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My Son Is Depressed...what Do I Do Now

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9 replies to this topic

#1 nicky1995



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Posted 18 March 2012 - 10:29 PM

HI all,

I have used this site alot over the last few months, mainly reading to get encouragement. I have not been well enough until now to express my feelings into words. My problem is my sixteen/seventeen year old son who is showing many symptoms of depression. He is in his last year at high school and sits for an important exam at the end of the year, hoping to pass and get into university. There have been many stressors for him, not only the teenage years but my illness with a severe episode which really traumatised him. He has seen a counsellor but is hesitating about going back. I am very encouraging of this because I know he needs help. We are very close and he is a kind and caring boy. He is deeply troubled but gets very stubborn about counselling. I have been to therapy and on medication most of my life and understand the feelings of ambivalence about counselling. He is also very private and not trusting. I also know that he has a very real fear of having inherited my illness, whilst this may be so (and I am hoping with all my heart it is not), he needs help for these issues. I am asking what is my best course of action for him. I cannot make him do something. It is a real concern. Thankyou for taking the time to read my post.


#2 nocturneangel


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Posted 19 March 2012 - 07:41 AM

Hi nicky,

I think talking to your son about this might be a good idea. Since you say you're very close, I'm sure he cares about your concerns as well. Graduating with the burden of additional problems is a very stressful process (I'm going through it myself), and he probably knows he needs help. It takes a while to get used to confiding in a therapist, but if he gives it some time, he will see the benefits. Of course you can't force him, you can only try to convince him. Let him know you want to help him and that you would like him to give counselling another try, because you think that's best for him. It is nothing to be ashamed of. He has to realise that if he doesn't get help for his issues, they will get worse and he certainly doesn't want that.

I hope both of you will feel better soon.

No in elenath hîlar nan hâd gîn.

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"No matter how far away the light gets, your heart's voice will always reach it." - Naminé

#3 effortless


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Posted 19 March 2012 - 12:16 PM

Have you tried talking about what exactly bothers him about therapy? Maybe he feels he can't work with his current therapist or otherwise wants more control over the process. Therapy works best if he's 100% behind it and if you try to pressure him into it you might just cause more damage than good.

#4 Eonryo



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Posted 19 March 2012 - 12:59 PM

Also, ask him what KIND of therapist he would like...
maybe starting him off in something not so formal may help - that's what my mom did with me when I was a little younger than your son. Maybe something that is therapy, but not just sitting in an office staring at the person your pouring your heart out to. I know they have play therapy for younger kids.. maybe it is worth looking into if they have something available in your area that works with your son's interests - does he like art, if so .. art therapy?
Maybe asking him straight out why he doesn't want to see a therapist would work.. you do say your close so hopefully that is something he would be willing to tell you.

Unfortunately though, your right when it comes right down to it... you can't fully FORCE him unless your willing to do, or he does something drastic. And I am hoping that it doesn't come to that point. Until then, try to not pressure him about it, but do ask him occasionally. And I think NocturnAngel was right about being honest and upfront with your concerns. Your son sounds like a caring and sensitive individual, and maybe him know that he is adding stress to you, MIGHT get him to open up more.

Wishing you both the best...
Because I could not stop for death, He kindly stopped for me
The carriage held but just ourselves, And Immortality
Emily Dickinson

#5 marlborough



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Posted 21 March 2012 - 06:50 PM

Hello Nicky. This is my first post - came here in desperation as I can't stop crying, and I'm not sure I can help other than to say you are not alone, I have a son who is a little older - 19, in first yr at Uni and may have to drop out due to depression/anxiety. I don't mind ultimately if that's what he really needs to do to feel better; what I can't bear is to see him so low. He is currently on medication - Mirtazapine - because he wasn't sleeping, and says he likes pills and doesn't want to talk to anyone. The Mirtazapine is like chemical cosh and I am hurting so much seeing him like this, when he can be so lively and active when he is well. He stays at home, doesn't want to mix or do anything. The awful thing for me tonight is that I feel angry, fed up, exhausted... as if I have no more resources left in me. I feel that I am supportive and encouraging but that I am trying too hard to sort out his problems. So maybe the answer is that he has to work this out himself and I have to pull back, let him do this, and regain some sense of myself. Your line ' I cant make him do something ' really struck a chord. It's true, incredibly painful though when it's your own flesh and blood. Like the others above, you can suggest your ideas about what might help, talk truthfully about why you think it's a good idea, but there's a thin line between advice and pressure - as I've found out. Myself, I think my son should stop taking these brain-altering chemicals and talk to someone about the things that have gone wrong for him over the last 6 months, But I can't make him do this. Does this sound bad - I find myself shifting between being completely and utterly 'there' for him, to just wanting to run away and never hear about the problem again. I wonder what I have done or not done that my son has ended up like this, and then I tell myself not to beat myself up on top of the anguish I'm feeling every day. .

#6 gardensparrow



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Posted 22 March 2012 - 03:32 PM

So sorry you're going through this with your kids. It's one of the hardest things to watch our children struggle and not know how to best help them. But, at least it does seem like they're talking to you to a certain extent. So, that's a good first step. Of course, as has already been shared, counseling really seems like the best solution here. Unfortunately, our kids don't always see it that way. But, I really hope they'll continue to be open to this option. Also, another suggestion I wanted to make is to check out a book on this topic I've heard is really good called, Is Your Teen Stressed or Depressed?: A Practical and Inspirational Guide for Parents of Hurting Teenagers by Dr. Archibald Hart. Maybe it will give you some other ideas on how to reach your sons? Lastly, in my time at Family on the Family, I came across a couple counselor replies to other parents facing a similar situation here and here. So, perhaps you'll find some guidance from reading through them? I hope so! Well, your families will be in my thoughts and prayers. Hang in there!

#7 leebux



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Posted 27 March 2012 - 06:01 AM

Hi Nicky,
I have a depressed 17 yr old also sittng for major exams at the end of the year. She has just been weaned off Prozac and it's really scary. I'm not sure whether they are going to try her on another one, or see how she goes.

HAve you spoken to the school, so they are aware of what your son is going through? They might be able to offer him extensions or the such if it is affecting his marks. Our school has been great, andm y daughter knows there are a couple of teachers she can go to if it gets too much. Like your son, my daughter is quiet, and high achieving and this can also add pressure to them.

My Dr put me on antidepressants just over a week ago because I've been strong for the last 2 1/2 yrs, and was going downhill.
I wish I could make it better for you...but I am realising I can't do it for my daughter either. She is off to see her psychologist in 3 weeks. She was offered an earlier appointment but didn't want to miss dancing. It's her choice , no matter what I think.
All you can do is offer your son help and try and look after yourself.

My heart breaks knowing we really can't do anything for our kids but offer them support . We want to make it better, but as I realise now, we can only offer help.
I can't counsel my daughter, because I am too close to the situation.
Talk to your boy, and if he isn't ready, just be there when he is. Perhaps he might want to change counsellors. It's worth asking
Keep the lines of communication open...I have decided tht is the best thing I can do for myself and my daughter. If she is talking to me, even in a small way, I can see where she is.
We have all been in the crying place. That's what makes us mothers. Better to express those feelings than hold them in. I think at one point everywhere I went, I was armed with tissues. Anything could set me off.

Do you have an activity that you do just for you? As harsh as it sounds, a small amount of time spent on yourself, will keep you feeling strong and able to cope.
Take care and post as often as you need us.
You are not alone. We need to support each other, and we know exactly how you feel , hang in there.
I wish I could give you more tangible help, but my thoughts are with you

Leebux xxxxx

Edited by leebux, 27 March 2012 - 06:04 AM.

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#8 cassmat



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Posted 28 March 2012 - 07:18 AM

Wow I am glad to find this place, I have never felt so alone in my life, I posted about our struggle with our 13 year old up above. No one understands unless they have been going thru this, my sister, my best friend and I have nearly had to quit talking as she keeps saying my daughter needs to suck it up, etc....like this is a choice??

#9 leebux



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Posted 28 March 2012 - 03:31 PM

Hi Cassmat,

We understand. It's a hard and lonely place to be and people sometimes don't understand. Generally that is through ignorance though.
You are right, that this ILLNESS is NOT a choice. The kids don't want to feel tis way.I hope you get her meds sorted soon.
Good luck with your daughter, and keep us posted on how you are going.
All we can offer is support,

Thoughts are with you and you are not alone
Take care

Edited by leebux, 28 March 2012 - 03:40 PM.

#10 Joyous56



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Posted 15 April 2012 - 04:42 PM

Hi Nicky,

I relate to your situation with your son. I've had depression most of my life, with some more severe bouts, and have a son who is 26. I always remember my teen years, feeling depressed but always thinking I just needed to improve myself somehow. And knowing that my mother committed suicide (I was 19), and finally realizing that she was probably depressed (no one talked about depression in the early '70s), and her mother had some sort of mental illness, the possibility that I also may have depression was so overwhelming. I had a hard time accepting that I could not 100% control my thoughts and feelings.

I think that we can help our kids by remembering how we felt at that time, about the diagnosis, and (for me) no longer feeling like I could do anything, or be anything I wanted, because of this thing I had no control over.

I don't know if this makes sense, so just know I'm thinking of you and your son.
To be is to become: but the world has committed itself to being, delights only in being; yet wherein it delights brings fear, and what it fears is pain. Now this Life Divine is lived to abandon pain.

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