My 22-year old daughter has depression

She was diagnosed with depression and has been seeing a psychiatrist every other week. She failed in school but spent too much time on extra curriculum activities. Every night she would come home around midnight, exhausted. She has been also diagnosed with insomnia. We tried to tell her to stop those activities and focus on her health, but she wouldn't listen and now won't talk to us anymore. Every time we talked to her, she would cry for hours and that really breaks my heart.

Please advise what we should do to make her open up to us.

Thank you very much.

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  • Dear TTAMOM, I really feel for you. I am so sorry to hear of your daughters depression.I know how heartbreaking it is to see your beloved child so unhappy and withdrawn. The feeling of helplessness is agony,I know you would do anything to take it away... My now 21 year old has suffered with severe depression in the past.He had ME which paralysed him as a young teen and he has suffered symptoms from health conditions which has prevented him from having a usual teenage life.He started to feel down and this descended into depression..I didn't know what to do, it was awful to see. He wouldn't go to the Doctor to talk about it to strangers, and was unwilling to do anything that might have helped. The more I recommended psychological interventions to help, it seemed the more he didnt want to discuss his feelings with me...So I read everything I could on how to best help him, and I got info from every mental health charity I could find... I realised that I had to allow him to come around in his own time, while always making sure he was ok..I chatted with him about general, normal stuff as though all was fine, and this seemed to ease the tension of the situation for us both..I encouraged him to come along to family meals, days out etc but I didn't push it. Usually he wasn't up for doing anything social. I found what interested him and I would suggest we plan things to do with that, even if it was in the future when he felt better.Often just a walk was too much, but I would gently repeat suggestions and offers to do things. I remember sometimes he agreed to something,and we watched a film together now and then and would have a laugh at things..I cant remember what changed, but Very slowly over time, things started to get better..He had then wanted to get better and with all my support, two years ago he applied and was accepted for college. It was still very hard for him at first, but he gained confidence and this changed everything..He still has anxiety in relation to ocd, and challenging health problems, but he is managing so well and is still at college doing well..

    I am sorry I cant offer any help, but I want you to feel encouraged that Things will get better for your daughter,and you. It won't always be like it is now, but I know it isn't easy at the moment..Be her support and friend, and let her know you are there for her and love her no matter what..Very best wishes xx

  • Thank you so much for your encouraging words. I do hope that things will get better for us. Take care and God bless your son.

  • Hi this must be very distressing for you and I understand how helpless you must feel. As talking to her about her other activities clearly isn't working then you have to try something different.

    I agree with Tillyray that you need to stop pressuring her and ease off. I know you are trying to help but you have to remember she is an adult now and must make her own decisions. You can support her in what she wants to do but putting pressure on her isn't helping her. She is probably so upset because she knows how much you love her and is feeling very bad about it.

    Back off and let her live her own life, but let her know that you are both there for her any time and want to help when she feels able to confide in you a bit more.

    Oh and she might have failed at school purely because of her depression and not because of anything outside of it. I have suffered from depression since childhood and I know one of the first signs was 'failing' at school. Depression affects concentration and memory. Unfortunately I didn't have supportive parents like you and it was never picked up by them, nor did they realise there was a problem so I didn't get help until I sought it myself in my 20's. It was too late for my education though and the career I wanted.

    I wish you all the best.

  • Thank you for your advice. The other thing that is upsetting is that she seems to be fine around her friends and could talk to them on the phone for hours, but when she's home, she would isolate herself in her room. Right now I'm more concerned about her health than her school.

    Take care.

  • I know how worried you must be. It is a very difficult time for everyone when a loved one is suffering with depression..Depression changes behaviour, and you must not take this personally. Your daughter loves you but she is not herself right now and just trying to cope with how she feels.. Your kindness towards her and understanding of what she is going through will help her to feel supported, and she will feel secure and get some comfort knowing you're on her side..Keep telling her that you are there for her whenever she needs you..These are the best things you can do..Remember that you need to look after yourself too, so that you can be there for her. If you feel that you are struggling with your own health, do see your GP.

    It will get better in time.Xx

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