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A mom reaches out for help for her depressed daughter

Published: July 7, 2015 | Last Updated: February 18, 2017 By | 6 Replies Continue Reading
A teenager who is depressed with suicidal thoughts needs an immediate evaluation by a mental health professional.

QUESTION

My daughter is 14 years old and is very depressed at the moment. Here are some of the challenges that she is going through. I think they are all related.

1.  She’s got highest grades at high school, and is very successful at school. She has a very high sense of responsibility and she is always trying to achieve the maximum. I would even say that she is “over-responsible” – she is always trying to achieve maximum, do everything in a perfect manner, which imposes too much stress on her. She gets irritated, tired and hopeless if something goes a bit not the way she expected. She is successful at school but she thinks that she is very slow, dumb, and “worthless” – this is how she calls herself.

2.  She is an outcast at school. Very often her “friends” go out or plan some activities in front of her without inviting her. As she says her school friends ignore her most of the times.

3.  She is a beautiful girl and really cute with beautiful long blond hair and fantastic blue eyes. Lots of guys pay attention to her when she walks down the street. But she thinks that she is ugly. She never cares for the outfits, hair or makeup.

4.  She talks about blood and murders, and she even has some writings about suicidal thoughts – calling herself worthless.

She comes from a family of lawyers, she goes to the best school in town, she speaks three foreign languages, has traveled a lot in Europe for holidays. However she is not a spoiled child. She is always very thankful for everything; to the contrary, she is always very shy to ask for money or anything; and she is quite conscious about spending.  She is very shy, and very respectful to the elders. She is the best daughter a mother could have in the world. I thank God for having a child of this kind. But she is going through the pain and feels abandoned and worthless from family and friends as well.

I am so desperate. I’m seeking for help. Please advice on how can I find the causes of this condition and how can I help her out. She is a wonderful girl but her self-esteem is zero and she is struggling.

Signed,

Concerned Mom

ANSWER

Hi,

I’m so sorry to hear your daughter is struggling. She sounds like a great girl.

I’m going to start by addressing #4. If your daughter is depressed and has thoughts of death, these are acute issues that need immediate professional evaluation and intervention. Almost all kids who attempt or complete suicide talk about doing so first, a cry for help.

Unless she’s been violent in the past, or has specific plans to kill, her thoughts of murder may be expressions of intense anger, at herself or others. Fourteen-year-olds don’t necessarily have the vocabulary or insight to connect all the dots and verbalize complicated feelings.

The causes of why your daughter has low self esteem and depression are probably complicated, a combination of situational and biological components. Part of an evaluation can determine some of the reasons, but at this point, why is less crucial than getting help. She’s so very fortunate to have a mom like you who’s concerned enough to identify her issues and seek answers. You’re correct that the problems she’s facing seem to be interrelated.

Many, if not most, teens suffer from low self-esteem at some point and poor self-image is often a component of depression. Your daughter needs to build up her resiliency so that she can accept her imperfections and learn to bounce back when life doesn’t go as she expects it should. Therapy can help her understand why she believes she “needs” to be perfect and strategies for liking and loving herself for the person she is, not her appearance or grades or external elements she can’t control. Due to the depth and breadth of your daughter’s challenges, overcoming them needs more trained expertise than any mom, even a mom who’s a counselor or doctor, could provide on her own.

Fortunately you have the rest of the summer to help her kick start her recovery so when she begins school in the fall, friendships may feel like less of a challenge.

Good luck to you and your daughter.

Signed, *Amy Feld


*Amy Feld, PhD, MSW has trained and worked as a child psychologist.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this or any other post is intended to substitute for medical, psychiatric or clinical diagnosis/treatment. Rather, all posts are written as the type of advice that one friend might give to another.


In the New York Times: Is a teen just depressed or moody?

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Category: Child and adolescent friendships, OTHER ADVICE

Comments (6)

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  1. Dionne says:

    Irene is right, a trained mental health professional is needed here right away. That is the place to start in getting this lovely girl to a better place all around. Best wishes.

  2. Mary says:

    Concerned Mom

    You have lawyers in your family such as myself.

    I suggest you seek out a contact ( off the record) to a good psychiatrist not a physiologist and get a proper medico legal report.

    This is something we do for court cases normally. It gives a more detailed report. It will cost you somewhere between 3 and 4k but worth it if you get the right man for the job.

    Once you have that expert report you will have a much better idea what your dealing with.

    From there, and only after making sure you have the right one perhaps medication can be prescribed if need be. Going through lawyers it can be kept off her record if need be.

    For a such a lovely bright child it best as i said to ask youir lawyers family for help to keep to quiet.

    Its nobody’s business bar yours and the child and immediate family .

    If she really does have MH issues there is no need to have the stigma to deal with on top.

    Hopefully she will grow out of it- but get her to a professional person– .

  3. Mary says:

    Looks like you people have your name tags mixed up.
    Interesting.

  4. syifa says:

    Dear concerned mom.

    I’m worried about her. Though I’m 18th, but I really love a child. I hope to have younger sister, but in fact I have a younger brother. Even at school, I often pay attention to little kids who hanging around in my school. And I have one little friend over there. She is the daughter of mothers who work in the canteen of my school. Almost every home school time, I meet her at the canteen table. I talk to her like I talk to my sister. She’s so beautiful and diligent. She’s not ashamed to help her mother at the canteen and wandering among students high school. Sometimes she’s ask me about her lesson. I think your daughter’s need friend. Best friend, exactly. If you have a neighbor who have children that have the same age with your daughter, Try to ask them to play together at the beautiful place. then let your daughter and neighbor’s child play together. If she’d love to chat with friend in a long distance, I can help. I really want to help. I have often experienced on a new situation. Since I was often moved to a new house and school, so that was forced me to start adaptation from the beginning again. Every child has the secret of their own. Especially if the child is different from the most. I am so.

    Syifa.

  5. Irene says:

    Thanks for asking, Ben. The mom mentioned that her daughter was an outcast but more than that, her daughter really needs immediate professional help.

    Best, Irene

  6. Ben says:

    After reading this quandary I’m not sure how this question fits this site about “friendship?” It seems to me this is about “reality check.” The person who is suffering here believes lies about herself. She is convinced her way of thinking is correct when any rational or reasonable person would say no. I know a lot about shyness as well as depression. They are both learned behaviors. Shyness deals in coping and depression deals with a failure to grieve in a timely manor. Depression is also “anger turned inward.” Anger is a normal part of grieving and one of the stages of grieving that everyone has to go through when losing something small or great. Maybe it’s not ok in the daughter’s world to get angry. I grew up in a family where there wasn’t a lot of anger or any talk of emotions or feelings or relationships or sex. So when presented with these things I hadn’t a clue. The daughter needs to be able to bring out those repressed feelings in a safe place and learn and discover over time where the train left the track. This is most likely a long process. All behavior is learned. Self hate is also learned. Shyness is also learned. I still don’t understand how this question relates to “friendship?” Seems to me this daughter needs some intervention and quick from someone who has a clue….

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