Online support for families of depressed teens

Jeanne - posted on 08/13/2012 ( 9 moms have responded )

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I am looking for an online community to share and support each other on an ongoing basis. I see lots of posts here from people in crisis who receive generous replies full of advice, and then the thread ends. What I would like is more of a continuous conversation about the small daily challenges in taking care of ourselves and other family members while living with a teen suffering from a mood disorder. Any suggestions or interest?

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Jodee - posted on 08/21/2012

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Oh Jennifer... You are not alone!!!
My daughter is 18 now and I know exactly how you feel about going down the road you never ever thought you would go down. My daughter went through a really ugly phase that I was totally unprepared for at about 16. Actually it started at about 15 but I was either blind or in denial because I never ever thought those things would be a part of my girls lives. I'm glad you were able to get her help before something irreversable happened. My daughter almost died a couple of times because of her actions and faught me hard about getting help. She is doing better I guess but there was damage to our relationship because of things that happened in those couple of years. My suggestion to you would be to try and get into some counseling of your own. It's really hard being a mom. We need help sometimes too!
I'm available if you ever need to talk or vent or just want someone to listen (read?).

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Jeanne - posted on 08/22/2012

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Jodee and Jennifer -- I am so humbled to hear your stories! In a way, I feel that our issues are petty compared to what you have been experiencing, and yet we also have much in common. The guilt and second-guessing of all our choices made along the way, the what-ifs... My daughter's depression seemed to come out of nowhere, although she says she has never felt right since she was a child. I have heard through one of her friends that she has cut herself, and have gone to bed at night wondering just what might be going on behind her door -- it is an appalling thing to imagine. She has entertained thoughts of suicide and told one of the health professionals that sometimes she thought of just steering the car into oncoming traffic; this cost her her driver's license. I don't believe she is actually serious about any of that, but, like both of you, I'm not sure I actually know her after all. In the spring, I made a conscious decision to accept what she is experiencing as an illness, rather than something she could just shake off, but I guess I hoped that she would respond more quickly to less stress annd more support. Instead, she seems to have all will to try anything on her own, to follow any kind of routine. She is planning to take the rest of her high school credits in the fall, but I can't see how that will ever happen when she can't get herself to even eat most of the time. Reading what you have posted makes me realize that this could go on for a very long time. I want so badly for her to have a life, for us to have our daughter back -- and for us to have a life free from this shadow! I guess that sounds selfish, but there it is. We mothers feel like we give everything to nurture our beautiful offspring. It is such a slap in the face to suddenly find that everything was not enough or wasn't the right everything and that the beauty we see in them is either invisible to them or is a complete sham. So for us -- anger, yes! And then the comfort of others, like this circle.

Jodee - posted on 08/21/2012

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I know exactly how you feel! I've spent a lot of time looking at myself and my parenting and tried to figure out "Where did I go wrong?" But you know what? There is absolutely nothing I could have done that would have changed anything. And beating myself up about it now isn't going to change any of what happened. My daughter has had a migraine every minute of every single day for almost 3 years. Nothing I did caused that. We still don't actually know the cause of it. She lives with constant pain. That is enough to make anyone depressed! When she ended up in the hospital being treated for alcohol poisoning last summer I remember sitting there crying and feeling so helpless and so alone. I had to leave her there in the psych unit overnite and when I came in the next morning she was furious with me. I tried to talk to the doctor and find out how bad it really was and because of laws in my state, they had to ask her permission to talk to me. She said no. I remember very clearly sitting in the waiting room crying (my friend had came to be with me so I wasn't totally alone at least). I finally had to go back in and tell her that if she wasn't going to allow me to help her then I would have to walk away and let her make her choices without me. That was, without a doubt, the hardest thing I have ever done as a mom. She eventually came around and gave permission for the doctor to talk to me. I was even to the point of calling "boot camp" type places to try and get her help! Luckely things have gotten better now, over a year later, but it's still not easy by any means. The only thing that has really changed for me is that now that she's 18 I am no longer legally responsible if she gets in trouble. In my state, the parents are the one legally and financially responsible if their child breaks the law! I guess things have gotten a little better in some other ways. She's not actually living at home anymore tho so I still worry because she's been through some really scary things in the last couple of years (raped twice and recently assaulted by her ex boyfriend) and has night terrors so she doesn't sleep much. There were many times when she was still living with me that I would sleep with her just so she felt safe enough to close her eyes. Now she's living with her best friend (they've been friends since they were 5) and doing ok but still struggles.
I'll keep you in my prayers and remember, you're NOT alone!

Jennifer - posted on 08/21/2012

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Thank you! In my brain, I know this is not my fault. In my heart, I feel guilty and so scared. She was feeling like she was for a year before she came to me and that was ONLY because her best friends told her to come to me. I feel betrayed too. She KNOWS she can come to be for ANYTHING, yet she chose not to. I feel like I can't trust her now and that I should have seen this WAY before she finally came to me. She doesn't want to feel the way she does, and was open to counseling. I was thankful for that. She says she hasn't cut in 6 mos. I want to believe her but part of me thinks she's lying. Her couseling tells us that she hasn't cut either and that we should believe her. I just can't................like I said before, I feel betrayed. Getting that trust back is going to be hard.

Her counselor assures us that she's NOT suicidal and that she's going thru a rough "period" in her life. This depression is situational and not clinical depression and it won't last forever. She has to learn better coping skills for when something doesn't go her way. She has a lot of self loathing. She's so beautiful but she's doesn't see any of it. She really slender, she's 5'2 and only 88 lbs. She eats like a horse! She just has a really fast metabolism yet all her friennds are curvy and she's got the body of a 12 yr old boy. She has a bit of acne which we ARE taking care of by way of a dermotologist but that takes time she knows. She has so many friends and is really popular at school but she has no idea why. She's a really sweet and has that "girl next door" look and attitude but when she looks in the mirror she sees none of that. It breaks my heart......................I keep thinking, "what could I have done to make this better", "what did I do to cause this?" I know, I know...........it's not my fault................my heart is broken into a thousand pieces watching my daughter go thru this.

Jennifer - posted on 08/21/2012

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Just joined and this is my very first post.



6 mos. ago, my 15 (almost 16) yr old daughter comes to me and goes, "how do you know if someone is depressed"? Thinking it was one of her friends, I was NOT prepared for what came out of her mouth. She looked at me and gets teary eyed and I swear, my heart fell out of my chest...............................



After 20 min. of telling me how she thinks she's ugly and not happy, she drops another bombshell.............."have you ever heard of cutting"? I had to hold onto the counter to keep from falling over.



Everything I thought I knew about my daughter, about our relationship, about being a mom, I found was COMPLETELY WRONG and thus started us down a road I NEVER EVER EVER thought I'd go down.



That was 6 mos ago. The first phone call (after that first conversation) was to our pediatrician, after THAT appt. the next few phone calls were to find a good child psychologist. Found one a month later and this started her appts twice a month. I dont' think I've slept thru the night since that first conversation 6 mos ago..............Looking at my daughter, you'd see beautiful, very popular, sweet and sensitive girl. On the inside is a completely different story.



Thank goodness our psychologist is a nero-psychologist and has the qualifications to detect learning disabilities. Our daughter was diagnosed w/ a pretty significant learning disability. We were floored about that because until 8th grade, she got straight A's.



About a month ago, she was put on Strattera 40 mg and she's bout to start Intuniv this weekend as a booster to the strattera. Counseling is going well for her, however; the guilt, anger and sheer terror I still feel is almost overwhelming........

Jeanne - posted on 08/15/2012

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Thank you, Jill, Jodee and Wendy-- and anyone else who would care to join in! My daughter is about to turn 18. She is the one suffering from depression. She has a lot of anxiety too when dealing with people or situations unless she has had a lot of warning ahead of time. She used to be an incredibly commited student getting very high grades but completely lost her motivation and then couldn't forgive herself for not getting 90s. We withdrew her from highschool to give her a break but then all structure was gone from her life so shehas mostly played Sims for the last few months. Also have a 22 year old son at home and Darling Depressed Daughter's boyfriend now living with us too. BF is possibly ADD, full of talk about finding a job, but not a lot of action. So! Luckily we have a fairly big house. Darling Husband works from home office much of the time. I am also home based fulltime (family business). I tend to go to a different room to escape the moodiness. Napping, exercise, etc are all important, I agree. I am the one suggesting things to try, organizing her meds from the naturopath, trying to get her to eat. Some days I feel I can't start anything of my own because they might need to go somewhere (we live in the country, dr took her license away, and BF can't afford insurance!) or I might miss a chance to coax her to take her supplements or whatever. It's a struggle.

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I have a 17 year old daughter who is constantly on a roller coaster of emotions. A type A personality, dramatic and views the glass half empty. I never know what to or not to say and walk on egg shells with her to avoid a melt down.Depression is evident in her and it runs in my family. I wont medicate her because I find it dangerous in teens. Therapy is helpful but costly. I hope she grows out of it.I encourage her often to spend time with her friends and do things she really enjoys. I cope through work and the gym Tears are a constant. Joy.

Jodee - posted on 08/14/2012

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I have an 18 yr old bipolar/manic/borderline schizophrenic/add/depressed daughter. Oh, and the last almost 3 years she's had a constant migraine. Every minute of every single day, never ever ever goes away kind of migraine. I also have a 12 yr old with ODD and ADD. Yeah, my house is LOTS of fun! I'd be interested!!!

Wendy - posted on 08/14/2012

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Jeanne: I have a son who is 11 and has depression, anxiety and ADHD! Eh can at times be a handful. We have him on Zoloft, Intiniv and a sleep med for night. This has seemed to help. I always could use someone to talk too! I know for myslef I try and take care of myslef - massage, pedicure, extra naps.... hope this helps...

Wendy

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