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Daughter said she wants to see a counselor


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#1 REMY001

Posted 02 December 2019 - 03:13 PM


Hello, I'm worried and would like some advice on my 21 year old daughter.

She's a bit introverted, but has a few friends, has a part-time casual job, attends University and is studying a Masters of Secondary Teaching and is enjoying it. Over the last two weeks she has been on placement at a high school and very much enjoyed it and got last Friday great feedback and praise from the teachers there. This all came to a head yesterday when I couldn't make a lunch date with her (she lives with my husband, myself and her brother who is a couple of years older). She went into a tirade and accused me of hating her, she feels she's an annoyance to everyone etc.

She was in a very dark mood all day and I was worried so asked her what's wrong and she said some pretty confronting things about me but this is where I am confused. I am by no means a perfect mother, but she and I do a lot together - go shopping, movies, drives, spa dates, etc when she's not with her friends. I also do a lot for her to enable her to concentrate on her studies (and my husband and I do not pressure her at all), but give her the time that she needs so she doesn't get stressed as she stresses easily.So all what she said to me yesterday came as quite a shock.

The night before, she went out with her friends to a bar in the City and my son and husband are certain that something happened there as before this, everything was going great. Last night when it came to a head and she saw me very upset, she said that she needs to see a counsellor and needs to talk to someone. She won't talk to me or anyone else of what's going on. We're at our wit's end and are supporting her fully, but right now she looks depressed and sullen. I have booked an appointment this Friday for her to see a lady counselor. I would very much welcome any advice/thoughts on what is going on.

Many thanks


#2 Astrocyte

Posted 02 December 2019 - 03:30 PM

The University she attends would be a great first place for counselling with a psychologist. At my university the health clinic is bulk billed for students with a Medicare card, and this includes the psychology services. Alternatively she could see her GP and get a referral to headspace. I’ve heard pretty good things about headspace.

You need to remember that just because you think she has a good life she may not feel like that and that’s perfectly valid. She needs to know she isn’t going to be judged by her thoughts and feelings. Keep doing the things you are with her and reminding her she’s loved unconditionally. She might just be tired and stressed but she might be developing anxiety or depression and early treatment will ensure she has the best chance of recovery.  

She might just be stressed by the end of the year and tire

Edited by Astrocyte, 02 December 2019 - 03:32 PM.


#3 steppy

Posted 02 December 2019 - 03:42 PM

So she has been like this for one day? I don't really understand why one or two days of mood is a problem? But if she also thinks it's a problem I'd encourage her to see the University counsellor's too. They would be her best resource.

#4 LambChop

Posted 02 December 2019 - 04:28 PM

Is there a reason that she isn't making appointments for herself ?  She seems to be very dependent on you still - maybe she's starting to bust out albeit very late (ie, my 16 year old behaves like you described).

#5 babybug15

Posted 02 December 2019 - 04:38 PM

Your daughter is 21. She is an adult. Quite possibly what is going on is none of your business and whilst you think you have a wonderful relationship, that doesn't mean she will want to share every part of her life with you, nor should you demand it.

It's great that she has said she she would like to see a counsellor as that means she can have someone who she can talk to, as well as someone who can advise further support if she needs it.

Sometimes it's very useful to have someone "at a distance" from our lives to speak to about things without feelings of judgement.

Her GP can provide a mental health plan and referal, as others have mentioned the university medical centre should also have psychologists and other support services that are affordable.

#6 PuddingPlease

Posted 02 December 2019 - 04:46 PM

 LambChop, on 02 December 2019 - 04:28 PM, said:

Is there a reason that she isn't making appointments for herself ?  She seems to be very dependent on you still - maybe she's starting to bust out albeit very late (ie, my 16 year old behaves like you described).

Reading between the lines I suspect the OP is still paying for most of her daughters expenses. This would probably account for it since, without a GP referral and mental health plan, I suspect the counsellor is billing privately and a card number may well have been required at time of booking.

#7 IamOzgirl

Posted 02 December 2019 - 04:56 PM

I multiple times went to my mum and asked for help. As I didn't know where to start. She didn't  help me.

Even if you don't understand please guide her through this.

#8 got my tinsel on

Posted 02 December 2019 - 05:12 PM

I think OP and family suspect that her DD may have been the victim of an assault during her night out.

In any case, the DD feels she needs to speak to a counsellor and I don't see anything wrong with OP affording her any assistance required (including making the appointment).  

I know my almost 20yo DD would have no idea on who to see for psychological care and what may be required to access that care because she has no experience of that personally or through family and friends.

#9 newmumandexcited

Posted 02 December 2019 - 05:23 PM

I disagree with some of the posts here - I’m a high school teacher who works with older kids and 21 is still a baby to me. She is legally an adult but it’s not a switch - she obviously needs your help navigating this. Helping her book an apt is a great step.

#10 ExpatInAsia

Posted 02 December 2019 - 05:48 PM

If she asks for help then I would give it. Reaching out for help can be very hard and you don’t want to shut her down.

I agree that helping her to either see a GP for a mental health plan or to go through Uni is the best first approach.

I also agree that at 21 she does not need to tell you every detail of her life. Just be supportive. If she wants to tell you she will do so when she is ready.

I would be grateful she came to me rather than dealt with it on her own and possibly got worse.

#11 PhillipaCrawford

Posted 02 December 2019 - 05:51 PM

I have older kids.
They are still your kids whatever their age.

I think the best help you can give her is to let her know you'll be there for her - which you have done in booking a counsellor.

Also recognise that maybe the best she needs from you at the moment is for you to step back and not take it personally if it isn't you who she connects with me right now, your job is to get her help but it may not be your role to BE that help.

I wonder if she would like to see a GP pre-counsellor?

Good Luck.
I hope your worst fears aren't realised but even if she is 'merely' feeling down, she is on the path to getting the help she needs

#12 ImperatorFuriosa

Posted 02 December 2019 - 06:27 PM

 LambChop, on 02 December 2019 - 04:28 PM, said:

Is there a reason that she isn't making appointments for herself ?  She seems to be very dependent on you still - maybe she's starting to bust out albeit very late (ie, my 16 year old behaves like you described).

Parenting your children doesn't just switch off once they turn 18. You do know that, right?

#13 EsmeLennox

Posted 02 December 2019 - 06:37 PM

Yeah, but come on, she’s 21! I’d give her advice about how to access the services she needs, I’d even offer to go with her if needed, but she needs to make the appointments herself.

#14 The new me

Posted 02 December 2019 - 06:38 PM

My sister has some mental health issues.
When she is not well, she opens up a flood gate of anger at my dad.  Is very angry and says the most horrible things about the pressure she perceived he put on her being the eldest ect.

Try not to take it personally, I am sure it hurts.

All you can do us support her to get the help she needs, she has recognised that she needs help and that is a good thing.

Good luck

#15 ~Jolly_F~

Posted 02 December 2019 - 06:45 PM

 EsmeLennox, on 02 December 2019 - 06:37 PM, said:

Yeah, but come on, she’s 21! I’d give her advice about how to access the services she needs, I’d even offer to go with her if needed, but she needs to make the appointments herself.

No she doesn’t. She had asked her mum for help, it often takes a bloody lot to ask for help.

I know when I have been in the deep dark depths of depression I couldn’t find it in me to ask and if I did and someone told me your an adult sort it out, it would have been so far from helpful.

Just fo the best you can OP, she may not know what she needs from you yet and it’s likely you are her safe place and you may see and hear a lot that others won’t. Just be ready to step in if and when she asks.

#16 got my tinsel on

Posted 02 December 2019 - 06:52 PM

 EsmeLennox, on 02 December 2019 - 06:37 PM, said:

Yeah, but come on, she’s 21! I’d give her advice about how to access the services she needs, I’d even offer to go with her if needed, but she needs to make the appointments herself.

A person who is in need of psychological care is not always up to making the arrangements, even if they know how.

Whether they are 21 or 41!

#17 newmumandexcited

Posted 02 December 2019 - 06:58 PM

 EsmeLennox, on 02 December 2019 - 06:37 PM, said:

Yeah, but come on, she’s 21! I’d give her advice about how to access the services she needs, I’d even offer to go with her if needed, but she needs to make the appointments herself.

My own mother followed this logic in her parenting and it now forms the basis of her distant relationships w her children. She’s asked for help, now isn’t the time to be teaching her a lesson about independence. Their needs don’t change - she needs a mum right now.

Edited by newmumandexcited, 02 December 2019 - 06:59 PM.


#18 limakilo

Posted 02 December 2019 - 07:01 PM

I have a 19 year old in the second year at uni, who is absolute hard work at the moment.
She's been seeing a psych for years, a counsellor is a great idea.
She also needs to empower herself by making her own appointments. You can support her by asking her if she would like you to go with her, even just to sit outside and be a support when it's finished.

#19 SkeptiHandsOnMum

Posted 02 December 2019 - 07:05 PM

 steppy, on 02 December 2019 - 03:42 PM, said:

So she has been like this for one day? I don't really understand why one or two days of mood is a problem? But if she also thinks it's a problem I'd encourage her to see the University counsellor's too. They would be her best resource.
It has been one day that she has displayed behaviours to her mother. This might have been going on for her, with her maintaining a game face, for some time. Or it might be one day, but it might be in response to something significant that occurred on the night out, or the intensity of her feelings (even if they are only 24 hours old) might be confronting for her.

There is even the possibility that she used a recreational drug on the night out that has pushed her across this line.

Regardless, you do not worry about the time period, you worry about the way to help.

 EsmeLennox, on 02 December 2019 - 06:37 PM, said:

Yeah, but come on, she’s 21! I’d give her advice about how to access the services she needs, I’d even offer to go with her if needed, but she needs to make the appointments herself.
When I first had PSTD, I had no capability to make an appointment. The thought of picking up the phone was enough to see me withdraw to bed. To this day, when my mental health becomes unsettled, the first red flag for me is that I become incapable of making plans - I am sure that I will get something wrong. Even when well I still choose agencies where I can make appointments via text/email or online over making that phone call. I cannot explain it. I will go far too long between, say, hair cuts, because making the appointment is too hard for me - and this is when I am very well.

Edited by SkeptiHandsOnMum, 02 December 2019 - 07:07 PM.


#20 SkeptiHandsOnMum

Posted 02 December 2019 - 07:11 PM

 limakilo, on 02 December 2019 - 07:01 PM, said:

She also needs to empower herself by making her own appointments.
Maybe if after months of going, the 21 yr old is still getting Mum to make her appointments, but I am not sure that she needs "empowering" right now. I think she needs support.

I cannot believe that out of all that the OP posted, so many are bothered by her Mum making her an appointment when she asked. It sounds like the whole mental health world is relatively new for them all. If she is struggling, then the thought of entering a new world can be very overwhelming. I would pick my battles. Making the first appointment is not one of them.

#21 BadCat

Posted 02 December 2019 - 07:42 PM

 EsmeLennox, on 02 December 2019 - 06:37 PM, said:

Yeah, but come on, she’s 21! I’d give her advice about how to access the services she needs, I’d even offer to go with her if needed, but she needs to make the appointments herself.

No.

You don't know what's going on.  If she needs mum to make the appointment then that's what mum needs to do.  Because if left up to the person with the mental health concern, they may never do it and things may get worse to the point of serious self harm.

This is not a teaching moment.  This is an all out support moment.

#22 REMY001

Posted 02 December 2019 - 07:43 PM

Thank you everyone for replying and especially those who have stood up for me for being a caring and loving mum by taking my daughter seriously and seeing nothing wrong with supporting her and making the appointment for her to see the counselor. My husband and I will do anything to help our kids if they ask for help and I couldn’t imagine when she asked me for help, to say to her to find a counselor and to make her own appointment. This to me is some form of rejection and I couldn’t forgive myself if I did that, in fact it never even crossed my mind.

#23 MooGuru

Posted 02 December 2019 - 07:53 PM

I'm a lot older than 21 and there are times when I wish my Mum would make an appt for me.

Surely everybody should know that when someone is feeling down/overwhelmed/anxious etc. Admitting it is REALLY hard. Asking for help is REALLY hard and getting help is REALLY hard.
As a society we have a responsibility to not add to the stigma or make things harder for people who are struggling and personally I feel like the tone of some of the replies may add to the stigma that people are failing if they need help.

OP your daughter doesn't need to tell you what's wrong. If it is sudden it certainly is possible something happened on her night out like your son suspects. But she doesn't have to tell you. Supporting her to see someone is all you can do.
Also you may be her safe space, the person she can lash out against because she knows you love her unconditionally - that doesn't make it fair or easy on you but it may explain the unexpectedness of it.

#24 Caitlin Happymeal

Posted 02 December 2019 - 08:12 PM

Kids (And not necessarily just minors, but "kids" of all ages) can hurt the ones they feel safest with the most. I live it every day with younger kids than yours. It doesn't mean it's easy but I would suggest that the fact that she's lashed out at you and has also asked about counselling indicates that she trusts you. It kinda sucks but when kids (Heck, even me at times) are struggling with our feelings, we can sometimes be awful when we are in our safe space with the ones we love.

It sounds like she is going through something big. Whatever that is, she will either tell you in her own time if she wants to, or not. Which is ok too. All you need to do is show her support, which you've done by setting up an appointment. She can do the rest from here and if she needs you, she'll let you know.

Good luck - I hope she is ok. Its a really wonderful thing that she is seeking help. That's a huge step in the right direction.

#25 EsmeLennox

Posted 02 December 2019 - 08:13 PM

I’m not saying don’t support her, I’m saying to help her take those steps herself, as an adult. This has been a very recent thing, seems like there’s been some catalyst, so I would want to help her take control if possible and take steps for her self care and management. That’s just how I would approach it...given the information offered in the OP.

And no, I don’t know what’s going on, but neither does anyone else, so there would naturally be a range of responses. The OP is the one who knows what she’s seen/heard and she should do what she thinks is necessary.

I do hope your DD will be OK, OP.




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