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Depressed Daughter Doesn't Listen to Mom

answered 10:44 PM EST, Mon July 22, 2013
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I am very worried about my 34 year old daughter. She is extremely depressed, but every time I offer help or suggest counseling, she ignores the subject. She lives two hours from me, is separated with two pre-teen children. She tells me she is very unhappy with her life, hates where she lives and cries every night. She says she is miserable and is tired of crying and being unhappy. I have suggested couseling, many times, and suggested medication. I've even told her to pack everything up and come live nearer to me so I could help.

Yet, she does nothing, week after week. She'll have a breakdown and tell me these things, and then carry on going to work, etc. until the next time. I don't know how to help her.

She has even told me about just leaving the area, alone, going somewhere and starting over. I know that is not the answer, it's just running away and I fear that in the future she will regret leaving her children. I think she is just overwhelmed.

Is there anything I could do or should be saying to help her?

David Johnson Says...

I can feel your worry. But it really sounds like you have already done most everything you can. You may want to try asking about how her mood is affecting her children. They are old enough to understand a lot about what is going on. It's very likely mom's depression is affecting how they feel, how they behave at home and I school. If your daughter won't do anything for herself, she may act to protect her daughters. Encourage her to talk to her daughters. Remind her that her daughters are likely blaming themselves for her mood, even their dad leaving. Have her encourage her daughters to share their feelings so that she can reassure them. She should never talk badly about their father to avoid putting them in the middle.  Remind her that her daughters will also try to take care of her depression, something they must not do. That would compromise their ability to grow up themselves.
If she won't do even that, then ask to spend some time with her daughters. Talk to them about their mom, reassure them it is not about them, but about their mom and dad. Ask them to share their feelings. Then tell your daughter what they say.
Yes, that is a bit heavy handed, but someone has to act on behalf of the children even if their mom won't. I hope this all works out for your family.

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Page last updated Jul 22, 2013

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