Tomorrow my daughter is leaving for her freshman year of college. As a parent I am extremely nervous and scared for her. I know every mom is supposed to be a little worried, but I am extra concerned because my daughter often feels down and hopeless about her life. Last year her father passed away from cancer and ever since then she has been seeing a grief counselor every week. When her father died I took her to a psychiatrist who told us that she is not suffering from depression and that he did not want to prescribe her antidepressant medication that she did not truly need.
My daughter is moving to the other side of the country. I will only be a phone call or text away, but I am afraid she does not have the skills and tools to help herself when she is feeling sad or lonely. What should I be doing as her mother to help prepare her for being out on her own this year?
Dear “Nervous mother,”
It is inevitable that one day our children will leave the home to go out and be adults and live their own lives. You can only try your best to equip them with the knowledge that will help them survive on their own. A death or loss of someone close to you can cause some feelings of depression. Depression can stem from many things such as trauma, a loss of your job, divorce, moving, abuse, stress, and even genetics. Your doctor was correct to not give her medication right away. There are many natural and easy ways that your daughter can combat feelings of depression.
In times of high stress, such as leaving for college, a strong support group can really help out your daughter. She can join student groups and form a strong social circle that she hopefully will have for life. She can look at different sports teams, student government groups, Greek life, and so much more. Odds are that her campus is going to have so many different opportunities to pursue her hobbies and interests.
Your daughter may also be interested in trying out different holistic therapies. There are many holistic and alternative therapies she can turn to for treating mental health issues. She can start to try out yoga and meditation. Buy her an essential oil diffuser to keep in her room to emit smells that promote relaxation. By practicing yoga and meditation, she can learn to better control and handle her emotions when they get out of control.
I know that you said your daughter has been seeing a grief counselor weekly since her father’s death. It might be in your best interest to see if there are nearby doctors that can provide that same service to your daughter in her new college town. If there isn’t one that you think she would like, try reaching out to the school to see if they have any programs, groups, or special sessions for children who have lost a parent recently.
Best of Luck,
Anxiety and PTSD
This year all of my friends are leaving for college. Unfortunately I went through some pretty seriously traumatic events last year that caused me to develop severe depression. This in turn had a devastating effect on my grades and caused me to have to academically repeat my senior year. With all of my friends leaving for school, I am feeling extremely hopeless and like my life has no meaning. Every day it is harder and harder for me not to turn to drinking. I don’t want to see a doctor because I do not want to have a label on me for the rest of my life. My anxiety and PTSD of what happened to me last year leaves me restless and often missing out on my other responsibilities. What can I do to increase my overall since of wellbeing in life while naturally fighting my feelings of depression and anxiety?
“The one left behind”
Diet and exercise
Dear “The one left behind,”
First and foremost, you have not been abandoned by your friends. The great part about having all your friends go away to college is you always have a place to stay when you visit them! Even if they are going super far away, you can plan road trips, flights, carpools, and even college tours to see them. And since they are leaving, next time you see them you can shock and wow them with the improvement you have made in your life.
Diet and exercise can make or break a person’s mental and physical health. Having a proper and healthy diet can change your life in so many ways. It contributes to weight loss and an increase in your mood. Proper exercise is also key to losing weight and getting healthy.
Have you sought out professional help from a dual diagnosis treatment facility about the trauma you went through? Often when we have severe mental illness and we do not know how to fight it, we develop a substance abuse addiction. Luckily, help is out there and you can get it. Look into finding a supportive online community or find your nearest AA.