Depression or something else???

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-04-2008
Depression or something else???
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Fri, 09-17-2010 - 9:11pm

I know that some of you guys have had kids in counseling, so I'm hoping someone will have some insight for me.



My daughter came to me after school almost in tears, telling me she thinks something is wrong with her. I asked her about it, but didn't get a whole lot of useful info....mainly because I think she doesn't know what it is. (I had already

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Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Fri, 09-17-2010 - 9:33pm
I think you should take her to a good psychiatrist. A psychiatrist can do a medical workup as well as a psych one, and you do need that, to make sure nothing physical is going on in addition to the emotional problems. I think you already know something is wrong. I strongly suspect depression, and the cause of the depression is what the Pdoc needs to pull out. Several of her "symptoms" send up big red flags as to the possible cause of the depression, but I think that discovery is better left to the professional. I just think you should go sooner rather than later.
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-04-2008
Fri, 09-17-2010 - 9:51pm

When you say "big red flags" as to the cause, is there something obvious that I'm just not seeing? I know you say it's better left to the professionals, but I'm apparently missing something. Even if you're just speculating, it may be something I can check out.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-16-1999
Fri, 09-17-2010 - 10:03pm

I'm not a doc, but I'd be thinking depression too. Depression can manifest itself with a lot of aches and pains, headaches and sleepiness just as easily as it can present as crying, sadness, withdrawal, apathy or irritability. A psychiatrist can sort all this out fairly readily.

Since the one thing she's changed lately is the church.... have you ever gone with her? What is the overall mood in that church? The only reason I ask is that the one that I was raised in came with a lot of messages of "you're not good enough...," "you're a rotten sinner...," and "God is angry with your sinfulness and will punish you for eternity unless you accept Jesus" - and that did a real number on me as a teenager. The pastor was a real "fire and brimstone" kind of guy, and by the time he was done talking, it was pretty easy to walk out of there feeling pretty rotten about oneself. Thankfully, when I went away to college I found a different style of pastor. In any case, that's one thought I had... might be worth looking into.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2009
Fri, 09-17-2010 - 10:30pm

The physical symptoms you describe could be stress and/or anxiety (and the rest does sound like depression).

About the church. For someone who only attended about once per month, her current attendance is kind of strange. I know it's church and all, but it's not your own church. If I were you, I'd get to know it (start attending, get to know some of the others who attend) and make sure that it's not a factor in some of the negative behaviours. Like, is she being molested/abused by a youth pastor or something? It's an extreme idea, but something to definitely rule out.

I also strongly suggest a psychiatrist. She's asking for help, which is huge. How many teens can recognize when they need help, let alone are willing to articulate this need to someone. Don't ignore it. If it's nothing then you'll find out soon enough, but if there is something going on then the sooner she gets the help she wants, the better the outcome.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-04-2008
Fri, 09-17-2010 - 11:13pm

As for the church, Our family has always attended Methodist Church, which has a very positive outlook. Every pastor we've ever had has been softspoken, and presents a life-help message from the Bible. (it's a fairly liberal denomination)



We did attend her church the week she got Baptized, (they don't accept Methodist baptism). The pastor was indeed Fire & Brimstone, and talked (yelled) about Hell and Demons etc... It was a very "scare you into going to church" thing. TBH, DH and I tuned it out about halfway thru. It just wasn't us.



DD's best friend & BF both attend that church, so I think that's one reason she enjoys it. The Youth Pastor is her Bf's older brother. (she's 16, the bf is 15, his bro is 23 & married with a new baby...so I seriously doubt that anything bad is going on there).



She says she loves the church. Honestly, I'm mystified by that. She has been spending A LOT more time reading the Bible, doing lessons, reading literature etc...(I mean she hardly was into church at all before...besides Youth Group fun type stuff) But it seems based on fear, at least to me. IDK. That's just my opinion.



Pressure may be part of it. Her precalculus teacher is also the girl's VB coach and is actually in class maybe twice a week. A sub (who doesn't know math) has been assigning HW. She actually told the class that once VB season was over, she could focus on teaching them Math. (Hmmmmmmm...) I told her it was OK to drop. She could take the class next year with a diff teacher. She had an A on her HW in there, but just got her first test back, and made a 69. She has a B average in the class now, but she said the test wasn't over "doing problems" like her HW. It was all application, and she just didn't get it. She doesn't want to worry over it all year, thinking she knows it, and then finding out after the test that she didn't. Her other classes are all A's. She says she can't focus at school, but I'm wondering if it's just the one class. IDK, I'm so confused. The tears scared me.



Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Sat, 09-18-2010 - 10:40am
First let me say that because of my profession, I am a "mandated reporter". As a result, we do a lot of continuing education on the subject. The physical symptoms, big upswing in church attendance, coupled with changing her appearance-downplaying her looks, dropping Cross-country, her gym membership, and stopping exercise, can indicate date rape, or some form of sexual abuse. At the very least, she may have become sexually active and now regrets or is conflicted about it. Many children who have experienced that, develop tension headaches, seek solace OR "punishment/absolution" in the church, and change their appearance to make themselves less appealing or attractive. Big changes in sleep habits almost always signal depression. I think you should get her in for an evaluation. Unless she is VERY close to you, and you can be TOTALLY objective and supportive of anything she says, don't bring up the subject yourself. Most kids will only be open about something like this with a 3rd party anyway.
EDITED TO ADD: She also may be pregnant. Girls I knew hid their pregnancy by wearing looser clothes, and quitting exercise, etc, to account for weight gain. That also would account for the fatigue, depression, and church attendance.




Edited 9/18/2010 10:59 am ET by sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2009
Sat, 09-18-2010 - 12:24pm

If I were you, I would take her first to your family doctor.
He/she knows your daughter. Take it step-by-step. Discuss this with your family doctor and asked her/his advice if your daughter should see a Psychiatrist and then ask her/him for a referral.

In fact, I am surprised that you can just call up a Psychiatrist without a referral. Here, you cannot. The family doctor works with the psychiatrist to determine the best course of treatment.

And, by the way, when I was your daughter's age, my sister went through a phase that she became extremely religious. We spent all her spare time with her youth group etc... A cousin of mine went even more "over to religion". She went from a vibrant, out-going girl to a girl acting like a "granny".

I went the other way. I walked away from all religion plus I stop worrying about my appearance. I wore bagging clothes too, no make-up etc. We were not depressed or sexual active. We were just finding our place in the world.

As for the church, your daughter sounds like she is looking for meaning in her life and, for now, that church is providing her with answers. Actively engage her in what she is reading. Challenge her to think critically about what she is hearing in this church. She is young and obviously extremely impressionable. Since she is still a minor, you have every right to step in and protect her from influences you may feel are contrary to your values, your beliefs and from influences you feel she is not old enough to understand or to cope with. You can set limits to her attendance at this church.

As for the Pre-calculus problems, not everyone has the "mind set" to do calculus. It is more than just a set of rules; you have to apply it. And just because you daughter has gotten As on her assignments and As in her other courses, does not mean she truly understands the material. I have seen this happen time and time again. Remember Calculus was invented by Newton as a tool to describe models in Physics.

The first time a student comes across a "road block" in their academic career, especially for student who has done well up previously, can be extremely upsetting.

Good luck

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2009
Sat, 09-18-2010 - 12:40pm

<<

I went the other way. I walked away from all religion plus I stop worrying about my appearance. I wore bagging clothes too, no make-up etc. We were not depressed or sexual active. We were just finding our place in the world.>>>

Did either of you ever approach your mother, tell her that there might be something wrong, and ask for help?

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Sat, 09-18-2010 - 1:31pm

A psychiatrist IS a medical doctor, and eliminates steps in the process. If it were my dd, I'd rather suspect a problem, go for the evaluation and be happily proved wrong, than to assume it's normal and end up with a disaster.

And here in the US, unless the insurance is a HMO, you can choose your own provider without going thru a gatekeeper, or waiting for someone else to give you an ok. That is the difference between free choice healthcare and socialized/nationalized healthcare.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2009
Sat, 09-18-2010 - 5:04pm


OF COURSE NOT!

There was NO need because we WERE NOT depressed. To assume that there was something amiss is ridiculous. You missed the point I was trying to make, comme toujours.

A questioning young person is not necessarily depressed. This young woman may be finding that this church is answering her needs at this junction in her life.

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