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Daughter with depression and anxiety

Hi all. My 15 yr old has a 3 year history of severe depression and anxiety with self harming and an occasional dabbling in eating issues. We have gone through the stages of headspace, camhs and now in and outpatient care at a private clinic. She has done 1 to 1 therapy, group therapy CBT and DBT. 3 suicide attempts later, a bucket load of assorted meds and my baby still begs me to let her die. She says its too hard hurts too much and she is a burden which of course she's not. Sometimes we see glimpses of our vibrant happy child and foolishly believe there has been some forward progress but in reality she is getting worse. I am her carer, we live in the country with limited services so we travel to the city weekly when she is not an inpatient. We did hope she would be well enough to go to school this year mostly for her social development but lasted 2 days followed by a breakdown. So home schooling it is for now. She missed most school last year so we are determined she gets something this year.
I used to think there was help for these kind of kids out there, that with meds and therapy my daughter would get better but in reality its a day to day game of survival. I now realise there may never be an end to her pain and all i can do is hold her hand and make sure she is breathing every morning. I would love to hear from other parents who are in the same situation and maybe get some fresh tips ideas on how to get through each day. I never thought this would go on long enough for me to need my own support but now i think its time i reach out and get some help for me. I am looking for a local support group and invite any ideas from you guys.

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Re: Daughter with depression and anxiety

Hi @Esme

Welcome to the forums, I am a moderator. 

I can't imagine how heartbreaking this has been for you to see you your daughter struggle so much. It really does sound like you need some support. How can we care for others if we are not caring for ourselves? You can't pour from an empty cup. What kind of support do you feel you need? 

Re: Daughter with depression and anxiety

I really just want to hear other peoples experiences with their teens and the outcomes. What meds and therapies seemed to help and what did you guys do about schooling. Is it "normal" to go through what my daughter has been through and what extremes have people gone to to keep their children alive. What do you guys think of the mental health system in Australia for teens.

Re: Daughter with depression and anxiety

Hi @Esme

Welcome to Sane. I went through with my daughter exactly what you are going through presently with yours (apart from home schooling). My daughter's problems with anxiety, depression (being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and bi-polar) started with bullying at school at 15 yrs and sexual assault (she was raped) when out of our care at 16yrs. At age 20 she also entered into an abusive relationship and she just went off the rails. She self harmed, had several near fatal attempts and self medicated with alcohol and drugs - all which made the situation worse and caused excessive mood swings and violent outbursts with her. It was a nightmare. Worst years were between age 15-21 yrs. She tried headspace and medication but never really stuck with the latter or counselling. 

It was a nightmare that we handled one day at a time. We received "no support".  I also was (and still am caring for a husband with cancer). I did attend the support group "grow" which I found helpful.

I found help for my daughter very scarce in the Community - a lack of mental health resources were evident and no support for myself apart from the above group, my best friend at times and my husband.

Fast forward - She has improved a lot just of late and will be 22 in March. She has now only expressed her wish to seek help through a psychologist and has entered into another relationship where the partner at this stage seems to be supportive of her - which has given us a bit of a break. But whether the latter will last remains to be seen. She is a lot stronger now but still has much healing to do. But "there is light at the end of the tunnel".

She had to want this and be prepared to help herself with the love and support of us her parents. Our GP was also tried to help her/us. We laid boundaries with her though and she has moved out of home at our request a couple of times because she was either violent or abusive towards us. It's complex. But we have always been there for her and she knows we love her. The latter was very important towards her improvement.

It is really important to seek support for yourself @Esme and to pursue where possible your own interests, personal goals and a life for yourself. I know how difficult that can be especially with the fear of your daughter harming herself, but it's necessary least you come undone and burn out mentally, psychically and emotionally. I found keeping myself busy in times of grief and trauma helped me lest my mind overwhelmed me. At times I did not think I would survive it - but I did and things have improved.

I also encouraged my daughter to seek part time work this all begun and to do healthy activities outside the home, to go after goals she makes for herself when she could, which did help. I did not accept her lying in bed all day. She was ill and needed motivation - tough love is an act and needs to be put into action at the right time. She still works and has done so amazingly at some capacity all through this period since she was 16. 

Your daighters self esteem would be very low - helping to raise that and her self confidence with instilling the positives, the good in every day no matter how small and acknowledging her capacity to get through this with your's and others help is a must for recovery. Talk back to her depressive thoughts and keeping your life as normal as possible will help her (an incredible feat under such a load that you will need support with but will let her see how life can be lived and offer her coping skills to improve by example). Encouraging her to talk to you and others - and to just listen letting them know we love them also helps on their journey (my daughter would not talk until recently). 

It won't happen overnight, it all takes time and perseverance, but things can get better, even when all seems lost. For me it's living one day at a time still. I hope this helps - you are not alone. 


Re: Daughter with depression and anxiety

Hi there @Esme its CandyCane one of the moderators here. I am really glad that you came to the forums to seek support. It sounds like you are a very pro-active mum and are trying to find out as much as possible to best help your daughter.Looking after a teenager who suffers from Depression and Anxiety can be very emotional and challenging but it looks like you are invested in providing as much support as possible for your daughter.


Unfortunately, as part of the guidelines we cannot discuss medications on the forums as most of the members are peers and not medically trained. For queries related to medications i reccommend that you contact your GP or other health professional. You can read more about the forum guidelines here


Re: Daughter with depression and anxiety

That is some amazing insight! Thank you @enigma. You are right clear boundaries and consistency coupled with love and acceptance can most often be a recipe for success.

Re: Daughter with depression and anxiety

My daughter is very active in her own recovery, takes her meds and tries really hard to use her strategies. Other than an occasional cigarette she hasnt, so far, self medicated. We are praying she never does. We have refused to allow her to smoke as we think it may lead to drug use down the line as she seems to have that kind of personality. She has bever been abused or bullied and is an intelligent student. She did move schools the year before she became sick and then she got viral meningitis. We think these things contributed to her becoming ill. We are going to try a new structure to her day including home schooling exercise and therapy. I have a farm associated small business but with having to travel to the city each week we are in the process of closing it down and selling the farm. My daughter hates the farm as she has an aversion to dirt so she is looking forward to a move. We all think a fresh start will help.

Re: Daughter with depression and anxiety


I know someone whose daughter goes to an impatient clinic in Melbourne for 1 month for Transcedental Magnetic Stimulation for depression and she has had good results. Its temporary live in accomodation and treatment days with the professionals and psychologists. I hope you find what you need to help your daughter. I've considered it for my daughter but her diagnosis is Aspergers and social anxiety. They are probably on the horizon of treating Autism spectrum  with TMS. So its an option for us someday. They are already treating patients for depression and this person I know is responding well.

Re: Daughter with depression and anxiety

Hi. I'm in the same boat. You sound like such a great parent. Patient, understanding and doing the best with limited resources. What more can you ask of yourself? Yes, it's one day at a time. I started making sure that I found joy every day no matter what; a kid getting up for someone older on a tram, a dog mindlessly chasing a ball, my other children trying to make sense of that. There's beauty in it. I also read Alain de Botton's posts on Facebook. Wise, succinct perspective on life. I listen to 80s music and dance at home. It IS so hard and made all the worse by the belief if we just do x, y, z, then our child will get better. Are you ok Day annoys me. Tell someone annoys me. Call beyondblue - annoys me. Because it's that reinforcement that all anyone needs to do is talk and they'll miraculously be on the path to wellness. They may. They may not. That's why I don't look past midnight. And I do talk. And I've worked out who I can trust to listen without judgement. Trust yourself. Feel the pain, and let it be. Take care. It's a long road, but know there's so many of us carers out there walking silently and invisibly with you.

Re: Daughter with depression and anxiety

Hi Esme - me again. My daughter has tried VCE 3 times. Different settings. She is doing DECV this year. Exercise is so underrated in the mental health arena - when she exercises and is outdoors, she's different. Social media was a nightmare but as she's got older, she's 19, she has seen the pattern. Maturity helped in our situation. I just want to keep her alive. I believe the longer you live, the better you get at living. We also eat healthily now. Nothing worked on it's own. It's a jigsaw with changing shaped pieces. Take care x

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