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young adult depression

I've just joined tonight as I would like help and advice concerning my 21 year old daughter. I'm a great believer in forums and sharing experiences rather than facts. It has helped me tremendously in other parts of my life. Hence me joining here.

I'm worried about my 21 year old daughter. I'm unsure if her behaviour is due to depression, bordering alcoholism, or eating disorders or just plain and simple "growing up" problems. Her behaviour, and my worries, have been going on for about 3 years now. One minute I convince myself it's normal and at other times I'm really concerned and worried about her. I'm the type of person who will discuss problems with close friends and be convinced by whoever I'm talking to at that time! Some say she is normal and others tell me she needs help! And I yo-yo between.

I'll try and give a bit of history without boring you. My husband left me 4 years ago after 21 years of marriage. It was a shock to both myself and the kids (I also have an 18 yr old son). There was no one else involved and to this day I'm convinced his problem was depression (he is still in a bad way and hasn't moved on). The kids see him about once a fortnight or so. They are independent and have their own cars therefore I don't get involved. My daughter says he only ever talks to them about his work. He doesn't seem interested in them or in still being a father figure. She says she is happy with that but her off the cuff comments suggest otherwise.

She is in a job she doesn't like, working in an office on her own with no windows and not much contact with other people except mechanics. I'm no snob but I think her attitude problems and lack of respect for others might stem from the company she mixes with at work.

She doesn't have much of a social life. She wants to go out but friends keep letting her down. I'm at the stage of wondering if she acts the same with them as she does with me then it's no wonder she has no one to go out with, but I do hope she is nicer outside and only lets off steam in her own house.

She spends all her time in her room watching programmes on her ipad. She has also taken to drinking in her room too-usually cider but sometimes vodka. She has never had a serious relationship and has told me she doesn't want one as it will only end in disaster like everyone else she knows. She wants to move out but can't afford to. The thing is she says she wants to live on her own and then never has to see me or anyone else again.

She has no respect for either myself or her brother and her attitude towards both of us is disgusting. She is also very rude to my parents (her grandparents). Her parental grandmother has had little to do with her since my ex left. My parents have been there throughout for all of us and we wouldn't have got by without their help and support.

I've tried different approaches to the situation. I try to talk to her, I've taken softly softly approach but I've also taken a stronger parental approach but I know she isn't a child any longer (although she is very childish in her behaviour) I've tried to reason with her and say we are all adults and should treat each other with respect etc. I've suggested going out together but she is very blunt in saying there is no way she'll go out with me. If I go in her room she just says she doesn't want to talk to me or she has nothing to say. Occasionally, she will start to open up but as soon as a nerve is touched she gets upset and tells me to leave. If I don't leave the room then she does, usually locking herself in the bathroom so I can't talk to her.

I'm at my wits end and don't know what to do. I don't know if I'm over reacting and her behaviour is normal or if she really is very unhappy and her behaviour is a cry for help. I spoke to a close friend last night about it for the first time. She doesn't know my daughter but has a 23 yr old daughter of her own. She reckons my daughter is in need of serious help.

She has been to the doctor in the past for depression but was told to "get a dog and take up exercise"!

Any experiences, help, advice, comments, opinions will all be really much appreciated.

I just don't know what else to do or where to go now...or am I over reacting and being paranoid.

Thanks for reading this and hopefully responding.

7 Replies

Hiya, sorry I've not replied sooner, I didn't log on last night. Welcome to the forum by the way.

You sound like a really caring Mum and your daughter is lucky to have someone so concerned about her. I suppose the difficult lies in the fact that at 21, she is responsible for her own health and decision making, That's not to say you can't be worried, affected and wanting to help.

Saying that the people she works with are a bad influence on her is maybe a bit controlling, and if she is picking up on this attitude of yours, she's unlikely to want to open up to you. Despite everything that's going in for her, she's holding down a job and that's more than a lot of 21 year olds can do.

It doesn't sound like the doctor she saw about being depressed has given her particularly helpful advice. I'm sure a dog and exercise are wonderful therapies, but they are just two of many things available.

Why don't you suggest she make an appointment with a different GP, and offer to go along with her. Maybe promise to take her out for lunch afterwards as something to look forward to?

Lucy x


Thanks for your help. I do try not to control her or criticise. I support her in whatever decisions she makes. My post last night was just my personal thoughts on the matter and, i suppose, a way of opening up myself. I have never suggested to her about the people she works with being a bad influence. It's just one of my many theories. I have suggested going out for lunch with her, a drink, shopping even a spa day but she doesn't want to spend time with me. I know and understand it can be normal not to want to go out with your mum at that age. I guess i would just like to know if I'm dealing with normal teenage behaviour(although she's no longer a teenager) or if it's something more serious?


Hi WorriedMum, sorry I'm so late with my reply. Firstly welcome and as Lucy has

Said, you area very good Mum who has been through a lot.

Firstly ask your daughter to see a different GP .

I don't think you should have to accept any unacceptable behaviour from

Your daughter.

If she treats you badly , that is her doing, and I think it's letting her off the

Hook to blame any outside rough influences.

Mum you are going to have to take a new stand with your daughter as

What your doing is not working.

You are the adult here and I'm afraid I would be telling her to get help, stop

Drinking or being abusive or else move out. If you don't take a stand you will

Upset yourself plus your Son. So Mum please take a really firm line with her,

If she doesn't want to get help or to change her ways, the. You may have to

Make some very difficult choices.

Take care and look after yourself please.

Hannah x


Hi, firstly I would like to give you both a big ((hug))! I've just stubbled across this site tonight and want to help people like you and yr daughter. I've suffered depression on and off for 25 years. Ouch!! Never noticed it's been so long!! Anyway, I'm just out if a 3 year battle this time due to work, family and money! So I understand yr heart ache! I can't say this strongly enough: it WILL get better! I promise. Your doing all the right things a loving mom would!

If my daughter has been mean or ungrateful or rude I softly ask how would she feel if I carried on like her! ( sometimes I even mirror what she has just done or said) so far this has worked!!

Secondly try to get her back to the docs! One visit is never enough and sometimes exercise along doesn't work.

What about going for lunch together or a nice beauty treatment?? You would be surprised how a regular manicure or massage can help!! ;) small changes can really make a difference! Besides you could walk to the restaurant or salon so that's two in one!!!

good luck xx


I'm typing this with the tears rolling down my cheeks. I've got it all wrong again. I truly believed my husband had depression and now I thought it was affecting my daughter. But in all honesty it's me that they don't like. He's already left and she doesn't want to live with me or spend time together or make any effort to repair our relationship.

Last year my daughter and I went on a spa overnight and treated ourselves to a massage. We both really enjoyed it and I thought we had good quality time together. I found a good spa overnight deal today and said to her we haven't went on one for over a year now and does she fancy doing it again. She was so hurtful but I guess I left myself wide open to be hurt. She agreed it's a good deal but doesn't want to go with me. I asked her why as we had a good time last year. She said that was last year and we don't get on anymore now and she doesn't want to spend any time with me. I said that's unfair and we need to make an effort to sort things. She says she is living in the house and what more do I want (she has already said she wants to move out but can't afford to) I replied that she basically lives in her room and we never spend time together. According to her that's normal and she insisted it is normal for girls her age to drink alone in their rooms! When I made a comment about me not wanting her to feel forced to stay somewhere where she is not happy she turned it around and accused me of wanting to throw her out! I really am so depressed with the whole situation now. I don't know what to do. I'm actually feeling hatred towards her but hate myself even more for feeling like that. I just want to run away and never come back.


How are things going recently? I've only seen the post now. I come on this sporadically.

I've been thrown out the house by my parents for far less than this. They use the "your dig money is not enough", "you get your clothes washed" lines to keep me in constant indebtedness to them. So I have to help out loads - housework, dog walks, giving mum lifts to train station etc, pick up food items if I'm at supermarket. And to them, none of it is ever enough and I should be forever grateful to them for allowing me to continue staying in THEIR house at a reasonable rate of dig money. I hate the way they go on at times and when they explode for stupid reasons, but I can never argue back that I am being allowed to stay there at a cheaper rate than I will get anywhere else, I get the odd dinner cooked for me, I get my clothes washed and ironed, etc etc, letting me put half of my wages into savings. I admit into myself that it is a good deal for me so I put up with the crap as much as I hate it and my parents can be a bit heavy handed with their power at times but still, I choose to stay because I know I'd struggle on my own and I'd be forking out all my money on rent and rates with nothing to spare for savings and 'wasting' much more time cleaning and cooking.

I think that if your approach is to come from a place of begging her to talk to you, begging her to stay with you, or begging her to spend time, it won't work. I think she won't respect you for begging - so try not to seem desperate for her company. She needs to feel her independence is respected but at the same time she must be made to show respect to you and her brother and grandparents etc. You need to change the dynamic and insist on respect. If you are genuinely emotionally upset and near to tears she might respond more authentically back? If she sees the emotional impact she's causing by being rude?

She should not be forced to spend time with you (hopefully in time she will choose to, but it must be a choice of her own). But you would need to find a way of being firm when the situation calls for it, but also letting her know you love her and when she's being well behaved is the best time to enjoy and be gentle with her...

I know it will be hard but I think you have to force her to see your point of view. You maybe shouldn't have sprung the spa deal on her without her permission, but she still has no right to be rotten to you. I'd definitely be turfed out if I was rude like that. What's so wrong with turfing her out when she scrounges and attacks and tries to guilt you about it? She's 21 and working - she's not incapable of moving out and funding her own place. If she's going to be nasty to you, tell her that you love her and don't want to see her struggle but that she is 21 a grown adult with a job of her own and if she's unwilling to respect the people in your house (you and your son) then she should think about finding a flat of her own, or something. Because you can't take the rudeness it's really upsetting for you and your son and you shouldn't have to live with constant rudeness or nastiness. If she is rude. If it's just that she wants a bit of independence from yourself, then that is understandable. Also, the drinking in the bedroom, do you think she drinks to excess as in alcoholic drinking? If so then I'd put it to her and frame it that you're concerned, all the money she's spending on drink, the time and energy wasted drinking in her room. If it's anything less than alcoholism I would say there's nothing you can do to stop her or judge her...try not to judge her severely for it as she probably feels ashamed of drinking cider alone in her room every night...but it sounds kind of crappy to me...I wouldn't say it's normal or common...the odd one maybe but not bottles and bottles...

A good relationship with her won't come overnight. I think baby steps.



This post was a while ago to Im going risk being a bit more up front as you may well be in a better place emotionally now.

Im sorry you feel bad, I wouldnt want anyone to feel that awful but I wonder, with some distance as you post this a few days ago if we couldnt attempt to look at it from her side.

Not a million years ago it was the norm to have left home by 21 and some people are even married and may have their own home by that age. Look at whats surrounding her, she can see her life ticking away in a job she hates, still living at home, were you still at home at 21? I left when I was 17 (not that I advocate that I dont). Thing is the media shows successful people who have an independent life at 21, she isnt really seeing the truth which is these days kids cant afford to leave home.

To us because we are older she's a teenager, lots of growing to do, but the fact is, she is actually a grown woman. In her head she might want to settle down now and she's not meeting ANY of her targets. Its enough to make anyone feel depressed.

Dare I say it and I hope I dont upset you, but maybe you could show her how she could make more of her savings so she can move out, be prepared to look in the newspaper with her for flats, get knicknacks when shopping for a new flat, plan it. She will leave and if you help her, give her hope it will bring you closer together. I know its easy for me to say it isnt my empty nest but look to the future, how do you want your relationship to be. Maybe sit her down and say I want to help you, lets do this together, the money you spend on drink, well if we half that I can show you how to save or spend it wisely. If you haven't already teach her to cook, fend for herself, how to keep her accounts.

When I left home with no money I couldnt do anything my mum taught me absolutely nothing! I would have dearly loved a mum who prepared me for life. Now is your chance, she needs your help and if she can see you want to help her be independent I think some, maybe not all of this will turn around. But she will see your taking her seriously as woman and not a kid/teenager anymore.

Also dare i say it any chance of seeing a councillor together so you can both hear each other?

You have things you need to say that she cant hear right now and vise versa.

I really hope I havent upset you and I have stuck my neck out. No one should tell you what to do, Im merely making suggestions.

BIG KISS,... hope thats ok XX


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