Q: Our 22-year-old daughter lives with her boyfriend, whom we don't really like, but we are cordial when we get together. A friend of our daughter's recently contacted me to say she had received a "very frightening" note from our "very depressed" daughter, then later backtracked and said there was nothing to worry about and our daughter would probably reach out to us when the time was right.
Piecing together some other facts, I am fairly certain our daughter had an abortion last month. I suspect the friend reached out because she felt it was "above her paygrade" to help our daughter deal with her depression. Our daughter has been out of touch for three weeks, which is uncharacteristic, texting us only that she's been really busy.
I'm not sure if I should call and ask if something's up, or wait for her to bring it up. She has every right to her privacy, but I am concerned this depression could spiral downward. What would you do?
A: I'd wait till she was ready to tell me, but in the meantime call "just to say hi." I'd also put myself in her path, ever so gently, to make it easy for her to lean on me — maybe, trump up something to drop off at her apartment.
Normally I wouldn't insinuate myself into an adult's life like that, but depression is an exceptional case. Someone needs to be willing to override — judiciously — the normal limits to get a good look.