There could be a possibility that a child could suffer from situational depression. This is a situation in which the child would experience depression that is decreased when the situation is resolved. This may be possible but usually applies when there is a beginning and an end to a situation such as a parent dying. There is also chronic depression that is a chemical imbalance that can be impacted by stress such as a parent's illness. However this depression may be persistent and not be impacted at all by a parent's illness. It is difficult to tell since it is always there. This depression can include poor social skills and inability to make friends. It is difficult to say whether she would need hospitalization because the stressor is there. It is probably that a parent's constant illness would not help this situation and that there may be a lack of normal nurturing that can exacerbate the depression. Regardless of the cause depression in young people can be successfully treated.
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I have read the above and wanted to share my thoughts. It is possible that your daughter's depression stems from her beliefs and expectations that were shaped from her environment when she was small - we all create these for ourself in our subconscious mind, and continue to live by them as time goes by, no matter how debilitating or negative. It is possible, for example, that your daughter felt guilty for being healthy and fit when her mother was wracked with pain and had many operations - without being expressed openly, this guilt could go inwards and cause depression. Although your daughter has had yourself as a great role model for a dad, it is possible that she has also been affected by her mother's role model - although unintentional - that life is full of pain and should be so. This has nothing to do with your daughter's intelligence or her conscious mind (ie. what she will talk about if asked) - it's to do with what is locked inside her mind from being small. I see that you have tried counseling - I would suggest that you find either an EMDR specialist (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) which is a trauma therapy (based on the grounds that her moms pain was a trauma for a small girl) or perhaps a hypnotherapist, who could help your daughter to explore her beliefs, expectations and feelings that are held at a subconscious level, with a view to letting them go. See www.emdr.com for more info on EMDR and also to find an EMDR therapist local to yourself. Happy to reply to further questions, or please press accept if you are satisfied with your answer. Best Wishes, Sarah
I like your thinking. And suggested therapy. The counselor I am seeing had mentioned the EMDR but he is not real familiar with it. Let me paint the rest of the picture and see if you still think the same and would suggest the same approach.
About Alison's freshman year in high school she fell away or lost her old core friends and started attaching to new types of friends who had serious emotional issues of their own. The one girl led her down the path of lesbianism and Alison wrestled dearly with this with no one to talk to about it. She grew up in a Christian home and has labeled me as judgemental, overly optimistic and thinks I am always happy. She asked Christ into her heart around age 5 and then got baptisted later around age 8.
Her mom and I often don't agree on how to discipline Alison. I often want to take a harder line on things and mom is more allowing. Wants to trust her. To our own discredit we at times both didn't want her seeing her first girl lover although we didn't know they were in a relationship at the time. Early on her mother didn't like her just because she didn't feel right about the young lady. I was ok with the relationship because I saw Alison as being able to help this young lady as her family had problems. As the relationship went on and I began to suspect they were lovers I wanted to stop her from seeing this friend and now mom was defending Alison's choice of friends. Once we both found out it was a lover relationship I was admantly opposed and mom didn't cut it off. Sense then she has gone from one messed up friend to the next. As my counselor has said she has choosen some of the most needy teens in our county. Through it all my daughter is still depressed, anxious and right now is in a impatient hosptial. She has been spiraling down for the last two years and has started various substance abuses. She recently crashed her car while huffing computer cleaner. I am not confident yet with what the real issue is. A borderline personality disorder has been mentioned. I've asked a couple of times about hormone testing because this all seemed to start at puberty. I am pretty much ignored on that account. \
I ask the question about her mom's health because my couselor gave me a trauma test to see what I had been through as a child, which was a lot, but I remember seeing chronic illness to a parent as a moderate trauma for children, I think. I wanted to see if this could be a contributing factor or a major factor. Sounds like you might be saying yes? My wife doesn't like my asking that question because she doesn't want to feel responsbile for her daughter's emotional pain. I have tried frequently and often to get my wife to go to couseling but she refuses.
I will check into the EMDR therapy though.
Firstly, it is really important to remember that by finding reasons for discomfort, we are trying to unravel the hurt and not attempting to place blame on anyone. As parents, we (usually) do what we consider to be our very best and I always look at our intention - if the intention was good, then the consequences, even though not as we expected or wanted, were not intentional and we are not to 'blame'. Of course parents affect the way in which our children live - we wouldn't bother to teach them anything if this wasn't the case. But we are all human and we start with no children, so we are always learning. Your wife is not responsible for your daughter's pain, as she is not responsible for her own.
Yes, I still think EMDR would be worth pursuing. You would perhaps need to run a few details past the individual therapist to ensure they are happy to take your daughter as a client - look for one who has experience with younger people if you can, although it's fine if there isn't one near to you.
The actual underlying issues may not be very obvious, as they will exist in the subconscious mind of your daughter - and they are usually irrational. This is because they are created under highly emotional situations and are often a child's interpretation of the situation - which can be incredibly skewed, and therefore more painful than an adult would imagine. A young child often interprets the world with them as a central figure and they often blame themselves for life events (parents divorce, arguments, the death of the family dog, etc. etc.) - it is even possible that your daughter felt guilty and responsible for Mummy's pain. However, she probably won't consciously know this and if this is true, it is better that it comes out through therapy rather than conscious discussion. Alison's conscious mind would probably say 'don't be daft'.
Substance use is usually a numbing of emotional hurt, so there is some kind of hurt beneath the surface - a relationship of any kind could be another searching for support. I think you may be surprised how much EMDR could help, if your daughter is willing because it frees a person from the past and lets that person live for the future. Mention the Borderline, but it should be OK to go ahead. Best Wishes for a successful outcome, Sarah