I have noticed a series of scars on my twelve-year-old daughter's left wrist. She seems fine some of the time, but I have also noticed her feeling sad or angry. She had not withdrawn from her normal activities, but some of her grades have been slipping, something I had attributed to laziness. She says that she is a nervous test-taker, and sometimes has panic attacks during tests, but I thought she was doing better. She sleeps a lot during the day, but she stays up late at night, no matter how hard I try to stop her from doing so. I suffered from depression when I was younger, could my daughter be depressed even though she doesn't show most signs, only a few? And is she cutting herself, even though that is unlike her? I asked her about them, but she denied hurting herself, saying that the dog scratched her. What should I do? I'm worried.
Hello and I am very glad that you contacted JustAsk. It is hard to determine from a note if your child has depression or another behavioral disorder. I commend you as a parent for taking a very important step by asking great questions, sharing very relevant information and for being pro-active on behalf of your daughter.
Given the observations and family history you have described it would seem extremely important that you make an appointment with your child's physician, school counselor or school psychologist. Please seek help for your daughter. You are worried and my experience tells me to go with your "gut instinct" as you know your child best.
If she balks about going to seek help then let her know that you care and perhaps this will benefit her "panic attacks" and help her to lead a healthier life style.
Also, please have a discussion regarding the need for intervention with any spouse or significant other in your life. Mixed signals from parents is not what is needed now. Help for your daughter is what should be a priority at this time.
I have added some resources for you to read below. They will help you determine if your daughter needs immediate emergency help, inform you about depression, and other "at risk" disorders. Also, these sites will provide you with a "snapshot" of normal adolescent behavior.
Good luck and please let keep us updated, if you wish.
Louise Masin Sattler, NCSP
Nationally Certified School Psychologist
Owner of Signing Families
I'm sorry to hear about your daughter. I'm glad you are concerned for her emotional and physical well being. I'm including some articles on teens and depression. I hope you can maybe learn some facts and symptoms of depression to help determine a course of action for your daughter. http://www.education.com/reference/article/teens-depression/
First off, I would like to thank everyone who offered me their opinions. You have all been very helpful, and I wanted to let you know that my daughter has now agreed to seeing a therapist. Her decision to willingly see a doctor and admit that she needs help makes me feel so much better. For now, at least, she has stopped cutting, and I hope that she never cuts herself again. I feel terrible that I had not noticed it sooner, but I now truly believe that she will be getting the help she requires. Thank you all!
Your daughter sounds very much like myself when I was a teen. I was depressed and have anxiety and panic attacks. I would try and get her some help. Talk to her about it first and let her know you're just worried about her. I wish I had had parents who cared as much as you to notice, I think my adolescence would have gone alot smoother. I applaud you for noticing the signs. As far as the cutting, only a professional may know for sure.
The first thing I would do is realize that sadness is a normal human emotion. A lot of times when we see our children sad, we feel guilty as parents and try to compensate for it. The best thing to do is talk about our feelings if the time is right and accept that some days will be good and others not so good. Your child is in her pre-teen years which poses unique challenges of its own. So if she is emotional, then understand it is a normal part of growing up until it DOES interfere with normal daily activities. Depression and anxiety issues kind of go hand in hand. You mentioned anxiety. I had anxiety when I was a child and at the time, my parents did not think anything about it. However, there are many choices for parents today. Just educate yourself on these options. Some are medications to counseling sessions to help her deal with the anxiety. Also, remember that abnormal anxiety will produce "panic attacks". The victim of a panic attack can't control the symptoms. And often it is a living nightmare for the anxiety sufferer. I would explore the actual symptoms that come on before a test. Anxiety can make a child's grades fall as well. Check out the link below for more information. Good Luck!
It's hard to suggest by few points that you describe in your question and can be judge that she is having depression. I think you would be more satisfied if you take time and visit a Psychologist/Psychiatrist. May be the signs you observe of her are more clarified after the visitation. I want to quote few lines from a site, " Teen depression is also hard to diagnose and early intervention is key. Adolescence is typically described as a journey of self-discovery, immense challenge and change, growth characterized by many physical, emotional, psychological and social changes during this stage of life."
Teens also don't want to disclose everything to their parents, so try spending quality time with your daughter and involve with her in the activities she like the most. This way, you would be able to gain her trust and she would open few things to you that are helpful to evaluate her condition.
My best wishes for her health...
OK.....sorry bout my answer before!!! There is a strong-possibility that she is depressed. Is there anything going on in the family, as in are you and her dad together or anything like that? Maybe she needs to get away from everyone for a little bit, leave her alone and let her come to her senses. That would be the best thing... she might be under depression attacks where she doesn't want to be in this world and she just wants everyone to leave her alone and let her be by herself for a while. Just think... "If I were her, would I want everyone to be smothering me?" "What would I want if I were her? Would I want everybody to be bothering me and worried about me?" If so, then maybe you and her don't have much in common, because the way it sounds, you are smothering her and won't let her have her own time, give her some space, and let her think, recooperate, let her come and talk to you about it, instead of you going to her all the time to talk, she might eventually come and talk to you about what's bothering her? If not, maybe it's something personal and she doesn't want you to know about it. I know that you would want her to come and talk to you about it, but she could be trying to think of a way to tell you about it, some teens (as for me) don't like their parents finding out about personal stuff that's happening in their life because they know how their parents will act and they don't want them to be concerned for them. She could be talking to a counselor at school or to a friend or a teacher, or someone that she can trust... which she most likely can trust you, but she just doesn't want to inform you about it, considering that she know's how you will act. You might get it out of her in a few days or so... You should take her to the doctor, because she could be diagnosed with depression...