Psycho-Babble Social Thread 222494

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Need advice re; teenage daughter/She's SO SAD!

Posted by CJ Nightowl on April 26, 2003, at 0:13:34

I have a beautiful 16 yr old who has everything going for her, but she has gotton so depressed and it is ruining her! She was put on Celexa about 2 months ago, but it doesn't help too much when she is in school. The pressures of body image, friends, guys, homework, money, etc. are making her so negative and so sad and I don't know how to help her! She has a semi best friend (finally) but this friend is so much more active than she is, that she feels left out and let down. She missed 2 and a half weeks of school because of her depression and now her honors classmates have their doubts about her aptitude and are not including her in their mandated group sessions. Between her friend not meeting her at her locker anymore, the other kids not including her and liking a boy who already has a girlfriend, and she has to have a part time job because I am too depressed to hold my own job which would be to support her horse (of course:))so that she could go out and have fun being a regular, irresponsible kid..... you get the picture. Life SUCKS when you're 16 and you're a smart girl wit an expensive hobby!

I am making light of this, but please know that as we were all 16 once, it is really hard unless you happen to be Brittany Spears. My daughter has gained probably 15 pounds since she got depressed, which obviously doesn't help the situation. I can't say anything there either of course, unless I want a depressed child with an eating disorder too! I feel so powerless to help her and she won't open up to her counselor, so what do I do???

Oh the craziness of life's little rabbit holes!
Help me out here, fellow Moms and older teenage girls! I really do need some words of wisdom!


Re: Need advice re; teenage daughter/She's SO SAD! CJ Nightowl

Posted by fayeroe on April 26, 2003, at 9:09:20

In reply to Need advice re; teenage daughter/She's SO SAD!, posted by CJ Nightowl on April 26, 2003, at 0:13:34

my wisdom flew out the window yesterday but i'll offer help. i have two daughters and they went through similar things. why isn't she working to help support the horse? that would make her feel better about herself....teens are the cruelest creatures on earth because their life experience usually doesn't include anything but looking good, hanging and sleeping. go for walks with her. we used to do that and you'll be surprised what will be said once you're just strolling her and give her hugs. find a good female therapist (no offense, guys) that helped mine tremendously....she had been there and owned her feelings about her teen years and shared wholeheartedly with my girls when they were hitting rough spots. talk to her school counselor and see if he/she has any ideas. i hope this helps....prayers, pat


mail from a male

Posted by lostsailor on April 26, 2003, at 12:30:57

In reply to Need advice re; teenage daughter/She's SO SAD!, posted by CJ Nightowl on April 26, 2003, at 0:13:34


I don't really know what to say. I worked with teens for a while and still remember being one pretty well.

You are sad and so is she. Do you share any common interests--this one might be a bit on you--like geology (hiking), animals (dog walks), anything...? Do you smoke or have any health troubles that would make exercise a good thing for YOU? If so you can try to engage her for YOU without ever mentioning her increase in weight.

Exercise is probably the only thing that really does much for me helps my anxiety/depression--aside from meds. I mean, for me, a hour of running or a few out cycling is the BEST part of day -- meditation on the move for me.

Aside from that, meds:

Lamictal which in the MH world is being used for those with bi-polar disorder( esp. those that lean towards dep rather than mania), is also showing promise for depression. There is a minor risk of a dangerous rash, but it is virtually nil if the med's dosage is raised in minute increments. Of all the mood stabilizers that prove effective, it is the only that does not cause a weight increase for most.

Wellbuterin is a great choice if she does not have probs with anxiety or panic which the ssris help but wellbuterin does not. There is a sig. risk of seizures for those with a history of them. For those without, the risk is again almost nil given the dosage is raised gradually.

Xanax...dependable, very safe, anti-anxiety agent that has demonstrated the ability to alleviate some depression. I doubt that a doc would use this though unless there is mixed anxiety/panic and even then would most likely use it in conjunction with wellbuterin to keep doses low and because it has anti-seizure properties. I assume you are already aware of the risk of dependence, though.

Good luck and God bell you two,



She's SO SAD!

Posted by whiterabbit on April 26, 2003, at 18:25:09

In reply to Re: Need advice re; teenage daughter/She's SO SAD! CJ Nightowl, posted by fayeroe on April 26, 2003, at 9:09:20

I agree with Pat, your daughter needs her own female therapist. Maybe later on you can get into family counseling or whatever, but right now she needs to talk to someone by herself, otherwise she might not open up.

I truly sympathize with both you and your daughter, being a teenager (and raising one)is hard enough withOUT a mood disorder. You will both need a great deal of time and patience to get
through the experimental stage of psychiatric medication, as it might be necessary to try different medications and/or medication combinations at varying dosages before you hit gold. I know this sounds discouraging but DON'T GIVE UP. As with many things in life, this success is hard-won, but it sure beats no success ever.

I've found that it's extremely helpful to read up on mood disorders and get as much information as possible. A really good place to start is (formally the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill). This is an educational and support group with chapters all over the U.S. Your daughter probably feels that she's alone and different than other people, which is just devestating for a teenager. Realizing that she's not alone, not different, and that she can be helped will make all the difference.

I just want to add that I think you're a terrific mom for wanting so much to help your daughter through this difficult time. My mom was always pissed at me for being so dark and depressed (I was way ahead of my time with the Goth look), like it was a switch I would purposely turn on just to ruin her day. She never tried to help or understand me and now that I look back on it, I think she kind of hated me.

Your daughter will get through this with therapy, medication, and your love.
Prayers for you both-


Re: She's SO SAD!

Posted by gabbix2 on April 26, 2003, at 18:35:59

In reply to She's SO SAD!, posted by whiterabbit on April 26, 2003, at 18:25:09

I just wanted to second "White Rabbits" comment that you are a great mom to be so concerned.
I was forever being ridiculed for being a "sourpuss" or ruining everybody elses fun by being so bloody miserable. In actuality I would have loved to have been able to turn on a happy switch.
Kudo's to you Mom.


Re: She's SO SAD!

Posted by leeran on April 26, 2003, at 18:53:13

In reply to Re: She's SO SAD!, posted by gabbix2 on April 26, 2003, at 18:35:59

"Thirding" that regarding being a concerned mom.

My mother always accused me of giving her "hate" looks and being sullen. I remember one time in particular, as I was leaving via the back steps of our house, she came running out after me and said "don't you dare give me those hate looks."

There was a window to the kitchen right by those steps and she swore I gave her "hate looks" through the window as I was leaving. LOL! I don't know why that strikes me funny today - maybe I did, but I can't imagine being brave enough to pull it off! I wish I could replay that reel in real time and see what really happened.

C.J. Nightowl, thank goodness you are so sensitive to what your daughter is going through right now. Good luck/best wishes on working through this time with her.


leeran mom

Posted by lostsailor on April 26, 2003, at 19:55:16

In reply to Re: She's SO SAD!, posted by leeran on April 26, 2003, at 18:53:13

>>"Thirding" that regarding being a concerned mom.<<

I too know she was a concerend mom...all j/king for the aside,...was this really a more "female orientated" post that I may have been better staying out of???? Honest opinion...I never know what to say at times as my self-doubt shows now...



Re: She's SO SAD!

Posted by shar on April 26, 2003, at 22:15:03

In reply to Re: She's SO SAD!, posted by leeran on April 26, 2003, at 18:53:13

Fourthing what's been said so far, and a ramble thru the backroads of my mind.

I've had this temp job reading essays by high school students for a standardized test. I've probably read over 3,000 in the past two months. I have learned a LOT about what these kids are dealing with that I never would have dreamed (my high school years being decades behind me now).

With respect to pressures, a lot of the teens write about not being able to measure up, either for "real" reasons (like failing a class) or for less "reality based" reasons (that's my term, I'm sure it's very real to them) such as not having the latest hairdo or toy or clothes or ....etc. The measuring up part is often related to other people's standards, and the kids that seem to handle it better specifically talk about their parents standing by them, telling them to be their own person, supporting them through hardish times, and providing a lot of guidance. The way they write about it is not what my mother would have called guidance (a ration of criticism followed by a self-esteemectomy), but the kids talk about their parents telling them when they went through hard times, or being told 'I love you' a lot, and sort of being...well...mothered. (I have to admit to a bit of staring into space while I tried to imagine what that would have been like).

There are kids that write about how their families serve as examples of what to do and not to do (drugs, getting pregnant, graduating from high school). And, some kids have written about changing from honors classes to regular, and the relief they felt from that.

I'm no shrink, but overall what I see is kids whose parents are involved in a positive way (including discipline, not just being spoiled rotten) and moving toward them (not waiting for the kid to bring something up) and doing things with them that the parents think is appropriate (not letting the kids get away with something because they are mad or unhappy)--a steady, loving hand I guess I'd call it--seem to have the best mental health.

Oh, plus a LOT of kids mention (cringe) church, and I think it is important because as an institution it is (supposedly) a place of hope, guidance, and community--what these kids are sort of needing to lean on as they find their more adult land legs. So, I don't think it has to be church per se, but the provision of those qualities--giving hope, loving advice, and being part of a larger group. Kids write about learning to value what they have by having gone on church mission trips and helping others; and some kids have done similar things with non-church groups. It seems once they realize what they have, it gives them a slightly different take on things.

All that is very hard for one parent to do. Or even one parent and a therapist. And, I don't mean to direct all this to you, I wanted to write about it anyways, so I'm not suggesting you do any or all of it! Really! Who could do it?! Not me when I was a single parent.

These kids that write are from all walks of life, all ethnicities, all creeds, all socioeconomic groups (and the rich kids really stand out in their self-involvement). They've been shot, beaten, sexually abused, used drugs, had siblings die from a variety of things ranging from illness to violence, they're unsafe at home and in their front yards and at school, they have brand new Tahoes (SUVs) and loaded pick up trucks, rich, poorest of poor, newly arrived in the U.S., first to go to high school in their family, first to not be pregnant at 15, first baseball 'star' (because dad pushes so hard), love Christ, scared of Christ, deciding to wear traditional muslim dress for females at school....a true cross section of society at that age I think.

Anyway, I don't know if that is coherent or not, but I do hope there is something there that might be of interest, or even a little helpful.

[My story: I was an extremely depressed kid, and got hassled for it, and still get shit for not being happy, and now I never say I'm happy because then if that changes down the road it gets thrown back in my face.]



Re: leeran mom lostsailor

Posted by leeran on April 26, 2003, at 22:16:23

In reply to leeran mom, posted by lostsailor on April 26, 2003, at 19:55:16


Absolutely not!!!! re: was this really a more "female orientated" post.

I meant that I was the "third" person piping up to say "you go, girl" to CJ Nightowl. It sounds like she's on the A-train on this and I wanted to send up my bravos and high fives.

You remind me a lot of my husband in some ways, and I think it's because you both have such a great way of interacting with women! Don't you know that women LOVE that??????

My dad (poor dad, he has just gotten totally knocked around these last 30 hours) was a sit-in- the-chair-in-his-boxers kind of guy who watched sports and didn't say all that much. Now, when he did, it was often a very valuable nugget of information - i.e. - when I worried about a boyfriend that didn't call he said:

"Just remember this, all going my way, join my class, all going the other way, kiss my *ss."

I also know practically every naughty limerick in the book by heart thanks to him, but he was not one of those men who interacted comfortably with women. My mother always said that if I hadn't been his daughter he wouldn't have liked me because I was too outspoken on some issues as I got older (I guess he learned to tolerate it in me).

My husband always had a very close relationship with his mother and father and as a result he is comfortable with both sexes. Women often find him to be one of those "confess your deepest sins" kind of guys because he is so nonjudgemental (which is how you seem as well, i.e. nonjudgemental).

One of his female friends once told him that he has an equal balance of anima and whatever the male counterpart is (he's also very equally left-brained, right-brained, whereas I'm so right-brained that I tilt when I walk).

Last comment - you have a background in social work so you should be spouting off in just about EVERY thread as far as I'm concerned!

Okay, I'm out of breath now.



RE: She's so SAD, Thanks Everyone for your input! (nm)

Posted by CJ Nightowl on April 28, 2003, at 17:51:42

In reply to Re: She's SO SAD!, posted by leeran on April 26, 2003, at 18:53:13


Re: Need advice

Posted by Rach on April 30, 2003, at 2:10:23

In reply to Need advice re; teenage daughter/She's SO SAD!, posted by CJ Nightowl on April 26, 2003, at 0:13:34

Hi CJ,

I first came here when I was 19, I think. I'm now 22.

I haven't read all of the above posts, but I agree with the people who suggested she get her own therapist. Having regular sessions helped me immensely. You said she won't open up to a counselor. Does she trust this counselor? If it is someone at her school, she may be worried that what she says will eventually get around. Find someone unrelated to the school. Does she want to see someone? Does she realise she has a problem? That may be something you have to wait for...her to realise that she needs help.

Unfortunately, teenage girls are ruthless and cruel. I was reminded of this last night when I bumped into a girl I used to go to school with. I have only remained in contact with one female friend from high school, one male friend, and there is one other (male) who I wish I still had contact with. I honestly don't feel any desire to see anyone else from high school, unless it is to show them how much I have achieved since then. Running into this girl was very strange. She hasn't changed and yet she has. She was an incredible bitch and it was interesting to see her so nervous in talking to me.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that high school can be a horrible nightmare for a lot of people, but that the most important thing is to survive with a belief in yourself. I'm so much stronger because I was forced to realise that I am a special person regardless of what other people think, whereas this girl is still nervous and stammering because my judgement is everything to her self esteem.

I know this isn't particularly helpful to you or your daughter. I suppose I just want to say that you can come out the other side stronger and a better person no matter how people treat you.

As a mother, I think the best thing for you to realise is that there is nothing much more you can do. I would try not to get too involved in the problems she has with friends and the like. You need to make yourself available so she can come to you and ask for help, and if you get too involved she won't be able to do that. You need to provide a caring and nonjudgemental atmosphere for her to feel comfortable in talking to you or asking for that help. And you also need to understand that she may never ask for your help or never accept your help. That is not something you should take personally, sometimes she may need to keep things separate as kind of a safety mechanism.

Don't ever say anything about her weight. Ever. I'm a normal, slender build, and if I'm standing funny or my clothes are puffing out, my mother will make a joke about my belly. I know I'm an okay weight, but even a joke about clothes sitting funny makes me self conscious and drags down my body image. The most important thing is to get her mentally and emotionally healthy, and then the physical health will follow.

Just one more point. I'm a dancer. If I don't dance, I'm depressed. I had the best year of my life last year because I studied dance full time. I now can't afford to pay for classes, so I'm falling back in the hole. But when I dance, even just once a week, I'm happy. The exercise is great. I'm substituting with riding a bike, which helps. If you can find her love, what gives her joy, and incorporate that regularly into her life, she will get better so much faster. And if you can get her doing some form of exercise, that will also help. If the two intersect, then it's perfect.

I'm positive it wasn't easy even for Britney Spears...

All the best,


Re: Need advice Rach

Posted by shar on April 30, 2003, at 19:38:24

In reply to Re: Need advice , posted by Rach on April 30, 2003, at 2:10:23

What warm, insightful thoughts to share. I am very impressed with your sense of balance and ability to express those things.


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