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Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: My daughter cries alot - is this depression?


 hopeydib - Mon Feb 12, 2007 8:18 pm

Ok I have used this site before in the cardiology forum with great results & am hoping for the same here.

I am having a small issue with my youngest daughter who is 9. She is a very happy child for most of the time. She has 2 loving married parents and an older brother & sister. We all live together.

She has always been my emotional child. Cries when her sister or brother are mad at her, or if she thinks a friend is mad. Lately it has been a bit diffrent.

A few wekks ago I had to go to the ER, and we had my sister here to babysit (she is a normal babysitter for us). My daughter was fine when I left. We told her I was going to the Doctors. When I got home she just cried and cried for over an hour cuz she was afraid something was gonna happen to me. After much reassuring she fell asleep. The other day she came in my room and said she felt like crying and did for about 2 hours. I keep asking why, but she had no reason except she felt like it.

Now we do have a bit of history,we made a huge move from Ma, to NC. 2 years ago, She has 1 gradfather who suffers seizures and another grandfather who is dying, (polio, diabetes, congestive heart failure, & strokes to name a few of his issues). He was recently hospitalized for the CHF but is now home again.

Here's the question, does a girl just need to cry sometimes? How normal is this and does she need help? Are there questions I should be asking to see if she has depression?

Oh yea, there is a family history of depression (me & grandfather) neither of use are currently being treated as it is under control.

Thanks in advance for any insight.
 Dr. K. Eisele - Fri Feb 16, 2007 12:41 am

User avatar hopeydib:

I think what may be crucial to figuring this out is whether or not the grandfather who is dying is in MA where you moved from, or if he is in NC. If the dying grandfather is in MA, and particularly if he was well when you moved away, your daughter may have the idea that people who go to the hospital, necessarily die. You had to go to the ER and she got left at home. She probably doesn't understand that sometimes going to the hospital is okay and that it doesn't necessarily mean death.

Do girls just need to have a good cry? Of course they do. I believe boys do, too.

Because there are a few weeks time between the initial incident and the latest, I would watch her very closely for any behaviors that are uncharacteristic. Particularly important to watch will be her appetite, sleep pattern, differences in how she plays, e.g., if she suddenly begins destroying her Barbie dolls or hitting her friends.

Just to be as safe as possible, I would lock up all medications, including over-the-counter meds, herbals, and of course, if there are any guns in the house, remove them. Wal-mart sells very inexpensive, small lock boxes that should suffice for the medications.

If you have any suspicions or notice anything at all, take her to your family's doctor, or psychiatrist, if you have one. No one will fault you for getting your daughter in front of a doctor just to be sure.

Please come back and let us know how things work out.
 hopeydib - Fri Feb 16, 2007 6:25 am

Sorry I should have said, The dying grandfather is here in NC, he is actually one of the reasons we moved (though certainly not the only reason).

I also should have noted both grandfathers have had theese conditions since the day she was born. My father actually had a heartattack while I was delivering her. He had moved to Nc just before I got pregnant with her.

While it may sound awful to a healthy family, we have never hidden our fathers illnesses from our children. My mother hid alot from me & my sisters growing up and we have had issues trying to come to terms with our dad being so sick so soon, we didnt know it had been brewing for years. My sisters & I vowed to not hide stuff like that, and we havent. I think our main theroy there is we don't want the kids to see grampa ok today and dead tomorrow. ( I know it sounds awful & selfish). I don't know mabey that has harmed all of our kids in the long run.

The sleep issue has not really changed, sometimes she will ask if she can lay with me, & she will fall asleep there & yes we do move her to her bed, but that is normal for her. Last night she came in my husband & my room cuz she had a nightmare, but what child goes through life nightmare free? They don't happen often, this was the 1st in about 9 - 10 months.

I do have a question regaurding the dying grand father. My husband & I have talked of doing this in the past but we're not sure about it. We are very close with my side of the family, would family counseling be out of line to help all us get through this? If so would I include my mom/dad, sisters and there children and all go together or each family for themselves?

Thank you so much for the resonse already submitted and any future insight you may have.
 Dr. K. Eisele - Sat Feb 17, 2007 1:37 am

User avatar hopeydib:

When families are so open with the "cycle of life" as is yours, the children generally pick up on the prevailing emotions in their environment. If you believe in your mind and heart that death is a natural event and simply the beginning of the next cycle, or stage, it is likely that your daughter will adopt the same attitude.

The other possibility is that the underlying emotions are of sorrow, no matter what is actually said. In this case, the child will be confused -- they often know more about our true feelings than we do.

Assuming the first situation exists in your home, if the child were to get wind that death were something grotesque or to be feared, it could be a very confusing situation, similar to the second situation depicted.

All this, however, is speculation, and doesn't really solve anything. It sounds to me like your daughter's behavior after an unusual event has been troubling to her and, for some reson, she is unable to say what is bothering her.

I think the first thing to do is decide if the problem still exists, and if so, she may need to see a therapist. Then, you can ask the therapist if a family therapy session is indicated.

My best to you and your family.

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