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Depressed teens with no motivation


Mimm
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What is reasonable to expect from a depressed teen with no motivation, and no energy.

 

Things I want her to do:

 

Clean her room (which she shares with her sister, otherwise I wouldn't bother)

Do schoolwork

Help around the house

 

The schoolwork is the big one. This last year was a total disaster. So bad I'm embarrassed to admit it on here and you'd all tell me to send her to public school, which causes her panic attacks at the thought of because she's being bullied by some ex-friends there and even if I sent her, she still wouldn't do the work and has no problem failing classes she's perfectly capable of doing. I would send her anyway and tell her she can make the best of it if it wasn't for the mean girl situation. And she's desperate to stay at home, but getting her to do things is like I'm physically dragging her 16 year old self across the floor. It feels like that much effort. I get her through things with a combination of threats (of going to public school or taking her cell phone away) and nagging (which I find exhausting and depressing). I tried giving her more autonomy in school because that seemed so important to her. But giving her too much freedom resulted in her doing nothing. Trying to take more control often resulted in a battle with huge blow ups and fights. Lately it's just more apathy and resistance. I tell her to do math, she walks over to the computer, sits down and browses on Deviant Art instead. I tell her to do math, and she sighs, switches over to math, does a couple problems and the next time I look, she's on youtube. (I can't switch to a different math, she won't do it.) My expectation is that a 16 year old should be able to sit down and do some work on her own, but it doesn't really matter if that is reasonable, it's unrealistic. However, I have a 3 year old that needs me as well and I simply can't spend the majority of time sitting next to her telling her to do the next problem. Furthermore, she would completely freak out if I tried to or simply walk away from the situation. She doesn't want me micromanaging and would consider that insulting that I don't trust her to get stuff done. But she won't do stuff.

 

There is nothing that motivates her. Not money, not free time, not extra curricular activities. She does nothing outside the house. She was part of a hip hop dance class, but stopped going. I didn't want to take that because it was her only physical activity. I can't make her get physical activity. We go swimming and I can sometimes get her to come along with me, but if I insist while she's saying she doesn't want to, she'll just pout and sulk and sit on the sidelines and resent me for the rest of the day. She has a group of friends she sees 1-2 times a week. I can't take that away, it would worsen her depression. If I take away her phone, she can't talk to her friends and she'll be more depressed.

 

I want her to clean her room. You literally can't see the floor. Her sister shouldn't have to live like that. I would do anything to be able to give them separate rooms, but I can't right now. She comes to me asking for more clothes and her room looks like a clothes explosion so I find myself griping about that.

 

I want her to clean the kitchen. She and her sister have the kitchen split up so I can walk in at any time and see who didn't do their job. I always have to call her back at least once and sometimes more to finish the job. Sometimes I give up and do it myself. Sometimes she gets conveniently too depressed to do the kitchen, so she just lays on the couch and then I do it, and then when I'm done she perks right up and plays video games. I don't allow that. I'm sure video games are more rewarding for her brain chemistry than dishes, but c'mon. At some point you simply have to force yourself to do something you don't like in order to get something that you want. She will just lay on the couch instead of doing something she doesn't want. I've dealt with depression, so don't think I simply don't know what it's like. I forced myself to function when I felt like laying in bed, when I was having emotional breakdowns several times a day.

 

She's on two different medications (mood stabilizer and SSRI) and under the care of a psychiatrist and will soon be seeing a therapist again. She was in therapy last year for several months.

 

Sorry for the novel. My basic question here isn't what can I do to help her because I'm doing all I can to help her. But what is reasonable to expect? She has an actual mental illness that is hindering her. But I can't just not expect her to do schoolwork till she gets better. I can't just have zero expectations for her while we hope we can find a treatment that makes her feel like doing subjects in school she doesn't like. It's been years we've been dealing with this. And it's totally normal to have things you don't feel like doing. You do them anyway. And someone who has struggled with depression this badly... She's probably never going to just be normal. She has to figure out how to function with her depression.

 

90% of my parental energy, time, patience, and worry is poured into this girl. My other two get what's left over. :(

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What is her exit into adulthood plan? Does she agree with it? What would she like to do differently?

Edited by Heigh Ho
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Are there limitations to her screen time? Personally I'd get her off all computer-based course work and only allow access once the to-do items were accomplished for the day.

 

Also, as to her room, as with a younger child, "clean your room" might be too large of a task. Might need to break that down into smaller steps - pick up clothes off the floor, then put away books and papers, etc.

 

How about helping her to engage in a new outside interest? Something motivating where she can make a new circle of acquaintances?

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I would call her psychiatrist immediately and tell them the meds have stopped working.  I know from my own personal experience that someone taking the right dosage of medication should not be acting/feeling the way your daughter does.   It may be time for upping the dosage or changing meds all together. 

 

:grouphug:

 

ETA:  I don't want it to sound like I'm suggesting medicine is a panacea here for everything but I found, that for me, I couldn't function properly - no matter how much I wanted to and tried to - until my dosages and meds were right.  And I know that isn't easy to figure out.

Edited by Pink and Green Mom
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Are there limitations to her screen time? Personally I'd get her off all computer-based course work and only allow access once the to-do items were accomplished for the day

Yes, this. Only I would probably go further and take away every screen for a period of time. And then maybe allow an opportunity to earn screen time with physical activity.

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(hugs)

 

When I'm especially depressed the slightest task seems huge and impossible. My brain thinks "why bother?"

 

Distractions like tv, games etc are the times of relief.

 

When I'm doing poorly it makes a world of difference if my family sees past my behavior and still stays alongside me even if I'm spewing.

 

I agree with others that the meds sound like they need to be changed.

 

I once learned that fair isn't everyone getting the same but everyone getting what they need.

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I only have some suggestions for your 3yo:

 

1. Move her out of the shared bedroom and into a clean and neat space. If you have to hang a curtain for her room at the end of one of the main rooms, do it. Do you have a partner? If you don't need to share a room, you could sleep on the couch, or move 3yo into your room with you.

2. If she is not in preschool/daycare/mdo a few times per week, or able to spend several mornings per week at grandmas, please consider any options.

3. Try to do a few outings per week just with her - park, library, out for ice cream...

 

Concerning eldest dd: I have no advice but as another mother of teens and young adults, I offer all my prayers and good thoughts that things will get better soon.

Edited by Tibbie Dunbar
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She needs therapy. Get her in as soon as you can. Make some appointments for the two of you as well.  :grouphug:  :grouphug:   And get her exercising - that worked wonders for my son. He really responds to being outdoors, but of course, he does not recognize how helpful that is to him when he is depressed. Maybe your dd will like yoga or swimming. 

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I would start small and build from there.  Help her clean her room thoroughly. Get rid of things she doesn't use/want/wear. Box up out of season clothes or mementos that she isn't ready to get rid of but wants to keep.  Then insist that she keep it clean.   Small efforts once a day or twice a day.  

 

Even if she is depressed there is no reason she can't put dirty clothes in a hamper and toss her blankets loosely back on her bed.  If she is capable of sitting up to play video games then she can put 5 minutes of effort into basic life skills.  If she is not capable of 5 minutes of chores daily due to depression, (or is not willing to do that), then I would shut off electronics and seek inpatient care.  

 

After you have small tasks back under control, add back in others. 

 

i would definitely get her into the p-doc ASAP to get a med adjustment. 

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I would call her psychiatrist immediately and tell them the meds have stopped working.  I know from my own personal experience that someone taking the right dosage of medication should not be acting/feeling the way your daughter does.   It may be time for upping the dosage or changing meds all together. 

 

:grouphug:

 

ETA:  I don't want it to sound like I'm suggesting medicine is a panacea here for everything but I found, that for me, I couldn't function properly - no matter how much I wanted to and tried to - until my dosages and meds were right.  And I know that isn't easy to figure out.

  

She needs therapy. Get her in as soon as you can. Make some appointments for the two of you as well.  :grouphug:  :grouphug:   And get her exercising - that worked wonders for my son. He really responds to being outdoors, but of course, he does not recognize how helpful that is to him when he is depressed. Maybe your dd will like yoga or swimming.

 

This. Schoolwork and housework may not be what your dd needs right now, not to mention that doing what a mother asks is not a popular option for many teens.

 

OP, what moved me most about your post was that dd is taking up so much of your time and energy and leaving so little for the rest of your family -- and you.

 

I know that finding the right therapist and then affording the fees can be super difficult sometimes.. I hope it works out for your dd and your family.

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Sorry I was unclear on room sharing. 3 year old has a room of her own. 16 year old shares with 14 year old, who handles it pretty well. I know she wishes the condition of her room was very different, but she's kind of resigned to it. 3 year old is in activities outside the house. She is very outgoing and social, and I feel that I am doing pretty well meeting her social needs at the moment. When at home, I feel like I'm not doing a very good job keeping her engaged in interesting play and letting her have too much screen time, but maybe I'm being too hard on myself. The other two kids are so easy compared to Oldest, which is why they just get less attention from me. Maybe it's inaccurate to say that Oldest gets 90% of my time. :) It feels that way because I'm worried about her so much more than the others. When I'm exhausted at the end of the day, it isn't because I ran my 3 year old to her dance class and the park, and had to pick up Middle from school and take her shoe shopping, it's because I'm stressed about Oldest.

 

Psychiatrist is aware meds aren't working and we're in the process of adjusting meds. He keeps upping the dose on the mood stabilizer since she's on the max dose for the SSRI. I want to switch SSRIs, but he doesn't want to change more than one thing at a time, which I understand. I'm just not sure the mood stabilizer is the way to go. But he's the expert, and generally a methodical, thorough doctor. I appreciate certain things about him, so I'm going along with his treatment plan for now. Still, everything takes forever. :( We make a change, then wait and see how it'll work, make another change, wait some more.

 

Her exit to adulthood plan involves getting into community college and eventually becoming a librarian. Therefore, she has to do well enough in high school that she can handle college. At this point, we're looking at bare minimum to get by, we can't even be bothered with my ideals and how I wish things there, the education I would LOVE for her to have. It doesn't really matter what I want, you know? There are limits on her screen time, yes. But schoolwork is often done in front of a screen and again, it doesn't work to change that when she refuses to do other school work.

 

It is helpful to hear from people who deal with depression.

 

I have an appointment with a therapist as soon as I could, but it was of course a wait of a few months from when I made the appointment. End of July.

 

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Her school refusal isn't like I tell her to do something and she just outright says no. She agrees that it needs to be done, will sit down and pretend to start doing it, but the moment I'm not paying attention or can't see her screen, she is doing something else.

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I would start small and build from there.  Help her clean her room thoroughly. Get rid of things she doesn't use/want/wear. Box up out of season clothes or mementos that she isn't ready to get rid of but wants to keep.  Then insist that she keep it clean.   Small efforts once a day or twice a day.  

 

 

I'm dealing with a similiar issue in one child (i.e. depression/lack of motivation). I agree with Tap. She needs you to help her with the room. She's probably completely overwhelmed with the scope of the project. By working with her, tackling one thing at a time, you'll be making the project manageable. Plus, if you keep the tone of the time you spend pleasant, she might enjoy the one-on-one time with you. Follow it up with some kind of reward for just the two of you. Maybe seeing the progress will give her a sense of accomplishment, which may help in the motivation department.

 

You have my sympathy, OP. It's grueling watching our kids mired in depression, hoping to get the right combo of meds. I'm there right now with mine.

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First, stop hormonal birth control if she's on it.  It's a HUGE contributing factor in many young women's depression.  If that's the issue, she'll be back to herself in 3 days. 

 

Then, therapy.  Not just any therapy, but cognitive behavioral therapy, ASAP.  The difference is that instead of sitting around and complaining about your problems, behavioral therapy teaches you to recognize when you are lying to yourself, and tell yourself the truth.

 

Next limit screen time, goal of spending more time in nature, preferably walking in morning sunshine for at least 30 minutes a day.  Go with if you have to.  No screen time until she does this.  It's more effective than antidepressants.

 

Fourth, find a service project for her.  Have her volunteer to help someone who she will clearly recognize has things much worse than she does. This will vary based on your area and what you feel is safe and appropriate for her. If there is nothing appropriate nearby, a distant service project, like raising money to build a safe well for drinking water in a remote village in Africa is possible.

 

Then - goals like school work and helping around the house.  None of that matters if you're stuck in the hole of depression.

 

 

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I believe mental health trumps school work. Please work with her and get her all the help she needs. I know it is draining and a lot of work but the support will pay dividends later.

I don't think school will help and you don't have much time left with her since she is already 16. ((((Hugs))))

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Her school refusal isn't like I tell her to do something and she just outright says no. She agrees that it needs to be done, will sit down and pretend to start doing it, but the moment I'm not paying attention or can't see her screen, she is doing something else.

What is she gaining from the something else?

 

And wny is she askng for clothes?

 

Does she have enough clothing that she could volunteer at the library, or a daycare? Would she be interested in community drama?

 

 

Something is motivatimg her on both fronts.

Edited by Heigh Ho
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No matter what hardships we are dealt with in life, we still must do basic survival tasks, pay someone else to do them, or suffer consequences. Mental health problems, other physical health problems, crazy lifestyles, etc. do not preclude us from this premise. So, if you have expectations for each family member, in my opinion, DD should not get a free pass just because she has a diagnosis. Unless you want her living with you forever getting free maid service, I would guess you should treat her the same way as your other teens on this issue.

 

Having said that, my kids were always different on what was needed to get them to help out. Basically, things like nagging, shoving their dirty dishes in their beds, and hiding everything I found out of place worked well. But, we really do not have chores per se in our house. Each task is worked on as a group project as it needs to be done. That seems to work the best for us.

 

And, in regards to schoolwork, my ADD kid still needed me to sit with her the entire time until she graduated. It is what it is.

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The something else is a distraction, socializing, etc. There's always something to occupy yourself online.

 

She's job hunting at the moment, so I hoping that will be something motivating. She wants to earn money.

 

I'll mention cognitive behavioral therapy to her therapist when we get in later this month.

 

She has TONS of clothes, but she asks for more because they are in huge piles on the floor and she can't keep track of them all. She just got around 10 t-shirts for Christmas, and she's asking for more t-shirts. I'm willing to buy her more clothes if there is an actual need but I'm unwilling to buy more clothes that aren't needed, just to end up forgotten on the floor again.

 

I'm also not willing to help clean the room again. I've cleaned the entire room myself when she and her sister were out of town for a week. And since then, the room has been cleaned, multiple times, sometimes without my help, sometimes with. Getting it clean is possible, and it requires a level of attention on my part that I'm not good at giving to keep it clean. I'm simply not good at that. I don't want to have another thing on my list I have to nag about, remind constantly, inspect, and think about. It's another thing on my mental to do list and I realize I need to get over it because it needs to be done. Just saying... wish I didn't have to.

 

She won't pick any other extracurricular activities. I can't drag a 16 year old to the gym and demand she run on a treadmill. I can't fight the battle that that would require. I've learned long ago to pick my battles. I simply don't have it in me to fight every single one. I'm sorry if anyone here feels that I'm failing her because of that... :(

 

She just started on birth control last week and her depression has been ongoing since she was... 12? Earlier? She was so difficult from babyhood, so it's hard for me to see where her rambunctious personality ends, and her depression begins. But BC is not a factor, though I'll certain keep an eye on that. (Does not having a baby at 16 trump feeling depressed? Which trumps doing school work?)

 

It's all well and good to say depression trumps schoolwork. But for how long? If she's been suffering for four years, I can't have no expectations for four years. How do I walk the line between caring that depression makes things so difficult, and expecting her to shake it off enough to accomplish some things in her life. I express a lot of sympathy for her, letting her know that I care, that I want to help her, that I'm trying to help her. But then it feels so unfair that I'm expecting Middle to help clean up, but Oldest just lays there not doing anything to help. I get that she doesn't care about schoolwork, and I can't make her, but is it reasonable to demand that she do it anyway, no matter how much she doesn't care? What do you do with a child so supremely unmotivated. I'm worried about her future. Worried about her education and her job prospects and her being able to keep her depression/bipolar under control as she gets into adulthood, worried about her no longer being insured in her mid 20s... See? I'm worried a lot. :)

 

I'm sorry to everyone who thinks a screen detox would be helpful to her but I am not going to do that. A lot of her school depends on screens, communication with friends depends on screens, and she loves to write (on the computer) and do digital art. The distractions aren't always a good thing, but there's a lot of good or helpful things in her life that come from her phone and computer. Taking all those away seems like I'm kicking her when she's down. I've taken screens away from her in the past for as long as a week at a time, and it wasn't very helpful. It was punishment, not teaching/mentoring/disciplining. That's not how I want to approach things with a 16 year old. If she agreed with me that this was something she wanted, then I would help her with that, but I kinda doubt it. I will try to talk to her therapist about it maybe, after we get started back in therapy.

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It sounds like she is meeting her social and creative needs on the computer. How far away from CC entry or dual enrollment is she? Has she talked to a counselor there about career paths? Is librarian what she is interested in, or media specialist?

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1. I would get in for a med check. 

 

2. Choose battles and prioritize. Personal hygeine, academics, chores, etc. 

 

3. DD's therapist recently reminded me that even with illness there, parents can still parent and lay down boundaries.

 

I've found that the most things get done with DD when 1., she has agreed to them ahead of time. She's more willing to accept a "push" to something she voluntarily signed on for., and 2. I don't put too much in front of her at once. Sometimes that means only ask her to do one thing, and stay on that until it's done, before asking for something else.

 

3. Positive reinforcement. Praise, encourage, recognize what she actually does get accomplished, even if it seems like a drop in the bucket of what it feels like she ought to do or could do. For instance, today I made sure and let my DD know I was very proud of her for not throwing any fits or melting down yesterday even though she was bored, tired, and had to endure a tantrum by her brother and me being kind of ticked by said tantrum. She kept herself together, even on the long car ride after the fireworks. 

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Are there other ps options? Does your state have any open enrollment schools within reasonable driving distance?

 

I would let any hcp's know that she is sexually active, if you think she is not in good control, or safe, and is acting out. OTOH, if she's in a relationship, the therapist might have good advice for you about parenting a depressed minor through that, too.

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It sounds like she is meeting her social and creative needs on the computer. How far away from CC entry or dual enrollment is she? Has she talked to a counselor there about career paths? Is librarian what she is interested in, or media specialist?

 

How far geographically? 15 minute drive. Very convenient. How far away academically... much further. :) She hasn't talked to a counselor yet about that. What do you recommend? A counselor at the CC? What's the difference between a librarian and media specialist? In our city's library, I think they just call them all librarians but I know they don't all have an MS in Librarian...ness... ;)

 

Are there other ps options? Does your state have any open enrollment schools within reasonable driving distance?

 

I would let any hcp's know that she is sexually active, if you think she is not in good control, or safe, and is acting out. OTOH, if she's in a relationship, the therapist might have good advice for you about parenting a depressed minor through that, too.

 

There are other PS options nearby but right now I am giving her a chance to prove that she is willing to homeschool over the summer. I might be enrolling her in the fall regardless. It will almost certain mean she will be graduating a year late. Which might be best for her anyway... I kinda feel like she won't be ready for adulthood at 18.

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I hope you have more time to decide for fall than we have here - new "balanced" calendar means the first day of school is August 1!

 

I'm glad you have that option if you need it. I'm sure school has its own set of new battles for you, but at least you could compartmentalize the stress a little more. But I hope she'll pull through this summer so you can both feel like hs'ing will succeed.

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Obviously, address the health issues. As for academics, get all kids together along with a rolling suitcase and head to the public library. Get a study room if available, and sit with her while she works, assisting as necessary. Afterward, get everyone an ice cream on the way home.

 

On the home front, clean her room for her, eliminating clutter and leaving her something much more simple to deal with. After the "big clean" work off of lists to see that she keeps it up, assisting when needed.

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Maybe pay your 14 year old to act as an "organizer" and help get the room under control so its not another burden for you.

You said your oldest isn't motivated by anything in one post but then later said she's trying to get a job to earn money. Could you pay her specifically for going out an exercising, for homework? Those would be a job for her as well.

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Re the screens - not sure if this would be possible - she could use a word processor or CD-ROM based curriculum without wifi access, right? Maybe limit wifi hours. Of course that's just an idea, you know what might actually work in your own home.

 

As for the clothes - she has too many - she's overwhelmed. Help her pick out 7 days' worth of a wardrobe and help her learn to properly care for those items. Once she is showing responsibility for those, let her "shop" from her other owned clothes (which you have stored in bins or something) to select a few more garments. Again, just an idea.

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I'm sorry you are going through this.

 

We have a router to turn off the internet when the computer needs to be used for school and it is a distraction.

 

I know she uses it for socializing, but irl socializing is much more important and protective against depression.

 

We found huge mental health benefit with saying social media use must be before dinner and we limit it to 1-2 hours a day and none on Sunday.  I can't tell you how much it helped.  I would limit it more if I could, but patterns, habits and relationships were already formed and it was too much to cut back more.  My younger two will not start social media until they are over 14 and will probably have fewer hours and build up slowly.

 

Let the room go.

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This sounds really tough, and I don't have any answers, but I do have a couple of little ideas.  

 

idea #1 - When my oldest dd shared a room with dd#2 her clothes were everywhere.  Piles of mess.  It was terrible.  I tried all kinds of organizing tricks with her.  I helped her fold and put away her laundry.  I hung things up for her.  We re-did her closet.  I bought laundry sorters, etc.  Nothing helped.  

 

I decided to do something drastic and asked her to pick her 10 favorite outfits.  10 shirts.  10 pants/shorts.  plus 3 exercise outfits.  3 pjs.  and some dresses for church.  10 undies.  10 pairs of socks. we also went through and picked some favorite shoes.  (10 is just a round number, you can of course, choose a reasonable amount that makes sense to you.)  Then I took everything else and boxed them up and put them in the basement.  I did not give anything away. I made sure she knew all of her things were available for her and that if she really needed something we could find it, and that she could "earn" things back by keeping her things under control.  But I encouraged her to stick with the 10 outfits.

 

It was life changing for her.  Her room was clean. Her closet was nice.  It was easy to do laundry - those laundry sorters worked when they weren't  cram-packed and lost under the laundry volcano.  She loved it.  It was easier to pick an outfit, and she seemed to actually have MORE to wear, not less, because she was able to find things.  She was still messy, but it was more manageable.  It is not something she could have done for herself.  She needed me to walk her through it.  

 

Idea #2 - we volunteer at a group home for teens who are unable to be placed in foster homes.  These are kids in crisis for one reason or another.  I have noticed that the home is very regimented with different levels of freedom earned.  From no outside time, no electronics, nothing, to earning the privilege of having a job and enjoying recreational activities.  I know that the kids hate it when they first get there, but the rules give them stability and help them calm themselves and begin to make changes that will hopefully allow them to be successful as adults.  I'm sure that much of that is not possible in a home environment, but I wonder if you could reframe your own thinking to find ways to limit her freedoms so that she can focus on the small necessary things that will allow her to become a successful adult.  Such as, finding ways to limit the computer to only the site she needs for math during math time, cell phone limits for break times, etc.  Maybe being the screen police would harm your relationship, though, it's tough and would not have worked for my difficult dd.  

 

Idea #3 - school.  I wonder if there is a part day program she could be involved in for a portion of her education? Maybe even just the fun stuff (ie continue math at home, but attend school for an art class and a spanish class? or tech ed type classes?)  The alternative high school here has some innovative and interesting ways to help teens with differing needs graduate. 

 

I have one who is the energy suck in our home.  I wish I had some real  solutions....  Big hugs, mama - this stuff is so hard!!

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I would certainly be pushing the doctor for better meds. Lithium and lamictal are both mood stabilizer and good for depression. We use them together here and they are known as the dynamic duo.

 

Did you see any great improvement with the SSRI? If not, it might not be what she needs.

 

We also use Omega 3 Mood by Country Life. 3 gel caps a day gives a lot of Omega 3s that they need.

 

Have they checked her iron levels, thyroid (sub levels), B and D vitamins? Getting all of that at an optimal level can help with the depression .

 

I would encourage/require some sort of outdoor activity/exercise every day. Mine call it forced marches but we walk or hike. For her, even a small bit a day and build up from there.

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i have a baby in my lap, and will type more later tonight, but just wanted to send hugs for now. 

 

I totally 100 percent get it. 

 

You are not a bad mom. 

 

You have a bad situation. 

 

It is not the end of the world. Many times I think of all the kids that commit suicide, and realize that my biggest priority is keeping my child alive. Everything else is secondary and can be tweaked as we go along. 

 

 

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Depression sucks so much. My heart breaks for her that this is her struggle. Comparing it to a serious illness is helpful because it is a serious illness. When she was in public school, I allowed mental health days. Days where she told me she just couldn't face it. Only a few a year, so I didn't feel like it was getting out of hand.

 

Thanks for all the input, though it may seem like I'm shooting down a lot of ideas. Partly because I've tried a lot of ideas. :) I do want to find her a volunteer opportunity somewhere. Her sister volunteers through her youth group, but Oldest has left church. :( But she's a generally empathetic, caring person. She would feel good about herself if she was helping some organization she believed in. Part time school is something we did for the first semester of last year, with mixed results. I might look into that at another school. It kind of depends on what each principal allows in my state. I need to touch base with a couple of the guidance counselors.

 

She's on lamictal and celexa. Her doctor keeps upping the dose on the lamictal. I want to wean her off the celexa and get her on another med.

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ok, baby is sleeping..for now. 

Anyway, I get it. My almost 18 year old didn't finish several subjects last year. Public school didn't work. We switched to dual enrollment which has worked better, sort of. At first it was great. He got A's and B's and enjoyed it. Then last semester he got one A, a D, and an F. He was definitely depressed, in retrospect. He's now doing better, but it's summer. He's still not getting done things he needs to get done. he hasn't studied for the placement test so he can take math. He hasn't registered for classes. Most of the time his room is disgusting (although he's cleaning it today! On his own!) He may take extra time to graduate. I don't know. I honestly don't know what will happen. But by all that I have in me, he's going to live. So no, I won't take away his only social outlet (internet online stuff), or refuse to take him to hang with friends the few times he wants to go. Because it would make the depression worse, and depression KILLS. 

 

I don't have answers. I will say CC worked out SO much better than public school for a million reasons. Definitely worth a try. Mainly, we are muddling through. His transcript won't be nearly what it could be. He may never "live up to his potential". But he's going to live. That's my goal at this point. 

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I would encourage as much physical activity as you can; if that starts with a ten minute walk every morning that is fine. Get the book Spark and have her read it. Read it yourself.

 

And yes, continue to remind yourself that she is severely ill; getting well is top priority. If she is one for whom depression and anxiety are a long term struggle then learning to manage them effectively becomes top priority. That will hopefully mean getting to a point where she can manage her schoolwork, her room, etc. but the school work and the room should maybe not be seen as ends in themselves but rather as indicators of how she is doing with managing her illness.

Edited by maize
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ok, baby is sleeping..for now. 

Anyway, I get it. My almost 18 year old didn't finish several subjects last year. Public school didn't work. We switched to dual enrollment which has worked better, sort of. At first it was great. He got A's and B's and enjoyed it. Then last semester he got one A, a D, and an F. He was definitely depressed, in retrospect. He's now doing better, but it's summer. He's still not getting done things he needs to get done. he hasn't studied for the placement test so he can take math. He hasn't registered for classes. Most of the time his room is disgusting (although he's cleaning it today! On his own!) He may take extra time to graduate. I don't know. I honestly don't know what will happen. But by all that I have in me, he's going to live. So no, I won't take away his only social outlet (internet online stuff), or refuse to take him to hang with friends the few times he wants to go. Because it would make the depression worse, and depression KILLS. 

 

I don't have answers. I will say CC worked out SO much better than public school for a million reasons. Definitely worth a try. Mainly, we are muddling through. His transcript won't be nearly what it could be. He may never "live up to his potential". But he's going to live. That's my goal at this point. 

 

Thank you for this post. You are right, her life, her mental health, that must be the priority and maize is right, these other things are not an end unto themselves but signs of how she is doing in general. I need to reframe how I see this situation.

 

:grouphug:

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Thank you for this post. You are right, her life, her mental health, that must be the priority and maize is right, these other things are not an end unto themselves but signs of how she is doing in general. I need to reframe how I see this situation.

 

:grouphug:

 

Good luck. It's hard. Especially when they are bright and you had such different expectations. 

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i have a baby in my lap, and will type more later tonight, but just wanted to send hugs for now.

 

I totally 100 percent get it.

 

You are not a bad mom.

 

You have a bad situation.

 

It is not the end of the world. Many times I think of all the kids that commit suicide, and realize that my biggest priority is keeping my child alive. Everything else is secondary and can be tweaked as we go along.

This

 

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Tapatalk

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Have the meds made her focus worse?  I might be confusing lamictal with a different seizure drug I tried for headaches, but I seem to remember it putting me into a fog, kind of like Topamax (aka- dopeymax in the headache community). You might check the side effects and see if it's contributing too.

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Is the state of her room feeding her depression?  I know you said that you wouldn't clean it again, but is the room making her feel worse?  Maybe you could have her work on it in 5-10 minute increments before she goes out with her friends or whatever.

 

And it seems like she might have too many clothes that she doesn't wear.  Maybe you could encourage her to clean out her closet and in exchange for each 10 or 20 or whatever pieces she gets rid of she can get one new one.

 

**Disclaimer** -- I thankfully have no experience with clinical depression, so feel free to disregard any and all of my ideas.  :)

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Have the meds made her focus worse?  I might be confusing lamictal with a different seizure drug I tried for headaches, but I seem to remember it putting me into a fog, kind of like Topamax (aka- dopeymax in the headache community). You might check the side effects and see if it's contributing too.

Lamictal generally does not have any cognitive dulling effects............Topamax certainly does though.

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The nature of the illness, when not or partially treated, is that reasonable tasks seem impossible.

 

It's a pretty serious illness. What helps me is to imagine how I'd respond if dd had cancer. Or broken limbs. And then respond like that.

 

When my kid has been really sick, getting a shower is a big deal.

 

While you are getting the meds and therapy sorted, I'd concentrate on:

 

Sleep hygiene

Hygiene

Decent diet

Light exercise

Time with family/friends.

 

Anything else is a bonus.

 

Depression sucks. Caring for a depressed person sucks. Giant hugs to you.

I love this post. One step at a time.

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Do her medical professionals know that it's not 'working?' Is it possible that they're only talking to her, getting her spin on things, and think therapy and meds are on track?

 

Can you go screen-free for a significant time to limit distractions for everyone? Do her classes with books and paper. No clicking over to the wrong site, no video games, just books and nature and physical activity. Without a screen to look at, would she literally do nothing? Have you tried long enough for her to get through withdrawal? My family loves technology more than most, but even my gamer kid requested an offline math curriculum because he was too distracted by his beloved screen. Desperate times and all. Maybe turn off the router until she completes a small, manageable checklist.

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