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Topic: How do I support my depressed teen?

5 posts, 0 answered
  1. Mamac8
    Mamac8 avatar
    1 posts
    14 September 2021

    Hi there,

    This is my irst time here, so sorry if I get this wrong.

    I have a 14 y.o daughter who used to be bubbly and bright. Now she is withdrawn, moody, never sleeps, won't eat, has withdrawn from all her long loved activities and has been cutting.

    We have seen GP, we have a MHCP, she has had her intake interview and now we wait for her to be seen further. Perhaps 6 months I am told.

    After her intake interview by phone the counsellor spoke with me briefly around the next steps and advised me that my child had suicidal thoughts but no plans.

    How do I support her without making it all about me and how sad I am about all this? I am trying to be supportive and be there for her, but I struggle to not cry and feel like I am the cause of all her angst. It feels so hopeless and overwhelming.

    How do I support her without getting over emotional?

    Thanks

  2. therising
    Valued Contributor
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    therising avatar
    2109 posts
    14 September 2021 in reply to Mamac8

    Hi Mamac8

    From one parent to another, my heart goes out to you. I believe there's almost nothing worse than witnessing our child's sufferance. You can really feel it, like their sufferance is in you. By the sound of it, you feel it deeply.

    With my son (16) and daughter (18), I've watched my kids 'come to their senses', while they've managed to bring me to mine. It's been a shared experience. When I say 'come to their senses', what I mean is

    • the sense of wonder
    • the sense of a need for excitement
    • the sense of feeling being brought down
    • the sense of feeling inspiration
    • the sense of feeling other people's feelings deeply
    • the sense of suppression, oppression, what's depressing
    • the sense of feeling lost
    • the sense of pure exhaustion
    • the sense of feeling your own thoughts
    • the sense of a need for change

    It's an enormous list, so I won't go on.

    If your daughter's incredibly sensitive, she'll most likely hold the ability to feel just about everything, an ability that can feel more like a curse at times.

    If you're just as sensitive, this is a bonus in a way. I've actually found this to be the case in our household, with my son and daughter being as sensitive as myself. May sound strange but the 3 of us have developed our ability (through multiple lock downs in Melbourne) to get a sense of what we're feeling. For example, I couldn't quite put my finger on why I was becoming more down during each lock down. Trying to maintain my mental health felt like it was becoming gradually impossible. I've experienced depression earlier in life and I know how it feels. Finally, what came to mind was 'This is what suppression feels like'. That was it! I asked my kids whether they were feeling suppression (suppressing feeling the need to connect with things which would normally vibe them up, outside of lock down). They agreed. All of us identified with a new feeling we've never felt before at this level. It's a bloody horrible feeling, that's for sure.

    I get where you're coming from when it comes to not wanting to upset your daughter with your feelings. Mine will occasionally say to me 'Mum, stop it. I can feel your agitation to the point of distraction'. She has brilliant senses.

    If you wonder with your daughter about what she's feeling/sensing and why, I wonder if this will help. Encourage honesty. Personally, I ask my kids to help me find my faults so I can get rid of them. Consider mentioning to her how you're feeling each other's pain because of your deep connection.

  3. Petal22
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Petal22 avatar
    1155 posts
    14 September 2021 in reply to Mamac8

    Hi Mamac8,

    Wellcome to our forums!

    Im sorry yourself and your daughter are going through this it must be so difficult…..

    Just be there for your daughter, it’s something that is happening to her she just needs you to support her and hold space for her……and show understanding and no judgment..

    Practice grounding for yourself it will allow you to just be there for her in the present moment….. it takes practice….. meditation is also a great tool for learning this..

    I went through a mental mental condition in my life it was severe the above things is all I really wanted from my loved ones …. I’m now recovered thanks to professional help……. Please keep up with the professional help for your daughter..,

    Im here to chat

  4. Petal22
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Petal22 avatar
    1155 posts
    14 September 2021 in reply to Mamac8

    I’ve written a thread you may be interested in reading

    supporting loved ones going through a mental illness

    sending you kindness 😊

  5. sbella02
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    sbella02 avatar
    38 posts
    14 September 2021 in reply to Mamac8

    Mamac8,

    I'm so sorry to hear about your situation. I struggled with suicidal thoughts and depressive moods throughout my teens, and I can't even imagine the distress this would've caused my parents. From somebody who has been in the position of your daughter, here's how I would approach interactions with her in a way that's empathetic, supportive, and free of judgement:

    The one thing I wanted from my parents was for them to listen to me and understand me. Sometimes it's best to just sit back and hear what your daughter has to say, rather than trying to offer your opinion or solutions to her problems, unless she specifically asks to hear it. I know that it's second nature to want to make sure your loved ones are happy and healthy; listening to them with the intent to understand their situation better is the first step in recognising and responding to their needs. Try to have open and honest conversations with her where she feels respected and heard, and show her that you're someone who she can confide in without the fear of being judged.

    You may find that over the course of your lifetime, your parenting style may change and adapt, and that's ok. As we grow up, our needs and desires change, and exchanges between us and our parents should evolve to meet these changing needs.

    She may be feeling like she'll be judged, or that what she has to say may scare or confront you. If you allow her space to talk honestly about her feelings with you, you may find that she'll open up to you more. My mother became this person for my sister and I know that she's been grateful to have someone she can open up to about her own struggles.

    Your feelings are perfectly valid, and your feelings are always valid. Our emotions tend to radiate to those around us, especially those who are close to us, and sadness can be particularly potent. What you're experiencing is a normal reaction. You may even find it useful to get in touch with a therapist or psychologist yourself, and they can offer you suggestions and tips on supporting a loved one who is struggling with depression.

    I hope this helps, and I wish you all the best in this difficult situation.

    Kind regards, SB

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