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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks,

I have mentioned in this section before about my oldest daughters self-esteem problems. But it seems to be going well beyond that right now and I don't know how to handle her.

She has completely pulled away from the family (that part I somewhat expect as a teen) but everything seems to suck for her even things she claims she enjoys. Her premise seems to be that if she can't be the "best" at something, why bother doing it at all..?? She also seems to be far too influenced by her "friends".

What got me the most worried recently was that she told me she took the Ivan Goldberg Depression Test online. I was trying to be supportive so I took it also. I got a 40. (Anything above 35 is considered high risk for depression). She scored a 77!!! I don't put a lot of stock into these kinds of things but it has me worried because some of the questions on there are about committing suicide, etc.

Just so you know, I have depressive traits so I know where she gets it but she has SO much going for her (more than I ever did). Obviously screaming at her doesn't work (my wife's favorite tactic :) ) and trying to have an "adult" conversation with her about it does nothing. She has always been pretty mature for her age so we have always been able to have more "grown up" conversations with her about just about anything.

Am I just being a nervous nelly? Any advice on letting it alone vs knowing when to have real concerns??
 

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My 12 year old son is going to be prone to depression. I have no doubt. He gets it from me. My answer is to put him in counseling NOW. Thankfully he's young enough that he likes the counseling. It gets him out of school (they pull him out of activity to do it) and he's able to talk about things that bother him to someone other than me (likely the source) of his angst.

I don't take depression lightly because I've suffered from it most of my adult life. Once it gets it's claws in you it's hard to overcome. I'd rather deal with it head on once I get ANY inclination it 'might' be a problem but that's just me.
 

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OP,

I feel for you and the situation your family is facing.

I have two teenage daughter (16 & 17) last year my eldest was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia whilst we have all come to terms with and are finding ways to adapt to the physical limitations her condition entails the emotional aspects are harder to help her with. For my daughter no longer being able to keep up with her friends (walking down the street let alone dancing), the periods of intense pain (seeing her suffer is so hard), the side effects of her medication (un-natural sleep patterns etc), and missing days at college has lead to her feeling depressed and self harming. She did complete one of the online surveys (I do not know if it was the same one) and got a scary score but I think that all of these "self assessment" forms have a flaw the applicant often exaggerates their symptoms / feelings and then the result is a self fulfilling prophesy and if anything contributes to their downward spiral. We have been able to get our daughter some counseling / therapy through her college and there are signs that this is helping.

Please do not try and cope with this alone, talk with your daughter about going to the doctor to arrange "talking therapy" remember that any medication doctors give is only a short term prop for most people and not a long term solution.

My prayers are with you all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks folks. She doesn't seem to want to talk to her school counselor, I have already asked about that.

So what type of counselor would it be? A family counselor or just a regular psychologist?
 

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I am so sorry that you are going through this with your daughter. My oldest DD has very low self esteem, but I have blamed most of that on a boyfriend of hers when she was younger who made her feel like she was worthless.

It is something that is so hard to get back once it is lost. We went to a family counselor and a psychologist too. I wish I could tell you that it helped us, but it didnt. Our case is different though. I do believe that if I had to do it all over again I would still seek this kind of help for her. It certainly didnt hurt.

May I ask if she has been through any thing that would have triggered this, or has she always been sort of down on herself? Is she involved in any kind of sports or dance or anything?

The reason I ask is that I have seen over the years, mainly in my younger two who are involved in sports and cheer, they as well as their peers seem to have higher self esteem. This could be a way to increase her self esteem. If there is something that she shows interest in, let her try it. If she is weak in it, get her extra help. She will improve and her confidence will build.

I'm sure that wont work with all kids, but I have seen it work with many over the years.

Good luck to you!!
 

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Yes, a family counselor or a counselor with experience working directly with kids/teens. You can approach her from a stance of wanting to understand better. She was interested enough in depression/depressive symptoms to find something online and commit time to taking the inventory. You could potentially engage her about why she was interested in taking it and if she learned anything about herself or areas she might like support/help in.

Teens do not have the life perspective that adults have, and their frontal cortexes (involved in decision making, considering long term consequences/benefits, etc) is still being developed, so often the severity of their emotions in the moment does feel like "the end of the world" (as some lament). While it seems like an over-exaggeration to us, it is an expression of the intensity and overwhelming nature of their emotional experiences. Accessing support (even if not a counselor, but a "mentor"/skills coach) to help her learn to tolerate and manage some of these feelings will serve her well now and in the future.
 

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A few things. I took that test on a lark and scored an 8. I am a classic type 1 full on manic depressive who, when untreated has been institutionalized multiple times for both extreme mania and depression psychosis. I tell you this because I am very suspect of quick tests.

Moreover while that test purportedly scores for age, it's clear in every day life to me to you and anyone else that adolescents experience emotions quite a bit differently than adults. They experience higher highs and exaggerated lows. Romeo and Juliet isn't about geezers.

Next, an honest diagnosis has to be made over the course of days or weeks taken at different intervals different times of day. Just like blood sugar.

As Sarah above recommends, you should gently broach the subject privately and get her to come around to the view that perhaps she could seek, with your help, something more professional in the way of assistance. And if so work only with someone with a known track record of working with people her age and perhaps mostly young women.
 

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My 16 yr old daughter has had esteem and depression issues since she had problems with some girls back in 7th grade. (there was cyber bullying involved) She is an amazing kid, she really is, but she doesnt see it most of the time. She and I have a very open relationship, she comes to me with everything..however when I had noticed her posting more and more posts on her Twitter about how sad she was all the time, I realized it was more than what she had been admitting to me. When I approached her about it, she asked if she could go to counseling. I found a therapist who specialized in kids/family, and she found it to be very helpful. She did diagnose her with clinical depression, so our family dr prescribed her antidepressants. She has been doing really well for the most part. She asks to see her therapist when she feels she needs to. She did have a backslide the other week, she had a panic attack at school that came back to being down about herself. She was feeling better within about two days after that.

Be proactive. If you think she is depressed, insist that she get some help, get involved. Usually I can tell when my daughter is just being "angsty" and when she is really struggling, its become kind of an instinct at this point. Depression runs in my family, as well as in her dad's family, so I am not surprised that she has issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
May I ask if she has been through any thing that would have triggered this, or has she always been sort of down on herself? Is she involved in any kind of sports or dance or anything?
Not that I know of and she has always had some of the esteem issues but it hasn't always been this bad.

She was a competitive gymnast for 7 years but last year stopped that and switched to competitive cheer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yes, a family counselor or a counselor with experience working directly with kids/teens. You can approach her from a stance of wanting to understand better. She was interested enough in depression/depressive symptoms to find something online and commit time to taking the inventory. You could potentially engage her about why she was interested in taking it and if she learned anything about herself or areas she might like support/help in.
I did and apparently a friend prompted her to take it. When I try to pry for where/what she is struggling with she doesn't know (or at least tells me that she doesn't know).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
My 16 yr old daughter has had esteem and depression issues since she had problems with some girls back in 7th grade. (there was cyber bullying involved) She is an amazing kid, she really is, but she doesnt see it most of the time. She and I have a very open relationship, she comes to me with everything..however when I had noticed her posting more and more posts on her Twitter about how sad she was all the time, I realized it was more than what she had been admitting to me. When I approached her about it, she asked if she could go to counseling. I found a therapist who specialized in kids/family, and she found it to be very helpful. She did diagnose her with clinical depression, so our family dr prescribed her antidepressants. She has been doing really well for the most part. She asks to see her therapist when she feels she needs to. She did have a backslide the other week, she had a panic attack at school that came back to being down about herself. She was feeling better within about two days after that.

Be proactive. If you think she is depressed, insist that she get some help, get involved. Usually I can tell when my daughter is just being "angsty" and when she is really struggling, its become kind of an instinct at this point. Depression runs in my family, as well as in her dad's family, so I am not surprised that she has issues.
This is us almost to a T right now. And honestly I have probably already blown it. I am over the top angry with her right now so I think she has shut down completely on me.

I understand and sympathize with her depressive traits, I really do. I have struggled with them myself for years. But she is complacent and lazy and I cannot stand that. I don't expect her to be the best by any stretch but I expect her to put forth some effort, especially if it is an area that she claims to actually enjoy.
 

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This is us almost to a T right now. And honestly I have probably already blown it. I am over the top angry with her right now so I think she has shut down completely on me.

I understand and sympathize with her depressive traits, I really do. I have struggled with them myself for years. But she is complacent and lazy and I cannot stand that. I don't expect her to be the best by any stretch but I expect her to put forth some effort, especially if it is an area that she claims to actually enjoy.
As someone who has struggled with depression most of my adult life it's not so easy. What looks like complacency and laziness is actually an inability to get out of the 'muck'. I describe it as being stuck in tar and I can't get out. Total blackness, hopelessness, etc. I think also it's worse on women than it is on men. Men are programmed to 'suck it up' and get on with life but women can't do that. I know I couldn't.

Have you considered therapy for yourself? I suspect her depression is triggering YOU and you need help dealing with your anger towards something she likely can't control without professional help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
As someone who has struggled with depression most of my adult life it's not so easy. What looks like complacency and laziness is actually an inability to get out of the 'muck'. I describe it as being stuck in tar and I can't get out. Total blackness, hopelessness, etc. I think also it's worse on women than it is on men. Men are programmed to 'suck it up' and get on with life but women can't do that. I know I couldn't.

Have you considered therapy for yourself? I suspect her depression is triggering YOU and you need help dealing with your anger towards something she likely can't control without professional help.
As I said, I am depressive too so I get it ( hell I am on Zoloft ).

BUT, I hadn't thought about men vs. women in this regard so I appreciate that insight.

AND maybe you are right about it triggering me too. I have always had esteem problems because I really don't have much to offer other than a decent IQ. She is pretty, witty, artistic, intelligent, and a pretty decent athlete. So maybe it is really hard for me to have the level of sympathy for her that I should have... :(
 

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As I said, I am depressive too so I get it ( hell I am on Zoloft ).

BUT, I hadn't thought about men vs. women in this regard so I appreciate that insight.

AND maybe you are right about it triggering me too. I have always had esteem problems because I really don't have much to offer other than a decent IQ. She is pretty, witty, artistic, intelligent, and a pretty decent athlete. So maybe it is really hard for me to have the level of sympathy for her that I should have... :(
I've had anger towards my son for his 'moodiness'. I was already in therapy so I knew that it was the part where he was causing me to look in the mirror. My son represented everything I hated about myself. I hated being moody and depressed.

For me having a son that's just like me was like taking the very worst parts of me and making it into another human being. I had a hard time seeing his value and worth because I couldn't see it in myself.

My son is super smart, he's cute, witty, cuddly, loveable, sweet and when he's not moody quite fun to be around. But all I did was focus on his moodiness. When I began to see him (and myself) in a more positive light things began to change. But first I had to love myself depression and all - that was tough.
 

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Not that I know of and she has always had some of the esteem issues but it hasn't always been this bad.

She was a competitive gymnast for 7 years but last year stopped that and switched to competitive cheer.
My daughter did competitive cheer too, for 7 years! This is the first year she hasnt since she was 8 years old, she got burnt out. I think that is part of the reason that her self esteem issues are not WORSE than they are, actually, cheer was good for her.

Is there another female in your family that she may be open to listening to? Maybe an aunt or cousin or something? What about her mom, where is she while all this is going down?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
My daughter did competitive cheer too, for 7 years! This is the first year she hasnt since she was 8 years old, she got burnt out. I think that is part of the reason that her self esteem issues are not WORSE than they are, actually, cheer was good for her.

Is there another female in your family that she may be open to listening to? Maybe an aunt or cousin or something? What about her mom, where is she while all this is going down?
None of either of our families are close geographically. :(

Here is the tough part where my wife is concerned. My daughter in the past has always talked to her about everything (and I mean everything). BUT, my wife has zero tolerance for our depression/moodiness because she cannot comprehend it. She likes to pretend everything is rosy whether it is or not (it is a family trait).

So she has a tendency to berate an issue. She cannot say her piece and move on, she goes on and on about it so I think my daughter shuts down eventually.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks coffee4me. I did try something similar to that in our last discussion but I started off all wrong. I was already pissed off so I am sure it didn't come out the way I intended it.

My question was more like "how would you like us to interact with/treat you" but I think it probably came off more defensive rather than her feeling like I was genuinely asking her opinion.

And thanks for the kinds words, I am trying... :)
 

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I did and apparently a friend prompted her to take it. When I try to pry for where/what she is struggling with she doesn't know (or at least tells me that she doesn't know).
She honestly likely doesn't know, and that's often one of the hardest parts about it for teens. It's typical for them to just feel "blah" and have no real reasons/understanding "why." And then often to add to it, their friends/parents/whomever tell them they "shouldn't" feel that way, so they are left feeling a) confused about why they feel this way in the first place and then b) stupid for feeling this way at all.

There are a lot of different developmental tasks and traits that go along with being a teen (including, but not limited to, huge hormone fluxes) that also easily feed/antagonize depressive symptoms, so while they might be mild-moderate in an adult, they are much more sever in a teen.

There is a great article I could send you, as well as provide additional information via message or email, if you're interested.
 

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This is us almost to a T right now. And honestly I have probably already blown it. I am over the top angry with her right now so I think she has shut down completely on me.

I understand and sympathize with her depressive traits, I really do. I have struggled with them myself for years. But she is complacent and lazy and I cannot stand that. I don't expect her to be the best by any stretch but I expect her to put forth some effort, especially if it is an area that she claims to actually enjoy.
So...her mom yells at her. You express anger at her. You make it clear that she doesn't meet your standards.

Where is the nurturing in all this? The talking about stuff? The one she feels safe to talk to? The one who loves her unconditionally, but still expects great things of her?

No kid will stay open to a parent who displays anger. They just won't. You are the enemy, by default, unless you approach her in a healthy way.

Read up on authoritative parenting.
Authoritative Parenting - What Is Authoritative Parenting
See if you can start changing the dynamics in your house. And by all means take her to a counselor. If she balks, tell her you need her to go with YOU, for YOU.
 
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