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Mum8
Contributor

supporting lonely child dealing with severe mental illness

Hi
I'm trying to work out how to guide my nearly 18 year old daughter who has a diagnosis of OCD, agoraphobia, anxiety and depression. These illnesses caused her to leave school nearly 3 years ago. She was unable to manage contact with her old friends but she found a really supportive friend online soon after she left school. Unfortunately the friend gradually ceased contact with her over the last 6 months and she now feels that she has no one apart from the 3 of us who live with her. Her psychologist suggested that she use a friend app to make more friends but she hasn't connected with anyone who she feels that she can relate to yet. I'm wondering if introducing her to the lived experience forum on this website might be helpful but I'm also concerned that posts which she reads might bring her down or give her new thoughts relating to her OCD.
I'm just wondering what sort of experience other carers might have had with introducing their teenagers to the lived experience forums here.
Thank you

6 REPLIES 6

Re: supporting lonely child dealing with severe mental illness

Hi @Mum8 

 

Welcome to the forums and thank you for sharing your story. Sorry to hear about your daughter. As a mum of a daughter this age, I can imagine how much this hurts you to see her retreat from society and go through these mental health challenges. I can imagine the lockdowns during covid didn't help either. I understand you might be hesitant to recommend the forums due to potential triggers. As one of the moderators I will assure you that we monitor posts closely for triggering content. That said, stuff does come up that is pretty heavy. But that could help her feel less alone too? 

 

I hope that helps a little.

Warmest wishes

Hanami

Re: supporting lonely child dealing with severe mental illness

Hi @Mum8,

I sorry things are so hard for both your daughter and yourself. As a mum of three (two that are young adults) I can really understand how hard it can feel watching from the `sidelines'. I think mums by nature typically want to make things better for our kids and sometimes it's really hard to accept that you can't always fix things. 

The SANE forums are for people 18 years and older and whilst it is a very supportive place it does have a mix of age groups and some of the discussions can get pretty heavy. Have you heard of an Australian organisation called ReachOut? It's similar to the SANE forums but it is designed specifically for teenagers and younger adults. There is also a section for parents / carers to get support. I will attach a link to the site here Reachout.

I wish you and your daughter all the best. We are here 24/7 on the Forums so feel free to reach out anytime.

Warm wishes,

FloatingFeather  

Re: supporting lonely child dealing with severe mental illness

Hi @FloatingFeather 

Thank you for that information. I hadn't heard of Reachout and hadn't actually thought about SANE forums being for 18 and over but as my daughter is still 17 at the moment, I'll look into this.

Thanks again

Mum8

Re: supporting lonely child dealing with severe mental illness

Hi @hanami

 

Thank you for your encouragement. I just saw a post from another member who mentioned "Reachout", a forum for under 18's so for now I might look into that as well. I expect that the content could still be heavy but I'll check it out. It might be a good starting point until she's that bit older.

 

Thanks again

 

Mum8

Re: supporting lonely child dealing with severe mental illness

ohhh sorry @Mum8 , you do have a thread xx

how are you going today 

@amber22 

Re: supporting lonely child dealing with severe mental illness

Thanks @amber22. I'm glad you told me that I have a thread. I do find technology very confusing 🙂
It's been a particularly challenging evening. My daughter was very distressed this evening. She's dealing with a number of diagnoses: OCD, generalised anxiety disorder and depression are the main ones. We're in the process of preparing an application for carer's allowance and her psychiatrist has included panic disorder and somatic symptom disorder to what she recognises is going on for her.

As well as all that she informed us a year ago that she doesn't feel like a girl all the time, and originally told us that she understands it would be too difficult for us to consider calling her a different name and pronouns to what we've called her for nearly 18 years. She's now getting quite upset though that we haven't changed how we refer to her.

I know gender dysphoria is very common but my gut feeling is that changing how we refer to her may not actually be helpful to her long term and we have concerns that this may lead to further decisions that she may regret later. Her psychologist and psychiatrist have very different views on the best ways to help with this. It's very challenging. We want to do what is in her best interest now and for her future but we don't want to just give in to the more popular view of society that this should be affirmed. It is very confusing as prior to a number of triggers which got the OCD going at age 15, she seemed very content with who she was.
On top of all that, but what sounds quite trivial; I would like to scrapbook a photo album for her upcoming 18th birthday. For our other daughter I did bits of journalling and included lovely headings with her name and birth date and details but I don't know how to do this one as it will be triggering to see the name we gave her at birth but it doesn't feel right to put a name which we didn't give her when she was born. It's also supposed to be a nice surprise so I can't really discuss this with her beforehand.
Sorry to include so many details. To many, these things probably sound silly but this is something I've looked forward to for so long and I feel that all these joys which I'd planned are being taken away from us.

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