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Forums / Supporting family and friends with a mental health condition (carers) / Depressed daughter *Trigger warning - self harm*

Topic: Depressed daughter *Trigger warning - self harm*

18 posts, 0 answered
  1. Blue Basil
    Blue Basil avatar
    2 posts
    5 March 2021
    Hello,

    First time posting.

    My 15 year old daughter has been suffering from depression for almost a year now.
    I am not sure what event caused it or if it is a combination but her first real boyfriend broke up with her last year. Her best friend moved overseas and her friendship circle broke down. I believe the fact that one of her friends in particular started communicating with me about my daughters struggles may have caused friction in the group and my daughter now feels guilt over that also.
    She has been self harming, eating less and less each day and withdrawn from her friends and everything that she used to love.
    I've tried 2 counsellors but she doesn't want to talk to them. She opens up a little to the guidance officer at school which is good but besides that doesn't talk to anyone about her struggles.
    She has body image issues and has lost a lot of weight, also refusing to eat in front of people.
    We've been to a Dr today and had blood tests done after she disclosed feeling often dizzy and light headed to the GO.
    I'd love to hear from others who have been through this. Its so shattering to watch her go through this.
    Previously I'd become all emotional and jump into 'fix it' mode but I am now learning to keep calm and offer support rather than advise.

    Thanks
  2. Sophie_M
    Community Moderator
    • Works for beyondblue moderating these forums
    Sophie_M avatar
    5672 posts
    5 March 2021 in reply to Blue Basil
    Hi Blue Basil,

    Thanks for reaching out here today. We're really sorry to hear that your daughter is going through so much at the moment. We understand that you must be feeling very concerned for her, but she sounds very lucky to have such a caring parent like yourself. Please know that you've come to a safe space to talk about these thoughts and feelings and our wonderful community is here to offer as much support and advice as you need.

    If you would like some professional advice on how to best proceed, you might like to try Parentline. Parentline is a confidential telephone service providing free professional counselling and support in Queensland and the Northern Territory for parents and carers. Their phones are open every day from 8am – 10pm, while WebChat is available every day from 8am – 9pm at https://parentline.com.au/

    You might also consider getting in touch with an organisation called the Butterfly Foundation which offers support for eating disorders and body image issues. We'd recommend you check out their website - https://butterfly.org.au/

    Thanks again for reaching out here. Hopefully some of our community will be by over the next few days to welcome you.
  3. Blue Basil
    Blue Basil avatar
    2 posts
    5 March 2021 in reply to Sophie_M
    Thank you. I did not know about these services, I will reach out.
  4. Doolhof
    Champion Alumni
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    Doolhof avatar
    8670 posts
    8 March 2021 in reply to Blue Basil

    Hi Blue Basil,

    Welcome to the community here. I'm really sorry to read about your daughter and all she is experiencing. I am so impressed with how you are trying to help her.

    Sophie_M has recommended some places you can receive help and advice for your daughter. I don't have children but have experienced depression on and off since I was about 12.

    I've seen many different types of journals advertised for assisting with mental health aimed at all age groups. I am wondering if a tool like this might help your daughter.

    I'd also like to suggest you find ways to care for and look after yourself in all of this. I can only imagine how devastated you feel at times. Finding ways to enhance your own life will provide you with more energy strength and care for your daughter.

    I hope you find ways to break through her thoughts so she really knows how much you love and care for her. A depressed mind can screw up our reality.

    Wishing you both much care and hope you are soon travelling through this. Best wishes from Dools.

  5. Sammy 123
    Sammy 123 avatar
    2 posts
    16 March 2021 in reply to Blue Basil

    Hi Blue Basil,

    This is my first day here too, my daughter is also 15 and we have been going through similar things for the past year also, she is a chronic self harmer and it is to the point now I don't think she has an un-scared body part even her face is damaged:( we have been in and out of hospital on numerous occasions and are currently living in despair. we have been to all the Dr's and the only answer we get is that we must accept this, and accept that she will probably get worse. i have also switched off my emotions when i am around her and have learnt to become very clinical instead of just being her mum. Which is truly heartbreaking as she is my only child and we were incredibly close not that long ago. I wish I could give some more positive insight, but at least I can understand your heartbreak and devastation. Its also nice to see I am not alone.

  6. ElleVinnie
    ElleVinnie avatar
    4 posts
    12 May 2021 in reply to Sammy 123

    Hi Blue Basil and Sammy 123,

    My daughter is turning 15 in a few months. She has been battling depression and anxiety for over a year. To some extent I'm in a similar situation as both of you. She has taken to SH a few months ago and the frequency and intensity of her SH have escalated quickly. She's now a chronic SHer and admitted that a large portion of that is in an addictive nature. (she also has suicidal thoughts constantly). Last year she had a hard time with friendship because those friends she had do not understand her struggles. By the end of last year she successfully became part of a new friendship group within which she's able to find emotional support and empathy. This should be a big positive under the circumstance. However we came to know over time that most of her friends in this new group also suffer from mental illness and SH. One of them that we know of has had suicidal attempt(s) in the past. I can understand why they're drawn to each other because they 'understand' one another. But what I find concerning is that I'm almost like looking at a cluster of self harmers who don't see SH as a problem any more. They would (according to my daugher) compare SH wounds sometimes, when they go deep it's something to be proud of. My daughter is already seeing a psychhiatrist and psychologist, and the school counsellor is also involved. She's also on medication. But nothing seems to be making much difference for her. She said yesterday that she doesn't want to get better because there's no point. One is eventually going to die anyway so why does anything matter? She has no goal or vision in life and no self worth. Nothing that she looks forward to and she sees no future. She used to be doing really well academically up until last year but now she doesn't care about school any more. Her current friends are the ONLY reason she's alive she said. These friends are her only safety net at the moment. It's heartbreaking for parents to hear things like this from their own child. She feels like a total stranger to me sometimes. How do you help someone who doesn't want to get better? How do you break a SH cycle when the action is constantly reinforced by her closest immediate support network? I'm sorry I ended up ranting on about my own situation and ain't able to offer any positive insights. My husband and I are in a state of despair and we'll be seeing a psychologist for ourselves for the first time this week. We just feel so lost and helpless...

  7. Sophie_M
    Community Moderator
    • Works for beyondblue moderating these forums
    Sophie_M avatar
    5672 posts
    12 May 2021 in reply to ElleVinnie
    Hey ElleVinnie,

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey here with our kind community. We can hear the love and concern that you have for your daughter, and we are are so sorry to hear what you've been going through. It sounds like you've taken some really important steps in helping your daughter to see a range of mental health supports, and it is important that you too receive support during this overwhelming time.

    Please know that our Beyond Blue Support Service is also always here for you if you'd like to talk these feelings through, anytime on 1300 22 4636, as well as through Webchat 1pm-12am AEST on our website: www.beyondblue.org.au/getsupport. Our friends at Lifeline are also here for you 24/7 on 13 11 14 whenever things are feeling overwhelming to cope with.

    If your daughter is interested, she may also like to reach out for extra support from the kind counsellors at Kids Helpline, who are available 24/7 on 1800 55 1800, as well as through online chat here: https://kidshelpline.com.au

    You are not alone in this, and we hope that you feelk free to keep updating us on how you're going whenever you feel ready.
  8. ElleVinnie
    ElleVinnie avatar
    4 posts
    12 May 2021 in reply to Sophie_M
    Thank you Sophie_M. It’s such a difficult journey with no finishing line in sight yet but it’s always comforting to know I’m not alone and many parents and carers out there are fighting their battles as well at the same time. Thanks for sharing the resources. I hope next time I post an update here there’s positive news.
  9. Upsy-Daisy
    Upsy-Daisy avatar
    2 posts
    19 May 2021 in reply to ElleVinnie

    Hi Elle-Vinnie, it’s my 1st post ever on any forum & your experiences & concerns about your beautiful daughter mirror mine.

    My 15yo also has a clique of SH’ers at school. I worry that she doesn’t see how dangerous SH is because it’s “normalised” by her friends & on social media. The way I’ve coped is by letting go. Not in the “hands up in the air - I don’t care” way. But just being there if she wants to talk & then I’ll stop what I’m doing & properly listen - then paraphrase back so I understand her clearly. I can never fully understand what she’s going through & I feel helpless & hopeless that I can’t “fix” my mentally unwell daughter. But I love her so very much, as you do with your daughter. We have reached out to medical practitioners who medicate, provide safety plans & strategies. It’s been nearly a year trying to get her the help she needs on this mental health merry-go-round & her journey isn’t over. But we can only support them & love them.

    My friend sent me a “holding space” extract which resonated with me. With open hearts & no judgement we need to be there for them. It’s giving up fixing, judgement & control. It’s about providing unconditional love. It sounds so easy, but I struggle! I’m not a perfect Mum. No one is. But I hope that our daughters will be happy and well again soon.
    Oh, and make sure you & your hubby reaches out for support from family & friends. You need to do self care at this stressful time. So be kind to yourself too. All the best :)

  10. Sophie_M
    Community Moderator
    • Works for beyondblue moderating these forums
    Sophie_M avatar
    5672 posts
    19 May 2021 in reply to Upsy-Daisy
    Hi Upsy-Daisy,

    Welcome to the forum, it' so great to have you join us. It must be so difficult to see your daughter normalise SH and to put so many supports in place for her, only to have to sit back and hope for the best. Indeed, it can be quite difficult when it comes to children as we cannot control their every move. We can understand that after trying to put in so many services in place, the best thing to do is to stay approachable in the hopes that our teens come to us in their times of need. This must be challenging for you to do and wondering if you are seeking supports for yourself in order for you to be there for your family?

    If you would like some help finding mental health support, we would recommend that you get in contact with the Beyond Blue Support Service. They are available 24/7 by phone on 1300 22 4636 or on Webchat 1pm-12am AEST on our website: www.beyondblue.org.au/getsupport  One of our friendly counsellors will be able to talk through these feelings with you and can offer support, advice and referrals. 

    If ever you wanted to get some advice you are always welcome to get in touch with Kids Helpline. They are a confidential and anonymous, telephone and online counselling service specifically for young people aged 25 and under.  

    Here are some articles for you to read if you think they will be helpful:
    https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/suicide-prevention/feeling-suicidal/self-harm-and-self-injury 
    https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/supporting-someone 

    Welcome again to the community, you are not alone and we are here to support you.
  11. ElleVinnie
    ElleVinnie avatar
    4 posts
    25 May 2021 in reply to Upsy-Daisy

    Hi Upsy-Daisy,

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I totally agree with you when you said we need to give up 'fixing, judgement & control'. Sometimes we get too obsessed with finding ways to 'fix' our kids and if those 'fixes' don't present themselves we get frustrated, feel despair and beat ourselves up over and over for it. In my case, it's learning to come to term with the fact that this journey will mostly likely be a rough ride and it may very well take a very long time to end. And also to never lose faith in that one day our daughter will come out of it and be able to find self worth and value and happiness in life again. Right now, unconditional love and support are the best things we can give her.

    As parents, we all know that we're not perfect and at times feel that we've failed our kids. My hubby and I certainly have lots of moments like this. We have our own psychologist to support our mental health while we care for and support our daughter's. I find that being kind to myself isn't always easy but I must try for my daughter and soldier on.

    So Upsy-Daisy, all the best to you and your daughter and take care!

    1 person found this helpful
  12. oliviahw
    oliviahw avatar
    1 posts
    3 August 2021 in reply to Blue Basil

    Hello

    I too have a daugther who is 14 and is going through all the same issues as yours. My daughter has always suffered from a bit of anxiety but during the last 6 months (I think its been ramping up for about a year though) that's turned in to full tilt depression, SH, early stages bulemia and it seems to be getting worse. My daugther has a psychologist and a specialist easting disorder dietician (who seems to really push my daugthers butttons so I'm not sure its a good idea to continue with her but she's so good and makes so much sense...but my daughter can't see that...she just wants her to tell her how she can lose more weight), a school counsellor and is about to see a psychiatrist. She wants to go on anti depressants but from what I've read they don't really do much to help and can have horrible side effects. We found out she has very low iron so we got an iron infusion and we have had her taking melatonin to improve her sleep (she now sleeps much better) but still she seems to be getting less and less interested in school, friends, sport (she was a really sporty person prior to this) and us. Its heart breaking. She has massively low self esteem, doesn't want to eat (although will eat a bit of breakfast and dinner but will never eat at school) and cries a lot. I really don't know how we are meant to act around her. My husband is struggling a lot and so I'm taking on more of the load. I can't help but feel that i've failed as a parent and am starting to feel really low myself. I know I just need to keep trying to help where i can and to be there for her unconditionally and to talk to her about it but I feel Like its just never going to go away. So sorry about the ramble. I guess i wanted you and the others on here to know that there are many of us dealing with the same struggle. Its reassuring to read other people's journeys to know I'm not alone.

  13. Sophie_M
    Community Moderator
    • Works for beyondblue moderating these forums
    Sophie_M avatar
    5672 posts
    3 August 2021 in reply to oliviahw

    Hi oliviahw 

    We're so sorry to hear about what you and your daughter are going through. It sounds like you're a really supportive parent, and are doing your best to get her the help she needs. We hope that you are taking time to check in with yourself amongst all of this, as it's a truly difficult thing to be going through.  

    Here are a few things you might find useful: 

    Remember our phonelines are open to you and your family 24/7 on 1300 22 4636. We'd definitely recommend making contact with The Butterfly Foundation on 1800 33 4673, 8am-midnight (AEST). They offer phone, webchat and email support for those experiencing an eating disorder, friends, family, carers and professionals. We'd also recommend having a look at their support groups for family and friends, here.

    You could also remind your daughter that all of these services are available through webchat, if that's preferable for her: 

    We're really glad you could share here with our community, and we hope you find comfort and understanding in this community where others are going through similar challenges. Please know that our community are here to listen and offer their kind support to you during this difficult time, and will always appreciate your updates.  

    Kind regards, 

    Sophie M 

  14. BElaine
    BElaine avatar
    5 posts
    15 August 2021 in reply to Upsy-Daisy

    Hi Upsy-Daisy,

    My first reply! Thank you for sharing your advice - giving up fixing, judgement and control. Just unconditional love. So hard. My daughter is 17 now and I've been her fixer all her life - bandaid on the knee, encouraging her through social disasters, organising her study. But not now. I need to be clinical as someone else said.

    Is your username from the character on TV? She was my favourite and I encouraged my daughter to be as unique and positive as Upsy-Daisy. Hope it works for you too.

    1 person found this helpful
  15. Upsy-Daisy
    Upsy-Daisy avatar
    2 posts
    23 August 2021 in reply to BElaine

    Hi BElaine, yes Upsy-Daisy was a favourite character of my daughter when she was little. Oh, to go back to those carefree, toddler days! When at the time I was probably looking forward to the toddler tantrums being over :) Time flies. And perhaps in 10-15 years’ time hopefully our daughters will be strong, independent & happy. But presently we need to be their advocate in an underfunded, flawed health care system. So your words of being clinical is so true.

    Today my daughter was discharged from hospital for the 2nd time in 8 days for self harming. I found somethings that she could have used in her room. I’ll be checking her room weekly from now on. Meds are of course locked away, but will be reassessed by her psychiatrist this week. I’m feeling so tired & emotionally drained. But luckily I have supportive colleagues, friends & family. There’s no end in sight to her mental health journey, as it really is up to my daughter to accept that with her BPD diagnosis she should do a 12 week therapy course. But she doesn’t want to. No one can force her. It is hard when a 15yo doesn’t want to help herself - it’s tricky for everyone. I just keep reminding myself to be strong for her, love & support her. It’s all I can do.

    1 person found this helpful
  16. ElleVinnie
    ElleVinnie avatar
    4 posts
    30 August 2021 in reply to Upsy-Daisy

    Hi Upsy-Daisy,

    I agree with you in that it's so much harder when they don't want to help themselves. My daughter currently is basically waiting (or hoping) for the medication to 'magically' make her feel better so she will have the motivation to do things. She is self neglecting, we can't get her to shower or brush her teeth. She doesn't see there's a need to look after her body or her health. We (and the psychiatrist) can't make her understand that she needs to be the one who takes some level of responsibility for her condition to improve. We need to go little step at a time but she needs to be willing to take the steps that are suggested to her. Her view of the whole situation is backward. She has a psychologist she's been seeing recently but she's very reluctant to continue with the therapy sessions because 'they do nothing, they're not helping, they make her stressed and anxious every time, they make her worse...'. Her sleeping pattern is all over the place. She has Melatonin but refuses to take them. SH is still in the picture and SH urges and suicidal thoughts, according to her, are there all the time.

    Even with the support of our own psychologist, my husband and I are finding it extremely hard to cope. We have to be patient and strong for our daughter. I always remind myself our daughter is the one who is suffering the most. We can't be the ones to break or to give up first. Still, that feeling of helplessness and frustration is hard to bear. I feel for all the parents on this forum, each of you fighting a battle to which it seems to have no end. Let's continue to share and to encourage each other. Lot's of love to each and every one of you. xx

    1 person found this helpful
  17. Sophie_M
    Community Moderator
    • Works for beyondblue moderating these forums
    Sophie_M avatar
    5672 posts
    30 August 2021 in reply to ElleVinnie
    Hi ElleVinnie,

    Thank you for sharing this here. It sounds like you’re a really supportive parent, and your family has been through a lot. We hope you can find some comfort and understanding on this forum, where other community members can really relate to what you’re going through.

    It sounds like you’re doing everything you can to help your daughter. It’s really hard when treatment and therapy aren’t immediately successful, or aren't engaged with right away, and it can be a really difficult journey. You’ve taken some incredibly important steps and we hope you can see how inspiring that is.

    It’s good to hear that you and your partner are seeing a psychologist. It’s so important, that while caring for your daughter, you are aware of your own emotional wellbeing. You can call the Beyond Blue helpline on 1300 22 4636, or our friends at Carers Australia on 1800 242 636. They offer short-term counselling, emotional and psychological support services for carers and their families  You could also check in with Parentline, who have a number for each state listed here.

    Thank you again for sharing here, we hope it helps you to hear from and share with people who understand what you’re going through. Please keep us updated whenever you feel comfortable to do so. We’re sure others on this thread will appreciate it as much as we do, and will share in kind their advice and understanding.

    Kind regards,

    Sophie M
  18. quirkywords
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
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    quirkywords avatar
    11928 posts
    30 August 2021 in reply to ElleVinnie

    Many decades ago , Elle Vinnie , I was a teenager who could not get out of bed, rarely washed and was in denial and refused medication. Then in a few weeks I would be having two showers day, talking at 100 miles an hour, taking risks, and very impatient.

    As a parent now I can see how worried they would have been but it was so confusing for me.

    Everyone here sounds like very patient caring parents . I felt the more my parents tried to get me to do something the more I would refuse to. Sometimes the self loathing makes it so hard to care for oneself.
    Sophie has given helpful suggestions.

    parents please look after yourselves. your children do appreciate that you care but may not be able to show it,

    1 person found this helpful

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