daughter faces court date for non attendance

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by oldchristine, Oct 17, 2009.

  1. oldchristine

    oldchristine New Member

    Hello, I am new here and hoping for input and support for my 15 yr old daughter.She is the oldest of 4, and has had issues since she was in grade school with not wanting to go places, being unusually stubborn/anger issues, and showed early signs of depression. She was diagnosed mild ADD when she was 10, but those medications made her severely depressed, almost psychotic when she was 12. We took her off, and a mild depression continued.Got counseling. Usually about she and her sisters bio dad in a far away state. He is narcissistic,probably ODD.
    She began refusing to go to school in 7th grade. Just would lie in bed not talking or moving. I tried taking away all her privleges, all her electronics. She is addicted to computer and games. We still have to ration them. No difference, when she was OK she would go, not OK she would not even move.Had the school counselor come out, she laid in bed immoble. Put her on anti-depressants which helped but did not solve all attendance issues. Same problem in 8th grade, esp in late winter, depression and not getting up.

    I homeschooled her last year, using 9th grade curriculum, but she would not comply with her assignments,ripped up a book we were reading, and went online to her chat websites when I left the room. She is very intellegent and has no learning disorders. Just gets tired of the work.

    So I placed her back in school this year, with her friends but one year behind and she is already having major attendance issues. She tells me she does not care about her education,and she gets excited only about going online to be her avatar or drawing her anime characters. She rarely leaves the house and does not take care of her body-shaving,skin care, exercise the way a normal girl would.
    Nothing motivates or scares her. Everything negative makes her cry.The counselors have been out to our house and explained that she may be ordered to go to a residential facility program. She has missed even after that.

    I feel I have tried everything, she is on the right medication-Zoloft-and we are very close and have a loving relationship. I realize going to the court run school may help, but I am worried because, while defiant, she is mostly depressed. Will they be equipped to handle her emotional issues and will she be at risk of suicide? Or when she is somewhere she does not want to be, will she grow up and start making better choices? I am beyond frustrated, and do not know what to do, allow this to happen or try to get her into a psychiatric facility. Any similar situation would be so welcome. I feel so alone, and don't know of any kids like her.
  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Welcome! I'm glad you found us but sorry you needed to.

    How do you know she's on the right medication if she's still depressed? Do you know that only about 50 percent of people respond positivitely to SSRIs (Zoloft is an SSRI antidepressant)? What does her psychiatrist say about the medications?

    I can't answer your question about the facility because I don't know how they would handle her depression. If it's punitive, it might make her worse. If it's therapeutic and relationship-based, it might help her. Are you able to check the facility out before she would be placed there?
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there and welcome to the board!

    I'm wondering how her social skills are. Does she have friends? Does she know how to have a give-and-take conversation? Can you think back to her early development and tell us if she had any speech problems, obsessions, strange quirks. Does she seem socially clueless? I have an idea of what MAY be going on and I think it's probably a good idea to have her evaluated totally by a neuropsychologist. in my opinion she has not been diagnosed correctly yet. I think you ought to give the evaluation process another try. Have you ever taken her to a NeuroPsychologist?

    Welcome again :D
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Ok, I re-read your post. I think you should look up Asperger's Syndrome. She does sound depressed, but many Aspie teens are very depressed. I'm just a parent. I can't diagnose. But I would want to check this out. It can't hurt. However nothing beats a professional evaluation and psychiatrists and therapists are not really well-schooled about things like Aspergers because it is a neurological disorder. They often call it everything else. Aspie's have very high anxiety and don't like change. They have obsessions...my son is like this. They can seem defiant as they don't think of adults as authority figures plus they have a horrible time transitioning from one activity to another. They tend to have few if any friends and atypical interests for their ages. Some are lonely, but have no idea how to make friends so they need social skills classes. Some don't really care and like being alone. And, yes, they realize they are different. At the same time, they don't see the point of hygiene or "cool" clothes and often refuse to care about them, no matter how you stress it, so that they don't fit into a "typical" world. They do not care about peer pressure and may be afraid to do school work without help, even if they are capable of doing it. Anxiety and sensory sensitivities are very high in many Aspies. Aspies need hands on school interventions far more than therapy. Often, they can't express themselves well and don't attach to the therapists unless the therapist is very familiar with autistic spectrum disorder. At any rate, good luck whatever you decide to do. I posted a link for you to browse.

    PS--Aspies usually are VERY sensitive (my son is) and don't handle correction well. My son is sixteen and he will still cry and slam doors and say, "I'm a stupid idiot." He gets over it much faster now, but he had interventions since he was a toddler.

    Last edited: Oct 17, 2009
  5. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    MWM, her daughter may not have Aspergers. She could be describing my son, and he has a mood disorder with anxiety and depression, no Aspergers (confirmered multiple times by a neuropsychologist). But it can take the right medications, therapy and educational environment to reach these kids.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Right, smallmom, which is why I recommended she see a neuropsychologist for an evaluation. However her daughter's lack of friends and obsession with computer stuff is kind of a red flag that should at least have Aspergers looked at.

    I have no doubt though that this child is also depressed, regardless of what else is going on. I think the best path is to do a complete neuropsychologist evaluation. I'm biased toward NeuroPsychs :tongue:.

    In all seriousness, if you aren't sure what you're dealing with, you can't really treat it right. Been there/done that/wrote the book. I just think it's better to be safe than sorry and have a professional test for EVERYTHING! And then she'll have a better idea of what direction to take. Of course JMO.
  7. oldchristine

    oldchristine New Member

    Thanks for the welcome! Its good to talk to others who understand.

    I have looked into Auspergers esp. because of her obcsessive computer/art stuff and her disinterest in her body. However, when she is "on" and ready to socialize, she will doll herself up and she dresses cute and makes great eye contact.Its just much more sporadic than other teen s.She has acne just from neglect that she covers up when she leaves the house. To know her is to love her, and when she clicks with someone who gets her, she is quietly popular, blending with the group. She can even be hyper, screaming and carrying on in fun. But those times are getting less frequent as her attendance issues are distancing her from a social life, by her choice.

    She went to a psychiatrist last year, and I have considered bi- polar as a possibility, though the staying up all night and clear pattern are not there, and she was put on Depacote. She gained 5 lbs in 4 days shes already heavy, and she slept all the time. She did not click with the psychiatric and would not return for a medication change. The psychiatric refused to reschedule and said"lets just see how sick she gets"...

    Her behavior seems to fit with Borderline Personality esp. her feelings of emptiness, despair, low self worth and she gets fixated on boys she talks to online and then falls apart when they do not talk to her enough, or break the relationship. Her father has been very distant the past 3 years. She is not attention seeking of men too much in real life, but it seems she would love to disappear into her online world, which we strictly limit in time and content. Its probably Borderline or Bi-polar

    She was better being put on Zoloft, but she won't SHOW UP for much, so a real psychiatric evaluation will probably need to be admittance to a facility. This year was, "to see how sick she is". The school tells me that even an ED accomodation will not excuse non- attendance, but her main symtom is unwillingness to show up!
  8. No two situations are the same, I know, but to some degree, I understand where you are at. My oldest, who is 18 now, went through severe depression in his early teens to 16 1/2ish. He went to more counselors then I could count and he hated every one of them. He didn't trust them and felt they couldn't understand. He never had a problem making and keeping friends til around 13 and he just started pulling away from them. He stopped doing his work, didn't respect the school authority or educators. My son was very intelligent, but school from the ages of 13 to 18, was simply a waste of time for him. He barely graduated; the teachers gave him way too many breaks because they just didn't want him back there, so he graduated on time. He didn't socialize except on the computer. He had an out of state girlfriend at one point that he was going to run off and see (so he thought). His girlfriends were the only ones he seemed to care about. His hygiene too, was poor. It drove me crazy. I decided to follow the advice I was given-"ignore the hygiene, one day he will start washing!" Just when I thought he would never touch deoderant again, lightening struck and he started showering 2-3 times a day, brushing teeth, cleaning his shoes, and so on. He was just a little over 16 when he turned on the water again (so to speak) and it has been running ever since!!! He is out of school now and is a very different person. Now his behavior was far from perfect from 16-18, but is was a very different type of behavior then we got from 13-16.

    Medication didn't seem to help him at all for depression. I remember a time when I was driving and he was in the back seat (he was around 14ish). I could see him in my rear-view mirror and I remember looking at him and being scared to death; I was suddenly filled with a very real fear that he would take his own life. He seemed so sad, so empty, like there was nothing left of my son but a shell. He then went to live with his father, even though he had always lived with me and his step father. Once there, things got even worse and I do not say it lightly, that every time his bio-dad called, I feared he was calling to tell me my son had taken his life. He started skipping school and had 42 absences for 1 yr. I was 2 hours away from him; it was devastating for us. His dad was not concerned. My husband and I never gave up; we continued to keep in close contact with the school. I started emailing every one of his teachers at the end of every week and kept in contact with the secretary on his absences and the counselor regarding his behavior. It gradually started to improve when he knew I was going to keep contacting the school and checking in with him and holding him accountable for his actions, he had to answer for them and he didn't like the confrontation and he gradually learned. Now, he is graduated. He has been with the same girl ( a nice, beautiful, goal-oriented, head of her class girl) for over three years, great driving record so far (only been driving for a year, because of his issues with school, since it is a privilege), enrolled in college for winter semester and has since cut his ridiculously long hair to VERY short, and has been working since he graduated. He was one special treat after another. After obsessing over electronics of any kind, now he could care less.

    I firmly believe that though him and I were always close, he still had issues with his dad and I not being to together. My son is a very sensitive child and he too would cry often. He was missing something that no medication or therapy could fix for him. He made a lot of bad choices and the fear I had of him commiting suicide was very real. I honestly have seen him so sad, I didn't think I would see another birthday for him at that time. He went to a facility, forced by court and I can tell you, he didn't care-until it happened. My son, for whatever reason, I feel, was continuously testing me to make sure I was still paying attention. I think for him, he was realizing the unconditional love didn't exist on his father's end and he needed to constantly put me in a situation where I had to prove that to him so that he could see it and feel it. I wouldn't say the facility itself was good or bad for him and I worried that it would make things much worse, but things didn't get worse and it helped him see that yup, mom still loves me and he slowly has learned to trust more. He was no easy task getting him safely to 18, but he is there and he is happy to be going to college on his own terms. Being "bad", was his way of forcing me to prove my unconditional love for him on a continous basis. I love him and he no longer doubts. I tell him all the time, I can't wait to see what awesome things he does with his life. Please, I am not trying to sound like I know exactly how you feel and don't worry because everything will be wonderful, because we are all different and feel things differently, but the hours of worry and the barrels of tears I have spilled were very real, as were his feelings at that time. Now, he is secure and no amount of therapy fixed that for him, but he went because I said he had to and he had to because I cared. Take care and I hope things will start getting better.
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It


    I must strongly suggest you have a complete and total evaluation done by a neuropsychologist or have a multidisciplinary evaluation done. The multidisc evaluation is usually done at a university or children's hospital (both are usually outpatient evaluations) and involves a number of professionals who each test your child and then they work together to figure out the diagnosis.

    The on/off behavior you describe seems like some kind of bipolar disorder. Bipolar is also a spectrum, and can seem far less intense than the stereotypical bipolar disorder shown in the media.

    If she is better but still depressed on the zoloft then it is NOT the right medication. Zoloft can cause very bad things to happen after it is taken for several months. After 4-5 months on it my son was suicidal and so full of intense anger that it scared us badly. Him included.

    With the presence of any mood disorder (depression included) it is very important to first rule out bipolar before any antidepressants are given. AD's can cause a whole world of problems for someone with bipolar. They cause mood cycling and many other problems.

    Please get full evaluations done before much else happens. If they need to put her inpatient to get her to cooperate then it will be very much worth it. No matter how she fights it.
  10. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I am in no way wanting to minimize your very real concerns. So bearing that in mind, I wanted to share my son a bit with you.
    My son was exactly like your daughter. I had him through the gauntlet for years. I'd always get torn when no real diagnosis or definitive problem was found. His school refusal, his up all night, sleep all day attitude. His video game obsession. So many of his issues sound exactly like your daughter! My difficult child would other times be well groomed, eager to do things with his friends etc. He has always been smart, with people who he "gets" he is a big talker.
    After years and years of so many problems, I did the homeschool thing. he is now back in regular school. He somehow just flipped a switch regarding school. He is working hard towards goals and getting terrific grades. He still hates high school. But he wants to go to University and that is his motivation. he still spends absurd amounts of hours online playing xbox. He will get obsessed with books and read read read without coming out sometimes all day other than food, drinks, bathroom.
    But he is doing well. He is engaged in his life. He simply is socially different. He likes who he likes. He has stopped feeling/seeming depressed since he got a bit older and learned to be comfortable with who he is. He realizes he's a people person, but he's not a large group person. That he likes quality friends, not quantity. that to really be friends with someone, he prefers those who realllllly share his interests so he can be engaged in conversation that, to him, isn't a waste of time, energy, breath. He no longer feels he is weird, his depression has gone. He simply changed when he stopped feeling like a oddball for not craving the same youthful groups of friends, popularity isn't important to him. Now that he is treated more as an adult (he is growing up!) he tends to find more like minded teens to hang out with. He tends to hang out with older boys because they've gotten past the teen high school drama that drives my difficult child batty. I allow the older friends because he knows to not push his limits to do things they are doing (drinking etc). His friends respect his age and limits (ie. drinking) because they enjoy hanging out with him.
    Having said all that, I have no idea what is going on with your daughter. Wether its just her having to grow into being comfortable with herself or something mental health or chemical or biological etc, I do hope that something will work to help her feel happier and more engaged in her own happiness. I told you about my difficult child because sometimes I think that we can lose hope when we don't find a definitive solution or cause of a problem. But sometimes it does work itself out.
    I am sorry the attending school is getting to this point for her. Education is so important. It's also very difficult to get some of our kids into that classroom. I find our black and white education system does little good (and often harm) to our kids who are not "cookie cutter". I hope you find a solution.
    I am glad to hear that you are close and that she is engaged within the family. She sounds like a great kid. Depression can be so damaging to our kids. I agree that perhaps the medication isn't working. Any medication long term that a person isn't showing improvement with, or isn't helping enough, is probably a good candidate for reevaluation. Sometimes with depression a medication that works for one won't for another. Or can even make the problem worse. Even within the same family of medications (such as antidepressants).
    (((hugs))) There are great people on this board who will likely have much more insightful responses from their own experiences. I just wanted to say hello and share in kind.