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Forums / Supporting family and friends with a mental health condition (carers) / Struggles with out teenage daughter, I need hope

Topic: Struggles with out teenage daughter, I need hope

7 posts, 0 answered
  1. KatB65
    KatB65 avatar
    4 posts
    15 September 2020

    Hi all,

    first time poster. We have a teenage daughter (15) who is struggling badly with her mental health. She had two suicide attempts in the last few months and is so sad, angry, flat and shut down. She is constantly self harming and it’s distressing for everyone. She’s engaged with juvenile mental health services, though engaged is probably not the right word. She is like a brick wall and simply won’t open up, or opens up to the wrong people.

    She was seeing a private psychologist but that did nothing and we wasted over a year with that approach. My husband and I are exhausted, hyper vigilant, stressed and are making little progress in getting her to open up to us and in supporting her. We have another child who needs his parents and it’s just so difficult to do ‘normal’ things with this constant worry.

    Can someone please give me hope that one day things will get better for her. As a parent it’s soul destroying to see your child in such pain and being powerless to help,

    thank you


    1 person found this helpful
  2. Quercus
    Champion Alumni
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    Quercus avatar
    3544 posts
    15 September 2020 in reply to KatB65
    Hi KatB65 and welcome to the forum family.

    I'm glad you reached out here. These forums are a fantastic place to read as a carer to get some idea of what is happening to someone you love with depression. I hope you find the support you need here.

    It must be terrifying for you to know your daughter wants to end her life and not knowing how to help her. Have you any support in place for yourself as well? It can help for you to speak to someone so you can offload too.

    Yes. Yes. Yes. There is hope! It is an exhausting journey for all involved. It takes time and effort and trial and error and can be a long term condition to learn to manage. But there is always hope.

    As someone managing long term major depression and recurring suicidal ideation I wanted to ask if you'd consider three things?

    The first (as a parent also) my first impulse... Getting your daughter into a psychiatrist ASAP. They study medicine then extra study in mental health. In my experience at least nothing helped until I was formally diagnosed. I saw him weekly at first and now years later monthly and it helps me keep safe. It helps to know you have someone knowledgeable in your corner today.

    The second is to tell you how important you just being there for your daughter is. A common thought discussed here is the feeling that you are alone and everyone would be better off without you. Just having even one person who sticks by you is a godsend. Thank God for people who love you regardless.

    The third... A safety plan. BB has an app you can download. Or you can just write it like I did. We had it on the fridge for a long time. It's a plan you write with others who support you and lists who to contact, numbers of helplines, steps to take when you feel out of control and want to harm yourself, reasons to live. The more details the better. When in crisis these things can be so hard to even think of.
    A friend of mine used hers in a crisis and chose the emergency room instead of suicide. I told her how bloody proud I was of her for following the plan and giving us a chance to help her. She said that acceptance meant so much to her.

    Hope you can keep writing. I am thankful you are there for your daughter and hope things improve for her in time.

    ❤️ Nat

    1 person found this helpful
  3. Kodis42
    Kodis42 avatar
    1 posts
    15 September 2020 in reply to KatB65
    Hi KatB65, we also went through a long time of taking our teen to a multitude of different psychologists/psychiatrists/doctors and feeling that nothing helped them. Currently I am trying a different approach which is still knackering and scary but I feel a bit better about. I have made an agreement with our teen that I will (try very hard) not to force them to see anyone else till they are ready. It is very hard and still scary. But I am offering respect for their feelings, understanding that they cannot really express themselves asides from just feeling very bad. We have a lot of home days and sometimes now I excuse myself for a time out if I am getting too frantic with the situation. NB - we are not dealing with threat of suicide so I am not saying don't use professionals. But some conversation around acknowledging their feelings are legitimate and have no particular time frame (very difficult) This has opened up some conversations about what type of help they would like - and it is different topics than I would have expected. Listen to them. Or just be with them. We watch a lot of Netflix, do many night time drives, and sit in the sun outside. We also avoid or ignore family/people who make unsolicited suggestions like "socialise" or "go bike riding". I have my own professional supports in place just for me and I discuss my teen with them. That helps a lot. It is super tough but you are certainly not alone in this.
    3 people found this helpful
  4. KatB65
    KatB65 avatar
    4 posts
    17 September 2020 in reply to Quercus

    Thanks Nat, she’s seen at psychiatrist while in hospital and they have started medicating her, so we are hoping that this will lift the cloud for her to allow other things to start to help her. It’s just so hard not knowing if she’s actually engaging or telling us what we want to hear. She a fantastic young woman, but just can’t see that for herself. We are definitely there for her and tell her constantly, but we are also her parents and she feels she is letting us down. She does have a safety plan and she kind of uses it but not effectively, so that is being looked at again.

    It’s so nice just to get these thoughts down and see that we are not alone.

    1 person found this helpful
  5. KatB65
    KatB65 avatar
    4 posts
    17 September 2020 in reply to Kodis42

    Hi Kodis42,

    thanks for your reply. Your insights are really valuable and it sounds like you are doing a great job. I’m going to pinch some of your suggestions, along with the medical path we are on. It’s just so difficult when your teenager can’t find the words to express their feelings.

    take care

    1 person found this helpful
  6. Quercus
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Quercus avatar
    3544 posts
    17 September 2020 in reply to KatB65
    Hi again KatB,

    Glad to read your reply. I hope the meds start to help soon.

    It's good to hear you're all reviewing the safety plan. Seeing as it hasn't been effective perhaps this is a chance for your daughter to consider what options she would feel comfortable to use in a crisis. It might sound silly but I found initially my plan had all sorts of suggestions others had made that in my heart I knew I couldn't force myself to try. When I needed help I would read it and feel wors because the things I read weren't possible for me.

    Do you think that is worth considering? Kodis42 mentioned watching Netflix and I think that is a great option. Having company but not being required to talk can be very comforting.

    When you mention your daughter struggling to speak openly to anyone that makes total sense to me. That was me as well.

    I'd perform in front of anyone. Not always intentionally either. I just didn't know how to let anyone see ME. You wrote about your daughter worrying about letting you down and that hit home too. When you're very low and your mind is saying you're worthless it can be impossible to accept that people won't reject you. But that you keep reminding her you're not going anywhere is great.

    I wonder also if you'd thought about the different options available for your daughter to talk about how she's feeling? You found the forums so I'm guessing you have.

    There are other online forums such as SANE directed more at a younger audience (although she is very is welcome here too, we've had family members post alongside each other before).

    If phone lines are too hard the online chat options might be more useful too.

    I find it easier to write than to speak. The only way I managed to communicate openly at first was to write it down. I was very scared to let anyone read at first but it got easier once I realised I wasn't being rejected. Perhaps this is an option?

    Sorry for the waffle. Hope today is even slightly easier.

  7. KatB65
    KatB65 avatar
    4 posts
    19 September 2020 in reply to Quercus


    she’s home, which is great but I’m in a constant state of alert. I’m her main support at the moment as her poor dad only seems to (unintentionally) aggravate her. We’re told she’s Ill with depression and social anxiety. Her meds seem to have calmed her down and she has opened up a bit, but i just don’t have the confidence that she is safe by herself.

    I’ll explore forums etc with her. She did say that she did ring a helpline at some point but ended up hanging up on them. It’s all so tiring.

    1 person found this helpful

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