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17 year old daughter’s mental health not improving

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  • #389214
    Melissa
    Participant

    My daughter developed anxiety and then depression after the pandemic started. For well  over a year I have had her in counseling, doctors appointments, given her countless hours of attention. Encouragement, lots of supportive listening. I go to counseling myself to try to deal  and my therapist says she might be manipulating me to get attention. I don’t get it- she seems truly miserable. I don’t know how to reduce the support even  if it is somehow prolonging her illnesses…my husband has also been a big part of trying to help her. We have different suggestions for her…common sense: exercise, journal, be patient….nothing works and she also seems tired or possibly lazy or fearful to try things? It’s taking a toll on us as nothing seems to be working. She was developing normally until the pandemic and now she just seems to regress…won’t drive, has trouble staying at school all day. She has tried quite a few medications from the psychiatrist and he seems a little lost what to suggest, too. We are trying psychological testing now but I need to find a way to look at this realistically from a buddhist sense. This is her life and her path of suffering…I am on it with her —forever? how can I accept my fate or should I try to encourage her to find her own answers more? I don’t think I can un- attach? We have a younger son who is not getting a very peaceful homelife either. And yet we are so lucky, food shelter, health insurance but a depressed teen is a hard person to be with. I was a pretty happy person until now. I miss it.

    #389230
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Melissa:

    What fuels anxiety is the belief of being powerless to change a dangerous or a very undesirable situation. I assume that your daughter felt that she had reasonable power/ control over her life before the pandemic, and that is why “she was developing normally until the pandemic“, but lost her sense of power and control when the pandemic hit, and as it continues with no end in sight.

    Choosing to get vaccinated is one way for her to exert some personal power: decreasing her own chances to get infected (and to get hospitalized, if infected). Maybe there are volunteering opportunities for her: to encourage others to get vaccinated, and/or to help other teenagers who are also suffering from pandemic-related anxiety and depression, in the context of peer support groups, perhaps.

    She needs to feel active in regard to the pandemic, not passive, as in not making any difference. The Serenity Prayer says in part: “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”-

    – We can’t undo the pandemic. We can’t go back in time and prevent it. To not get overwhelmed by anxiety (an excitation of our nervous system), and to not sink into depression (the quieting of prolonged neural excitation), we need the courage to DO SOMETHING that will make the pandemic situation just a bit better, in some way.

    The Serenity Prayer can help you in regard to your daughter. No need to repeat to her the suggestions that she already rejected, but maybe you can show her how you are active in this situation, how you are making a positive difference, however small. If you volunteer to help teenagers who are suffering like your daughter does, maybe it will inspire her to be receive help and to offer help to others.

    anita

    #389611
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Melissa:

    How are you, and how is your son and daughter?

    anita

    #390104
    Melissa
    Participant

    It is still very up and down at our house. My daughter did sign up to volunteer for a pet shelter without my even mentioning it much and seems excited about that. She feels very bad at school though…a constant feeling of dread. When she is home she feels safe. I wonder if it due to all the school shootings but she does not make the connection. Some of her stated fears are odd and it worries me.
    <p style=”text-align: left;”>I’m not sure how to help other teens that are suffering but I am thinking about that part. I think I have accepted her situation a little more and focused more on other parts of my life, but I’m tired a lot. So sometimes I focus on resting and just being glad nothing terrible is happening right this second. I have accepted more that I am not in control of her mental state and that I cannot fix it for her. It is changing the way I look at life and so I am trying to accept that I can’t go back to how I was.  I also am focusing on doing things with my son as he has felt bad watching her suffer. He is in to doing a lot of activities and seems to enjoy them but I can see he may have inherited my tendency to be too ” type A”</p>
     

    Thank you for your response, I do feel it helped a lot.

    #390130
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Melissa:

    I appreciate your response and will attentively read and respond to you when I am back to the computer, in about 17 hours from now.

    anita

    #390150
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Melissa:

    You are welcome. You shared in your two posts: “My daughter developed anxiety and then depression after the pandemic started… She was developing normally until the pandemic and now she just seems to regress…won’t drive, has trouble staying at school all day…. My daughter did sign up to volunteer for a pet shelter without my even mentioning it much and seems excited about that. She feels very bad at school though…a constant feeling of dread. When she is home, she feels safe… Some of her stated fears are odd and it worries me“.

    ncbi. nlm. nih. gov has an online summary of a study titled Increases in depression and anxiety symptoms in adolescence and young adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. Under Results, it reads: “Across participants and independent of age, there were increased generalized anxiety and social anxiety symptoms. In females, there were also increased depression and panic/somatic symptoms… Greater COVID-19 home confinement concerns were uniquely associated with increased generalized anxiety symptoms, and decreased social anxiety symptoms, respectively”-

    -if I understand correctly, part of what it says is that adolescent anxiety shot up because of the pandemic. Home confinement following school and general shutdown provided adolescents with a relief from the heightened anxiety. They got used to that relief, adjusting and settling into a relatively comfortable home confinement life. Because of this adjustment, leaving home and returning to school became an anxiety elevating experience, which did not exist before the pandemic and the shutdown.

    You mentioned School Shooting as a possible factor in her anxiety. I wonder if the following may be factors as well: (1) Bulling by peers in school, onsite and/ or on social media may be a factor, and (2) Interpersonal struggles, such as a close friendship ending, or relationship drama so typical in adolescent girls.

    I also am focusing on doing things with my son as he has felt bad watching her suffer. He is into doing a lot of activities and seems to enjoy them, but I can see he may have inherited my tendency to be too’ type A’“- I am curious to know (1) if by having a Type A personality, your daily stress level is up, and (2) how this personality affected and affects your parenting of both your children. I am not entitled to an answer of course but would be interested to read (and respond) if you are willing to share.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 4 weeks, 1 day ago by anita.
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