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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5804
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I have a 23yr old daughter living in NYC who is very depressed.

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I have a 23yr old daughter living in NYC who is very depressed. She graduated from GWU with a degree in International Affairs. Since her graduation she has been unable to get a job, unable to make friends in the city, and has attached herself to an abusive boy friend from college. She calls very frequently and is extremely depressed. She says things like, "I'm just not good at life." Help, PLEASE. What should I be doing? She sees a Pharmicacologist (not exactly sure what this Dr. is)....who has put her on Xanax and an anti depression drug. These drugs do not seem to be working....she is now totally addicted to Xanax. Also, she is not sleeping. HELP
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It can be very difficult when you have a child who is experiencing these types of symptoms and she is far away, where you cannot be there for her. However, there are several positive points in your daughter's situation. One, she is being open and honest with you about her feelings. That right there is a good sign. Anytime an adult child is willing to share and tell you their deepest concerns, that means they feel a connection and know they can trust you. Two, your daughter is aware of her depression and seems to want to reach out for help. This is also a good sign. As long as she is still contacting you and she is aware that she wants help, there is a lot of hope that she can recover from depression.

Even though this is all good, helping your daughter with how she feels is a priority. I'm not clear what kind of doctor she is seeing, but she does need to talk to a psychiatrist and a therapist. Medications and therapy are the best ways to address her depression. And if her mediations are not working, she may be on the wrong medications for what type of depression she has. Your daughter needs to have an evaluation done to determine what kind of depression she has and the possible cause so the right medication is prescribed for her.

If your daughter is willing to get help, ask her to talk to her regular physician for a referral to a therapist and psychiatrist. Or she (or you) can search on line at Just plug in her zip code and find a therapist near her, preferably one that specializes in depression.

Also, she may want to try self help. Resources and on line support can be invaluable. And she can have this support anytime she feels the need to talk to someone, day or night. Here are some resources to get her started:
In helping your daughter, it can be stressful because you are concerned and worried. It can help you to learn more about depression and how you can help your daughter. Here are some links for you:
It may also help to ask your daughter to contact you anytime she feels worse or just needs to talk. As long as she as that link, she knows she has a place to turn. And remind her that the stress she is under can be helped by breaks and down time. She is under a lot of pressure now so knowing that she has "permission" to take a break and that it is ok to fail sometimes may help lift her depression.
You may also want to suggest she talk to the therapist about her relationship. An abusive relationship is going to only hurt her more, and she needs to try to leave the relationship so she can recover. She may need support in order to break the relationship off. If you can, try to be as supportive as you are able to, visiting her if possible. She can also reach out to others in her area for support. Here are some resources to help:

Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft

The Emotionally Abusive Relationship: How to Stop Being Abused and How to Stop Abusing by Beverly Engel

I hope this has helped you,
TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

should I try to get her to come home or is it better for her if she is at least trying on her own?

Because of the abuse, it might be better for her at home. Also, if you feel her situation is getting worse, being at home can provide the support she needs to improve her situation. She seems to have very few ties to where she is now, so coming home might be more helpful to her for the short term. Plus it will help her get away from the abusive relationship she is in right now. With how she feels, she may not be able to reason out leaving the relationship but if she was with you and other family, you could watch out for her until she felt better and more able to help herself.