Depression in and eight year old... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 04-25-2009, 04:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not sure if I should post this here or over in the gifted forum, so please feel free to move it if I got it wrong.

My eight year old dd (L) came to me a couple of nights ago and confessed that she is sad almost all the time and has thoughts of wanting to hurt herself.... You have no idea how my heart broke at her words.
L is highly gifted and I had read that sometimes this can enhance the chances of early depression because they have an adult understanding of the world but lack the life experience and emotional maturity to deal with what they understand. I am still shocked however.
She told me that what gets her upset is when she does something to upset someone else it makes her mad at herself for not doing better and also she gets upset when she has to do anything she does not want to be doing (normal kid stuff like brushing her teeth, cleaning her room, and so forth).
We talked long and hard about everything but I am watching her like a hawk for the time being. I have also made an appointment for us to meet with a child psychologist next week, earliest appointment I could get.
Have any of you gone through something like this? I feel like the crumiest parent in the world right now, so does dh. L has always been a very emotional child but I never dreamed it was this serious. Mental illness runs on my dh's mothers side and on my father's side of the family so I suppose I shouldn't have been too surprised, but it feels like it hit us out of nowhere.
Any words of advice or encouragement would be greatly appreciated.

Loved wife to JT and grateful mother to M (dd age 13) L (dd age 10) T (ds age 6) A (ds age 4) E (dd age 2) and C & S (twin boys born 10/13/10)
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#2 of 16 Old 04-25-2009, 05:34 PM
 
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I would take her to your family doctor, he/she will most likely recommend a specialist.

I will keep you in my prayers. http://www.preciousmoments.com/resou...s/550022_m.jpg

Mom of two, torn apart
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#3 of 16 Old 04-25-2009, 07:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I had a phone consultation with her pediatrician the morning after dd and I talked. The psychologist we have an appointment with is the one she recommended.

Loved wife to JT and grateful mother to M (dd age 13) L (dd age 10) T (ds age 6) A (ds age 4) E (dd age 2) and C & S (twin boys born 10/13/10)
and yes, I blog. thumb.gif
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#4 of 16 Old 04-26-2009, 08:13 AM
 
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Unfortunately I too am in the same boat. I have an 8 year old dd who is also depressed. She also admits to being sad all the time states "I am never happy even when I do smile, its fake." I brought her to the pediatrician who wanted to put her on Celexa, I refused immediately and suggested some counseling. Unfortunately where we live is very rural and finding a psychologist that will even speak to a child has been a feat in itself.

I have been trying to really pay alot of attention to her and to not yell or really show any negative feeling towards her and it has seemed to help or so I thought because she isn't talking about it as much and her crying spells which where everyday multiple times a day have gotten better.

She did have a crying spell a day or two ago, didn't want to talk about it, and I found a note in the top of my water bottle that she wrote that stated "If I could die I would". This is extremely distrubing to me. I feel helpless and the fact that I cannot find any help for her makes it even worse.

She too is very intelligent Her school has to borrow books from the middle school for her to read. She is extremely bored with school work and does not really play with the children in her class. There are no gifted programs in our district so it is all on the teacher to try to keep her fulfilled. We try at home and also involve her in sports.

If you have any words of advise for me I would appreciate any insight into this I can get. I hope our daughters make it through this without any long term issues. We have no history of mental illness (at least diagnosed illness) in our families.
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#5 of 16 Old 04-26-2009, 10:27 AM
 
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Originally Posted by luvmyfourkids View Post
Unfortunately I too am in the same boat. I have an 8 year old dd who is also depressed. She also admits to being sad all the time states "I am never happy even when I do smile, its fake." I brought her to the pediatrician who wanted to put her on Celexa, I refused immediately and suggested some counseling. Unfortunately where we live is very rural and finding a psychologist that will even speak to a child has been a feat in itself.

.
I wasn't clear from reading this have you been able to find a psychologist or not? Is it possible to travel some distance for a good assessment?

When kids are talking about wanting to die it is a giant flag something needs to be done that is beyond changing parenting and being more cheerful. Hiding your negative feelings and not expressing them really isn't a workable long term strategy and it doesn't really model emotional health. I understand the desire not to put a young child on antidepressants and I would absolutely suggest a good assessment and therapy first if possible, but if you have no access to mental health resources where you live maybe there is no alternative.
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#6 of 16 Old 04-26-2009, 06:14 PM
 
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We had our appointment with the pediatrician just within the past few weeks. I am looking into finding services in the next state over which would mean a 2 1/2 hour drive each way and taking her out of school to go however often we need to. I believe this is probably my only option and I do realize the importance of this.

I believe she should have an evaluation by a pediatric phychologist before I put her on any meds. My fear with certain antidepressants in anyone under the age of 18 is that it increases the rate of suicide. THis is stated right in the literature that comes with the medication and right now I am not willing to take that risk and I believe Celexa is one of those meds that this happens with. She is VERY intelligant.

I am not hiding my negative feeling just controlling how I react to her and the other 3 children I have. I get overwhelmed when baby crying and 3 other kids fighting so I am trying not to yell and just explain what I expect from them instead of overreacting to the little things that drive me crazy.
She is really affected by feeling as though she has done something that I don't want her to or something that has upset me or her father. She is a "pleaser" but also gets very mad and upset when she has to do the everyday stuff that she doesn't want to do like homework, bedtime routines, cleaning up room etc. I am watching her closely and I am still trying to find services without the meds right now. I have seen improvement in her over the past 2 weeks with just spending more time with her and letting her know that she is very important to me.
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#7 of 16 Old 04-26-2009, 10:29 PM
 
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I'm sorry you have such a long way to travel to get an assessment! I understand what you are saying about the warnings on medication. It is certainly a scary thing and I am always concerned when I hear folks have gone straight to medication without an assessment in situations that are not emergencies. I'm glad you are taking what your daughter is saying seriously and that she will get help.

If she is school age I'm wondering if there might be a school counselor or social worker who might be a resource too? I wish in such a rural area that some of the psychologists would consent to seeing children even if they aren't experts.
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#8 of 16 Old 04-27-2009, 12:15 PM
 
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I just returned from the pediatricians office, not for DD but for DS 9 month appointment. I told her about the note I found and said again that I needed help finding services for DD. I left with the name and numbers of 4 pediatric psychologists to call to make an appointment with. They offered to make the appointment for me but with the 4kids and my husbands schedule its easier to do the work myself.

Thanks for all the encouraging words and I hope to nip this problem before it becomes even larger than it is.

We do have a school councelor but from what I have been told from some of my friends who are in the education field (both are school teachers and one is on the school board) she is not very good or very qualified to deal with this. I think my best bet is to bring her to Vermont and then try to find suitable follow up close to home with additional appointments in Vt as needed.
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#9 of 16 Old 04-27-2009, 01:32 PM
 
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I'm sorry you're going through this, mama. Its so hard to hear our kids feeling badly. Sounds like you are on the right track -- hope one of the therapists works out for you.
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#10 of 16 Old 04-27-2009, 02:59 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luvmyfourkids View Post
Unfortunately I too am in the same boat. I have an 8 year old dd who is also depressed. She also admits to being sad all the time states "I am never happy even when I do smile, its fake." I brought her to the pediatrician who wanted to put her on Celexa, I refused immediately and suggested some counseling. Unfortunately where we live is very rural and finding a psychologist that will even speak to a child has been a feat in itself.

I have been trying to really pay alot of attention to her and to not yell or really show any negative feeling towards her and it has seemed to help or so I thought because she isn't talking about it as much and her crying spells which where everyday multiple times a day have gotten better.

She did have a crying spell a day or two ago, didn't want to talk about it, and I found a note in the top of my water bottle that she wrote that stated "If I could die I would". This is extremely distrubing to me. I feel helpless and the fact that I cannot find any help for her makes it even worse.

She too is very intelligent Her school has to borrow books from the middle school for her to read. She is extremely bored with school work and does not really play with the children in her class. There are no gifted programs in our district so it is all on the teacher to try to keep her fulfilled. We try at home and also involve her in sports.

If you have any words of advise for me I would appreciate any insight into this I can get. I hope our daughters make it through this without any long term issues. We have no history of mental illness (at least diagnosed illness) in our families.
Please take your daughter's threats of suicide seriously! So many people think a young child could/would never do that but it is just not true. The youngest child I know who did was 4 years old, and yes, it was intentional suicide. Please rethink medication if she is at the point where she is thinking of death.

Shawna, married to Michael, mommy to Elijah 1/18/01, Olivia 11/9/02, and Eliana 1/22/06
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#11 of 16 Old 04-27-2009, 03:08 PM
 
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My son is 8 years old and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder a year ago. He DO have a really strong family history so it wasn't too much of a surprise. He is on medication and we wouldn't have it any other way. It is very good that you are taking this seriously and getting help. I know it is scary but you have to take her words seriously. My son started talking of self-harm and that escalated to him actually making a plan to do it and how to do it. I volunteer on a crisis line and they tell us the three things you need to know is a) is the person thinking of killing themselves, b) do they have a plan how to do it, and c) do they know when they are going to do it. If the answer to all 3 of those is yes then the person needs IMMEDIATE treatment, possibly even hospitalization. My son answered yes to all 3. He was suicidal, he was planning to stab himself in the chest with a butcher knife and he was going to do it as soon as he was left alone. Thankfully he received immediate treatment and is doing a lot better now. I hope the appt goes well and just remember, never express shock or horror at the things she is telling you or she may shut down and not tell you. It is okay to be upset, but be upset on here or with your partner or friends. Let her know that you are the person she can always go to. Also, medications are not the devil. I never wanted my child on medications. We don't vaccinated and didn't even use tylenol on him until he was over 3. Now he is on a powerful mood stabilizer (lithium) and an antipsychotic (risperdal). Without these medications he does not have a life. Period. These medications give him a chance at a normal life and that is what is more important to me. Good luck with everything.

Shawna, married to Michael, mommy to Elijah 1/18/01, Olivia 11/9/02, and Eliana 1/22/06
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#12 of 16 Old 05-03-2009, 03:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Update

We went to the evaluation with the child psychologist. She decided, after a very lengthy interview with dd, that she has situational anxiety??? At any rate she feels that dd would work best with a psychologist that is specially trained in working with gifted children. She feels that dd's problems stem from self imposed goals of high expectations that come from the huge gap between her mental intelligence versus her emotional intelligence.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated. We unschool her so there is no extra pressure from us to be a high performer but dd gives herself extremely high goals and gets frustrated when she can not meet them... Also she gets very upset when she can not always act peaceful and nicely... I don't know what to do for her other than to continue seeking a better fit with a new psychologist and to encourage her that NO ONE can be perfect all the time and that it is truly ok...

Any advice, I am at a loss at this point, maybe some book recommendations? Have any of you been through something similar? What did you do to help your dc?

Loved wife to JT and grateful mother to M (dd age 13) L (dd age 10) T (ds age 6) A (ds age 4) E (dd age 2) and C & S (twin boys born 10/13/10)
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#13 of 16 Old 05-03-2009, 04:41 PM
 
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If one of the stressors is that she gets angry with herself for not always being able to react peacefully and nicely, I would recomment personally seeing she's willing to take a class out side of the home that teaches a form of meditation. It can help her feel more in control of those situations, and quite honestly, they can help a person gain a higher tolerence for frustration too. I can understand her frustration with that particular issue too. No doubt she understands that what ever our emotions, we do most of the time have ultimate control over our actions and it's frustrating to her that she hasn't yet learned the skills needed to handle most of those situations.

This specific problem is something a close friend when through for quite sometime and learning to acknowledge her emotions and choose the action to take had a huge benifit for her. She always was an emotional person, and her parents didn't work on finding a way to help her the way you are with your DD. They just made it worse by making her strong negative emotions and her reactions to them taboo. She was never fully able to overcome the feeling of being less then most until she was on a path that led to her actually learning to cope.

Other then that, you seem to be on the right path by finding a psychologist that is a good fit for her and a gentle reminder that perfection all the time is not attainable. I would discourage making an issue about the perfectionism. As a perfectionist, a lot of that comes from the feeling, not that I want to be perfect, but that I want to be at least as good as everyone else and they all seem to be better then me at whatever it is I want to do. With an emotional child, that includes seeing everyone around her being able to handle situations that she knows would upset her to no end.

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#14 of 16 Old 05-03-2009, 04:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for your advice, it got me to wondering...
Maybe this is an unexpected bad side to homeschooling for L. She is around adults more than other children her age so she sees us handling things with a casual hand that a child, any child, would find very difficult to deal with peacefuly. Hmmm... I think I need to work on letting her see that her responses to things are not uncommon for a child. Meditation is something I have been reading on to work with dd but didn't want to start until we talked with her new psychologist. Should I go ahead and give it a try? I have read the subject to death since talking with dd about her problems and feel I have a fairly good grasp at it, but maybe we should find a teacher first?

Loved wife to JT and grateful mother to M (dd age 13) L (dd age 10) T (ds age 6) A (ds age 4) E (dd age 2) and C & S (twin boys born 10/13/10)
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#15 of 16 Old 05-03-2009, 05:08 PM
 
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I don't think you really need a teacher, my friend taught her self and in extention taught her nephew a few tricks too. I can't really see why it would need to wait though. I figure if the psychologist doesn't like it, then he/she probably isn't a good fit. I do know that some people have it in their heads that meditation is for denying yourself emotions though, instead of learning to think clearly with them.

What you state about seeing adults dealing with things in a way most children wouldn't is one of the reasons DH and I believe that with in limits, children need to see their parents experience emotions. It gives them a better understanding that everyone feels this way.

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#16 of 16 Old 05-10-2009, 09:32 PM
 
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I have a son with intermittent anxiety (not normal, *very* hard to handle), is 8 and is highly gifted. It is tough!! We are trying a lot of different angles.

Some books we are using that we really like are from this series: http://www.amazon.com/What-When-You-...2001636&sr=8-1. It spells out cognitive behavioral techniques in ways that kids and parents can understand and use. They are set up as workbooks and you can choose which techniques work for you.

We started with the "Worry" one and it was great, but the "Temper" and "Grumbles" one seem to fit our situation more accurately.

Basically it is giving them awareness of their situation, and skills to handle it. It is not a magic bullet and we work with the books a lot of ways (he teaches us, we teach him, etc).
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