How Can I Help My Adult Child with Depression?

Dear GoodTherapy.org,

My adult daughter is incredibly gifted (she tested around 130 IQ), but she has pretty serious depression. The sleeps-all-day, forgets-to-eat kind. It took her an extra two years to graduate from college because she kept turning assignments in late. Once she got her engineering degree, everyone thought she’d get a job easily, but she bombed all her interviews. Eventually she ended up working as a waitress.

She’s been in therapy for a year now, and her more serious symptoms have improved. My daughter says she wants to quit her job and go to graduate school. However, she keeps procrastinating on applications and missing deadlines. When I try to ask about her progress, she clams up and shuts me out.

I know she’s an adult now. I can’t do everything for her. But I would hate to see my daughter’s depression sabotage her career. All she needs is a little support for her condition.

Should I take a more active role in guiding my child? Or is my daughter’s procrastination a sign she’s not actually ready for graduate school? I want her to reach her full potential, but I don’t want to push her into a situation she can’t handle. —Not an Empty Nester Yet

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Dear Not an Empty Nester,

It can be so hard to watch someone you love struggle. It can be even harder when you feel so helpless. Your daughter is an adult, is in therapy, and has to be in charge of her future. Your desire to help her comes from a loving place, but sadly, it is not the kind of help she needs.

Often when we try to help our kids by smoothing their path or taking care of things for them, we unintentionally signal that we’re not confident in their ability to manage things. This can reinforce their self-doubts and contribute to their sense of helplessness and ineffectiveness. What our kids need more often is to hear and see from us that we believe they can manage their lives, and that we are available for support if they want it. Then we must step back and let them fall and pick themselves back up. It can be excruciating to watch, and of course we can intervene when they are in serious or life-threatening danger. Failure to reach potential, though, doesn’t meet that standard.

If she owns her choices and the results of those choices, good or bad, she will move into adulthood on better footing.

It’s also not unusual for kids, even as they enter adulthood, to push back against the expectations they believe others (especially parents) have of them. If your daughter feels you are more invested in her graduate school applications than she is, she may lose some of her own motivation. Ultimately, she will have to decide what she wants and how much she wants to pursue it. If she owns her choices and the results of those choices, good or bad, she will move into adulthood on better footing. Maybe grad school is the right choice for her now, maybe not. Either way, she must choose how to live her life and forge her own path.

If you are wondering how best to support your daughter, could you ask to meet with her and her therapist? Her therapist might be able to offer ideas about how to communicate effectively with your daughter and offer her loving support in a way that bolsters her sense of self-efficacy. If not, perhaps you could find a therapist to work with to share your fears and concerns and identify a way to manage the anxiety you feel on your daughter’s behalf.

Best of luck,

Erika Myers, MS, MEd, LPC, NCC

Erika Myers, MS, MEd, LPC, NCC is a licensed psychotherapist and former educator specializing in working with families in transition (often due to separation or divorce) as well as individuals seeking support with relationship issues, parenting, depression, anxiety, grief/loss/bereavement, and managing major life changes. Although her theoretical orientation is eclectic, she most frequently uses a person-centered, strengths-based approach and cognitive behavioral therapy in her practice.
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  • Jennifer

    May 2nd, 2018 at 11:46 AM

    Hi Erika, I am “Not an Empty Nester” and I wanted to say thank you for responding to my letter. I think you’re right, I need to let her “own her choices” as you put it. I just hate to see her like this and it’s hard not being able to help her.

  • Elvia

    June 20th, 2019 at 7:44 PM

    Hi Erika, My daughter is 29 years of age and living here at home. She has fallen into depression first because she had very hard years losing family members. Seemed like one after the other. Next she has hormone imbalance and got hormonal acne after having nasal surgery. She stated very unhappy seeing all this come down on herself and started to lose hair. Third, her boyfriend of 5 years had broke up with her last year and after he found out that she was doing much better came back into her life to do the same thing again on the same months, not talking to her and ignoring her. So therefore, this daughter of my is so depressed and just does not get motivated. She is being crying all day in bed but I did get her to eat. She keeps telling me she needs help but doesnt want to see a therapist or her primary doctor. Erika my hands are tide when she asks me to help her heart get happy again….. Don’t know what to do…. please help me!
    Thank you!
    Elvia

  • Karen

    July 21st, 2019 at 8:11 AM

    Hi I find I am struggling with my daughter who is 38 and suffers with anxiety and depression, is it common for her to be really nasty toward me swearing and saying I am not there for her I am her mum and love her and this as been going on for 4 years it is only now she as managed to get a telephone appointment with a mental health team any help would be appreciated thank you Karen

  • Natty

    August 14th, 2019 at 10:13 AM

    My Son who is 28 did the same things until finally he realized, medication can help you up to a certain point, is a tool, but a good therapist takes you a long way. two weeks ago he approached one that he was recommended. Hoping and praying he beings therapy soon. You also try to see a Therapist. I see mine once a month and it has helped me to coupe with the situation. Also support groups for you, they are free ones in Houston and most likely one where you live. Take care

  • Tom

    January 4th, 2020 at 11:47 AM

    I have a 21 year old daughter that struggles with depression and she has suggested my wife and I try to get a better understanding of what she is dealing with. One avenue I am researching is reading material that would help me to understand what she is going through. Any suggestions of a book ( preferably not overly clinical ) that would provide some insight into depression in young female adults would be greatly appreciated. Thank you Tom

  • Jane

    February 24th, 2020 at 4:30 PM

    Don’t have any recommendations unfortunately but as another 21 year old depressed woman, it makes me very happy to see you educating yourself and supporting your daughter!! Thank you, the world needs more parents like you and your wife!

  • Confused Mom

    August 10th, 2020 at 2:14 PM

    I am going through the same with my 21yr old so i am trying a Therapist to see if that would help, i know it breaks our hearts to see our children like this.

  • Helpless Dad

    August 13th, 2020 at 1:20 PM

    My daughter is 25 and going through what appears to be depression. She’s had 2 episodes of possible taking of pills after drinking sessions which she acknowledges is a trigger to feeling very low. Lockdown and isolation has affected her deeply this past 5. I the and she’s not in a good place. Really hard to sit by and see it happening whilst trying desperately not to force opinions and help on her. Feel sad and helpless and looking for more common sense advice such as I’ve read on here so any thoughts of those going through same or similar most welcome please. Thank you

  • Leslie

    August 24th, 2020 at 7:50 AM

    I have exactly the same situation in my house with my 24 year old daughter. Shes seeing a therapist 1 x week. However, her procrastination is driving me crazy. How can I handle this part properly? She does very little to help around the house, and is slowly taking over our home by leaving her stuff everywhere and never putting things away. I am trying to be patient.

  • alyssa

    September 2nd, 2020 at 7:59 AM

    I can relate to all of the parents on this blog. I have a 26 year old son who has struggled with depression for many years. He has been in therapy, and has had the support of family throughout. He has difficulty with any changes in his life, and feels overwhelmed by them. He recently moved back to Long Island from BInghamton NY where he lived with his girlfriend. He is living in a rental, as I cannot live with him. We don’t see eye to eye on many issues. He is overwhelmed by loans he needs to take out to pay for graduate school. I try to be supportive for him, and make suggestions, however anything I say is viewed as a negative by him. It is difficult to put yourself in the path of a frustrated, overwhelmed depressed child, when you are unable to help. I have always tried to “fix” things for him, but I know I can’t be the fixer. It’s very frustrating being in this situation and loving the person. Any advice is appreciated. Alyssa

  • Jan

    September 4th, 2020 at 7:19 AM

    So, I’m not alone. Nothing is harder than watching your child (no matter how old) suffer. As parents we want to fix things. I’m having a hard time accepting that I can’t. It is up to her and I need to accept this. I love her so much.

  • leslie

    September 4th, 2020 at 7:34 PM

    I just want my daughter to do something. I am so frustrated and angry watching her do nothing all day. She looks at tik-toc continuously. She is extremely smart. After attending college for 6 years ..flunked out. she has no debt. I paid for her entire college after her freshman year, since she lost her scholarship. she has no plans. she said she was going to enroll in online certificate program, but never did and the deadline has passed. She procrastinates with everything. she doent even do her laundry. it is a huge mound of dirty clothes. she now is wearing clothes from her sisters closet. I cant take much more. I really want her to move out. help ! She was taking antidepressants, but her prescription has run out and she has procrastinated making another appointment with her psychiatrist. Im trying to ignore all this and be patient, but its difficult.

  • seema

    September 8th, 2020 at 12:01 AM

    My Daughter is 33 yrs. She has everything you can imagine. Took 3 extra yrs in college, could not decided what she wanted to do. I love her so much, but she will not let me come close to her. i was so happy she came today and spoke to me for a little while. I really don’t understand her. I need to find out what her insecurity is. She has never had a boyfriend because of it. How can i help her

  • Dean

    September 22nd, 2020 at 4:57 AM

    I appreciate all the posts on this thread. I sense the love we all have for our children. My 20 year old daughter is facing similar challenges with this pandemic making matters significantly worse. Two years ago, she was an accomplished athlete on scholarship at her dream college away from home. She worked very hard to overcome terrible ADD to achieve this success. Fast forward two years, she no longer is on the team, she has dropped out of school, she had a job but lost it because of debilitating anxiety, refuses to seek from “Western Medicine” after experiencing withdrawal and borderline addiction to her ADD medication. She is distancing herself from her family and now her friends. I hear our therapist and others in this thread say, “there is nothing you can do but support and love,” but this is crushing my wife and I. She lives out of state, is couch surfing at a ex-co-worker’s apartment, and we are now getting calls from her close friend group that they are worried about her. She is angry, overwhelmed by the social injustice issues of the world, distancing from those who care most about her. We also believe she is likely self-medicating with marijuana. My questions are, at what point should you try to intervene? How do you do this without creating resentment? Please, please help!!

  • Carolyn

    October 19th, 2020 at 12:12 PM

    I have a daughter and two sons. All of them are affected by depression. My older son was diagnosed with anxiety. He’s having a really hard time. What can I do to help him?

  • Dave

    October 20th, 2020 at 9:47 PM

    I just want to say I feel for everyone on this board. We are going thru the same thing with our 19 year old daughter. Just tonight she is texting me telling me how she can’t go on with life as it’s too difficult and pointless. She suffers from anxiety and depression. She had 1 attempted suicide earlier this year and then was placed into a phyc ward for a couple weeks. She has suffered for basically her whole life but now things are getting really bad again. I wish there was an answer, she is on meds and getting counselling. It’s so painful and stressful to watch your child suffer like this. I’m not asking for help or sympathy just relaying my story as there seems to be alot of us out there. My wife and I really don’t know what to do or say to help her anymore. The really sad thing is she is telling this to me tonight how lonely she is while she has company there with her. How can you fix/repair a brain?

  • Shelly

    November 5th, 2020 at 7:36 PM

    I am a Mom who want to help my depressed son. It has been severe for over 10 years. So many rollercoaster rides, and I am feeling exhausted. I enjoy reading these comments as there is some comfort in knowing others understand what I am feeling.

  • Clau

    November 8th, 2020 at 9:06 AM

    I noticed my daughter cried yesterday and she was very sensitive, She told me that she is going through a depression, but she doesn’t want to talk about it or want any help from me . I don’t know the reasons , What can I do? I felt helpless to hear it and not being able to do anything.

  • Gloria

    December 15th, 2020 at 9:50 AM

    It is so refreshing that I am not the only mother that deals with this. I have a 25 year old daughter that suffers from depression and anxiety. I find it so hard to deal with and to watch her suffer so much. I wish I had a happy pill to give her and fix everything. I recently started seeing a therapist, so I can get advice on how to deal with this all, or how I can help her. All we can do is be there for them, this is something that they are dealing with. My daughter has been seeing a Dr. for years, she is on medication, but nothing seems to help. Yes, I feel helpless! We will be trying a new treatment for her real soon. Sometimes I just have to pray and hope all will be ok. :(

  • Gloria

    December 15th, 2020 at 10:20 AM

    Just be there for him. That is all we can do.

  • Carolyn

    December 16th, 2020 at 6:26 AM

    Thank you for your response. It helps to meet someone going through a similar situation.

  • Gloria

    December 16th, 2020 at 7:48 AM

    Of course. It does help to meet people going through the same thing. The hardest thing is watching our kids suffer and not be able to do anything. All we can do is show them that we care, and that we love them.

  • Carolyn

    December 16th, 2020 at 12:18 PM

    I agree. Being a parent means being there for them from little to adult.

  • Kellie

    December 17th, 2020 at 2:01 PM

    Thank you for all your messages. I have a 25 year old daughter. She has a quirky personality. She has been bullied in her teenage years and has grown hard over the years. She is very messy. Her room could be on an episode of Hoarders :( I try and reason with her. She cannot keep a job because it seems “everyone is out to get her”. In her defense, people have a hard time with her personality. They treat her differently. She has an associates degree but is really lagging on getting the bachelor’s degree. She makes a lot of excuses for everything. Some are logical others, Come on!! I am at a loss right now. I don’t know what to do. I worry so much. I support her 100% and I do not mind if it was to help her for her future. I think though, I am only hurting her future. She cries a lot and she has gone to a therapist. I do not think she is 100% truthful to the therapist. She doesn’t want to clean, she doesn’t want to take care of herself. She complains, that is what society is telling everyone. She wants to be her own person. She isn’t mean to me but she isn’t helpful either. :( I know I need therapy as well from just experiencing this with her. I want to help, I want her to be OK. I need to be stronger and let her do her thing no matter what outcome. It is hard, and I am scared for her. :( thanks for reading this.

  • Dave

    December 17th, 2020 at 2:58 PM

    Kellie, we all feel your pain even if everyone’s children’s issues has different nuisances. My wife tells me that there is only so much we can do, we just need to be there for them when needed but we have to look out for our own sanity also. I can tell you with all the things going on in my life, children, work and finances, I’m almost at the end of my rope and struggle most days. It sounds like you are doing the right things not sure what else you could do. I really fear for the future with social media and how complicated living a daily life has become. These people who always say their life is perfect, with perfect kids make me want to puke most days. Maybe they are just the lucky ones.

  • Gloria

    December 17th, 2020 at 3:05 PM

    HI Kelly, I think your story is so similar to mine. My daughter is so intelligent, says she want to continue her college and go on to get her degree in Dentistry, but she never does it. She has wasted years! I myself started seeing a counselor, just so I know how to deal with her. My daughter does see a psychiatrist every other week, she has been for the past 5 years. What I have learned is that they are pretty much just guinea pigs, so to speak. My daughter has tried every medication out there and nothing has helped, or it may help for a bit, then it is back to being depressed and anxious. What I have told my daughter is “you can keep your bedroom however you want, but my kitchen, living and dining area must be kept clean at all times. My daughter gets overwhelmed just trying to do her laundry. Honestly there is no helping them! They need to help themselves. They need to seek the help. Our kids are grown, and it is time we live for us. I know I have babied my daughter to no end, and so she is so dependent on me. I need to stop doing that. I need to do that in baby steps. That is the only way, they will become responsible for their own actions. Believe me I know exactly how you feel! My daughter is 25, and is very, very similar to your daughter. patience is very important, but at the same time, take care of you. Do the things you enjoy doing and let’s them figure out their own lives for a minute. Reach out to a counselor, they are a breath of fresh air and can help you put things into prospective. Thank you so much for reaching out to me. You are not alone, trust me.

  • Carolyn

    December 17th, 2020 at 7:21 PM

    My adult son told me a couple of years ago that he had been diagnosed with anxiety. He did find a counselor and has regular visits. He doesn’t share anything about his sessions or what kind of medication he is on. Since the pandemic started he has worked from home and his anxiety has gotten worse. The last conversation we had was very difficult, he blames me and became nasty. I told him I loved him but have given him space since then. So hard!

  • Alison

    December 19th, 2020 at 4:10 AM

    I too have a daughter who has depression. She had a lot of problems in her teenage years and lost her Dad 10 years ago. She has subsequently worked hard to gain a degree and set up her own business. She has also joined a gym and plays sport (subject to lockdown rules). She told me that she sees no point in living. She lives in her own house with 2 tenants and works from home so she doesn’t mix as much as she would like with friends. She has never had a good relationship with a man and would dearly love to meet someone and start a family but feels her time is running out. I have encouraged her to join a dating site as she has admitted she is lonely. She also has low self esteem and sees her peers all getting on with life and appearing ‘happy’. I am trying to support her long distance but she feels the world is against her. I think it is a very difficult time for the young looking to their future. I feel there must be many others who just need someone special in their life – even if it’s to do nothing with. I am interested to read all the comments on this site which make me realise I am not alone. I wish I could get all these youngsters together to talk…

  • Gloria

    December 21st, 2020 at 7:55 AM

    Alison,
    You are not alone. I think watching them suffer, we suffer as well. I know I have a very hard time dealing with my daughter’s depression and manic anxiety. I try not to show it, but some days are just so bad. Be there for her, encourage her. Let her know what a a beautiful person she is. That is all we can do! Just be there when they need us!

  • Maureen

    December 22nd, 2020 at 10:11 AM

    This is tough. I feel all your pain very deeply and I suffer from the same as a parent of a 28 year old son with depression, anxiety and OCD. What is the answer? I have read a lot about the drug from the magic mushroom…psilocybin…and how studies are being done now at places like John Hopkins, on people who suffer from depression and anxiety and apparently it may be the answer we are all looking for. Apparently it is a shot deal…take the drug and your life is changed…I am trying to convince my son to try it, but he’s too nervous to be in the trials…so I may have to wait until its approved for all. Anyway, I just wanted to share that bit of news and to say I hope our kids gain mental health in 2021.

  • Patsy

    January 16th, 2021 at 7:28 PM

    I have a 34 year old daughter that moved home after her engagement broke down. He had found a girlfriend. At that time both of her 12 year old dogs died within 2 months. They sold their townhouse that she was so proud of. She suffered so much anxiety from it all, she started breaking down at work and eventually was unable to work. She was hospitalized for 10 days during with they removed her from her meds and were going to try new ones. She had been on them a long time and it was really hard on her. Gradually they gave her some others. Nothing has worked at all. She had counselling and a psychiatrist every second week calling (Covid had started). She liked and trusted her but she was replaced with another who changed meds again.
    And was very stiff to deal with. So now she is jobless and living with her step father and me. She has gotten progressively worse plus severe anxiety. She did start seeing a fellow before she got this bad and still sees him and his daughter. Part of their bubble. So now she spends 90% of her time in her room but was better with him. Don’t think she cares a lot for him, but gets her out of here with different company. She is still getting worse, went to bed for 2 days at his place. I don’t think he understands. Getting hard for him. She has suicidal thoughts everyday but says she is too tired to do anything. Says nothing makes her happy or gives her pleasure. This is hard on all three of us and harder that we are in our 70’s and still locked down. He has had a stroke and I finished treatments for cancer last year. Btw – she fell last week and broke her elbow. Also, just for history, she suffered from epilepsy as a child and it returned with a vengeance when she was thirty. It took a lot of time and work, together to gain some control again, she lost her license and gave up her car. And her job as social worker. I don’t know why I have written this epic, but I think I needed to. One thing I have realized from writing this, is I need counselling myself. Thanks for listening.

  • Alison

    January 18th, 2021 at 7:44 AM

    Patsy, thank you for your story which I’m sure you needed to tell. It just shows that we are not alone and there is always someone in a similar or worse situation. I’m sorry to hear about your daughter and I think you are right that you don’t need to deal with this on your own. There is plenty of help out there, even if it is just someone to lend a listening ear. Sorry to hear about your husband’s stroke and your cancer, I don’t know why life throws these things at us but I think they make us stronger (in some ways). I always believe that things happen for a reason. My daughter has picked up a bit in the last week or so and I am hoping she will stay that way but there are no guarantees. Such a difficult time especially with COVID. Let’s hope things improve for all of us soon. Take care now.

    Alison

  • Lee

    January 19th, 2021 at 11:31 AM

    Patsy,
    I feel your pain and frustration. I’m in a similiar situation with my 24 yr old daughter. I’m at a loss for what to do anymore. Just let her be and hope she gets it together or keep suggesting options for her? She doesn’t work and flunked out of college after 6 years. She is seeing a therapist, but havent seen any change. Her cat and dog are her happiness. I just don’t know anymore.

  • Kathleen

    January 29th, 2021 at 7:25 AM

    So what does “being there for them” really mean? Checking on them every day (mine won’t respond to texts or answer phone and lives across the country. Listening when they do finally reach out? Suggesting research to solutions? Are there really any solutions or just band-aids to “get through life”? Do people really recover from depression or is it a permanent affliction that has to be managed every day?? Also a fixer – so that I will try to manage from my end – but I agree with so many of you – when they are in this state they don’t want to fix anything they just want life to be over…..

  • Dave

    January 30th, 2021 at 7:05 PM

    I don’t think you can ever get over depression. I’m sure it will claim my daughter at some point in her life. She just checked herself in to the hospital again this week. She tells me her flat mood is always sad and doesn’t see why she has to live. She is on meds, probably the only thing keeping her alive at this point. As a parent it’s the absolutely worst thing in the world watching them suffer and not being able to do a damn thing about it. She is 19 now and at least I have come to the realization of how bad her mental state is. We thought she was just going thru the usual teenage issues, but we know this has been her demon since the day she was born. We think it could be autism but she doesn’t think so. Whatever it is I just want her to gain the skills to learn to live with this disease for as long as she can, at least till I’m gone cuz losing a child would be the worst. God is that selfish? I know I had a brother pass in a work place accident and it devastated my parents back when I was in high school. Now my youngest son who is 15 totally walks around the house resenting me and basically hates me. This is because I won’t let him smoke pot while he’s in school and living in our house. He has the education level of grade 5 and he’s in grade 10. He has learning issues and his attitude stinks. I don’t think the weed is helping him. We just found out he’s been doing it for 2 years already. Does anyone else feel like having kids was a mistake?

  • Pauline

    March 9th, 2021 at 1:51 AM

    i wish there was something i could do.

  • Cindy

    March 11th, 2021 at 4:36 PM

    My daughter 29 with 2 gorgeous boys 5 and 8, she has been drama in my life for 17 years and the drama doesn’t stop, she now states she has a mental health problem of depression, she’s always very abusive towards me and I have always been there for her and the boys, her dad suicided 16 years ago but she was difficult before our seperation and his passing. The boys have been taken of her and father is telling her to get help for boys and he will keep boys till she gets help but its everyone else who has the problem and we don’t give support, she keeps saying shes depressed, over weekend stated suicide, ringing everyone at 2.30 in morning, I called the police with mental health worker twice to conduct welfare checks and she stating that myself and father of the kids are the problem…tried to see if she will live with me but she wont as she states we will only attack her and we are trying to get her out of the house, her house is a mess and so worried that she will suicide like her dad did, my heart goes out to my grandsons too…she even trashed my sons room last October cause he went out for weekend with boys father, her ex mother in-law even slapped her two days before Xmas cause she caused drama that wasn’t warranted! I’m worried and very tired, I told her I’m here if you want my support…I know it will get worst next week when she cannot have the boys back! I love my daughter but I don’t like the person she has become…

  • Elvia

    March 13th, 2021 at 7:54 AM

    Hi Cindy, my heart goes out to you and your family. I’am living a situation almost like yours except my daughter isn’t married and has no kids. She tends to put the blame on me and her dad fir what’s she is going through. It’s a very exhausting way of living but just like you I adore her with all my heart. She has her small business and works out of the house. She gets up and gets her orders out to clients and then it’s a hassle for her to go to sleep. So here I am staying up till 1 am or until 3 am to comfort her and reassure her she is ok. She is scared to try antidepressant. I pray every day for her to get better and find the peace she deserves. I will keep your daughter in my prayers and all we can do is be there for them. God bless you and your family. ❤️

  • Mary

    March 13th, 2021 at 8:46 PM

    Alison, your story is so familiar to me. My daughter was beautiful, bright and over-confident. In college she was date-raped and got herpes. She has never recovered from this and spiraled into drinking and self-destructive attitudes. I cannot help her and she has lost all her self-esteem. She mistrusts men and has had a series of boyfriends who do not deserve her. Now she lives in a house we helped her buy and has become anxious and depressed with the COVID. I cannot help her. It’s frustrating and I must stand back and let her sort it out.

  • Leslie

    March 14th, 2021 at 1:39 PM

    Mary, very similiar situation with my daughter
    Raped twice at college. It’s been a downward spiral. Finally flunked out.
    She’s in therapy now. Not sure if it’s helping.

  • Mary

    March 14th, 2021 at 6:26 PM

    Elvia, please encourage your daughter to try antidepressants. My daughter rejected them when she was about 22 and then later in her 20’s she realized they were a godsend. She can go off them when her health improves.

  • Mary

    March 15th, 2021 at 12:21 PM

    Hi, Leslie, Sorry to hear about your daughter. My daughter failed her exams two months after the rape and ended up leaving her very good college immediately as it was the end of her freshman year. She basically flunked out and wound up at community college after a very depressed and negative summer, then binge drinking, finally a DUI and joined AA. She did finish college but has never been the same. I was raped in college but by someone I didn’t really trust to begin with so it was less traumatic for me. Help her with self-esteem as much as you can. How to rebuild trust is another problem.

  • Anne

    March 25th, 2021 at 6:47 PM

    My daughter is 24, living at home and very depressed. Doesn’t want help.

  • leslie

    March 26th, 2021 at 10:21 AM

    do I stand by and watch my daughter fade away? How can I help her? her meds dont help. cant find anyone to re evaluate her. She thinks she is fine. She likes her therapist..but therapist isnt a big proponent of meds. when PA asks if shes happy with meds she says “yes”. so she stays on same ones. im frustrated and feel so bad for her. i try to be there for her and do things with her, just so she has some interaction. its starting to take a toll on me. Im a single parent.

  • Elvia

    March 26th, 2021 at 1:03 PM

    Hi Anne, my daughter Anna was like that also. I focused on getting her a therapist until she found the one that fit her needs and also confide on. It’s very difficult to see your children in a situation like this but as a mother, I learned that all they want is someone to hear them out and not tell them, “that it’s all in their heads or “that everything will be ok soon.” It’s hard to see them angry at you for no reason. I tell you just keep listening to her and suggest therapy at least. My daughter doesn’t want antidepressants because for her .. these pills got her worse but your daughter might be different. I will pray for her that this demon disease gets out of our young children’s minds. God bless you and the family….

    Elvia

  • Mary

    March 26th, 2021 at 2:21 PM

    Leslie, you’re doing your best already. She has to face her demons whatever they are. Some people are comfortable being depressed, regardless of how awful it seems to others. It’s up to her no matter what you say or do. If she has a “cause” she believes in, that might get her going. Good luck.

  • Carol

    March 29th, 2021 at 6:21 PM

    Hi, my daughter is struggling with depression (new development). I am trying to find her a therapist but have no clue what type I should have her look into? Psychologist, licensed clinical social worker? Mental health counselor? Any advice appreciated.

  • RL

    April 14th, 2021 at 12:20 AM

    It’s alarming and also comforting to hear from so many people in a situation similar to ours. We have a 32 year old daughter who was diagnosed with OCD and anxiety at age 12. At 14 they added depression to the diagnosis. For half her life she has been tied in knots by this disease. She’s been in every kind of therapy, including hospitalization for ECT. Some treatments were helpful but never for long. She’s officially disabled. This past six months have been the most difficult; the effects of political chaos and the pandemic really were too much for her. We were on the verge of having her admitted to a psychiatrist hospital due to suicidal ideation, but she stabelized. At this point her psychiatrist thinks we should put her in a residential program of three or more months. The expense is astronomical (between 90-150K) but finding a good program is almost impossible, and I’m not the only one putting in the research. She is our one and only and we would do anything to help her get where she needs to be: we want her to have something to occupy her very busy brain, a living situation that is safe and comfortable, friends she can rely on… but in fact she still lives with us and has never held a job; after ten years of taking classes, she’s just two courses short of a BA, but she’s convinced no one would ever hire her, given her medical history.
    A good residential program won’t perform miracles, but it could get her to a better place. If we could just find one.

  • Lisa

    May 12th, 2021 at 8:19 AM

    My daughter is 22 – struggles with depression – was a very happy, smart, ambitious kid until she met a guy and followed him out of state for college. Where she didn’t’ go to class, started getting high and spending all of our money – lying to us throughout – until we got the grades – and realized she wasn’t going to classes. We forced her to come home – and it took her a good year and half to re-adjust. She has tried several area colleges, and never follows through or drops out without telling us – (after we already agreed on open dialog). We’ve lost countless dollars, and we have taken her to all types of specialists – for depression and other health issues she seems to have (we think are related to her daily lack of self care, and vaping). She continues to come to us with new ‘ideas’ to help her – but will take no advice from us – she is totally financially dependent on us – and can’t seem to keep a job due to her depression –
    She only see’s her side – and blames us for not doing enough – she will only tell us what she wants and not allow us to offer any advice or take her for more care -she does see a counselor she likes – we have offered to meet with her and her counselor – but she continues to tell us we don’t support her – feeling very guilty – even though I know we have done a ton to help her –
    Any recommendations?

  • R.

    May 12th, 2021 at 9:31 AM

    It is horrible to say that I feel some sense of relief to know that there are others out there like us. My daughter is an intelligent, beautiful 21 year old who has suffered from anxiety and depression seemingly her whole life. Though like others on here, she had had a job, has at times been productive, but she is now living with us taking her college courses from home and barely squeaking by, probably about to be asked to leave the university. She believes she is innately a failure and a lost cause. She has offers of great internships but feels like she will just let everyone down who tries to help her. She is frustrated that every therapist she has seen hasn’t solved anything though it’s been explained it is a process not a fix. One doctor she met very briefly prescribed her anti-depressants and told her she could drink alcohol while on them. She knew this was incorrect so never took them and now doesn’t even trust physicians. She says she doesn’t want to make decisions and is willing to let life “just happen to” her. I can’t get her to try another therapist/psychologist. This is breaking my heart. My husband and I would do anything for her to have see herself as others do, but we feel paralyzed. We just keep loving and emotionally supporting her, but aren’t sure how to help her move out of/on from this. Covid has been a blessing and a curse as she hasn’t had to explain to anyone why she is home but can just lay around all day. That is ending soon and she is dipping further into depression and just lays in her bed watching tik-toks all day, occasionally spending time with friends but in between doing nothing. We are devastated, try hard not to pressure her and we don’t sleep for the worry. Our poor sweet daughter, what did we do to cause so much sadness and how can we help her.

  • Dave

    May 13th, 2021 at 4:28 AM

    Well here we are over 1 year since I first posted on this blog. Things have literately gone from bad to worse. She won’t talk to me or acknowledge me at all. I’ve just resigned myself to the fact that there is nothing I can do to help her and that what happens will happen. I can’t beat myself up anymore about it. Some day I’ll have to pick her up from the morgue I’m sure.

  • Concerned Mother in Canada

    May 19th, 2021 at 7:01 AM

    I understand your pain. My son has anxiety that is almost crippling to the point that he won’t try to apply for full-time work. The breaking point was yesterday when his girlfriend broke up with him. He is devistated. I spoke with him. The first thing that I did was contact the doctor to see if we can get in to increase his medication or give him a sedative for a few days to keep him calm. I spoke with him and said that we needed to come up with a plan to tackle his anxiety and help him have a more balanced life path. I suggested that when we can get an appointment for a phychologist that can treat him for his anxiety treatment and for the relationship break up, then I told him that I will hire a career couch that will help him to determine what his interests are how he go about getting there. He agreed! What ever happens, I guess patience is what we need as parents. I just pray that I can keep my patience with him like all of the concerned parents on here have been doing. If this doesn’t work, not sure what else to do. He seems to want to get the help and to improve, so I said that I would help him get there but based on what i”m reading in the other parents comments is that it isn’t that easy as you might think it is to get your adult child back on track. I will be praying alot.

  • R

    May 20th, 2021 at 7:27 AM

    Oh concerned mom, what a great job you’re doing! It must feel good to feel like he is moving in a positive direction . It sounds like you handled all of this well and he knows you’re there for him- good for you. These victories, big and small, in the face of this Goliath should be celebrated, even if only quietly by you. Give yourself a smile in the mirror, take a few well deserved deep but easy breaths and try to relax in this moment of light. My thoughts are with you and your son and wishing you both all the best.

  • Lisa Ann

    May 24th, 2021 at 5:58 AM

    I’m also here with you all. I have a very bright 19 year old who I always thought had depression issues, but a therapist told me no it was just anxiety. Here we are coming out of COVID and living in fear. Freshman year in college (failed out) has now asked for help. I understand she has to seek it the help but I’m suffering watching this.

  • R

    May 24th, 2021 at 7:05 AM

    Lisa Ann- I am sorry you two are going through this. If she asked for help, she needs it! Good for her. But sometimes trying to find a therapist for yourself is really exhausting to navigate, especially for a young adult while experiencing depression. I hope you and she are successful in searching. So many new college students had a much harder time with freshman year during covid. They’ve heard, read and seen their whole lives about the excitement and newness of what it is supposed to be and, well, that’s certainly not what they got and at absolutely no fault of their own! I hope she tries again if she that is what she wants. Best of luck to you both.

  • Concerned Mother in Canada

    May 24th, 2021 at 7:15 AM

    Dave,
    Please don’t give up hope! I want you to know that my heart goes out to you and as my mother used to say “nothing ever stays the same” and we should all have hope that our children will one day change and get through their difficult times. I’ve even am willing to try hypnotherapy to see if that helps my son with his anxiety. If it does, I will share. If anyone on here has any information that helped get thier children on track, I wish that you could share as well.

  • Lisa Ann

    May 26th, 2021 at 4:11 AM

    The guilt and pain is real. How do I function as a parent?

  • R

    May 26th, 2021 at 8:12 AM

    For my daughter it helps sometimes it helps to commiserate and just be there. It is so, so hard and frustrating and I always want to say “cant you JUST blah blah blah…” but what my daughter has told me is that the frustration and fear and sadness I feel about her is 10x worse inside of her. All the things I think and feel about her situation and negativity are amplified inside of her and its virtually impossible to get away from it. So, at least for us, it never helps to tell them what they should be doing- they’re smart, they know- but there is a giant monster between their logic and forward momentum. So, i guess you love her up, support her and aid her in finding someone to talk to. and VERY IMPORTANTLY find someone to talk to for yourself. This website is a great place to look for someone. And remember, this is not your fault.

  • Terri

    July 2nd, 2021 at 12:47 PM

    Every one of these comments rings true to my situation. My son is 30. We have been dealing with this for 15 years. I want to be supportive, but there are just times I want to say “I’m out!”. He will get a job, but not hold on to it (it’s always “their fault”). I know we are not the only ones going through this, but sometimes when I talk about it with someone I stop because I feel like they are going to say “How can it be THAT bad?”. It is THAT bad. I feel awful that I can’t help, but he won’t let me. I’m scared, frustrated, mad, and exhausted – but most of all just really sad that I can’t fix it for him. The tension in the house at times is incredible. But every once in a while I get a glimpse of the little happy, funny boy he used to be and it gives me hope to go on. Thank you all for sharing your stories. In a weird way it’s comforting knowing I am not alone, but also incredibly sad that there are so many families like mine out there.

  • Concerned Mother in Canada

    July 4th, 2021 at 10:39 AM

    My son has had two therapy sessions with the phychologist and has since informed me that he is looking into potential jobs for the future. He is striving very high (vetinarian) which worries me a bit as I thought therapy was to help little by little and takes long time. I pray that the therapy works as I know some have done the thearapy and it did nothing. I wish everyone well and hope that these young adults change for the positive. Hypnotherapy was one of the options that I was looking into, however, I can’t get my son in as they are fully booked but I will make an appointment as soon as they will except more clients. I heard there are other healing people that can help as well like REKE people that heal the body and mind. Maybe I will get him try that as well. If anyone on here has tried any of the things that I have mentioned, can you please let me know how it went?

  • Sadmom

    July 12th, 2021 at 10:49 PM

    What a blessing to find this page. My 20 year old is struggling too but I do believe it’s very high anxiety rather than depression. She like others lies in bed flicking through Tik tok , really has no friends bar one . When she is good she is fantastic but she can barely talk to me when going through an episode. Her dog is having some health issues at the moment so the poor girl is a lost and worried. The dog is her lifeline . Rather then enjoying her dog each day now she is worrying worrying . She is going to start a course in September so I’m hoping she will love it and it might bring some structure back to her life after this horrible year of COVID . I have learned though to not say anything to her when she is down but just to keep the food available ( not always eaten) ,don’t pry , don’t offer advice or encouragement ( which is so so hard for me ) . Like others said whatever they are going through is magnified in their own heads . So they don’t even hear what we say it’s just voices which makes it worse. I’m worried though

  • Concerned Mom in Canada

    July 13th, 2021 at 7:29 AM

    I hear your pain! Maybe you are correct when you say that you just listen and provide her food as they aren’t hearing anything that we are saying. Maybe if your daughter takes that course it will help. Tell her to contact my son as he is going through it together and might be able to talk it out. It’s worth a try. His name is Connor. He is 25 years of age. Maybe they can help each other because they will understand what each other is going through. The email is either the one above. I don’t email as he lives with me or we just text.

  • r

    July 13th, 2021 at 11:36 AM

    Sadmom- i could have written exactly what you wrote (with slight alterations- she begins an intense, busy internship next week and family dog is fine). We just returned from a family trip that almost every moment was fun for her as she interacted with family friends and new people her own age. We are home now, those new people are back where we were or in other places going about their “exciting” lives with direction. Even her younger brother and sister have something going on. She feels alone, unmoored, bored, behind and lost. I wish i could convey to her that so many have been where she is, but all she can see is social media and tiktok where everything looks like everyone else knows exactly what to do next. I know she is scared and worried about her internship (it is a longer version of one she did before so she knows what to expect). she is worried she wont be what they want, be able to keep up, and even that it won’t fulfil her. she doesn’t talk to me about any of this, i am just piecing together things she has said. I wish she knew and could see in herself what everyone else does- she’s fantastic! Though it is most definitely not about me, I will always carry the weight of guilt that I was not the mother she needed and exacerbated her anxiety. I wish I knew it was not too late to be a better mother now.

  • Janet

    August 21st, 2021 at 10:28 AM

    My son 52 still lives with us. Depression started about 6 Months ago. Finding mental health is awful. He has Medicade, finally found a therapist only sees him twice a month. Has stopped eating, bathing and seeing family. Won’t take meds. I cry every nite, do I help or just stay out of his way?. No job, no license. No friends..

  • rd

    August 22nd, 2021 at 1:35 PM

    Oh Janet, i am so, so sorry. That is incredibly difficult. I hope you have someone to talk to, especially a therapist who can talk you through so much of this pain. If one is nt available near you there are websites that will help you find someone and many with discounted fees if that is an issue. Please feel support from those of us who feel your pain. Talk to someone for support, it si so important.

  • Diana

    August 30th, 2021 at 4:34 PM

    My daughter is 42yo with depression and anxiety. Finally got her to see a doctor and started meds. She has a job but I continue to pay her rent groceries and other purchases. She has a 12yo child. Everytime I relate that I don’t how much longer I can help her financially, the tension starts with my being told I have no understanding of what she’s going through. Comments like everybody will be happier if I’m gone. I live in fear of what she might do. I’ve become mentally exhausted

  • Canadian Mother

    August 31st, 2021 at 8:25 AM

    Isn’t it great when the one person that loves them the most that they treat the worst. Try to ignore it! They are lashing out at us and don’t really mean it. I’ve learned that the more I complain to him, the more my son gets mean. I set my own goals for him and told him that I’m helping him to succeed. Basically, told him he needed to see a therapist, take driving lesson classes and get a full time job. Whether it’s right or wrong, I told my son to try the online driving classes with the instructor and that I didn’t care if he failed the course as long as he tried and that I would pay for it again if he failed. He didn’t stress and he passed all of the tests. For some reason when I tell him I don’t care if he fails, he does well. Not sure if it’s right to do this but it’s working.

  • Another Canadian Mother

    September 29th, 2021 at 3:53 PM

    Hi I am glad I found this site. Daughter 20, bullied as a youngster, a couple of abusive relationships. She has depression and anxiety. It has got very serious on occasion and she just told me she started self harming again. I am on a constant knife-edge of anxiety – it’s very exhausting. She feels we would be better off without her – which is the opposite of what the reality would be. I love this kid with everything I have, why can’t I just find the “switch” for her. Anyway, thank you for listening.

  • Dave

    September 30th, 2021 at 11:35 AM

    Welcome to the club unfortunately, I could think of alot more clubs I would rather belong.

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