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Mina, Clinical Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 188
Experience:  Working as a Highly Specialist Clinical Psychologist in NHS. Experience in both children and adults
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It is as if my daughter has an emotional black hole within

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It is as if my daughter has an emotional black hole within her which she feeds with things in search of comfort & joy. These things include food - all hours of the day, movies - the same, and clothes - wardrobes stuffed full. Thus she is overweight, inactive and now experiencing chest pains. She also sleeps a lot eg 18 hours, then gets up and watches movies through the night. Sometimes she doesn't want to get out of bed, and stays there crying. My husband and I have supported her and encouraged her to seek help but she takes our words and twists them and throws them back at us, accuses us of being critical and judgemental. We need guidance for ourselves and for her.
Please help.

I am sorry to hear about these issues. From your description I understand that your daughter is most likely suffering from depression. you described most symptoms of a rather serious form of clinical depression and this could be alarming. How long has she been like that, isolated, overeating, over seeping etc? Did she see the counselor or you?this is not clear. If it was her, how did she find this experience? Do you have any ideas what could be lying behind her depression?any major events? any problematic relationships in her life?how has your relationship been with her?any siblings?

If you could give me some more information I may be able to understand the situation better.

thank you

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

She is now 23 and been like this for about 5 years, maybe longer. The counselling happened over the last year. I encouraged her to see the counsellor and she went along to the sessions. She didn't share any feedback with me. I can see no improvement in her moods or bhvr whatsoever. She did say she was willing to see the counsellor but often slept through appointments. The counselling has ceased now. I think things are worse. I am wondering if she was open and honest with the counsellor, I have no way of knowing. My relationship with her has been excellent in the past but she became angry with me about 6 year ago. This coincided with the death of my sister and also some bullying that she experienced. She had trouble making friends at high school. She has no siblings.

Thank you for this. What happens a lot of the times with young depressed adults is that they can become very defensive with their families. This affects the communication and the relationship especially if there have been issues from before. It is very likely that your daughter feels subconsciously that she is failing you and this makes her depression worse. Your concern is likely perceived by her as criticism and judgment as she may feel that you do not accept her. At the same time, she may be feeling trapped in the depression and does not know how to come out of it. Thus she choses to ignore this situation, using denial and avoidance and this is evident by her oversleeping and watching TV to avoid thinking. She definitely needs help but you can only help her access it. Your role is very important here as you could try and make her see things from a different perspective. You need to change the way you approach her. The key thing would be for you to engage her in a conversation avoiding talking about her and the problematic situation. You could talk about how you feel that the family is suffering and not just her. You would need to present it as a family issue and not hers alone. You would need to work yourself on the issues that everyone has brought in this situation and discuss with your husband and anyone else in the family that you could try and have a family intervention engaging a family therapist. Family therapy would help all the members to communicate and express deep feelings that affect relationships and dynamics. When these relationships become more balanced then your daughter would be able to find the motivation to work on herself having her own therapy.

I believe that you need to act now as this situation will become worse and worse if left unattended. Your daughter already is damaging her future by isolating herself and not having goals or dreams. This situation can become chronic if you do not take drastic measures. By sharing some of the responsibility for her experiences and her reactions that would lift some of the self blame she has and could allow her to see her situation through a different perspective. All family members should be involved in this effort as I believe that there are many family dynamic that suffer at the moment.

Please feel free to share any feedback on these thoughts.

I wish you all the best in your efforts

Mina and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

For Mina,

Thank you for this information. I have discussed it with my husband.

Should we seek the help of a psychiatrist or psychologist?

Hello. Happy to be of help. It would be best if you approached first a psychologist/ family therapist. When your daughter has had an assessment, then it may be possible that she may need some medication for her depression, in which case she would need to be seen by a Psychiatrist. In many cases, psychologists and psychiatrists work together, so it is possible that you will be sent to a recommended Psychiatrist if needed. It would be best to make the first move and make some arrangements for the family to be seen. If your daughter needs her own individual input from a psychologist or psychiatrist this would come up along the way. Approaching the issue as a family problem I believe would work best in this case.


Hope this helps and best of luck with your efforts