Hello, my name is Nicola. I'm a mum to four daughters and my eldest, Jennie was diagnosed with autism at a young age. Growing up has been especially difficult for her what with being sensitive to touch, smells and sounds. She has always been a very bright and happy girl but in recent years Jennie has started to act differently. She has mood swings and often sounds depressed and has lost the happy and positive vibe that she usually has about her. Her father died a few years ago and Jennie appeared to cope very well but I can't help but feel like the loss has affected her and caused maybe some depression.
But the reason I am here is because, unknowing to me Jennie has been writing on her laptop to her father. Last night she went to bed and left her laptop on so I went to close it down and found that she'd left a word document open. It was a letter to her father and I'm glad I read it because throughout she said how depressed she was. And she also wrote how she feels like she's more than one person and that she's suicidal sometimes. She said a lot of the time she feels like she's watching life rather than living it and she is constantly worried about people hurting her or dying.
So this is where I am stuck. I've always been close with all my girls but Jennie is difficult to communicate with and I don't know how best to help her with this. What should I do? Will talking help or maybe a letter? I want to help Jennie and be there for her but I don't know how to do it without making her meltdown or feel bad.
Thanks for your time.
Oh, that is quite difficult to advise. But a lot of us here will really feel for you both. Slow responses don't happen too often here, but I expect more will have something helpful to say on this soon, when they've had some time to mull it over first, And I'm sure they will be in a much better position to be supportive than myself. But I have some questions that I think might pave the way for more supportive responses than my own.
I sort of imagine that the document might have been left open intentionally, with the idea that you would read it, What did you you do with the document.? Did you leave it open, so that it wouldn't be clear that it had been read. Or did you close it? (But of course, it might still be thought you didn't actually read it before closing it. ) I also think it is highly likely that your daughter might be looking out for your appeal to this site and/or others. But you clearly do have to take some sort of action soon; even if it might be partially misunderstood
I don't have any sons and daughters myself, and so am probably a bit too emotionally cold to be highly supportive; but I am very struck with some very similar issues I experienced at that age.
I think you're probably wise to consider writing your own letter. It's quite a bold step, but it will give you a chance to try and initiate a warmer dialogue and show how you are also affected by her depression. I really hope that some others will step up to the mark here with their experiences that will demonstrate that depression can often be shifted with relative ease and some change of circumstances. That I eventually found to be the case, after 5 decades of existence. Mostly, I figured out the necessary approach for myself, based onsome self-help lit. I could have done with the caring support of someone like yourself And yet my own family really were/are most caring people.
Sorry this first response isn't exactly the warmest of responses. But better will eventually materialise, i'm sure
You will undoubtedly know best how much confidentiality your daughter prefers in her online life, but I've reviewed this, this morning, and it looks even more like you were intended to read her letter.
Perhaps it would have been best if you had sat down and immediately set to work on a reply that addressed all the concerns she expressed; but I fully appreciate that on the spur of the moment it isn't always easy to make such decisions. I'm thinking it could be quite difficult to remember all the important points she raised with her father, and reply in both sympathetic and empathetic ways. But I also imagine most of that will be seared in your mind by its intense poignancy. By resorting to an appeal of this type, she is almost certainly expecting quite a rapid response.
No doubt you are already wondering how you can proceed fairly rapidly with this without a few misunderstandings. . Well, I think that those misunderstandings are almost inevitably going to happen, but she will probably also have some understanding that you are both in a fairly tight spot . However, it seems like you have already begun to prepare a warm, appropriate and generous response Perhaps what you most need from us here is some reassurance that you are already doing your best in tricky times & circumstances
I really hope you soon receive more responses than just mine; but on a forum like this it is often necessary to keep a thread near the top; where it can't be immediately swamped by so many posters and their various issues.That's partly why I decided to reply again this morning. Best not to be too serious and intense when you do get around to replying. From my own experience, I think you will both find that the clouds will disperse quicker if a degree of light-heartedness is possible. ;-)