i am new to posting on the forum but I wondered if anyone has advice for coping with the sheer terror I feel when I think about my teenage daughter’s future? She doesn’t go to school because of such overwhelming anxiety and we have no social network around us. So life is extremely lonely for us both and the social isolation which I can see her facing is heartbreaking. I’m so scared for what her future may bring, particularly when I’m no longer around to be her advocate, her support, her company. Friends are non-existent for us both which is sadly a whole other story! When I suggest doing things, my daughter’s anxiety just overwhelms her to the point where we sit day after day doing very little. What can I do to help her? I don’t want this to be her life forevermore.
I am so sorry to hear about your daughter, my heart goes to you. I am in a similar boat in many ways with my daughters, but I am a bit more optimistic. We can do a lot to help autism acceptance and to empower autistic people to live full lives. In baby steps, I am afraid :) How old is your daughter?
I’m not a parent but can imagine this must be a really scary time for you both. Does she have any special interests or hobbies? Maybe the best thing to start with would be for her to focus on enjoying what she can enjoy without going places? I’m suggesting this because it helped me in a similar situation a few years ago when I’d got to the point I was so anxious I didn’t want to leave the house. Just forget about it for a while and have as much fun as you can without leaving the house? Eventually I did then manage (want actually) to go to places related to my interests (crafts for me). For me small craft shops were a good first trip, then later I managed to go to craft courses (good because you focus on the craft so you don’t actually have to interact much) then later I actually joined a craft group. I think similar might work with many special interests? The people you meet through shared special interests (on-line or in real life) seem to be the ones I get on best with and I think a lot of other autistic people say the same. You automatically have something in common.
Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. It makes me feel as though at least two people care.
To Tinyexplorer, my daughter is 13 but a very young 13. She is so kind, sensitive and can have a wicked sense of humour. She also has to some with a lifelong medical condition which means that she can feel physically unwell at times in addition to the ways her autism affect her in daily life. I agree that empowering her is so important but is such a delicate, gradual process which she often resists every step of the way. I was told once by her CAMHS counsellor (who had never even met her at that point) that I should simply accept that I would probably die one day soon and should just accept that she would be left alone to fend for herself. This so called “professional” had no justification for saying such a truly wicked thing but his words haunt me every day.
To Zomted, thank you for your kind advice and suggestions. For my daughter, everything is frightening and stress-inducing. I can only hope that, in time, I may be able to encourage and support her to widen her world through new activities.
Thank you to you both for taking time to reply. It makes me feel less isolated.
My daughter is 14 but a young 14 if that makes sense. I know that key to improving her life is empowering her and helping to educate the world around her in autism acceptance but that is easier said than done as I’m sure you’re both aware. It breaks my heart for her and I find myself struggling to stay strong and positive for her. She is such a kind, loving and sensitive person but fears the world around her. We are both extremely isolated socially which, I know, doesn’t help. In addition, I am haunted by the words of a CAMHS professional who told me that I must simply face the fact that I will die soon and my daughter will need to fend for herself! This so-called professional had no basis on which to make such an offensive comment but his words truly haunt me every day. I am scared for my darling girl’s future in a very unforgiving and often cruel world. Today I woke feeling sick and shaking at the prospect she faces such a world without me one day. We have very little family around us, no friends at all and life is bleak.
Hi there. I am so sorry about how you're feeling and how your daughter is struggling. Although not the same situation last year my son who's now 15 had a breakdown and was diagnosed with depression and PTSD through bullying. It tore me apart and I was terrified what the future held. We are under CAHMS and fortunately they have provided a lot of support. The CAHMS councillor you saw needs reporting. Is your daughter still under CAHMS? Can you see if you can see someone else. If not maybe go through your doctor? I find it's best to write everything down as it happens or make a diary then when you go to a meeting you won't forget anything. It's hard and it's raw but it's an honest depiction of what's happening.
Could you could join a local support group? A local group that has a social media page or group where you can connect with people that understand what you're going through. Maybe your daughter could too. It could be a start to getting to know other teens. Even if it's just chatting online to start with to build up her confidence.
I want to give you a massive hug. Best wishes to you and your daughter xx