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Topic: Scared mum of anxious teen

5 posts, 0 answered
  1. Ab67
    Ab67 avatar
    2 posts
    21 February 2021

    Scared mum of anxious teen here. She took herself to Headspace for crisis counselling. I am so proud that she knows where to turn for support when she needs it. But I am very unhappy with the advice she tells me was given - that there should be no restrictions on her computer use (which means she will be up late (12-3am) even on a school night and that I should talk to her less (stop going into her room, which means I do not see her when she is home) and communicate more by text (which she does not answer).

    I find this advice incredible and unworkable. Three appointments in and we now only see our daughter when she leaves the house for school and her one outing with friends on the weekend. She doesn’t join us for meals. She barely eats. She is disconnected, and getting more disconnected to her family with every day - but seems happy out with her friends.

    It’s Sunday and I expect she will spend from Sat 3pm to Mon 7:30 am in bed with her computer, and give me daggers if I go in to see her. Any suggestions to engage with me and the world are shot down and I am asked to leave her alone.

    Headspace do not include me as a parent in the sessions and I totally respect my daughters privacy if that is what she wants/ needs. But spending more time alone in bed on a computer seems like very bad advice to me and our relationship is deteriorating daily.

    Can anyone suggest the best ways I can support my daughter?

    Anxiety sufferers please help me understand - Is it good advice for her to stay in bed for extended times?

    Do I respect my daughters wishes and leave her alone or disrespect them by trying to engage with her?

    Thank you the advice

  2. smallwolf
    Community Champion
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    smallwolf avatar
    4845 posts
    21 February 2021 in reply to Ab67
    Hi and welcome to beyond blue forums.

    Speaking as a parent the advice you were given sounds odd. But I don't know what the situation is or what was said to headspace... Obviously. And it little opportunity to resolve any issues whatever they might be

    With that said, do you ever do things together like shopping? And perhaps an opportunity to chat about things and how much you care using "I" language.

    As good as a space like headspace can be, another possibility might be talking to a professional face to face? It is good she was able to take the step of chatting with someone.

    Even a simple text message like "you can talk to me anytime cause I care about you" can be powerful even with no response.

    Sleep is important so staying up into the early hours of the day is not ideal and was something both my psychiatrist and psychologist addressed. Light from devices is also unhealthy. But I am just a user here.

    Since she told you about going to headspace, did she also mentioned why? You don't have to explain here. If she mentioned anything it might give you some idea of the issue?

    Tim
  3. Summer Rose
    Valued Contributor
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    Summer Rose avatar
    1313 posts
    21 February 2021 in reply to Ab67

    Hi Ab67

    I have a child with anxiety and OCD who fell ill at age 13 (she is now 22).

    I would also be questioning the advice your daughter says she received from headspace. If it helps, my daughter has never received advice of the nature your daughter says she has received.

    If someone at headspace said these things, it doesn’t mean you have to adhere to it.

    It’s hard to challenge “expert” advice—at least it was for me. I felt like I was “just a mum” and not qualified to question the experts.

    I quickly learned that not all experts were necessarily providing the right advice for my child and/or family. I did a lot of research and work to find the “right” practitioners.

    I would find it incredibly difficult to let the situation continue. I’m not a doctor but it just doesn’t feel right to me and you yourself are observing that it really isn’t helping. How can so much screen time be good for anyone? How can your child function whilst tired at school?

    I would suggest you ask your daughter if you could attend for the last 10 minutes of her next appointment. The purpose would be for you to ask the practitioner how best to support her and ask questions.

    I would also suggest you do some research into “plan B”. This might include a joint visit to your GP to review the current treatment plan and seek advice on other ways to access professional help.

    Your daughter is obviously resourceful and independent and that is to be applauded. But she is still a child.

    She lives in your house and her illness and behaviour affect you (and presumably the rest of the household), so in my book you have a right to be included in the treatment process.

    I was lucky that my daughter agreed, let me in and largely let me guide her through it. I think it’s really important that you make your case from a place of love and concern and not control.

    Does any of this make sense to you? Happy to keep talking.

    Kind thoughts to you

    1 person found this helpful
  4. Amanda2000
    Amanda2000 avatar
    67 posts
    23 February 2021 in reply to Ab67

    Hi Ab67

    Thank you for reading my post. Now I understand your situation!

    As a sufferer, I can certainly relate to the disconnection that your daughter is going through and wanting to be left alone. However I cannot make sense of the Headspace advice. It seems to be the total opposite of the mental health advice that we usually receive. Was the advice given in writing or did your daughter just tell you? I'm wondering whether you've been told only bits of the "advice" that may have been taken out of context?

    I just had a look at the Headspace website. There is a Family and Friends National Reference Group made up of members with lived experience of supporting a young person through headspace services. Have you tried contacting them? https://headspace.org.au/about-us/headspace-friends-and-family-national-reference-group/

    I feel for you very much. I am grateful that so far my kids have not inherited any traces of my mental health issues.

    Shout-out to smallwolf and Summer Rose! You lovely people have given me support when I needed it. Thank you.

  5. david'n'goliath
    david'n'goliath avatar
    16 posts
    24 February 2021

    G'day Ab67. The following might be relevant.

    As a teenager living with mum and dad I had a few chores. One chore was to dry the dishes whilst dad washed the dishes. During that chore I always felt like dad was grilling me, scolding me or telling me off. Eventually I grew to hate the dishes and at times hate my father. I can recall using a tea towel to dry a knife, feeling the seething hate. I was 16 and brimming with hormones but I didn't like the feeling of hating my father - I'd previously looked up to and loved him. He and I argued on so many things and always his passion would turn to anger and I'd match his anger and stew in hate. To avoid all that I went out as much as possible, kept my bedroom door closed all the time and stopped going on family outings or holidays, eventually I moved out to live closer to uni. With distance dad and I argued less and became better friends.

    I had sleep problems for some parts of high school and couldn't get to sleep early, nor get up on time. I discovered that the house was beautifully quiet late night and very early mornings. I took to writing during those times, sometimes because I couldn't sleep and sometimes because I was inspired to write. Between 11 pm and 3 am became my time, no one bothered me and I felt safe and free in my bedroom. Even now with me 48 years old I still love the stillness of the late hours.

    Perhaps your daughter is avoiding something/someone in the house?

    She might be trying to cope with the changes in sleep patterns by doing something during those hours she finds herself unable to sleep. I can say that sometimes those late hours are scary and ones mind races in anxiety, so using a smart device could be used as a distraction or reassurance from friends.

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