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My girl is really struggling. I didn't know how bad it was until last night and I am trying not to crumble. She is 20, junior in college, and at a turning point in her life. She told me yesterday that while driving to visit her birth family she thought about a truck ending her life, how it wouldn't matter to anyone, etc. She said " I am not suicidal", but....

I mostly just let her talk and vent and cry. She is afraid to tell her friends because she doesn;t want to burden them and she also thinks they won't believe her. She is stressed about school, she feels she has a blockage in her brain that keeps her from understanding the courses. She told me she took adderall during finals(!!) Got it from a 'friend'. She said it helped while writing a paper.

We talked about medication which TOTALLY freaks me out, but I read the previous thread about meds at 14, and that helped ALOT.  She said when she was "hurting herself" in high school, she was cutting, it was different. She was in 'pain'. She wants to know why this is happening now. She feels that my ex-husband and myself are her only friends. 

She is willing to go to therapy. I was frantically trying to find someone this morning but she goes back to college in two weeks and my ex thinks it would be best for her to wait and see someone at school. I am wary of the counselors there, but maybe they are good? If not, we can find someone in our insurance in the same town. I hope. 

This is SO hard because she expresses so many feelings that I ALSO have.  When she is working or busy, distracted, everything is better. When she is alone she feels "sad and gross".

Do you think therapy is enough? Do we find a pdoc right away? How do you keep your own shit from getting in the way of your children's stuff? Everyone talks about 'adulting', letting go of your kids, letting find their own path. But this is different! I don't want to hover but...she is crying out for help. 

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Could depression be interfering with her cognitive function at school? That's what the "blockage in her brain" made me wonder ... if she's self medicating with adderall I think I would take a serious look at meds. I admit I am biased by my own experience which was that therapy alone didn't work. 

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not a parent, but what she's going through really resonates with me. i started meds and therapy when i was 18, and early in my second year of university. similar scenario - i was having trouble in my courses, and dealing with constant suicidal ideation. i just remember feeling so fucking empty. like there was nothing inside of me.

i started counselling with through the counseling services offered by my school. i got one that didn't work for me the first time, and the second time i tried, i got a really kind, understanding and supportive woman. she assessed me as dealing with severe depression and anxiety, and encouraged me to try an antidepressant, which i was already open to. a doctor that worked out of the school walk-in clinic (ie, not a pdoc) gave me escitalopram to try first. that didn't work for me, and i got quite close to a suicide attempt. i was switched to zoloft, and my counselor encouraged me to ask for a referral to see the psychiatrist who worked on campus. he was in twice a week at the student walk-in clinic, though seeing him was by appointment. he put me on effexor and risperidone and gave me my OCPD dx. I improved greatly under his care and was able to finish my degree without any crises.

what i'm saying is, it's very possible to get good help through a university, and starting medication at her age worked for me.

i know at the time i really wished my dad was alive, because he was on an AD all his adult life, and i really wanted to talk to someone who knew what i was going through. i think your role here is to support her and offer compassion, just like you'd do to anyone here. i don't know how open you are with her about your mental health, but if you can show her that it gets better, or share some of what you went through, i think it might help her feel understood.

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Thank you @Juniper29. I think therapy alone might not work. She is worried the meds will change her and/or won’t work. 
 

Wonderful insights @echolocation  thank you so much for sharing. We are going to start with the therapist from school. 
 

It’s so hard when my despair is rearing its ugly head and she’s happy. I pretend to be calm, thinking my mood will bring her lower. She left her shoes at birthmoms. She needs them. But for some reason her birthmom won’t mail them. She wants to meetup with my girl which is fine but birthmom lives far and my girl is working everyday. I don’t see how this will happen. And I don’t understand why this is making ME unhappy. My girl says “I don’t want to talk about it”. So I try to let go but inside my thoughts are ruminating. 

I feel helpless and inadequate. i know showering her with love is all I can do but....😩

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She’s twenty. If she wants to try meds, she’s well old enough to make that decision for herself. I think that, given her symptoms and the fact that she’s already been self-medicating, there’s nothing to be gained from delaying medications, particularly as there’s a chance the first one isn’t going to be the one she ultimately ends up taking. I mean, how many of us has that worked for? 

Why are you wary of the counselors at her school? Doesn’t it make sense that a doc working at a college would have particular skill working with college-aged patients? My current tdoc splits her time 80/20 between the local U and her private practice, and the things she mentions about how life is for people that age are eye-opening. I’d forgotten quite what it was like to be so young. Perspective is a double-edged sword. 

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Also, and this is just something I've heard and the impression I got from the college/universities I attended, is that if a counselor/psychologist at a college is meant primarily to handle things like test-taking anxiety, etc. or a student who just needs a few sessions to talk things out, the college counselor/psychologist will refer students who need more than that to another therapist/psychologist in the community. So starting with the school therapist is probably a good place. Depending on how things work at your daughter's college, maybe the therapist will be able to provide appropriate ongoing care but if not, I'm sure she'll be referred to someone who can.

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On 1/4/2020 at 5:12 PM, Gearhead said:

it make sense that a doc working at a college would have particular skill working with college-aged patients?

Yes! Totally. That is my hope. 

 

12 hours ago, aquarian said:

if a counselor/psychologist at a college is meant primarily to handle things like test-taking anxiety, etc. or a student who just needs a few sessions to talk things out, the college counselor/psychologist will refer students who need more than that to another therapist/psychologist in the community

That would be lovely. What a great idea!!  Thank you!

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