I have a 14 year old daughter who has slipped. She had a panic attack in the living room and I saw her cuts. She finally cried and told me everything, which made me feel like a bad parent for not noticing this earlier. She told me she was Bipolar, in depression and grieving for her older brother who has passed. Yet, she was always so bubbly and always made people laugh. Why haven’t I seen this sooner before it had gotten worse? She is a sweet girl but, at times, even when being asked a question, she lashes out. Could she be Bipolar or is it simply part of her? I”m very scared of what she will do over the years. And she is adopted, which makes me feel guilty because today she got angry and said things about herself being adopted.
Help? Why is she like this?
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Your daughter is dealing with many issues including the fact that she is a young adolescent with all the turmoil and angst that many teens at that age face.
First, your daughter is not a psychiatrist. She may say she has a Bipolar Disorder but that does not mean she is correct. Only a psychiatrist, licensed psychologist or licensed clinical social worker could provide that information after doing a full evaluation. However, this does not mean she is not depressed.
You stated that she reports to you that she feels depressed and that she is grieving over her brother’s death. I don’t know if the fact that she is adopted plays any role in how she is feeling right now unless she is harboring incorrect thoughts that you would want her brother rather than herself.
In addition to all of this you have noticed that she is cutting herself and that she had a panic attack. In other words, she is a young woman who is in need of psychotherapeutic help. It’s important that you be part of that therapy because you are her parent and because you feel guilty about everything she is going through. It might be that she will be in individual therapy and that there will be a separate family therapy.
In order to get a referral to a psychiatrist, psychologis or social work psychotherapist, you can speak to her medical doctor, the school psychologist or guidance counselor or your local pastor. Do not delay because she is in emotional pain and is crying out for help.
As for your guilt, it’s important to understand that there are no perfect parents. All of us make mistakes and fail to see even obvious things. That does not make us bad parents, just human parents. All that matters now is that she and all of you get help.