27 answers

Teen Daughter with Depression

I don't really know where to start. Our daughter went to therapy once after we found she was cutting herself - the doctor talked with her & my husband for 20 minutes then started referring drugs. We did not want that to be the first level of effort in helping her. In hindsight, we should have just kept looking until we found a doctor that was willing to do some talk therapy, etc. Anyway, we did not - we just decided she was really ok – the cutting stopped - that the mood swings and sadness were due to adolescent angst and the fact that she was a bit overweight. For the last three years, we would see periods of sadness or anger at us along with many times where she seemed perfectly fine. She does keep a diary but only seemed to pull it out to write if she was mad at one of us. When I would be worried about her and she would leave the diary out, I would sometimes read it. Occasionally, I would read negative things about me - that I was trying to make her into a doll and she wasn't that kind of girl. At first, it really hurt my feelings, but I would remind myself that she was using her diary to vent. But there would be troubling things I would read - that she felt dead inside - broken - that she had thought of suicide but would never do it because she would not want to hurt her best friend. However, over the last year she began to appear “better” – a bit more social – happier. For the first time in a long time, I read her diary. It had the same type stuff as before. First, I do feel guilty reading her diary – I want her to have her privacy. But I also want to know what is happening. While she shares a lot with me, it is not the details she used to share during our talks. One entry in her diary referred to a friend going through depression. She said that he needed to learn her “trick” – just put on a happy mask and no one is any the wiser. Now, I am concerned. I don’t want to admit to her that I read her diary but I do want to get help for her. Part of me wonders if the diary is just a venting tool on the worst of days – a place for drama and flair (I guess that is my denial). I want to get her help without her thinking that I don’t love her the way she is – that I am trying to “fix” her (another thing I was accused of in the diary). One last point, in the diary, she says that she is broken and can’t be fixed. I wonder if therapy can help if she is convinced of that. Thanks for the area to share and I welcome any advice.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I am so sorry that you are going through this! This is a very serious situation. Get her help immediately! I don't want to scare you, but many teens have actually committed suicide without displaying any of these hints she is giving you. She can be "fixed", she is actually crying out for help through these little hints. Do not hesitate, get her help before it is too late. Don't worry about what she thinks of you, it is more important to get her the help that she desperately needs!

2 moms found this helpful

I have just been going through this with my own teenage daughter. Her pediatrician recommended a therapist and she has been seeing her for 2 months now. It has made a world of difference. My daughter loves talking to her therapist and I can see the difference it has made. We have not needed medication thus far. The therapist talks to me at the end of a few of the sessions, she seems to really know what she is doing. I highly suggest she see a therapist for a while before medication is thrown at her. Some of the anti-depressants are quite dangerous for teens.

2 moms found this helpful

You don't have to tell her you read her diary, but if she asks I would tell her the truth and explain it is because you love her and are concerned about her. Take her to a therapist, give it a month and see if it clicks with him/her. If not, try a different therapist until you find one that helps. When she asks why, just say you always felt that you made a mistake not taking her to someone to talk to years ago instead of medication. You are not trying to 'fix' her, you just want her to talk out her problems and learn how to cope in this very stressful world.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

I am definitely no expert, but I think that your daughter needs help. I also think that as a parent it is our right to read our child's diary, shuffle through their room, and look through other personal items. It's part of protecting our children.

I would let your child know that you are concerned, that you have done some research, and that you feel that she is hiding a great deal of sadness and you feel that she is suffering from depression. (I would recommend actually doing some research via the internet, and share some of the research with your daughter.) This way, she won't know that you have read her diary. In fact, I would not let her know. This way, you can continue to check on her through her diary since she isn't that open with you. Don't lose that venue of information regarding her mental health.

I would also try another psychiatrist/psychologist. Maybe if you see them first without your daughter and find out what their stance is on medication, then you can get a feel for him/her first. Most doctors would understand this. Also, keep in mind that many mental issues such as depression really are due to chemical imbalances and therefore may actually need medication. Only a psychiatrist is trained to find the difference. But if they know that you want to try other things first, they may be more apt to do so.

Our children are precious to us, so when they are hurting like this it is hard to witness and even harder to bear, so we often tell ourselves that things are fine. Please don't ignore this, because things can escalate to the point that it is to late to find help. By seeking help, you could be saving your daughter.

I would like to reiterate that I am no expert. This is just advice. Good luck with your daughter. I truly wish you and her the best.

3 moms found this helpful

A., sit down and listen very carefully...you're baby is crying out for help. Anytime someone displays signs of depression you have to get straight to the point. Ask her if she is having thoughts of injuring herself. Yes, use the S word...suicide. You cannot tiptoe around this issue unless you are prepared to bury your baby. I'm sorry to be so blunt but she needs help and she needs it now. Find a professional for her to talk to. I don't agree with medications either for teens and kids, but she definetly needs to talk. Something is going seriously wrong in her life and if you don't find a way to help her it's going to end in tragedy. Again, i'm sorry for being so blunt but I had major depression as a teen and even tried suicide a few times, thank God I failed. Please, please please find someone for her to talk to...a professional not a local counselor will do. My very best to you and be cautious when she starts acting extremely happy and relaxed...this could be a sign of her finally making the decision to end her life. Find a support group or suicide prevention training program for you and your husband. Your family needs help. I'll keep you in my prayers and wish you the very best.

3 moms found this helpful

A.,

I read many of the responses promting you to get a therapist or see a doctor. But I think that getting involved with a church might be a better route. You see even though people say that they accept you the way you are, Christ actually does. He is the one who can change you from the inside out. I don't know anything about your spiritual life. I don't know if you even believe in God, but He is the one I turn to. When I was a teenager I went through a time of severe depression, but most of the time I wore my happy face because it was easier than having to talk about it. I made terrible choices to spite my mother, I slept around hoping for love and attention. I smoked pot because my friends did and they accepted me. I only tried cutting a few times, it wasn't my thing I guess. But through all of that God was there, I could hear in the back of my head telling me to stop, to just come back to him and I ignored Him for a long time. I was angry for what He had "let" me go through, I was angry at my mother for "letting" it happen (I was abused, molested by my step father, he has since passed away.) Anyway, that was something major that sent me on that course, but it anything could start a child on the path to depression. It took me a long time to sort through and figure it out on my own.
Now I spend time with local highschool kids (many are kids from our church and their friends) and hang out when I can, I just give them someone whose NOT their mom or dad to talk to. I shoot straight with them, but never "tattle" or told them how wrong they are. I just give them an option. There are people like me everywhere. In a church, a youth center, the local Y. Tell her how much you love her. Take her and her friends somewhere together. Invite her friends to YOUR home to hang out, show her effort. Don't just send her to a doctor. All that will tell her is that you think she needs to be "fixed."
There are plenty of websites and people and places that will help you guide your daughter. email me, I would love to talk with you more. We can get you in touch with the right people. No judgement just guidance.
You and your daughter will be in my prayers.

2 moms found this helpful

I have just been going through this with my own teenage daughter. Her pediatrician recommended a therapist and she has been seeing her for 2 months now. It has made a world of difference. My daughter loves talking to her therapist and I can see the difference it has made. We have not needed medication thus far. The therapist talks to me at the end of a few of the sessions, she seems to really know what she is doing. I highly suggest she see a therapist for a while before medication is thrown at her. Some of the anti-depressants are quite dangerous for teens.

2 moms found this helpful

I am so sorry that you are going through this! This is a very serious situation. Get her help immediately! I don't want to scare you, but many teens have actually committed suicide without displaying any of these hints she is giving you. She can be "fixed", she is actually crying out for help through these little hints. Do not hesitate, get her help before it is too late. Don't worry about what she thinks of you, it is more important to get her the help that she desperately needs!

2 moms found this helpful

A.,
I suffered from depression as a teen and young adult.
Your daughter is a teenager and while she may think or feel that she is broken and can't be fixed - teens often think that they know more than they do. I felt the same way.

When you took her to therapy, you took her to a psychiatrist. While they do have their place in therapy, most of the actual "therapy" happens between a psychologist and the patient. Then, if medications are needed, the psychologist will refer you to a psychiatrist. However, your daughter's depression seems to be severe enough that she may need medication. Don't shun them - depression is often caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain - and the anti-depressant drugs work to restore the balance. It can take awhile to get the dosage right (docs start really low) but the results can be amazing. The meds COMBINED with regular therapy will likely do a world of good for your daughter.

Please don't wait. Even though her diary says she won't commit suicide because of her friend - one day that tether to her friend may not be enough to keep her here. ANY mention of suicide should be taken seriously. I used to volunteer for a teen crisis line - and trust me, this is your daughter's cry for help. She may not know it yet and may not act like it, but she needs you more than ever right now. Please do get her into therapy as quickly as possible and make her stick to it. Years from now she will thank you for it.

2 moms found this helpful

Run and I mean run to get your daughter to a therapist of some kind. Don't worry about the diary thing. It's my feeling that she is in a lot of danger and needs help immediately. A good therapist will also have you there with her for at least the initial session so that you can assure her that you do not see her as broken in need of fixing, rather that she is hurting and you'd like to help her with her pain.

2 moms found this helpful

I think most of the responses are that you need to do something about this and do not delay! I understand your concern about the diary but..... I think you did the right thing reading it to get some insight. Don't be afraid to take her for a routine physical and tell the doctor before the appointment of your concerns. The doc can talk to her and work through the situation and/or refer her for further help. If they don't, then go to another doctor. I suggest a routine physical to open the door for you to take her to see someone if she isn't exactly open to going to therapy. Putting her on some medication, if it helps, may be necessary. Talk therapy alone may not work in this situation. There are many different kinds of meds they can prescribe. I had to go through this after the birth of my son. There is nothing wrong with getting help if you need it and she sounds like she does. Don't think she is fine, as she can cover it up and some days are good and some bad. My girlfriend just lost her daughter to suicide and it is happening a lot among teens as I am constantly hearing of children doing this. Be wary of the suicide games as well. If she gets with the wrong kids, they may suggest things that can turn deadly. You don't want to go through the pain of what could happen as it will be with you your entire life. I feel there is no more hurt for a mother than the loss of a child. Know that you have done all you can for her. She will get through it if you work at this. My niece also went through this and she is now doing fine. They are going through a lot as teens mentally, physically and socially. There are pressures and you need to help her even if she doesn't want it at this time. Remember you are the parent. She will eventually thank you.

2 moms found this helpful

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