Don't know where to turn

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by beyondthecliff, Apr 5, 2018.

  1. beyondthecliff

    beyondthecliff New Member

    Hi -
    New here, and needing help (sound familiar!). Our problem is with our 18 year old daughter. In some ways we are fairly lucky - she doesn't drink, do drugs, smoke etc. but she has zero - and I mean zero - drive/goals/ambition/motivation/anything. She has zero friends. Nada. Not one. She does, however, leave the house to visit boys, and I'm not stupid enough to know what goes on.

    I could write pages on this, but my dilemma is this: she has severe depression but her "adult" decision is to come off her medications (about the only thing she has done that has given any improvement, in my opinion). She refuses to seek any services (we went to every service possible up to her 18th, you name it, we've tried it). She refuses to exercise, leave the house in the day, has zero social life, barely does much beyond lie in bed and stare into her iphone screen. She lies, she has stolen, she is sneaky, manipulative, and has excuses for everything. I can no longer stand it. I am losing my mind. FYI - her older sister is in University and is driven, responsible, and goal oriented. Both Dad and I are in a stable, happy marriage (over 20yrs), good jobs, educated, ambitious. Our home is calm, organized, and positive.

    So - what do we do? I cannot bare the negative influence her chronic mood brings to the house. She will not get a job. She will not do anything. I cannot condone or support this lifestyle any longer, and I want her to leave, but doing that will literally be a case of kicking her onto the street because she has nothing - no money, no prospects, no drive to better herself. If she stays, she is getting a free ride, making our life miserable, and will continue along the same path.

    I feel if we let her stay we enable her to stay in this destructive, awful place, and yet if she leaves she will likely end up a prostitute to survive. I am so torn. Never in a million years did I think this would be the outcome of 18 years of dedicated, positive, loving parenting.

    While I understand depression is horrendous, there comes a time when you have to reach into yourself and start to find ways to help yourself, especially now she is an adult. We have been the driving force behind every service so far, but now she is 18 she has stopped everything. She claims "nothing works", and hence ends up doing absolutely nothing to help herself...and the few things that have made a slight improvement to her mood (medications) she is insisting she comes off.....

  2. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    Do you live in an area that has places she could volunteer, such as the animal shelter, etc. It works wonders for my son's depression and anxiety. Volunteering might help her figure out what her interests are. If you live in a rural area or small town, it is hard to find things to do.
  3. beyondthecliff

    beyondthecliff New Member

    Thank you for your reply! Yes, this is one of the millions of things we have tried. I had such high hopes for it. She stood and sulked, wouldn't help, and essentially got "fired" after her 3rd "shift". They couldn't handle her lack of drive and motivated/sullenness/laziness either, sadly.
  4. LookingForPeace

    LookingForPeace New Member

    How frustrating! I would suggest finding a counselor for yourself and perhaps they can guide you. Unfortunately, I think you are going to have to kick her out.

    Do you pay for her phone? Does she do her own laundry? Make her own food? If you are doing everything for her that is a form of enabling.

    I'm so sorry. You are in a tough spot. I would also suggest reading "Setting Boundaries With Your Adult Children" by Allison Bottke. It helps me stay strong and reassures me I'm not being unreasonable.
  5. beyondthecliff

    beyondthecliff New Member

    Thank you for your reply! Up until now, we have been paying for everything, yes. Now she turned 18 (just recently), that is going to stop. Needless to say she is distraught and claims we hate her, which is so far from the truth! We will also be removing her from the car insurance. I would stop making her food, but then the minimal interaction we have with her would be gone because she would eat utter junk, alone, and at random times which would destroy the order we have in the home. Not to mention it is food we pay for.

    I'm sure I sound heartless, there is SO much more to this story (as I am sure is the same for everyone here!). We are happy to support - financially and emotionally - our children if they are moving in a positive direction. For example, we help out our oldest as best we can because she is studying hard for a degree. We would do the same for our youngest, but she has barely scraped through school, has no plans to continue education (and, although it pains me to say it, it would be pointless to do so because she is a terrible student), no plans to work, no plans to do anything beyond sleep and text her "male friends" and surf around looking at pointless, asinine garbage online...all on our dime. Hence, I am pulling the rug, and she is traumatized....despite being warned this day would come for about the last 4 years.

    I'm not sure anyone can help, to be honest - but it sure feels good to vent! LOL! I think this is a case where she will have to learn the *very* hard way -
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You don't sound heartless to me.

    I have had severe suicidal depression and anxiety since age 13. Or I did have. I am 64. Let me share my story.

    My parents didn't care one wit. Nobody in my family cared. I had to leave so I married and the marriage wasn't good but I picked myself up, admitted myself into a psychiatric ward for ten weeks (I was pregnant at the time and knew I had to get better and that nobody would help me but me). I took medications. I still do. I went into therapy. I made my life good. I tried and tried.

    Now remember that I had no parents or husband worrying about me. None. I had to work even if I could barely get out of bed. I personally think that having to do it myself without pity HELPED me. I may have done what your daughter is doing if I knew my mom felt sorry for me and that she would let me live at home without getting better. Who knows? I now mentor young mentally ill youths and they ALL work, and most have lives, none livre at home. Most get Disability too have case managers who help them get services, housing, jobs, therapy and
    even drive them places...they all have plans to become more functional. Some are SO sick and doing SO well!

    Some have the very serious schizophrenia. I don't mentor them as I don't have that but I do help those with depression and anxiety. I tell them where I came from and how great my life, family of choice and kids and pets are now. I had to work hard but it made me much stronger. I have a GREAT husband now and all the love I need. I had to become independent. Your doing the right thing with your daughter. Although before she turns 18 if it we're me I would help her apply for SSI. You may need a lawyer. Much help comes with this and she can still work.

    If I were you, daughter would take her medicine in front of me, get a part time job whether she has to drag herself out of bed or not, get services...or I would make her leave. Like you. I feel, as one who went through it, that allowing a loved one to linger in illness is very bad for the person's recovery. She NEEDS medications, she takes them or she does it her way, on her own. Like I did.

    The mentally ill need to have expectations and a depressive and anxious patient feels better being in the regular world once they get out of bed. Out in the world.

    There are many depressed people. It's not fun but it is very treatable. She just has to get off her tail and do it to and stop whining. Whining never helped me one bit. You are right in my opinion to put expectations on her so she is forced to start healing.

    If she can volunteer she can work. Her own money will empower her. Exercise is great for depression. Laying in bed is the worst. In a psychiatric hospital every patient has to wake up early, take medications if ordered, eat breakfast in a group, go to therapy and other things like arts and crafts and you can not sleep during the day. You must stay in the Community Room with everyone else It's good for mental health patients to be busy. That's why it's done that way.

    Making her live and get help, with hard consequences if she refuses, is what I think is best. So I agree with your plan. She is losing ground at home. But I would get her adult services. Go to Aging and Disabilities with her and they will help you and her.

    I hope this helps. Your daughter would HAVE to function if she didn't have you. NO treatment program, even just services, would let her say "I can't" to everything. That's very unhelpful.

    I would not pay for that phone or allowance male friends in the house. If she is that sick, why does she have enough energy for these men??? They are making her worse. She doesn't need to text men or anyone. That is puzzling for somebody who is supposedly unable to even volunteer. That phone is amusing her so that she can be entertained without ever needing to get out of bed. I would take it. Now. It is holding her back. When you go to work also disconnect the internet. Maybe if she is bored enough she will get up and look for something to do. She may even walk to the library for THEIR internet. A walk would be excellent!

    Hugs to you. I know it will be hard. But get the help for her if you can and let her help herself.

    Love and light!
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    Last edited: Apr 6, 2018
  7. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    This is a hard situation! How long has she been like this?

    I think you need a plan. I would most likely consult a therapist that could help me come up with a plan - I'm assuming you and her dad are on the same page which is half the battle.

    Obviously you probably won't just kick her out now or you would have done that but you need to set some boundaries and deadlines and then follow them.

    Give her 30 days to find a full time job, etc. and go from there. Maybe even a written contract would do.

    Nothing changes if nothing changes. She needs the boundaries as much as you do or she will most likely not do anything differently than what she does now. It's working for HER! She has all her needs met and then some.
  8. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome. I'm sorry you are struggling with your daughter's behaviors. It's so challenging when our kids go off the rails, for whatever reason.

    I would suggest you contact NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. You can access them online, they have chapters in many cities. They offer parent courses which I've taken and many here have taken, which I believe may offer you resources, guidance, options and information. You're going to need a plan, as RNO says, and I believe NAMI may be able to assist you with one.

    Many of us require professional help to learn how to navigate this difficult path, it demands a different way to parent, which we usually have no idea how to do. You can find options for therapists on the Psychology Today website as well as if that feels right to you.

    You may want to read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post here. And, a good general book resource is Codependent no more by Melodie Beattie.

    Unfortunately with adult kids over the age of 18 our options are limited. You have to decide what you can live with, what you are willing to do and what you are not willing to do. To that end, NAMI or a good therapist may be able to assist you. You seem to have a good handle on what the reality is with your daughter and that things cannot continue the way they are.... it is a good time to be exploring options for all of you.

    You do not sound sound human.....we parents do not have the power to control our children's choices or behaviors and when those choices and behaviors are negative & lazy.....and when they won't help themselves and have no plan to change or move ahead.... only to stagnate while you pay the bills.....well, it's time for change.

    Continue posting, it helps to write our story down and have it be received by others who's cathartic. Keep yourself well supported as you travel through this path.

    I'm glad you're here. You're not alone.
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  9. Baggy Bags

    Baggy Bags Member

    Stop paying for anything extra - phone, clothes, even snacks. Tell her she needs to get a job and help with the bills. Don't let her have access to internet until she starts to help pay for it.

    I agree that getting help for you to learn how to manage her is very important.
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    OMG. How did I forget NAMI, the National Association for the Mentally Ill!!!! See if they can guide you to get your daughter services! Take classes if you are so inclined. You can learn how to guide her to Independence and to take care of YOU as well.

    They are the main advocates for the mentally ill and their caregivers in the U.S.

    Thanks, Recovering Enable. Big duh to me for leaving out this resource!