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Teenage depression

(14 Posts)
Alexandra78 Mon 08-Jul-13 12:12:09

Hi, this is my first time here, I have just registered after searching for advice on teenage depression as I am very concerned and worried about my 13 year old daughter, I have booked an appointment for her to see our GP. However I would like some advice, hopefully reassurance that my daughter will be ok.

She is very low, feels ugly and fat, she is highly sensitive to remarks about her appearance, she finds eye contact difficult... amonst lots of other issues.

She was having one of her bad moments last night and I tried to calm her down, she dug her nails into her forehead and scratched herself in front of me and then she went into the kitchen and took a knife out of the draw. She did not harm herself, although there were red marks on her head, which have faded now, luckily her nails are short.

There were tears and she begged me not to take her to the hospital, she promised she wouldn't do it again. But she agreed to see the GP, and she is seems relieved that there could be help for her.

She has some nice friends, but she rarely meets them outside school, just social networking.

She is an only child, I am a single parent, I have brought her up myself since me and her father split when she was 18 months old. I have always worked and had to use childcare when she was little, I feel that I didn't give her enough attention when she needed it, and that she is suffering the consequences of our lifestyle when she was growing up. She hated going to out of school club, but I had no option. I did not think this would happen.

She sees her father every weekend and they have a good relationship.

Worried sick, has anyone got advice? Will everything be ok?


crazykat Mon 08-Jul-13 12:28:06

I feel for both of you. Your DD sounds a lot like I was at that age. I was being bullied at school and ended up with school phobia, my heart still races when we pass my old school and I left nine years ago.

You've done the right thing in getting her to the GP. It took my mum months to convince me to go. I had counselling with a psychologist for a couple of years and it really helped.

She will be okay it will just take time. I was really down but having someone neutral to talk to who I knew couldn't tell my mum what I said really helped - though in the end I told my mum everything when I had more confidence. I know everyone is different but I've turned out okay even after being told I'd fail my exams I'm now getting my degree to be a psychologist so I can try to help others.

crazykat Mon 08-Jul-13 12:32:01

FWIW her having to go to after school clubs while you worked is unlikely to be the cause of how she's feeling. As I say I behaved similar and was very down and my mum worked school hours so was always there.

Hormones can also play a part and she's at the age where everything is changing and she's not a child but not an adult which can leave you feeling mixed up.

Alexandra78 Mon 08-Jul-13 12:37:21

Awe thank you for your reassurance. She has been depressed for a long while, but I kept thinking it was just her hormones. She has the odd panic attack as well, which tend to be at school. I feel so sorry for her and helpless.

Last night was a serious wake up call, I guess it was a cry for help.

Well done for getting through it, and good luck with your degree!

crazykat Mon 08-Jul-13 12:49:06

I used to feel really anxious on the way to school to the point of being sick. I'm not a professional but that sounds like school phobia or the beginnings of it. Best thing is to try and get her to tell the GP exactly how she feels or write it down if she feels she can't.

If she's been feeling depressed for a while ask the GP to refer her for counselling.

She will get through it and feel better in time. One of the things I appreciated is that my parents didn't try to make me talk to them but let me go to them, they made sure I knew they were there whenever I was ready to talk.

A journal might help so she can write down how she feels, whether good or bad, it's a safe way to get her emotions out.

Alexandra78 Mon 08-Jul-13 12:58:21

Yes this sounds like my girl, your mum must've been worried sick like I am! I am absolutely gutted for her. She is quite good at opening up to me, but she did say that she can't tell me everything, which I respect. I hope she will talk to someone else though.

My sister had very similar problems as a teenager, but never went to the GP and she still suffers depression now. I wonder if it is inherited or something.

I took my daughter to the doctors when she had her first panic attack, but he just advised blowing into a brown bag, this did help, but it hasn't stopped her having attacks, she has had about 5 in total.

Thanks for the advice, I will suggest the journal idea to her.

crazykat Mon 08-Jul-13 13:22:27

Blowing into a brown bag helps calm your breathing down when having a panic attack but obviously doesn't find and treat the cause.

In my experience the earlier depression is treated the better. It helped me and I've been okay since. One of the worst things for me besides depression was feeling like I wasn't normal for feeling that way if it makes sense. Sometimes I felt like I was the only person to feel that way.

I hope your DD will get a quick referral as it really does help. If your GP won't give one just keep going back until they do. I'm so grateful to my mum for pushing for counselling, I know I'd still be depressed now if she hadn't.

monikar Mon 08-Jul-13 13:35:39

Alexandra Hello there, so sorry to hear about your DD. It must be a very difficult and worrying time for you. You are doing the right thing in taking her to the GP.

I have a 17yo who is anxious and I understand how hard it is. A journal is an excellent idea. Also, take heart from the fact that your DD can talk to you and is trusting you to help her. My DD has friends at school who have similar problems and hide it from their parents which is very sad.

DD and I have read the Paul McKenna book together, which I got from the library, called 'I can make you happy' which really helped. It wasn't patronising at all and was full of lots of useful exercises to try. There was a CD in the back in which he explained some of the exercises. I have just looked on amazon and he has written another called 'Control Stress: Stop Worrying and feel good now' which may be worth a look.

What I have found helpful is devising strategies for DD to try when she is not feeling anxious, so that she has these tools ready for when panic strikes. A simple breathing exercise where you breathe in for the count of 3 and then breathe out for the count of 5 has helped to calm her down.

Good luck, hope that helps a little.

Alexandra78 Mon 08-Jul-13 13:50:01

I have phoned the GP and he will see us tonight instead of Friday, your informative posts have made me realise this needs attention now. You must've gone through hell, it is good to know you are okay now. I keep thinking about her, I wish I kept her off school today.

Yeah my DD doesn't think she is normal either, she scrutinises herself face, body, hair. She is lovely looking but she makes her hair almost cover her face, it looks quite stylish but she is only doing it to hide herself and avoid eye contact. She can look me in the eye but she has problems with most other people.

She wears a long coat even on hot days because she hates her arms.

We joined the gym a couple of weeks ago, and she is working on getting fit to feel more confident. But we've only been there twice, I will have to encourage her to be a little more dedicated.

I am feeling a bit happier now that we are seeing the doctor today, thank you so much for writing. xx

Alexandra78 Mon 08-Jul-13 13:55:24

Monikar thank you, I just saw your post. It is heart breaking isn't it, and I feel so guilty for ignoring the earlier signs.
Last night was horrible for me as a mum, but my poor girl must've been building up to that point for ages!
I hope the doctor refers her to someone she can open up to, as I understand there are things she doesn't want to talk to me about.

monikar Mon 08-Jul-13 14:34:49

Your DD probably has been building up to that point, but as mums we don't always spot the early signs so don't blame yourself. You are dealing with the problem now and getting the help she needs and that is what is important.

I'm pleased you have got the appointment moved - you both will probably feel a lot better when you have been.

Let us know how you get on - I hope it goes well.

Alexandra78 Mon 08-Jul-13 14:57:34

Yes I will, thanks. I am about to collect her from school and take her straight there. I will update when we get home.
Thanks Monikar and Crazykat!

crazykat Mon 08-Jul-13 15:32:15

Don't blame yourself for not noticing earlier, I was very good at hiding how I was feeling as I didn't want to upset my mum. It all came to a head when I couldn't go to school in year 10 which made it hard for exams but I managed good grades with help from school.

You're doing a great job helping your DD and its a really good sign that she can talk to you even if she feels there are some things she can't share right now.

I hope it goes okay with the GP and she gets the help she needs to feel better.

Palika Mon 08-Jul-13 15:41:43

Early childcare is not the cause of teenage depression. In Sweden most children go to early childcare and they have made lots of studies about it and found that it actually makes children more confident with their peers compared with stay-at-home children.

Your guilt feelings may affect her a bit but I think that should be minor.

I feel for girls growing up these days with all the pressure on their appearance.

I think you should seek counselling for her but also help her to look her best and not just brush her appearance issues aside. That is what I would have liked as a teenager.

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