Wise words as ever from Mrs A (who knows whereof she speaks…)
I’m a ‘contraversialist’ up front about mental health, because of what I’ve said about the tendency to ‘over-diagnose’ teenage misery and unhappiness as being ‘mental illness’ (ironically, the NHS can ‘over-diagnose’ at the exact same time as ‘under-treating’ - as we know, MH takes TIME to treat…pills ‘help’ but it is therapy that ‘does the business’…and that is very, very expensive …)
But, again, as I say, even ‘mere unhappiness’ can lead teenagers to tragedy, so it is NOT to be ‘discounted out of hand’ (ie, even if it is ‘only’ being profoundly unhappy at that all-too-often tormented time of our lives)(would any of us go back to those years? I definitely would NOT!) (and I doubt I’m alone in that!)(teens FEEEEL so, so much…terrifying to even remember, let alone relive)
Where I would absolutely and totally agree with MRs A on is this - that ‘investing’ now in your daughter’s happiness/mental health is absolutely vital. ‘Even if’ it is ‘only’ depression (…) and might well, yes, ‘lift of its own accord’ (eg, she goes off to uni, has a wonderful time with new people there, joins lots of clubs, meets a smashing boyfriend etc etc, and suddenly life is ‘wonderufl’ instead of ‘miserable’), the risk is that it might NOT ‘lift of its own accord’.
My niece developed MH in her teenage years, and TWENTY YEARS LATER she is STILL ‘mentally ill’ on huge huge doses of god knows what for god knows what . It totally and absolutely dominates her life. She is looking at forty and is likely to be childless (she has a partner - ‘issues’ of his own - very common for MH folk to pair up with others with MH, which ‘can’ be good and ‘can’ be disastrous)(mix of both usually, as for my niece)…but how can she possibly contemplate having a baby when her mind is so ‘not her own’ etc etc etc? She dropped out of uni (despite her talent at art), severe social phobia, all sorts of ‘associated’ health problems, such as IBS/FM (again, VERY ‘stress-related’ illnesses), and works in a ‘dead end’ job (from home - can’t cope with anything else).
She is, effectively, emotionally and mentally ‘crippled’…and is likely to be so ALL HER LIFE.
So, that’s why I agree absolutely with Mrs A that ‘tackling’ your daughter’s problems NOW is so, so important. Yes, they might just be teenage unhappiness…but they might be more severe than that. Don’t let them ‘bed in’ and become her ‘normal’ (as they are for my niece - she defines herself as ‘someone with depression’…)
I know it can well be the ‘last thing you want right now’ (!) as in ‘Dear God, I am coping with my father’s death, and now my mother’s likely one, so please, daughter mine, just stop damn well being such a ridiculous NUISANCE right now and GROW UP!’ (which is sort of what I was indicating as I know that that MIGHT be the situation in fact)(BECAUSE it is SO hard to ‘call it’ on MH in teenagers - ie, whether it is ‘trivial’ or ‘serious’…).
Do you talk to your daughter about her problems (and, as I also said, about yours…)? At the very least, keeping open the line of communication to the maximum you can, and she will, is SOOOO important.
It’s worrying she’s getting hold of drugs - yes, I know schools etc are awash with them, but they exist for the most part in isolated ‘cliques’. School (and uni - and, indeed, workplace) ‘cliques’ are quite separate from each other. If your daughter is getting hold of them, then, worryingly, it indicates she is in the druggy-clique where drugtaking is routine and normal, or on the outskirts of that clique. That is very worrying. Talk to her teachers. They won’t be able to ‘do’ anything (not because they don’t want to, because they can’t), but they WILL know what ‘friends’ your daughter is running with, what ‘cliques’ she is in, etc etc.
I completely agree with Mrs A that is she doesn’t want to be in school (especially that school, if that is where her drugs are coming from???), it’s best she isn’t. She can easily ‘wait a year’ to pick up her studies again (IF she wants to).
To be honest, why not rope her in for helping with your mum? It keeps her busy, gets her away from her druggy-chums (not that they are ‘real’ friends, obviously), and above all, teaches her something ‘proper’ about life - ie, that screwing up with stupid drugs blah blah is totally unacceptable when the Harsh Reality of Real Life (ie, cancer and premature death), have to be faced and coped with. Helping you with your mum should ‘grow her up’ big time…
And, of course, if there is ‘real’ MH building up, then having her OUT of school, and WITH you and your mum, means you can monitor her much, much better.