How I Helped My Daughter Through Depression and Suicidal Thoughts
One of my friends recently asked a question on Facebook about how many people are taking antidepressants. The responses she received were vast and wide. There were so many differing opinions on the subject. My daughter, Amanda, is a healthy young woman (aside from the giant cell tumor recently removed from her knee) but that wasn’t always the case. I’ll share more about our experience and How I helped my daughter through depression and suicidal thoughts.
1 in 4 women in the United States alone is taking antidepressants.
Most of these women are struggling with stress.
50% of people with depression have a problem with their thyroid and have high cortisol. Much of this has to do with being in a state of reacting to things and allowing triggers to impact us.
I think it’s interesting how people have different opinions about depression and how to handle it. Some people either:
- Embrace western medicine and take pills to feel better.
- Think it’s weak to take pills and feel they won’t work.
- Think it’s okay to take medications short term while trying to figure out what caused the depression and how to get off the pills.
- Believe depression is a sign of chakra imbalances, hormonal imbalances, or host of spiritual issues and can be fixed by doing visualizations, increasing their supplements, doing EFT/Tapping, Reiki, or other energy work.
I’m a good middle ground person. I believe antidepressants can be good for breaking negative cycles of life and offer a much-needed respite from severe depression and the symptoms it causes. I’ve been on antidepressants off and on my whole life and it can save lives. I’m also very spiritual and DO look at the vast spiritual tools to help me in all areas of life. My goal is to be completely off my depression medications! I’m not a ‘just pop a pill and feel better’ kind of person. If medications worked to remove the root cause of illness and dis-ease, we wouldn’t need to keep taking them forever. Medications work on the side effects; not the root cause.
My family has a history of mental illness. My mom was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and depression and spent time in mental health facilities on three occasions as I was growing up. We won’t even get into all the other relatives who have had various degrees of mental illness in their lives. The below picture is all of us in happier moments and was our last Thanksgiving together.
Truth be told, I’ve been suicidal. I’ve been to the point that I worked out in my head how I was going to commit suicide. With my family background, I knew I needed help. I was a young mom and I absolutely cherished my children more than anything in the world and still do! At first, I wanted to heal because of my kids. Eventually, I could think more clearly and want to heal for myself.
But What About Depression in Teenagers?
Depression can be difficult to diagnose in teens because adults may expect teens to act moody. Also, adolescents do not always understand or express their feelings very well. They may not be aware of the symptoms of depression and may not seek help.
These symptoms may indicate depression, particularly when they last for more than two weeks:
Poor performance in school*
Withdrawal from friends and activities*
Sadness and hopelessness
Lack of enthusiasm, energy or motivation*
Anger and rage
Overreaction to criticism*
Feelings of being unable to satisfy ideals
Poor self-esteem or guilt*
Indecision, lack of concentration or forgetfulness*
Restlessness and agitation
Changes in eating or sleeping patterns*
Problems with authority*
Suicidal thoughts or actions*
My Personal Experience with Teenage Depression and Suicide
My daughter, Amanda, was suicidal as a teenager. The above symptoms with a (*) are the symptoms I observed with her behavior. Here’s a post she wrote recently on Facebook in response to a suicide-related video:
“100% agree with this. If you thinking living with depression is easy, know that it isn’t and you aren’t alone. I was diagnosed at 14, thanks to the watchful eye of my mom. She loved me enough to be so in my business and present in my life, that she found a suicidal, self-deprecating note I had left behind in my room. I’ll never forget that conversation she had with me when she found it, or the look on her face when she asked me if I was suicidal. And because I was, she got me help, which saved my life.
Even people who smile constantly, or look like they are doing well, may be struggling. People who look like their life is together on the outside could very well be falling apart at the seams inside. The number of times I’ve cried myself to sleep, not because I had a bad day or something in life had gone wrong, but because of the thoughts in your head that you can’t stop; is just unfathomable. Don’t think that your struggle or situation isn’t worth talking about. Because it is.
It will always be worth it.
You are not alone.
This life is so, so, so worth living.”
Here’s the video she responded to https://www.facebook.com/goalcast/videos/1492084944202024/
As you can imagine, when I found Amanda’s suicide note, I was really alarmed. I began shaking, crying, and initially blamed myself. Then, I sat and prayed, prayed and prayed some more. I asked for courage and guidance to help my daughter LIVE. It’s interesting how opinions about medication can shift dramatically when it’s your child.
Here’s what I did for and with Amanda:
- I took her straight to a psychiatrist for immediate evaluation and medication management.
- I got her consistent counselor appointments.
- We painted her room blue and purple and got gentle colored sheets for more grounding.
- I got a Feng Shui specialist in the house and added quite a few cures in her room and the entire house for better energy flow and balance.
- I put 4 big rocks under each bedpost under her bed to ground her.
- I helped her clean and organize her room.
- I made it a point to check in with her daily.
- I looked for signs of suicide like giving things away or tossing things.
- I got journals for her to write, write, write.
- I spent special 1:1 time with her (and started mommy days with all 3 kids)
- I paid special attention to her word choices and body language (including what she wasn’t saying).
- She loved reading so I got her a few personal development books.
- I recorded positive affirmations and visualizations in my voice and played it when she slept.
- I talked to her subconscious mind when she slept.
- I got her involved in a cause she enjoyed and excelled at.
- I checked her room and backpack periodically for notes she might have left behind for me to see (like her original suicide note).
- I sent her Reiki daily.
- I connected her with my spiritual mentor and friend, Tarra, who helped Amanda through various readings.
- I got her enrolled in a few healing workshops that included shamanic work.
- I talked to her about the future… her future. Our conversations told me where she was at.
- I called on angels, guides, dead loved ones and God/Source/Universe/Spirit to help my child.
- I referred to Louise Hay’s “You Can Heal Your Life” book for ideas to help.
- I enrolled our family in another round of classes at our church to help cope with the divorce from a few years earlier.
- I used essential oils… like every day. I put them on her, sprayed on her bed and room, had her smell them, and I infused oils in her room. Oils I used with her included Lavender, Ylang Ylang, Peppermint, Chamomile, Eucalyptus, Rose, and Basil. I am a HUGE advocate for essential oils and have used them for decades to help me, my family, and my clients heal from a variety of ailments. Check out my site HERE for more information.
Now, Amanda was open to all of this (some of it she didn’t know about like 8, 11,13, 14, 21. As you can see, I threw EVERYTHING I knew to do towards Amanda’s overall well-being. Mamma bear was in full effect.
I was thankful for the medications that helped Amanda rise above and heal. Along with everything else we did, Amanda was able to get off of medications. We do what we know and as we grow, we do better. I did what I knew to do at the time. This was 14 years ago and my daughter is thriving as a young woman.
Here’s a picture of the two of us earlier this year.We do what we know and as we grow, we do better. Click To Tweet
If You Know Someone With Depression…
If you have someone in your life that is depressed, I urge you to do what you can to help. If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
Remember, this time of year can be especially difficult for people. Not everybody loves the holidays. Take note of Amanda’s comment above that even people that are all smiles on the outside may display symptoms of depression.
There was a recent song out by Logic – 1-800-273-8255 ft. Alessia Cara, Khalid that stirs my emotions in so many ways. It raises awareness about teen depression, loneliness, and suicide. Here’s the link to the video. If you have a teenager in your life who is depressed or suicidal, have them watch this video today. Then, start the conversation with them towards healing.
These are some pictures Amanda took in recent years doing what she loves: photographing food, cats, nature, and going on adventures! I’m so thankful for my beautiful daughter and forever grateful I found that suicide note and took action when I did. You can follow Amanda and her adventures on Instagram at: http://www.instagram.com/amandaelisala.
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