Problems with 22 year old daughter(9 Posts)
I just wanted to vent really and I'm unsure how to handle the situation so wondered if anyone had any advice.
We've had a lot of heartache with my DD for around 5 years and it's had a big effect on me in that I was on antidepressants for 3 years-now off them.
The back story is she was diagnosed with a severe mental illness during her A levels and spent 7 months in hospital. During that time she mixed with lots of dysfunctional adolescents and decided she didn't want to live at home any more and from that time on she has only done what she wants to do and pretty much got away with it because everything has been put down to her illness. I really don't know if her illness is the problem-I mean I'm sure it makes life harder but she just seems like a horrible person now.
Anyway she got stable on medication ,moved out and got a council flat and lived on benefits but did go back to college and managed to get a place at Uni. We supported her over this period financially and practically but we don't really get on because her values seem so different now from ours.
She went to Uni and was discharged from the mental health team because she said she had no problems. She also declined any disability support at uni-said she didn't need it. She was only eligible for minimum loan as it still went on our income despite the fact she hadn't lived at home for 2 years so we support her financially. We don't expect her to do any paid work in term time.
She has done well at Uni-just finished 2nd year with a 1st and has friends and seems to be able to socialise with no issues-ie festivals, clubs etc.
The problem is when it comes to work. She always goes downhill when she has no structure. Last summer she took a job 300 miles away which we drove her to. She walked out after a few days with no money and we had to send cash to get her home. She refused to work again but we supported her to stay in her Uni town anyway for the rest of the summer. She got a job at Christmas and again walked out in the middle of a shift.
This summer we said we'd support her to stay in her Uni town over the Summer on the understanding that she either volunteered or worked for 15 hours a week to give her some structure. We said the other option was to live at home .After a lot of nagging she lined up a couple of short jobs which was not really sufficient but we relented. The first was a 3 day job due to start tomorrow and she's called to say she's not going as she's anxious and blaming her mental health. She refuses to discuss it further and refuses to see the Dr either. She says the people she lives with don't work so why should she.
I have said that if she's not working she will have to come home and she says no and has blocked me from her phone. If she didn't have severe mental illness I'd just cut off any money or food but is it reasonable to do this? The money isn't a problem-we can afford it. Most people with her illness don't work (80% don't) but to me she seems to be able to do anything she actually wants to do and I believe she could work and long term it would be better for her to do so. If she said she'd get help with her anxiety we would support this but she won't so what can we do? If she does come home she will make life unbearable and we are going away in a couple of weeks and don't really want her in the house as sorry to say we don't trust her.
I cry most days about it all. It's not how I thought things would turn out and my heart is broken. I don't know what we'll do when her course ends and sadly suspect she'll end up in a hostel on benefits.
I've just read your post and some of it resonates with me and reflects issues I've had with my own daughter(not as extreme) and I wanted to reply. It sounds like you have been through a very difficult time and I know what it feels like when all the hopes and dreams you have for your child seem seem to be disappearing in front of you. It's also hard to accept that you don't like traits of their personality or the person they have become.
However there seem to be many positives in your post. Your daughter
has managed to overcome her issues to a great extent and has lived independently at uni for two years. Her grades are fabulous and she has friends and an active social life - these are all things you want for your young adult.
From what I've see young people mature at very different rates and especially as far as the work issue is concerned your daughter might genuinely find it difficult to deal with and feel out of her comfort zone which may make her really anxious about dealing with it. The fact that her friends aren't working is no help at all because she's not seeing that as a normal way to behave.
One thing that helps me is to detach slightly and try and accept that this is a phase. Hopefully as she matures she will start to see that she needs to start contributing. I agree that removing all financial support is not the way to go as what would that achieve? The light bulb will hopefully go on at some point.
I don't know if that is any help, but try and look after yourself. It is what it is at the moment but things will hopefully improv e in time.
Thank you very much for your reply. I found your comments very helpful!
I do actually think she becomes very anxious about working and this brings her symptoms back. Hopefully in time she will figure this out and accept help.
I do hope it's just a phase and that is a good way to look at it. Unfortunately this phase seems to be lasting a long time!
I shall try to have a nice weekend with my lovely husband.
Did your daughter unblock you from her phone in the end? I presume hospitalisation was to keep her safe from herself and so no wonder now you still feel worried for her. I hope she is back in uni and doing well, and that your heart can settle for a bit whilst she is still studying.
If she is surrounded with others who study hard then she is at least mixing with a good influence in that sense.
A mother’s love never ceases. She might not understand this at the moment, but in time, she will. She might be self centred at the moment but in time she will mature. She will understand you’ve been wonderful to be behind her as her safety net.
Enjoy the autumn term time with your lovely husband. Let us know how things have been.
I was diagnosed as a teenager as being epileptic. I hated it and went through phases of not taking my medication. The reality of this was that I had epileptic seizures.
I think your daughter tries hard to not let her medical condition limit her, but you still have to be realistic that she has been diagnosed with a mental health issue and if 80% of people diagnosed with this are unemployed, perhaps she genuinely is trying her best work. Agree with PP that her peers could be influencing her, and once they graduate and look for jobs she could be more motivated.
I wouldn't be too hard on her. Focus on the many things that she has achieved and wait it out. When she graduates and finding a job becomes a priority she might be more inclined to talk to her GP and get professional help to make working more possible.
Sorry if I was unclear, my point was that the reality of being epileptic was that I had seizures, even though untried to carry on as if I didn't have a medical issue.
The reality of your daughters MH issue is that she finds it very hard to work, regardless of all the other amazing things that she's achieved.
I would suggest working more on the volunteer side of things. Does she enjoy animals? Could she volunteer at a local rescue?
Could she learn how to knit hats for new horns? Help in a homeless shelter?
Good luck with this.
Thank you for all your replies. She is back at uni now and much better. She wouldn't work or volunteer this summer. I asked her Just to do anything-not necessarily paid but she just says she will then lets them down. She struggles with motivation so signs up for things then doesn't go. Her mental health has been terrible because she's had nothing to do.....She just adopts weird sleeping patterns and doesn't look after herself . The students she lives with are not the best influence either I'm afraid!
Anyway she should be ok for a couple of months now at least. Jan and Feb are bad times but she usually gets through it. I just know if she could find the right thing she could do something and be better for it. It's true most people with her condition don't work but I suspect those same people would also not be excelling in their degree...It makes it hard to know what her capabilities really are.
Unfortunately our relationship is worse than ever. She does still talk to my parents and husband though so I can keep tabs on her that way!
I hope that she can find something she loves to do without stress eventually but will just focus on supporting her from a distance to finish her degree rather than looking ahead too much for now.
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