Hello. I tried to get on the mental health forum to talk to a doctor and they're always full. I've been worried about my 15 year old daughter for some time. She says she's been depressed since she was 12 although we didn't see anything unusual until this last year. Since this last year:
We found a suicide note last September and found out she was cutting. We immediately got her into counseling, although he's a family counselor and can't give meds. He thinks her depression is situational. I'm not so sure.
She has been cutting for at least a year, some are pretty bad scars now. Last time she cut was last month.
She is easily influenced by her peers and we think that's where she's picked up some of this behavior. She tends to be a follower and wants to accepted badly. She has been treated terribly by her peers for years we found out and grew very depressed by that. We've since moved her to a different school and she seems happier.
She tends to relate to the "Emo" look and likes Japanese anime. Some of it is too violent and sexual though and we try and watch that.
Here's the most disturbing part. She has drawn some very sad, dark pictures and written some pretty disturbing poetry. Some examples of the pictures are bleeding or broken hearts with thorns or knives sticking out. Pictures of girls sitting alone in the dark with tears of blood running down their faces. One picture was a person who ripped their own head off and was holding it dripping with blood. She draws pictures of girls with cuts and scars all over them. In her pictures and poetry she pleads to be accepted and loved but also uses a lot of bad language and anger towards those who have hurt her to the point that it disturbs me. In one she talked about how she would laugh when they die. I talked to her about that one and others. She said she was just mad and hurt and was just getting it out and didn't mean anything by it. I really do believe she would never hurt anybody. She is very good with her baby brother and our pets. I just can't imagine she'd ever hurt a fly (I mean she became a vegetarian for crying out loud, because she didn't like the idea of animals dying to be our food!) but the fact that she wanted these people hurt because she was hurt really disturbed me.
She has an explosive temper. She can be fine one minute and totally blow up the next. She seems to blow things way out of proportion.
She's told the counselor that she was molested when she was younger by some neighborhood boys but only mentioned one name and has been a bit inconsistant which makes me wonder if anything really did happen or she just had normal curiousity and exploration and then felt guilty about it. She's had a lot more anger this last year.
She is very intense with her emotions. She will be totally in love with some guy to the point where we were worried once that she was going to run away with one boy and marry him but fortunately that one didn't last. She also is very intense with her anger and hurt.
She used to have I guess you could call them visions. She insists they weren't dreams because she was awake and they were very real. She would see shadows in her room and hear voices. That was last year and she said she had dabbled into some dark stuff, so being a Christian family we weren't sure if it was all in her head or she really did experience things. We had a lot of people praying for her and she did say she no longer saw or heard bad things. She did not know people were praying, She has said in the past (not so much anymore) that she was insane or demon possesed. This has all been so shocking and dismaying to us. Sometimes I wonder if she's said these things to just get a rise out of us? I've asked her if she still has problems with these things and she says no.
She tends to jump into things without thinking them through and therefore has made some pretty poor choices and decisions, all of which only hurt her and her family even more.
She's not as active as she used to be and is eating more. She's gained about 10 pounds but still looks good. I think she eats more out of boredom although I've heard it can be linked to depression.
I'm pretty sure she's never done drugs. When I was a teen, I had some friends who were doing drugs so I think I'd recognize the signs. Although she's tried cigerettes.
The biggest thing I'm worried about is this explosive anger she displays. She can get mean when she's angry. Afterwards she usually apologizes. I keep hoping with time and maturity she will settle down and do better. How much of this is normal teenage behavior and how much should I be concerned? Our counselor said to get her a psych eval. I will, but it can take months to be seen and I'm worried about all I've heard with putting teenagers on medication and how the side effects can be worse, etc. Do you think this is stuff she just needs to work through and will outgrow? Does this sound like depresion or bipolar? Please give me your professional opinion. Thank you very much.
The various concerns your daughter has are normal concerns for teens, but the ways in which she is managing them and the ways she is being affected by them are not within the normal spectrum. She likely does display a mood disorder, and it is serious enough that it invites both intensive therapy and consideration of pharmacological treatment. If suicidal ideation is part of the picture, a brief inpatient evaluation or participation in a partial hospital (i.e., day treatment) program would be useful.
I know you said you think she may have a mood disorder, and I know you can't diagnose online without seeing her, but can you give me some suggestions or ideas of what you think it could be? I certanly wouldn't hold you to anything you say. Just wanted some different ideas and thoughts. We did take her down to the local mental health care clinic last time she cut herself. They didn't admit her because she wasn't a suicide threat.
Can you just throw me a few ideas of what could be the matter so I could begin looking some of this up for myself? I just want to do all I can to help her. Thank you so much for writing back.
Thank you for writing back. You know it's strange that you said to look into BPD. I stumbled across that on the Internet when I was looking for depression, etc. I did see some things that seemed to fit. But I didn't like how they said most people didn't get enough love and affection when they were younger or were abused. Our daughter comes from a very loving, supportive family. We've always been very watchful and protective over our kids.
The thing that stood out for me with the BPD is the anger, the cutting, I read that they can be confused about their sexual identity. She did go through that for a little while. Our counselor felt like it was because she had been so hurt by boys. So for awhile there she thought she might be gay or bisexual and cut off all her hair and dressed boyishly. That went on for a few months and then she decided that wasn't her and that she did like guys and went back to dressing like a girl again! Do you see how she flip/flops so suddenly like that?! It drives us crazy!
I did look at that site you talked about. The interesting thing was someone said something about how clingy their child was when they were younger. My daughter used to cry and wrap herself around my legs and hold on when I tried to drop her off for preschool or kindergarten. She also used to throw the worst temper tantrums when she was like 4-6 years old. They were awful. She'd be completely out of control. One time I struggled to put her in the car when she was 4 and having a tantrum and she kept kicking the back of my chair and pulled on my hair hard. I just started crying. I was so shocked that my little girl was acting like that. I knew this wasn't normal tantrums but I didn't know what to do. She'd be completely out of control.
Also, she couldn't stand noise. If we got into the car and we'd be playing music, she'd put her hands over her ears and get really upset. It was like it was too much stimulation or something. She seemed to outgrow that. I never felt like any of this was normal though.
She's always been very stubborn and strong willed. I get exhausted trying to deal with her. I just want her to be ok.
How do you know so much about BPD? Do you or someone you know have it? Can you give me some more information? Thanks!
I should have had her admited last winter when things were really bad. She's actually better. I took her down to the local mental health care clinic last time she cut herself and they wouldn't admit her because she said she didn't want to kill herself. They interviewed her and since she wasn't a threat to herself or others, they released her. It was a waste of time.
I am going to have her evaluated by a child psychiatrist but I know it could be a couple of months before we get seen. That's why I wrote here. I was hoping others would recognize something or could tell me what they thought might be going on. I really don't know what to think or do at this point.
Thanks for your thoughts! If anyone else has any ideas, I'll gladly welcome them.
I've been feeling so incredibly alone through all of this. The stress has been pretty bad this year. It helps to talk to others. Thanks.
I am going through almost the exact same thing with my 15 year old (except the cutting). She is clearly depressed but I am concerned it is more: bipolar, schizophrenia, OCD. We are trying to get help but finding the right professional is proving to be very difficult. She is getting worse instead of better. What was the final outcome with your daughter?
Wow, this was so long ago! My daughter went through a tough time for about 3 years, from the time she was 13 to 16. Part of the problem, I think, was the company she was keeping at that time. Peer pressure is so powerful! She did have some depression and was put on an anti-depressant for awhile.
The biggest thing we had to do was pull her away from some bad relationships. We didn't let her go anywhere but church or youth group. The Summer after she turned 16 she went on a youth retreat and came back to the Lord in a big way. She was changed after that. I saw it immediately when I picked her up but was afraid it wouldn't last but it did. She no longer acted angry or depressed. She got off the anti-depressants and did 180 degree turn around. Some may not understand this but I do believe so much of this was spiritual. I had prayed and prayed for my daughter for years and God did a miracle. There is no other explanation for it.
She has not cut herself for 3 years and has not had an issue with the depression since then. When all this was going on, I really started educating myself on the cutting, etc. I had never even heard of it before then. This seems to be a big thing with a lot of teens right now. I don't know why. I don't think she would have thought of it if her best friend at the time hadn't introduced her to it. Remember, peer pressure is a powerful thing.
Watch the company your daughter is keeping. Pull her away from any relationships that are concerning to you, even if it means she's with you all the time. I urge you to find a good therapist who specializes in CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and possibly even DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy). CBT helps them recognize their feelings and teaches them healthy ways to deal with their feelings, such as going for a walk, taking a bath, calling a friend, writing a journal, etc. CBT is pretty similar and more helpful for those who are cutting. We used a Christian counselor who specialized in both. She was in counseling for over 2 years but really turned herself around after that youth retreat. She still makes mistakes today but has never cut herself again, nor has the issues with the depression. She has since then moved forward into a wonderful, lovely young woman with a compassionate heart for others, which I think stemmed from all she went through. She had been bullied all throughout middle school and that's what started all of this. She is now a stronger person and has been able to move past all that.
I say that to you to encourage you there is hope. My daughter told me this last year that she's not sorry for what she went through because it made her who she is today. I know God can bring good out of all of this and I believe He will use her to help other teens who struggle.
Please get your daughter into some good counseling. It may take time but there is always hope. You are not alone.
God bless you. Let me know if there's anything else I can do to help.
Thank you so much! I am so glad to hear she is doing well now. I know the power of prayer can change lives. You are so right about the peer pressure. My daughter is easily influenced and wants so badly to fit in with others that she sometimes makes bad choices hoping to be accepted. She has actually been bullied by several boys who she thought were friends and was bullied in 7th grade by 2 teachers. (Yes, really!) I do believe this is the main reason for the recent acting out. She has gone from a straight A student with perfect school attendance to low C's and missing school regularly. We are moving her to a smaller private Christian school in January. Her current high school has 2100 students in grades 9-12. She is in counseling at our church and we tried anti depressants but they made her feel worse due to terrible side effects. I think a mission trip or youth retreat would help her too. I almost admitted her into an intense out patient program for teens but I did not want her to be exposed to the kids who were cutting and using drugs because she is so easily influenced. I will stick with private counseling for now but am still searching for the right therapist. Thanks for the tips on CBT and DBT! I know when she gets through this she will be a stronger person for it just like your daughter. Take care!
No, I don't think she's bipolar. She pulled through that horrible time and is doing wonderfully now. I truly believe a lot of it was influence of her peers and spiritual. I can't stress that enough. I, like many Christians, didn't want to think about the evil forces that are out there but they're very real. However, God is more powerful and did step in and saved my daughter and I will always be eternally grateful to my God. We had a lot of people praying for her. God has shown what the power of prayer can do. There is no explanation for the complete turn around that she did except that she finally turned to God on her own and dedicated her life to Him.
Yes, she's fallen a few times and made some mistakes since then but has never gone back to the way things were before. God saved my daughter and some day, when she's ready, she will have a powerful testimony to share with others. I truly believe God will use her to touch other young people who are struggling.
God uses the bad things in our lives for good, if we let Him.
HPG1, if you haven't read this book yet, I highly recomend it. Pick up the book called "She said yes" by Misty Bernall. She is the mother of Cassie, the girl who was shot at Columbine high school in Littleton, Colorado. Her book is powerful and a hope to all parents of teens. Her daughter was very similar to my daughter. What a lot of people don't know (till they read her book) is that Cassie was going down the wrong path. She was cutting, depressed, out of control. She was hanging out with kids who were into demonic stuff (that also happened with my daughter. Let me warn, you, it's very prevalent out there right now). Misty even said she felt it was not socially acceptable now days to say there's a spiritual warfare out there but she realized it with her daughter, that Satan was fighting for her daughter. She had to pull her out of school, put her in a Christian school and monitor her every move. Finally, Cassie went on a youth retreat and came back to Christ in a big way. That was a year before she was shot and killed. See how much Satan fought for her? But our God is more powerful! Misty said at the end of her book that she wanted to encourage all parents of teens that "There is no child too far gone, too lost, for our God to save."
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