I need advice

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by sad and scared mom, Jan 21, 2015.

  1. sad and scared mom

    sad and scared mom New Member

    can anyone give me advice on how to get my 20 year old to take her medication for depression?
  2. runawaybunny

    runawaybunny Administrator Staff Member

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  3. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Can you give us some background on why she is refusing?
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Actually, you may want to post on Parent Emeritus, which is for parents of adult children. We face different issues than those of parents with minor children. We can't make our adult children do anything legally. Is s he using any illicit drugs? Drinking too much? Is she a problem? Working? In college? Contributing to your home? Respectful to you and who else lives there? Our older adult children bring a new set of problems...and options. Why does it matter to you if she takes her medications? Do you feel she is out of control and may be in better control if she takes them? Right off the bat, if she is in any way using other substances, the medications won't help her. If she just isn't taking them, maybe it's the wrong medication for her or she doesn't feel they help. I've taken anti-d's all my life and some made me feel worse. It's a guessing game until/unless the psychiatrist finds the right one. And some adults prefer alternative treatment. Or none. Or therapy.

    But it all goes down the tubes if there are issues going on with other drugs, including pot and alcohol. They tend to wipe out the effects of the medications given to us for our depression.

    Lots of good folks over there with young women your daughter's age. Hope to see ya there ;)
  5. runawaybunny

    runawaybunny Administrator Staff Member

    I'll move this to PE. Thanks for the suggestion MWM.
  6. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Hi Sad and Scared.

    I agree with everything MWM said. Why is she refusing to take her medications? Some don't like the way it makes them feel, some don't want to wait the days or weeks it takes before effects are noticed, some are afraid of side effects, some want the "lows" to be better but don't like the fact that the "highs" aren't as high anymore. Some are afraid of pharmaceuticals but will gladly take street drugs without worry. Some just don't like being told what to do! I guess I would try to have a frank talk with her and see what the issues are and whether those can be addressed.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015
  7. sad and scared mom

    sad and scared mom New Member

    thank you all for helping me start this. I didn't know how or where to ask my questions. I will move to Parent Emeritus and give a better description of what we are going through.
  8. sad and scared mom

    sad and scared mom New Member

    My 20 year old daughter has been suffering from depression since she has been about 14. it started when one of her best friends killed himself at 15. within the next 7 months she had 2 other suicides in her life, one was a 12 year old cousin. I immediately got her into some counseling. After a couple of years we decided to try medication. As everyone knows it takes a while to find a medication that works but we finally did. She stayed on the medications for a year and then she decided to take herself off. She thought she could deal with her depression on her own. Since then she has been up and down. I have gotten her involved with several different therapist and she would go for a while then quit. she is 20 turning 21 in a few months and she recently started taking another medication that was tough at first made her feel like crap but after a few weeks on it, and me begging her to hang in there she started to feel better. I thought she was doing great and I was asking her everyday if she "took her pill today" and of course she was telling yes. Well we are right back to where we have been time and time again. She has stopped taking her medications and she is back to being depressed. My frustration is so large. I just want to hug her and shake her at the same time. She has lost a couple of jobs and she is now working maybe 12 hours a week and I have told her that she has got to do something about that. She tried collage and was not happy with that. So I told her if she wasn't going to school she needed to work full time. She does not help out around the house at all not even keeping her room clean To this point I have been paying for her car insurance and cell bill. (her grandpa left her a car) As of Jan. 1 I sat down and wrote her a letter letting her know that as of Feb. first she had to have a job that pays enough to pay her insurance and cell. Here we are the last week of January and she is still not working. I don't even know if she is still working the small job she had. She is never home. when she does come home she makes sure she does it when my husband and I are at work. She spends the night a different peoples houses sometimes letting me know and sometimes not. She goes out to clubs and has a great time with her friends but the little time that she is home she isolates herself from the family. I know she is manipulating me with some of the stuff she does. My husband came into our lives when she was 10 and he adopted her when she was 12. Her biological father walked out before she was born and has never had anything to do with her. We have spoke about that in therapy many of times. My husband is a wonderful man and loves her completely. He has twin boys that are also 20. (they live on their own) In fact we met because our kids were friends in Jr. high school and the 3 of them are best of friends. I know that sometimes she feels bad because both of the boys are on track with there lives. we keep telling her that she will get there but she needs to do the work to get there. She needs to put forth an effort to get her life in order. Another thing that is so difficult is is that my Husband doesn't understand depression. He just doesn't understand what she has to be depressed about. over the years I have educated him a lot. He has read books and gone to some therapy sessions and he try's to understand but he also thinks she uses her depression against me and to a point I agree. At times he tells me she is just lazy and doesn't want to work or help out around the house and I also agree with that. The last 6 months have just been unbearable in the home. I have been to the point that I wish she would leave and try to figure it out on her own, but as a mother I am so scared of what may happen to her. she has had suicide thoughts in the past herself and she was hospitalized 2 times for 3 days each time and each time she came out better and was good for a short period of time then right back down again. One of the things that upset me the most is, is that when she was in high school and after her friends died she dedicated herself to suicide awareness. She went as far as to take classes to become a certified gate keeper and this title gives her the ability to go to schools to talk to teachers, consolers and students about suicide. Her senior year she was picked as one of the states top 10 students of the year for this. She is still asked to come to schools to speak. I know that she has helped so many kids with her talks. I have asked her how can she help so many kids but she cant seem to help herself. The sadist thing she ever said to me was that she didn't feel worthy of the help. She has such low self esteem and low self worth.
    I am sorry to ramble on and on but I just don't know what to do. Something needs to change because her depression and her not wanting to help herself and not working is putting a lot of stress on our marriage. Oh and yes I do know that she smokes pot how much I don't know.
    thank you for any advice anyone can offer.
  9. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Midwest Mom has started threads for us on the role genetics plays in the way our children create their lives, Sadmom. Is your child's biological father subject to depression?

    What about the members of his extended family?

    This is very good, nonjudgmental assessment and advice.

    Good job.

    Midwest Mom has a thread, active now on Parent Emeritus, about what it is that addictive substances do to the brain. You might find that helpful, Sad mom. While the discussion there is mostly illegal substances, it is my belief that prescription medications can have that same effect on the brain over time.

    I am glad you are here with us, Sad and Scared Mom. Each of us who responds to your post will have seen another little piece of how this is all coming together for you and for your child, and they will be along, soon.

    Welcome to the site.


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  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    To me it doesn't sound like just depression, although it started out that way. It sounds like she is avoiding you, not working, and still having a blast at "clubs." To me it sounds like substance abuse maybe beyond pot. Pot and alcohol make depression even worse. Other drugs...well, you never know. I had no idea what my sweet daughter was using...it was pot only, in my mind. The alternative was too awful to contemplate so I didn't. I was wrong.

    Look at my signature. I have suffered from depression since a young girl. I think you are missing the bigger picture...it is a red flag when our loved ones isolate from us, stay away from home, and try to hide. It often means, not depression but drug abuse. Medication won't help that.

    At the end of my post are the signs of a loved one abusing drugs and, yes, they are GREAT at hiding it: Even alcohol and marijuana will negate the good effects of a prescribed antidepressant so it is pointless to take one while one is using substances. Your daughter's life patterns are indicative of trouble beyond depression, in my opinion. Have you ever drug tested her? It's not the best as certain drugs (legal marijuana, which is very dangerous) do not show up. But have you ever allowed it to cross your mind that she is using something? It was hard for me to admit it to myself too, but...your daughter is twenty. Depressed people who are incapable of working because it's THAT bad usually can not go out and visit friends and party...unless they get help. The symptoms of a severe depression are too debilitating to want to go out and party, unless the benefit is alcohol,pot or other drugs.
    Antidepressants are lifesaving at times, and they saved my life, but I knew not to use any drugs or to even smoke cigarettes or drink at all. That only makes depression worse and leads to up and down moodiness due to which drug is being used at the time. I am 61 and have never been drunk in my life...yes, I know. I'm a bore :p. Naw, I just hate depression.

    At your daughter's age, whatever is going on with her, you can not control it. I personally would not pay anything for a twenty year old who won't work. Does she get money from you?

    Hugs for that hurting heart of yours. I had it too once and was in denial. But I did not enable my daughter's behavior and she changed and has a good life now. Wishing you luck!!!

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  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    After reading your post, I am thinking it's possible she came out of the hospital better because there was no substance abuse in there.

    I was in hospitals three times. They helped me a lot and there were outpatient follow up programs and medications to take and I did both or else I knew I'd end up back where I was.

    Pot and alcohol ARE drugs that can mess up a depressed person's head.

    At age 20, you can not tell your daughter what to do. You have 0% over her, but you have 100% control over yourself and your reaction to her behavior. You may well have to make her leave to get her to realize she doesn't have a warm, fuzzy place to live as a woman (not a child) who can still get money, perks, hot meals, and nurturing from mommy. You are not her mommy anymore. You are now her mother and should be moving toward an adult-adult relationship in which she is independent.This big decision is up to you. Think: Is what I'm doing now making things any better? If not, should I change them? Only you can answer your questions and they were not asked to make you answer them to us, just in your own mind.

    Your husband's twins are an example of how most twenty year olds behave. Depression without psychosis is not untreatable and many depressed people, becaue there are soooooooooo many of them work. Getting out of the house and being productive (and I don't mean going to parties) makes depression better. So does exercise, eating right, and listening to the doctors as well as abstaining from other substances. But you can't force this on her. Many of us are learning to detach from the poor choices of our adult children since we can not control them.

    50% of all kids come from "broken" homes, but not 50% of all almost 21 year olds decide to use that to guilt out their parents and live no lives of substance. She isn't this way because of her father left, except for maybe inheriting some of his DNA. She is 50% of him, even if she never met him. You'd be amazed at how much that matters. As an adoptive mom, I've seen kids meet bio. parents they never knew in their lives and one can see the incredible dominance of DNA over nurture. Your daughter does not have her adoptive father's DNA so, unlike the twins, she she is at a disadvantage...so was I. Your DNA makes your personality what it is unless the person WANTS TO and TRIES HARD to change for the better. The person "blessed" with some bad genes, as I call them, has to decide to overcome them and do better. I did, she can. (I have a horrible family of origin).

    Many of us are living good lives in spite of having troubled adult children. I hope you join us :)
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    Last edited: Jan 22, 2015
  12. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Sad and scared, welcome. I am so sorry you are going through this with your daughter. You are not alone, we understand how you feel and many of us have very similar stories. Read through the PE forum, I believe you will find comfort here.

    You may want to read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post here.

    At 20 years old, your daughter is an adult. Not taking medications is oddly a common experience for our adult kids. It is also common among many older folks. I have a sister who is bi-polar and refuses to take medications because as an artist, she says it robs her of her creativity, so she deals with it in her own way. But, she is not depending on others to care for her.

    If your daughter is living in your home, then you have the right to insist she follow whatever guidelines you set forth. Working, paying for her own cell phone and car insurance and helping around the house, is certainly reasonable and something you should in fact insist upon, in my opinion. You might also make taking her medications and going to counseling a part of that demand. It's your house, not hers, you pay the bills, you have the right to make the rules. She is not 13, she is a grown woman.

    Even with her suicide thoughts, depression and low self esteem, she knows right from wrong and can do more in life than going to clubs and staying out with friends, at your expense. It does sound as if your daughter is manipulating you with her depression, that is not uncommon. She has a pretty good life, she does whatever she wants, and you pay for it. As with most of our kids here, they aren't going to change, so WE have to change. We have to learn to set strict enforceable boundaries, we have to stop paying for their lifestyles, we have to learn to say no and mean it, we have to insist they live up to the guidelines we set for them to reside in our homes, OR we have to ask them to leave. Some of our kids get it early on, some are removed from the home and are homeless. All of those choices are up to you.

    For most of us here, we need quite a bit of support in order to get through this with our adult kids. NAMI, which is the National Alliance on Mental Illness is a very, very good resource for us parents. They have parent courses which can guide you and give you the support you need. You can also benefit from 12 step groups if that feels appropriate, many of our members have received valuable assistance in learning how to deal with their adult kids in those groups. Private therapy works. I went to 12 step groups, attended an almost 2 year program on Codependency, had weekly therapy sessions and a weekly therapy run support group. My grown daughter exhibits many symptoms of mental illness but refuses to get help. There is nothing I can do about it. I've learned through a lot of pain and with a lot of help, to detach from her choices and behaviors.......and I've learned to live my own life regardless of what she is doing or not doing. Your daughter is younger, however, the path is similar. We can't control what our grown kids do or don't do. At some point, we have to learn how to detach and accept what is. We have to learn to focus on our needs and wants. At some point our parenting has to make a shift, they have to take the reigns and we have to relinquish them.

    This is a difficult journey for us parents. It is very hard to set those boundaries and enforce them when our kids are depressed. Look down the road a little bit, you could be doing this exact same thing in 10 years. Your daughter will be 31 at that point.
    There is a great likelihood that your daughter is NOT going to change. YOU will need to change. Getting support will help you do that. Most of us need a guide out of this forrest of parental guilt, self blame, sorrow, anger, resentment and disappointment.

    If I were you I would stick to my February deadline and stop paying for the cell and the insurance. That would be a good first step for you. At that point, you may set a date for her to get a job and take the medications as part of the requirement to live in your home, and if she doesn't, than she will need to live elsewhere. You can call the local shelters in your town and inquire about a bed. I know that sounds awful, but there are quite a number of kids here who've lived in shelters because they refused to take care of themselves. However, sometimes they actually do move on to better housing they provide for themselves once someone else stops footing the bill.

    Only you can decide what feels right to you. You might start with NAMI and see where that takes you. They also have resources for your daughter. I found them to be very helpful. There are many, many more options then simply putting up with negative behavior. You have to look for them and then you have to accept them and learn to live with them. But, it can be done. It's a process. It takes time. We have to learn a whole new way to parent these kids and learn to let them go. It is NOT easy. But it IS doable. Hang in there, keep posting. I'm glad you're here with us.
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  13. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi S&S,
    I'm sorry you had to find this site but am glad you did. There are years of experience on these pages from those of us who have weathered the storms.

    First you cannot make her take her medication. You can make it a condition of her living in your home but you would have to monitor her actually taking it to be sure. Perhaps there is a blood test that shows the levels.

    You have said something very important here: I know she is manipulating me

    It does not sound like depression is the main issue. I completely agree with MWM. She is very wise and gives very good advice.

    You have no control over your daughter. I do hope you are not giving her money and I would stop paying for her car insurance. If she can go clubing then she is not so depressed that she cannot function and hold down a job.

    I know you love your daughter and you just want to kiss it and make it all better. We all get that, we have all been there. She is an adult now and needs to start acting like one. At present, she is taking advantage of you and the longer you allow that to continue the harder it will be on both of you.

    Again, there is so much advice on these pages, take time to read and find comfort in knowing that you are not alone, there are many of us who care.

    ((HUGS)) to you.
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  14. HeadlightsMom

    HeadlightsMom Well-Known Member

    Sad & Scared ---- We welcome you to this site. Know that we understand. Some of the specifics may not, but the longer you're here, the more you'll most likely be astounded at the shocking amount of similarities in experience we all share.

    So many great specifics already listed above by others. Reasons, options and boundaries. Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries. It's a shame most of our boundaries have to be so strong and clear-cut, but, well.....they do. We've all been manipulated before, too. And that hurts.

    I agree that NAMI is a tremendous source of help. Also, many terrific articles posted on this site which are helpful. I admit I had not heard the medication App before. I kinda like it. I think it MIGHT have helped some with our difficult child in his youth....for a while. However, don't see that now.

    We are with you! We all, also, have been "Sad and Scared" at one time or another. There is much good to be learned, shared, and supported through this site. We do welcome you with open arms!
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  15. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    S&S, it sounds like your daughter certainly has a lot to deal with, with the pain of suicides that she has had to deal with. But it sounds like she was dealing well with that and finding purpose in reaching out, then stopped. Why do you think that is?

    Between the isolation and the timing of her home time to make sure you don't see her, the first thing that jumped out at me is drugs. I'm not against young adults having some fun partying. It's not the clubbing into the wee hours that is the problem, it's the not meeting her own needs. If she is 20 and isn't paying her own cell phone and car insurance, I think it's time to think about making some changes. You can't change her, but you can change how much of her behavior you are willing to condone.

    Sadly, many of our adult kids will gladly not work and allow us to pay their bills for as long as we are willing to do it.

    I think your February deadline is a good one. What will you do if she does not start making enough $ to pay her cell phone and car insurance by that date?
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  16. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I do that, too. I hide it so well from myself I don't even know I am in denial.

    I only know something isn't gelling just the way it should, in my corner of the world.

    It helped me to keep and hold and remind myself of this imagery, of this idea of interacting with my adult children as adults, as people as grown up as I had been myself at their ages. One of the hardest things for me was to stop seeing my kids as kids. But I now believe that continuing to allow that dynamic is harmful to the kids. We have to force them into growing up. If they are not clamoring for their independence, then our jobs as parents has to be to push them into it.

    When I could see it that way, it was less hurtful for me, and so, I could stand up and say "No" without becoming so depressed myself that I could not look at myself in the mirror.

    And some days, that is the hardest thing. To know what we have decided, to commit to it and do it, and be able to look at ourselves in the mirror.

    Everything gets all twisted up, when we have difficult child children.

    It is very hard.


    On an earlier post, one of us wrote that our children may manipulate us with their situations. That can be true. But to me, that kind of manipulation between a mother and her child seems less a coldhearted intention kind of thing and more a way of being that we teach and they learn until it gets to be beyond the bounds of normal and we don't know what to do, anymore.

    But just as you both got where you are, together you can steer a course in another direction, too.

    I liked Midwest Mom comment about moving toward adult to adult relationship as a way to think about establishing a new goal, a healthier new picture of how you want your relationship with your daughter to look and feel.

    I have to keep my goals firmly in mind, or I cannot say no to my kids, or stick to my principles regarding the downright crummy things they keep doing and I keep rescuing them from.

    How do you think your child would respond to a conversation in which you presented the current situation to her in this way, and offered to work together to find a way for her to claim her independence?

    Recovering Enabler is very right about this. And when we do change, even just the smallest little thing, the ripples radiate through the entire relationship we have created with our kids.

    This is an excellent question.


    Very really true.

    How we see our children's situations does matter. We are their mothers, and it matters how we see and respond to them.

    That is why this is so hard.

    We are their mothers, but we are only people, too. We can be hurt or feel mistreated (or allow mistreatment to blossom into something worse) just like anyone. But because we're their moms, we go ahead and feel responsible for whatever happens, next. If it is something good, we feel good. But if it is something terrible, we feel crucified.

    That is why I think it is so important to know what our goals are, and what that looks and feels like.

    We don't want to mess this up.

    We don't want to be cruel or dismissive, but we do want to get the job done. For our kids' own sakes, we want to get the job done and done right. And if something bad happens instead, we have to know how to take care of ourselves through that.

    It requires, like, a superhuman effort to do all that. And like I said earlier, we are only just humans, too.

    Even if we are moms.


  17. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    Sorry for your need to join us here but glad you have an outlet for your feelings and emotions.
    I think you should follow through on what you said, not paying the cell phone or insurance anymore. How is she getting gas money? If you have been giving it to her that needs to stop as well. (If you can afford it give her a monthly bus pass) Drinking, going out partying and whatever drugs she may be using are just ways she may be using to self medicate. After you follow through with insurance/cell, perhaps it is time to take another step (add a new boundary) and insist that if she wants to stay at home she must be medication compliant. You might also set down some basic household rules such as keeping her room clean, helping out with chores and no visitors in the house when you are not home. Take away her key if you must do so - even locking her out during your work hours so you don't experience the theft some many of the members here have experienced.
    She needs to grow up and you are doing her no favors allowing her depression (and your feelings about it) to keep her locked in childhood.
    You and your husband absolutely are entitled at this time in your life to be free of the problems of your children. Take whatever steps you feel comfortable with to start ushering your daughter out of your home and on with her own life. Trust me, you will be doing everyone a favor in the long run.
  18. sad and scared mom

    sad and scared mom New Member

    Thank you all for the encouraging words and wonderful advice. On Friday I was in the middle of responding to everyone's post when I received a phone call from our local police department. Of course I could hardly breath when they said who they were. My daughter sent a text to a friend of hers letting him know that she was going to end her life on that day. the text said that she was ready and she had a plan. She wouldn't respond much to him and since he was not close in the area he phoned the police. Long story short the police picked her up and took her to the hospital and that is where she is now. In the emergency room she refused to see me or anyone. That is the first time she didn't want to see me and it about killed me. When I was finally able to see her she was so broken. My daughter is clearly sick. She is in such dark place. I knew that she was getting worse with her depression but she does such a good job hiding how bad she is from us. she will probably be released today or tomorrow. She has already talked to a social worker about intense out patient program 3 days a week for 2 1/2 hours a day. She still believes she will be able to deal with things as long as she is in therapy without medications. I on the other had feel she is in desperate need of medication but this is not my decision. I spent about 2 hours talking to a wonderful young lady that works in a all natural heaingl vitamin/food store to see if there was anything she could take that was all natural no medication and she gave me information on Zembrin. Not sure if any of you have heard of this or not. It sounds good but I know nothing about it other then what I have read. I did take the info to her and asked her to look it over. I know if she does decide to be on medication she cant take both. I myself have looked into NAMI. what another wonderful place for me to get information. I will be going Tuesday for my first support group meeting. I am looking forward to learn not only what I can do to help her but also help myself. Thank you again everyone for taking the time to respond and give such great advice. For right now it is just one day at a time.
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  19. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Thanks for the update on your daughter. I'm glad she reached out to her friend and that he phoned the police. I'm glad you will be going to a support group. You have a tough road ahead of you but you will find you are stronger than you know.
    Sending you hugs!!
  20. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thank you for updating. Hopefully now your daughter will receive the help she needs. I am so happy you contacted NAMI. They can help you. Let us know how things progress. One day at a time..........sending hugs to you.