My 16 year old daughter has been fighting a serious, chronic illness for almost three years now. For the first year she was very sick. She spent a lot of time in hospital, had surgery and lots of tests, walking became hard for her and she had to have a year off school. She had a few periods of feeling down but on the whole she was very positive during that time. She is now considerably better and is able to do school part time and only needs a wheelchair for long trips. However lately she has been acting out and has seemed sad a lot of the time. She doesn’t want to take her medication and fights about having to go to the hospital for her treatments and doctors’ visits. She often comes home from school and cries. She won’t talk about it and refuses to get any help with coping. We are at a loss and don’t know what to do. Her doctors are concerned that this depression is making her sicker but we aren’t sure if forcing her to get help will be beneficial if she doesn’t want it. Thanks in advance and I know this is a complicated issue to answer without knowing my daughter but any ideas would help heaps.
She wants help she simply doesn’t know how to accept it or even ask. She most likely has learned to fight because of her illness which means she really has learned to rely on herself. She has become overwhelmed and whether she knows it or not she is crying out “help me”. What I think you need is two things. She needs opportunities in her life where she can be in charge and be the one that accomplishes things. Working with animals is a great avenue for this. I also think you need to look hard for a teen therapist who has a great ability to connect with teens. I wish I could be there to help as my main focus is working with teens, but you are a bit far away from me. The best way to find someone would be to ask around. Someone will rise to the top. Preferably it will be a family therapist with a specialty in teen issues.