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How do you convince someone with anxiety and depression to accept your help?

How do I get through to my daughter?
She suffers from anxiety, depression and PTSD related to an assualt in 2016.

Friday, she left me a note saying it was time she got her life together on her own.

She is now in Santa Rosa California with no place to stay (where she was going to stay fell through), no job and her bank has locked her debt card up for suspected fraud.

I am trying to help but she is isolating herself and I don't know what to say that will pull her out and get her home.

She is 22 years old so I cannot force her against her will.

Crimson67 8 Mar 13

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Maybe you could get 2 copies of COURAGE TO HEAL workbooks and offer to follow the process of talking and Journaling TOGETHER ? MAYBE the same local MILITARY SEXUAL TRAUMA "therapy provider" could see her privately if her father made the referral. ?? There are people who could help her if she does not want your help....what you appear to be attempting is INTERVENTION and as a parent of a student your financial help is probably the limit of what she will accept. ...try the books and ask her dad to make the best referral possible based upon specific experience expertise with similar patients

@Crimson67 I doubt you could apply directly to Veterans Hospital Military Sexual Trauma assistance BUT A VETERAN IS ALLOWED TO REQUEST HELP FOR A SPOUSE or dependent and since his daughter is not a veteran the therapist could only see your daughter in private practice or make the best referral. asked for ideas: why assume the worst when I am specifically recommending the best experienced professionals treating PTSD & MST ?

@Crimson67 you are correct I falsely read into your request about her father and veterans retired healthcare. ....


I'm going to tell you a story. For many years, I suffered anxiety and depression (I still do, sometimes). Often, when people tried to help me, I refused - sometimes rudely, and I'm still shocked by some of the things I said to people who cared about me. I wasn't trying to isolate myself - in fact, I was screaming out for help, just wanting someone to be there for me, but the depression told me I wasn't worth it and it had a louder voice than my own.

To summarise: you don't need to convince her; you've just got to overpower what depression is telling her. Tell her you love her, you're going to support her without judging her on anything or blaming her for the hurt she's put you through, and that whenever she needs to she can come home. I hope things work out for both of you.

Jnei Level 8 Mar 13, 2018

and it still comes down to her taking that step. that is the hard part

I'm not certain I could have said it any better. Depression is a voice screaming in your ear ALL the time. Always hating you, always telling you you deserve this. It hurts so bad. And you're right. Someone has to help you to stop listening to that voice, or to be louder with a comforting word.


This may sound glib but all you can do is be there for her which I can see that you are. The need to change and/or accept help has to come from her. As my dear old mum used to say, let your kids make their own mistakes but let them know when and if they need to run, they can run home.

@Crimson67 I know you feel helpless but you're being helpful, just by being there. Keep in touch, let her know you care, even if you've done it before, just reinforce that. I don't know your dynamic but she's probably just working thru fight or flight right now.

@Crimson67 very tough


As a person dealing with a lot in the same vein, I'm afraid there's no easy answer. You don't say so but it is my impression that drugs are involved to ease the anxiety, depression PTSD, all of it. I know it all too well. The only thing there is to say and I apologize for how it sounds because it is not very soothing is just don't give up or shun. That's all a person in that position fears the most. There is nothing you can do to 'get through' to a person caught in that Hell until they are ready to change things and accept what help you can give. I wish j had a happier answer. I'm sorry.


I'm going to be point blank with this, so steel yourself. There most likely is nothing you can say or do. That doesn't mean don't try, it just means be prepared for no response. It sounds to me like she needs professional help, and there's little to nothing you can do directly about that either. She will need to come to that realization on her own, or change her mind and come back home.

If she does come home or calls, don't launch into her with anything. Be totally kind. Ask her calmly and nicely if she wants to talk about it. If she does, don't say anything and don't interject with comments. Just listen, pay attention, and if necessary ask pertinent but not aggresive questions about how she feels about this or that. Give her as much space as she needs/demands. When she runs out of gas, ask her very gently if she thinks she needs professional help.

Take everything she has to say seriously, no matter how it sounds to you. Depression is not something to be taken lightly and the PTSD element will make her skittish and skeptical of anything anyone says -- unless it strikes a chord, and there's no way to do that deliberately. Don't press her, but do try to get her to agree to at least speak with a professional. More often than not, we just make things worse. I say this from bitter experience and thankfully -- success.

@Crimson67 I think you need to get her debit card reactivated so she doesn't have to get desperate for her basic needs. Reactivating her debit card will give her a more secure feeling. If you can call the debit card charge card company and explained the situation to them. I hope she's a practical person and she'll get through this. But she is the one that has to make all the decisions.


I can't offer anything but my support. I hope she gets the help she needs.
I can't even begin to imagine how worried you are for her.
I'm here if you need an ear, or a shoulder.


This might sound crazy and you're free to ignore this advice, its just what worked with me as a depressed / bipolar / anxiety ridden / suicidal person.

What I'd say is to trust her. Give her support and word what you say in a way that she's in control. That's what people like me, and I'm assuming her, need the most. Is just to feel like they can do something to make it better. If you guys are talking, ask her questions without sounding accusatory. I know it sounds awful and it feels helpless to not know you can save someone, but sadly people with the depression can't be saved by someone else, they have to want it. The trick is, you can't actually tell someone they have to do it alone.

I know what upset me the most is people telling me they can't fix my problems because I want them fixed so bad and feel like I can't do it. Just tell her she can do it. She can fix her problems but she might not be able to do it alone. The other thing that upset me was people telling me things get better, or that I just have to wait and see, and anything that made me feel like I couldnt do anything. Well, that and people who say "don't be sad". No choice there. I think that's what hurts the most is just not being able to fix it but desperately needing to. I'd imagine that's how shes feeling.

So I guess I'd say don't push too hard. Home should be a place where she wants to go. You can't make her, even though you wish you could so badly. The harder you push the further she'll go. I don't know, I wouldn't even suggest listening to my advice because this is coming from someone still suffering and my judgment isnt the best. But maybe its something to keep in mind.

Maybe offer her a way home, or offer a way home. And tell her you're proud of her for trying so hard to fight it. It's very brave to step out into the world when you're hurting. Even if its not the best idea and even if it leads to trouble, it matters so damn much to even try. She should know how brave she is.

I just wish there was something I could do to help you both, it's such a scary and awful world sometimes and it breaks my heart every time I think about it. I just wish it could all be better for all of us.


I'm so sorry about your situation with your daughter. Have you been in touch with her since she left the note? Is she living on the streets? If this was my daughter, and she was homeless and likely in harm's way, I'd go to Santa Rosa. I'd let her know that I fully respect her decision to be on her own and that I will assist financially and/or in other ways in helping to make that possible.


@Crimson67 I think it's a positive sign that she is still in contact with you.


"How do you convince someone with anxiety and depression to accept your help?

Having delt with people like this, they don't want your help, your need to help implies that they are broken which just makes them more anxious and depressed. Be supportive, be kind, be a friend but don't try to help because what they are dealing with is not something that can be helped, though it can be medicated. Unfortunately medication makes many feel not themselves and thus they don't like it.
Family memebers are the worst! We want the ones in our family to be happy and we are convinced that they are not happy and that it is somehow our responsibility to fix that. It backfires every time.
Support support support, do not try to fix, the more you try to fix the worse they will feel and the less they will want to be around you. I speak from personal experience and it is a hard lesson to learn. Being accepting and understanding that they are stuggling and giving them the space to deal with it is the best you can do. Trying to fix it seriously only makes things worse.
It is like trying to tell a sloth to hurry up and a shrew to slow down. Someone dealing with depression just wants to be accepted the way they are, NOT the way you want them to be. Get through to your daughter by just being there and letting her come to you, FIGHT THE URGE to help as it will only alienate her.
Imagine having a child who is 7 foot tall who you are convince would be happier being 6 foot tall so you are constaintly telling them to be shorter and pointing out the health liabilities of being tall and the dangers of bumping their head. You would make them shrink into a ball that didn't want to move and that is what trying to help someone with depression does to them.


The unwillingness to seek help is a symptom. 22 or 52. Age is irrelevant. It's a horrible illness takes everything away. Don't mess with phone calls if she is not listening. Go there! And you and maybe a favorite aunt or friend go and take her to get help. Consider were she in a vehicle accident and hospitalised, would you not go there. Well this is just as serious. When I first told my parents how I was feeling, they did nothing. To deal with this alone is simply TOO much. Go to her!


Recurring clinical depression, anxiety, PTSD, I've dealt with these all my life. It feels like I have a bad case of the flu without the fever, being covered in a think heavy blanket that smothers and sticks to you like it's covered in glue. People try to reach out to me and I lash out at them, I just want to curl up into a ball and fade away. I get wound as tight as a spring, ready to unload and looking for a target (it doesn't matter who, I want to explode on them, nothing personal just wrong place wrong time). My world closes in and I cling to something I love, usually my dogs. This may be an example of what she is feeling, just my attempt to explain what may be going on in her head.
This is why I make sure I take my meds and see my psychologist, I don't want to go back down that black hole again.
I don't believe there is anything you can do except show her you care. She has to work with a mental health professional(s), she has to make that decision on her own. Don't force her or more damage may be done. I think bringing her home is a good idea as long as there is a supportive atmosphere. There will be setbacks, it's a difficult path to chart into unknown territory and you never know what may set off a trigger.
I think it will be a good idea if you can talk to a professional to find out what you can do and what to expect.

Try some websites such as these or contact your local county health center.

Your post makes me want to jump into my car and go get her for you. I wish there was a magic pill for this. You have my support such as it is, I don't want to see anyone go down that hole.


Having struggled with anxiety and depression (and maybe PTSD), some things that have helped me are having some people in my life that gave me a sense of a safety net on a personal level. It seems you're doing that.

Another thing that's been a big help is... helping those same people. Actually, when it started, I practically begged for more opportunities to help after the first few times it happened (essentially home repair and improvement type stuff). It took time, but I regained confidence in myself in most (if not all) facets of my life.

I guess in a way I'm suggesting that you essentially imply that you could use some help with something. I'm not sure outright asking her would work. This rather than trying to get her to accept your help.


So pleased she is back. People in their 20s are often in conflict with themselves, and there is a lot of pressure about “the future”. Being kind, non judgmental and always there means everything. Good luck to you both!

Livia Level 6 Mar 19, 2018

Oh my. I have two of my four who have had their struggles but I have never faced this situation. Hoping that all turns out ok. I know that I have a had a few times where I had to check on an adult child who was not responding to any communication at all and had a few instances of having to talk them off the ledge. It rips a parents heart to shreds. But with mine she was local and I could drive over and see what was going on. The good news she is better and living in another city now and working. But even now I hold my breath sometimes. Community hugs from all of us here - no easy answers anywhere but to let them know they are loved.

Ohub Level 7 Mar 17, 2018

This is a reply to many posters. It is what depression meant to mean me. I don't suffer from it anymore, after quite a few years:


Very hard to do. She needs to seek professional help.


Jus make it known that you love her and there for a kind of help she needs. Ask her to think about coming home just to be safe and if she needs medical help tell her you will be there. She is in her own way asking for help. Been there twice and it is hell. Long times alone did help me get over it but it was very hard. Finally did it myself without drs. but with some medicine.


Oh my gosh....I'm so sorry you are having to deal with this nightmare. And, if it were my 22 year-old daughter, it would indeed be a nightmare.

You are right, you cannot force her.

As much as it hurts, and no matter how maddening it is to not be able to say the magic words that will convince her to go back to safety and stability, there is truly nothing you can do except to let her know, on a daily basis, that you love her, that you are there for her, and that your home is her home while she figures out her path for adulthood.

I wish I had better or more helpful words.


One of the things I have observed is that people who have had something bad happen to them are repeatedly victimized by well-wishers who keep reinforcing that they are now "damaged goods" because of what happened. When all of society (and loved ones) are telling you that you will never be the same again, you are expected to be forever changed for the worst, expected to have "difficulties; it is quite likely some if it will become true.


I have and still do have depression problem its hard for us all. It takes time to heal. With your daughter I've had the same problem I'm here for you but the only thing I can say is have her go to the salvation army to see if they can help they have helped me in the past with at least a room or a bus ticket or gas to get home.


When I was getting custody of my kids the judge had ordered several task for me to complete to have that privilege. One of the task was parenting classes. In the class there was a great example of how to approach such a problem. Had to do with not comparing your past with what your children were going through. To ask questions that they could relate to. Not to say you understand this can turn against you. Rather to say things of a positive nature.


All you can do is be there for her, and the less meds the better.


Terrible difficult. Our son left us 7 years ago after a fight, accusing me of destroying his childhood. He was such a happy guy, maybe too happy. He refuses contact in anyway. I respect that. He got married with the woman (from a broken family herself) that I suspect influencing him in a negative way. Actually, I don't know. It keeps hurting, but what could I do, other than excepting the situation. Sad or not sad. These situations are a heavy burden on the shoulders of many parents that have experienced similar. I will never get used to it.

Gert Level 7 Mar 20, 2018

Is she home yet?

Livia Level 6 Mar 17, 2018

She's going to be sick as a parrot when she sees this site.

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