on AD's for it at 19 is not good. you need to look at ways of altering her lifestyle while shes there to make it more enjoyable so she doesnt miss home so much - basically so shes happier. am aghast at the idea of AD's.
really hope life there improves for her soon.

singledadofthree Mon 29-May-06 23:16:32

and of course she should have a mentor who she can confide in, may beable to get her involved in other activities to help the time pass.

foundintranslation Mon 29-May-06 23:20:47

If she has been longing for this for so long, possibly a gap between her idea of it pre-going and reality could be making her feel low and confused?
Drama school is probably also a really competitive environment - possibly she is feeling very insecure about her abilities in comparison to the others.
OTOH, if she really is not happy, her giving up the scholarships should not be the main consideration, of course.
She really needs to speak to her tutors. I'm sure they feel they have a welfare responsibility to her too, and they really need to know what is going on and possibly reassure her about things she's worried about. Offer to go with her if she thinks that might help.

jampots Mon 29-May-06 23:23:03

my friends dd has decided she doesnt want to carry on to her final year at uni either

I agree she needs to speak to her tutors (or you both do). It seems such a shame - has she told you the reason why she doenst want to carry on? Has she had a bad experience you think she may not want to discuss?

Ellbell Mon 29-May-06 23:27:03

Deste - so sorry to hear that your dd is going through this.

Please try to get her to talk to her tutors or to the counselling service or medical centre at her college. It doesn't have to be the person who is officially designated as her 'personal tutor'. Anyone she finds sympathetic will be fine. Once this is 'on the record' the college will have mechanisms in place to deal with it - assessments can be re-done, exams can be re-sat... nothing is insurmountable. (I'm a lecturer and have been responsible for rearranging things like this for any number of students. Please reassure her that it's very normal - happens every year... it really is 'no biggy'. It's possible that she feels that her tutors have noticed that she's not putting in the effort and is scared that by doing so she has lost their good-will. Again, please reassure her that this isn't the case. It will be dealt with professionally, I promise. She needs to discuss all the possibilities - including maybe taking a year out and going back later or transferring to a different institution (I'm guessing she's a long way from home if she has to fly back...).

I write this as someone who almost dropped out of university in my first term. I was so unhappy (partly because of unsuitable boyfriend at home, but mainly just because it took such a lot of adjusting to...). I stayed in the end... and pretty much have never left!

Ellbell Mon 29-May-06 23:29:45

If she really won't talk to anyone you can try contacting them yourself. But remember that she is an adult, so they will need her say-so before acting on anything. But if she is really unwilling to talk about this right now, just ringing and saying that she is unwell and is at home right now and that a doctor's note will be forthcoming will do as a holding measure.

deste Mon 29-May-06 23:30:25

Thank you all for replying so soon. I'm worried for her but I cant just go to be with her because we live so far away, although I have thought about it. She does have flights booked for this weekend. Ive asked if there is something else wrong and she said no. She can talk to me so I think she would tell me. She only has about six weeks left of her first year. I am going down on the 9 June and after that she is coming out to join us on holiday. She said everyone is stressed out and cant tell anyone. She said her mentor at college is a man in his late 60's and she doesnt understand anything he says.

foundintranslation Mon 29-May-06 23:35:49

Is there a (possibly female) welfare coordinator or similar? Or an older student she likes and trusts? That might be the person to turn to.

Ellbell Mon 29-May-06 23:41:06

As I said before, she doesn't have to talk to her mentor. They get assigned at random, and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Mine was still calling me 'ummm errrr' after 4 years there! But luckily I knew there were other members of staff I could talk to. She can see whoever seems most likely to be sympathetic, and she won't be asked to justify why she hasn't been to her mentor first.

Californifrau Tue 30-May-06 19:07:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

deste Tue 30-May-06 22:19:33

Thank you for your replies you dont know how much better I felt after you took the time to reply. I work in a teaching environment (adult education) and my co-ordinator had been on a three day course for mental health last week. She gave me the book she was given, and it has lots of info in it. My sister suggested she used St Johns Wort and this book also suggested it, has anyone tried this and did it help?.

Ledodgyherring Tue 30-May-06 22:23:41

Also suggest she completes her first year but not worry too much about grades etc. Then she always has the option to defer next year if she wants, this will keep her options open.

deste Tue 30-May-06 22:48:04

Thanks thats exactly what I said to her. If she finishes it leaves her options open.

Bucketsofdinosaurs Wed 31-May-06 19:13:08

Hope this doesn't come out rude but I got this close to dropping out of uni around the exam time of the first year. Basically I hadn't been doing the work and had some deadlines and couldn't face being 'told off' about it. I literally just wanted to run away but when I shared my feelings with a flatmate he just laughed at me and said 'just shut up and get on with the essay.' Best advice I ever had! I was so unhappy because I couldn't admit that I obviously wasn't as mature as I'd thought/expected - there was just so much temptation. I did a rushed job but scraped through to the 2nd year - let her know she doesn't have to be the best at everything, 99% of the population coast along not living up to their full potential .
I'm not saying this is what your DD is doing but do ask her if she's got any work outstanding before getting her on prozac. I'd also second St John's Wort, it's clinically proven to work and if you've ever read the potential side effects on a packet of antidepressants you'll want to try it first.

Bucketsofdinosaurs Wed 31-May-06 19:16:50

Forgot to add a link, I love this concept:


deste Sun 04-Jun-06 17:35:10

Well my daughter came home,(looking so normal but thinner). On saturday she went to see a psychiatric doctor who spoke to her for about 25 minutes and decided that she was depressed. She gave her some sleeping tablets. She was quite tearfull but went out at night with all her friends who came home for the weekend. I advised her not to drink too much because of the depressive effect and she didnt. They had a great time and she slept all night or what was left of it for the first time in two weeks, (hadnt started the tablets yet) Today she was back to her old self and decided she was going back. She knows she will have bad days but we have told her she just has to get through her final assessments. Im going down on 16 June and she is coming home two weeks later and then two weeks till holidays. I am still apprehensive and I think I will worry about her till she finishes, but would like to thank all of you who took the time to reply. There is a lot of help out there if you look for it.

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