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A Mom In Need Of Help

Question:

I have a 20 year old daughter. She has been enrolled in college dropped out for a guy. Now after 2 yrs they are broke up. She didn’t wait long and found another guy who doesn’t work, drinks all day and doesn’t drive. My daughter was just in a head on crash and totalled her car and three others. I think she may have been on the cell phone but she claims she hit ice. Either way I cannot get her to grow up, get a job, do anything. Her father and I have financially shut her off. I have offered for her to live with me and I will try to help her get started again. I am so frustrated she just doesn’t see she needs to be responsible and try to start a life without a guy. She is 20 but acts like she is 13 I’m not sure if she is mentally ill, she claims she gets severely depressed and thinks about killing herself. I tell her I am here and I love her and would do anything to help her I just want her to try to help herself. My younger brother is 36 and is the same way, cannot keep a job, and thinks everyone owes him something, he is a habitual liar and only thinks of himself. My daughter seems to be heading down the same path. Is there anything I could do to help her, not sure what to do please advise me. Thank you, Mary

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Answer:

Your pain and anguish come through loud and clear in your description of your twenty year old wayward daughter. However, it is important that you find ways to remain hopeful. Part of that is to stop yourself from comparing your daughter to your younger brother. They are two very different people and you need to remember that. It is also important that you understand that it is no longer your job to get her to grow up. I understand what you mean when you say that but now it is up to her, including getting a job.

First, it appears fairly clear from what you report that your daughter is quite depressed. In fact, given your brother’s history, depression could possibly run in the family. However, there is a good chance that there are other problems in addition to depression. For example, your daughter could be one of those people with Attention Deficit Disorder, or Bipolar Disorder. Perhaps she dropped out of college because of either of those disorders.

Anyway, there is no question that she is in need of help. The primary problem you face is whether or not she will accept the fact that she needs help and go to a mental health practitioner. She might tell you that she is fine or, because she does admit to suicidal thoughts, she could tell you that she has no money for psychotherapy.

You see, the fact that she is 20 years old means that she is no longer a dependent and is really free to make her own choices in life. Of course, you do seem to be able to talk to her and perhaps she will listen to you and start to get help for herself.

I am strongly urging you to reason with her and get her to go for psychological help. Part of this will be the need for her to cut way down on her drinking. If she really has no money, there are clinics that accept low fee patients. Some of these are connected to local hospitals. If she does indeed have major depression or bipolar disorder she could qualify for Disability Benefits until she is well enough to work. Disability would give her some monthly cash and entitle her to Medicare and Medicaid with which she could pay for psychotherapy and other medical visits. It is possible that she will need medication to help her get set on the road to recovery.

Once on the road to recovery she would be able to get a job to support herself and live independently.

But, the first step for her is to go for help, get a diagnosis so you and she have some idea of what is causing her problems and start the treatment process that could make a big difference in her young life.

Best of Luck

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