‘My daughter who lives 200 miles away is anxious and I don’t know how to help’

By | May 3, 2021

Dear Coleen

I don’t know what to do about my daughter, who is in her early 30s and single and lives 200 miles away.

She has mental health problems – anxiety and depression – although she is seeing a doctor.

Every little thing gets blown up into a huge issue and she thinks it only happens to her.

She would love a partner, but says no one will have her. She has been on dating sites but, from what she tells me, no one seems to reply.

We keep in touch regularly through calls and texts at the moment due to lockdown restrictions.

But when I text her she can take hours to reply, then says she’s been out with friends and busy, which really stresses me out.

But when she has a problem and wants to talk, she calls late at night and can be on the phone for two hours. I speak to her for as long as it takes, but this leads to arguments with my husband who says she’s old enough to start taking responsibility for herself.

She is such a caring person and I just wish life was better for her. What can I do to sort things for her?

Woman sitting in armchair

She would like to help her daughter more (Stock photo)

Coleen says

I don’t think you can “sort things for her”, but you can provide support and advice which you are already doing. The good thing is she recognises her problems and is seeing a doctor.

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It sounds like she has a good group of friends, which again is positive – she’s not isolating herself.

I wonder if you could contact one of them confidentially to check how your daughter is doing?

I get your husband’s frustration with the late-night phone calls but, as a mum myself, I know I’d want to talk to my daughter whatever the time of day and for however long it took.

But it’s a two-way street – she tells you about what’s upsetting her and it’s OK to explain to her what makes you anxious about this situation: not being able to get hold of her, for example, when you know she’s been struggling.

I wonder if you could move forward by scheduling phone calls on certain days and at specific times. It might be good to have a routine with some boundaries that are kept to.

Your daughter has to help herself, too, but you can remind her you’re there as her safety net and hopefully you’ll get to see each other soon.

Mirror – Health