I am new to this community and actually to the whole posting thing, but I am really hoping to find some support and direction as I continue to struggle with my 16 y.o. daughter. She had signs of depression when she started middle school. She started marking on her arms, legs, shoes, etc. I didn't think too much of it at first, but it was a bit disturbing. Especially when I came in her room one day and she'd used blue magic marker to color on the majority of her entire leg! I started taking her to a therapist which seemed to help for awhile. Part of her stress was due to her taking some wrong turns socially. We live in a very small community, and she'd ventured into some sexual encounters way too soon! (Way before I ever expected!) So, word got out, and the gossip went viral. The rumors were on Facebook and of course the stories grossly exaggerated reality! She was only 12 Years old, and everywhere she went, she was called "whore" "slut", etc. It was horrible, and I did what I could to protect her including changing schools twice, but to no avail. I'd gotten her evaluated by psychiatrists who had diagnosed her with depression, ADHD, anxiety, and then she was tried on multiple medications, each with either side effects or some that actually increased her anxiety/depressive symptoms! She'd seen three different therapists, but none seemed particularly effective. By 10th grade, I noticed that she had begun to cut on herself, she was experimenting with drugs. I got her admitted to inpatient, and I felt hopeful at first, but it was only a flicker of hope, that fizzled quickly. The doctor put her on Adderall because she believed that the untreated ADHD was contributing to the depression. Soon afterward, my daughter talked only about how the hospitalization "traumatized" her. She went on to apparently experience some psychotic symptoms like voices and bizarre visions. She was later admitted again to the hospital and prescribed Abilify 15 mg and Lexapro 20 mg. She was only on this combination about six weeks because the Abilify was so sedating she was completely lethargic. Since then, we struggled to find a reasonable medication combination, and a therapist she likes, and now she is fed up and refusing all of it. I feel so helpless because how do you make a 16 year old take medication or go to therapy!? She wants to spend all of her time in her room which I think feeds her social anxiety, but who can blame her after all she's been through? I try so hard to support her and gently encourage other treatment or alternative treatment, but she's too caught up in her own depression to see any possible alternatives. She attends on-line school at her last therapist's recommendation which has protected her from the bullying, but it's fed into the social isolation and anxiety! I feel so stuck and so helpless as a parent at this point. And to add to my fears, she has recently begun reading and researching about serial killers and satanism! She says its just an interest of hers, but it is very disturbing! Please, any helpful suggestions are much appreciated!
I am short on time and will be gone all day, but I wanted to reach out to you and say how sorry I am that your daughter is struggling and send you some ((((((((((Hugs)))))))))) !!!
I SO get where you're at, and understand the difficulties of mental illness - for everyone, your daughter, you, and the entire family.
I urge you to check out and join The Balanced Mind - http://www.thebalancedmind.org/ They have been my lifeline and support system these past 7-years. You can join an online support community and immediately be a part of understanding/smart community that "gets it".
I will check back in tomorrow when I have more time, but until then, take care!! -Kathleen
Hi "Momuv4girls"; thanks so much for your suggestion of the balancedmind.org site. I will check it out. It is so hard to find people who "get it". Sometimes I feel very alone and very judged. Its hard when other moms talk about how their child is "earning straight "As" or they were prom queen, etc, and I'm just happy when my daughter hasn't cut herself in a month! Its a very different experience, and it definitely comes with a degree of grief; feelings of loss of the normal life that I'd hoped for. But, I just keep trying to "adjust my sails" to the current conditions. I hope things are going okay for you and your family.
While I have learned a lot from The Balanced Mind, I have enjoyed the in-person support groups that NAMI offers. Hopefully there is a chapter near you?! I belong to their Parents of Youth group, which has helped with local resources, and friendship : )
Parenting a child with MI, often times needs its own set of guild-lines, because I know what worked for my other daughters, has definitely NOT worked for my youngest. I have had to re-vamp how I talk to her, how I approach her, just about every aspect of parenting her has been different - - not to mention my husband.......he was harder to "retrain" so-to-speak.
Well, I hope you find some good support, and I hope to "see" you on The Balanced Mind one day. Take care !!!! -Kathleen
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