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Forums / Supporting family and friends with a mental health condition (carers) / Supporting teenager with depression- helping her to set boundaries with friends

Topic: Supporting teenager with depression- helping her to set boundaries with friends

9 posts, 0 answered
  1. Lee22
    Lee22 avatar
    4 posts
    11 June 2019

    Hi all,

    I have a 13 year old daughter who has had a past history of anxiety and a year ago was diagnosed with depression. She has always had a large circle of friends but this has decreased in numbers as groups have segregated in smaller cliques. My daughter has confided in a few of them and has recently discovered that secrets have been shared. Her friends have no insight into depression and often tell her she has nothing to be upset about because "her life is perfect". My daughter is on a roller coaster and peer relationships are so important that she is reluctant to set boundaries in fear of losing her friends and being alone. Some of the things these girls are saying is appalling and I find it very difficult not to insist that she doesn't see or communicate with them. Anyone going through the same things and have any advice?

  2. Croix
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    6970 posts
    12 June 2019 in reply to Lee22

    Dear Lee22~

    Welcome here to the Forum, you do have a worrying problem to sort out and I hope the ideas of others will help.

    First off I take it that diagnosis has been followed by some form of treatment, and it is being helpful. Have you noticed improvement in you daughter since then?

    Actually at 13 I would imagine including her in decision making might well be appropriate. Talk about her friends lack of adult maturity, how real friends behave, and about her own boundaries for her self-protection - and the consequences of letting things get too close, are all reasonable topics to discuss.

    Do you think this might be a possibility? Bear in mind sometimes this can come better from someone other than mum - what are the possibilities another family member or friend would be available and be helpful, or is it down to you?

    Croix

    1 person found this helpful
  3. romantic_thi3f
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    romantic_thi3f avatar
    1855 posts
    13 June 2019 in reply to Lee22

    Hi Lee22,

    Welcome to the forums and thanks for your post.

    While I'm not a mum, I have been in your daughters position so hopefully I can shed some insight from that way. Going through depression can be incredibly isolating, especially if people aren't able to understand or wrap their heads around it. As a kid and a teen, I was constantly told that I was being dramatic or ridiculous. It's very hard when people aren't able to understand, even though it's not their fault. I think the biggest thing there is helping your daughter to find people who can understand. Maybe that's here, maybe that's online, maybe that's a support group.

    If she's able to reach out to people who are supportive, she'll be more likely to detach from those that aren't. If you were to insist that she stays away from them, my guess is that she might not have a back up plan - which could make things worse.

    I hope that this helps a little. I also agree with Croix that having someone else might be helpful as input - perhaps a counsellor or psychologist? Something to think about anyway.

    1 person found this helpful
  4. Lee22
    Lee22 avatar
    4 posts
    13 June 2019 in reply to Croix
    Thank you Croix for your great feedback. My daughter has been under the care of a Child and Adolescent Mental Health care team last year but has not seem since then. She is under the care at the moment of her GP and has agreed to see a psychologist. She has had almost 12 months on fluoxetine and responded really well to the medication. I believe that the situational crisis with friends has contributed to this dramatic drop in mood. Those topics around friendship are very good ones to discuss with her and I've tried a few already. You are certainly correct about it possibly coming from somebody else rather than me. I'm am feeling hopeful and optimistic that she will talk to the psychologist about these things. Thank you again for your feedback
  5. Lee22
    Lee22 avatar
    4 posts
    13 June 2019 in reply to romantic_thi3f

    Hi romantic_thi3f

    Thank you so much for your feedback. Great to get your perspective too. I am trying my best to be my daughter's advocate but not take control of everything, which is really hard. My gut feeling is to go out and talk to the parent's of all of these girls (as I know them all) and give them some information on depression to share with their children! I know this would probably be counterproductive.

    I really hope that the psychologist she is going to see is able to help my daughter with some tools to use and give her some strategies to feel like she can seek other friendships. Her GP has suggested the HeadSpace website and I have sent her links to ReachOut.com.au help explore some age appropriate forums. Are there any others you can suggest?

    Thank you again.

  6. Croix
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    6970 posts
    13 June 2019 in reply to Lee22

    Dear Lee22~

    I'm very glad your daughter is responding to her medication (by the way please don't refer to specific meds by name). Your doctor was right to mention Headspace, though physical visits can take a while if there is awaiting list.

    I'd suggest https://headspace.org.au/eheadspace/ which allows quick on-line access to both a clinician and also to groups of young people with similar problems (the groups are lead/supervised).

    Peer support is always a good way to go, just the fact other have the same problems is a great thing. Your daughter is becoming an adult, and it is painful. Learning to attempt popularity or even company can have too high a price.

    At school is there are probably a fair number of students who would make good friends for you daughter, though they may not be part of the popular cliques. Identifying them can be a problem. I'm not sure about contacting the parents, when their children are unsupervised it might backfire after being lectured. I think you are wise not to take too much control.

    Croix

    1 person found this helpful
  7. romantic_thi3f
    Community Champion
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    romantic_thi3f avatar
    1855 posts
    14 June 2019 in reply to Lee22

    Hi Lee22,

    It's great to hear back from you. I'm so glad that your daughter is connected up with a psychologist and a good GP. How long has she been seeing the psychologist?

    Headspace and ReachOut are great ones. Headspace doesn't actually have any forums though, but they do have access to clinician's (like Croix said). The groups though are somewhat random and go for one hour so it's quite different to a place like here. ReachOut though do have forums.

    Plus we also have a forum section specifically for young people. Here's the link to that if you wanted to have a look -

    https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/young-people

    Hope that helps! and yes, I agree that it would be counterproductive so please restrain :) But with all that said I can't help but think your daughter has such a wonderful mother who is so caring and ready to jump all those extra miles.

    1 person found this helpful
  8. Summer Rose
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    Summer Rose avatar
    780 posts
    14 June 2019 in reply to Lee22

    Hi Lee

    When my daughter was 13 she fell ill with anxiety and OCD. Like your daughter, my daughter shared information with her closest friends from her sporting club and the reaction was unhelpful.

    I know how hard it is for you to watch this playout, feeling powerless. I felt the same. It is heartbreaking and the urge to protect is strong.

    Unfortunately, 13 is a very young age for someone with no lived experience to really understand mental health conditions. I have met many adults who still don't get it and some that never will.

    My daughter chose not to tell her school friends and relied on me, other family and her psychologist for support. Fortunately she had an older cousin she could talk to and the cousin took her under her wing. My daughter had many friends throughout high school, she just chose not to talk to them about her mental health.

    My daughter found it much easier to talk to her friends and gain peer support after she graduated (she is now 21). The intetesting thing was that, a lot of the girls she had gone through high school with had also experienced their own mental health issues. Stigma, lack of maturity and a lack of knowledge simply got in the way.

    I'm not sure if I'm actually helping you but just wanted you to know you are not alone. It's really tough. Hang in there.

    Kind thoughts to you

    1 person found this helpful
  9. Lee22
    Lee22 avatar
    4 posts
    17 June 2019 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hi Summer Rose,

    Thank you for sharing your own story. I'm glad your daughter found a confidant in her cousin. Unfortunately my daughter has shared her journey to school friends that didn't have the maturity to handle it. It is hard to find the best way to support her. I want to protect her, whilst not isolating her from the peers she feels she needs in her life. Access to her peers via her phone is problematic and she feels that I am punishing her when I ask her to stop messaging due to her friends unhelpful comments. I am really hoping that the psychologist that she has just started seeing can help her with looking at putting some boundaries around messaging with her friends.

    Thanks again.

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