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I have just burst into tears at the dinner table

(39 Posts)
CeliaFate Tue 19-Aug-14 19:45:41

I have posted about ds and his low mood/depression/negative state of mind. It's been going on since July. I've thought of little else.
GP and CAMHS are involved. Ds won't co-operate with either. He won't speak to anyone and won't go to counselling/group therapy.
He wants to be left alone to cope without professionals.
He is suffering from low self-esteem, is negative about everything, thinks everything that happens is to spite him.
I have spent the last 6 weeks cajoling, pleading, reasoning, shouting, ignoring, researching, reading everything I can. I can't remember what I did before he was like this.
Tonight I cracked. I am crying typing this. I cannot show him or he will feel guilty and that will exacerbate things.
I want to get in the car and drive away.
Dh is trying to help but doesn't know what to say. There is nothing to say.

AkkerDemik Tue 19-Aug-14 19:51:13

Hi Celia
How old is ds, and how was he before July? Do you know what triggered it?
(not being nosy, it's easier to reply constructively with the information)

CeliaFate Tue 19-Aug-14 19:52:58

He's 11. Been building up slowly - he's bored, everything's rubbish, he's not enjoying himself. Classic signs of depression. CAMHS say he's not clinically depressed (he's eating, washing, out of bed, dressing etc) but lacks confidence and self-esteem.

AkkerDemik Tue 19-Aug-14 20:06:26

It's almost impossible as a mother to see your child in this state, but perhaps you need to step away a little. To him, your cajoling and pleading and shouting is just adding to the pressure and exacerbating his feeling of not being good enough. Plus it's taking its toll on you, and he needs you to be strong. If he sees you being positive, it's more likely to help him.
Try to take each moment as it comes. Offer him praise, encouragement, love and acceptance - but subtly, and in small ways. In your head (not out loud) set small targets for praise built on the things he is doing - the washing for instance, could be commented on by 'you smell nice', a quick shoulder hug and a smile.
I'll come back to you, but wanted to offer a hand now. Try to relax, just let it wash over you for tonight without fighting it.

Bluestocking Tue 19-Aug-14 20:06:53

Hi Celia - how awful for you all. Will DS be going to secondary school next month? Is he anxious about that?

sezamcgregor Tue 19-Aug-14 20:07:42

Hi Celia

I'm sorry to hear you're having a tough time at the moment with your son having low self esteem.

I've been quite surprised to learn of the reasons of my sons low self esteem and I'm glad that we're slowly moving to being on the right track. He's nearly 7 and has had constant put downs from teachers, his peers, from me too I suppose and lots of shouting from all angles. I'd not known he'd been getting picked on at school by a certain boy for the last year until recently.

Can you speak to school and CAHMS to get some strategies on how to slowly increase his self-esteem? Things like lots of praise, cuddles, sharing stories of cause an effect, talking about ambitions, how other children are and organising out of school activities that he'll enjoy?

Sorry I can't be more use, Sezamcgregor

Cheeky76890 Tue 19-Aug-14 20:07:51

5-htp but some through amazon after reading reviews. It's a great alternative to antidepressants and works for many people.

CeliaFate Tue 19-Aug-14 20:13:53

He's going to secondary school next month and is nervous about it.
I'm doing everything humanly possible that I've read or been told about. Nothing is working at the moment, at least there's no outward sign of it working. I am exhausted with the effort of it.
What is 5-htp?

AkkerDemik Tue 19-Aug-14 20:22:29

5-htp is 5-hydroxytryptophan. Supplements can be bought at H&B. It's the building block of serotonin, dubbed the happy hormone - several prescription antidepressants increase the amount of serotonin in the brain.
It's fine for adults to try but not generally recommended for children. They are at far more risk of serotonin syndrome (a serious condition which is effectively an overdose), plus prescription ADs are given to children only when absolutely necessary and because nothing else has worked, and under very close medical supervision. The reason for this is that ADs increase the risk of suicide in children, and in teenage boys particularly. There is no specific research to demonstrate the same link with 5-htp, but it shouldn't be done without careful discussion with your doctor.

Bluestocking Tue 19-Aug-14 20:30:30

I think Akker's advice is very sensible, if hard to actually follow. The temptation for us as mothers is to try and sort out everything immediately, but this can't be sorted instantly by maternal interventions - unfortunately!

I asked about secondary school because you mentioned this having started in July, which was presumably around the time he left his junior school at the end of term. I wonder how much of it is nervousness about starting at "big school" and might dissipate once he has actually started and (hopefully) realised that it isn't as bad as he had feared?

Is he going to school with friends from his junior school?

CeliaFate Tue 19-Aug-14 20:38:02

Ds is upset now because he's upset me. I don't have the energy to cope with this. I just want to go to bed. Dh has worked all day and come home to this, he's had to talk to ds, talk to me, he's tidied up after dinner, done the housework that I'd normally do so I feel guilty about that.

Salmotrutta Tue 19-Aug-14 20:38:29

Are there any signs of him starting puberty celia - could there be a hormonal element?

Has he been getting bullied or has there been any other life events that might be behind this?

I'm sure you've thought of all this by the way but I just wondered if there might be anything going on physically (onset of puberty) or other events that might seem small to us but have built up in his mind?

Hassled Tue 19-Aug-14 20:40:46

I really do understand why you're feeling the way you do (my DD was diagnosed with severe depression aged 17 - now thankfully doing OK) - but your description of your actions over the last 6 weeks is exhausting to read, and must be exhausting both for you and for him. The cajoling, the pleading, the reasoning - you must do what you can to step back a bit (and yes, I know that's easy to say and bloody hard to do). The tension in the house must be awful for all of you.

Hopefully once school has started and he realises that it's copeable with and maybe even enjoyable, things will improve. Where is he physically - is he prepubescent? Could hormones be part of it? Keep doing what you can to engage him in family activities - even if it's sitting in silence in the cinema together - and keep praising any positives, however tiny.

I really feel for you - I went to hell and back with my DD. One thing I can say is that we are exceptionally close now and I'm sure part of that is going through the awful experience of her depression.

CeliaFate Tue 19-Aug-14 20:41:31

He's had a massive growth spurt so puberty is definitely starting.
There's no sign of any bullying. Low level teasing, yes. He can't take any of it and will sob uncontrollably if his sister laughs at him for any reason.

AkkerDemik Tue 19-Aug-14 20:42:08

Give ds a cuddle if he'll let you. It could help you to get closer and build a bridge when he's feeling disconnected from you.
What help and support are YOU getting from the doctor/CAMHS to develop coping strategies and maintain your own mental health?

CeliaFate Tue 19-Aug-14 20:44:36

He's just run past and gone to bed.
I've got no support. Dh suggested I go to the gp for myself, but I'd have to take ds with me. I've got nobody near to watch him.

Salmotrutta Tue 19-Aug-14 20:48:54

Well if he looks to be starting puberty then he will be all over the place too smile

Could he perhaps also be a bit "scared" of leaving his childhood behind a bit? I ask that because I remember feeling like that myself at that age - everything got too "serious" for my liking and it made me sad.

I hope that doesn't sound trite by the way but I remember losing that carefree childhood feeling and not liking it much - and that was about 40 ish years ago!

Hassled Tue 19-Aug-14 20:52:25

So it's pretty much just been you and him alone for the last 6 weeks? If so - you badly need a break. Is your DH around at the weekend? Can you go off somewhere then? Are there any camps/clubs on next week he could go to?

CeliaFate Tue 19-Aug-14 20:55:38

Dh has been around for the last 2 weeks, so I suppose now it's been me on my own again it's come to a head.
I feel like I did in the first few weeks with a newborn; the mental responsibility of being the only one keeping this human being alive is overwhelming at the moment. I can't switch off from it.

AkkerDemik Tue 19-Aug-14 20:59:44

Get dh to take a day off/go to work a couple of hours late, so that he can look after ds while you go to the doctor's.
You sound at breaking point, and you need support too. Doctor may also have more ideas about how to help ds.
Don't feel guilty that you're not coping - it's a horrible situation to be in, that you can't make it go away or kiss it better. You're not a failure because you can't.

AndIFeedEmGunpowder Tue 19-Aug-14 21:01:23

Don't know what to advise but am listening. Sounds so hard. sad

You sound like a great mum. I think your DS is lucky to have you, even if he doesn't feel lucky atm.

AkkerDemik Tue 19-Aug-14 21:01:31

How is dh dealing with this? Both with ds's issues and your own stress?

CeliaFate Tue 19-Aug-14 21:03:10

He's coping with it by doing all the practical stuff. But it's wearing him down too.

Hassled Tue 19-Aug-14 21:16:57

Yes, it's that feeling of powerlessness that's the killer - you can't just kiss it better or put a plaster on it. And while you have this immense responsibility, there's also bugger all you can really do.

You really do need to find the time to get to the GP for yourself, because your anxiety isn't helping him or you. You must.

Maisyblue Tue 19-Aug-14 21:44:17

I'm so sorry for you , it must be hard to see your son like that, I know it's only a suggestion but I wonder if you've ever considered getting him his very own little puppy. It might just bring him out of himself if you explain that because it's his he has to do all the caring, training and walking him?

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