ds15, No joy, no motivation, can't see the point. Don't know how to help him.

(12 Posts)
gardeningmama Mon 25-Feb-13 08:18:42

Have any of you experienced this in your teen? I don't know if I should use the term "depressed" but my ds is definitely showing signs of his spirits being extremely low. School is the main protaganist in the scenario and he and I and the school are talking about all of that. But it is his behaviour, the heavy, depressed lack of motivation, the sadness and his frustration because he doesn't want to feel like this, that has me at my wits end. How am I supposed to encourage him out of bed of a morning? How am I supposed to convince him that he should get up and needs to get up, that he has to go to school and that actually, in the end it will be worth it. He hears my words but they don't mean anything to him and they certainly don't motivate him.

A bit more detail re the school: he is not being bullied, he finds the work ok, he is doing well, he has good friends. What he doesn't like is the "spare time", lunch breaks and such, the hanging around. So the school is offering suggestions to address that. He finds the lessons uninspiring but they are GCSE focused, so sad, but perhaps not surprising. Ds just seems unable to see any point to it all and he is not looking forward to 6th form college as he thinks it will just be the same.

It is really the right here, right now I desperately need some help with; how to motivate him just enough so that he can start to help himself. If I threaten him with taking ipad/phone etc away if he doesn't get up and go to school, this just backfires badly and has a very negative affect. But the dangling a carrot doesn't seem to bother him either. I just can't find a way in.

He had a chat with the Dr 2 weeks ago which didn't go well, the Dr didn't seem to "get it" and he told us that ds wasn't depressed enough to get CAMHS involved, but we are seeing him again tomorrow and hopefully he will have some positive in put. The school counseller has seen ds too but ds seems to resist any support there. Any other suggestions greatly received.

someoftheabove Mon 25-Feb-13 09:37:04

So sorry to hear about what you are both going through. I'm in the same place right now with my dd (age 17) so can definitely sympathise. You are wise to want this sorted before A levels.
I'm sure you'll get lots of useful advice and support from this forum, but I would say, don't give up with a referral to CAMHS. It's not a question of "not being depressed enough". He needs help now, to prevent him getting "depressed enough" for CAMHS. If the GP won't make the referral, ask school to do it. If school think he might be at risk of exclusion, that will add substance to the referral, in my experience. But also ask the GP if there is any youth counselling on offer (though there's usually a long waiting list as it's free). Also ask school if they have access to the CAMHS community nurse for schools - not sure if every area has one, but we do here, and they work at Tier 1, i.e. below CAMHS' thresholds. School can refer.
In the meantime, have a look at the Young Minds website and encourage your ds to talk about how he's feeling - the Samaritans are, of course, excellent and he can start that right now.

angry at that GP. It must have been hard enough to get your DS to go to the doctor but to get that response is poor.
I don't have experience of this but I do have teenage boys. Actually it sounds to me as though you are doing all the right things.
It seems as though your DS has a big dose of the gloom that descends on them all from time to time and I agree with your fear that it could spiral into full scale depression.
I would also not "punish" him for feeling this way.
Does he open up to you? Does he acknowledge there is a problem? What does he see as a way through it?
Looking to A levels will he stay at school? Sixth form college is very different from school and might suit him better.

Hullygully Mon 25-Feb-13 09:59:06

Depression can hit at any age. If you don't want to wait for gps and referrals, could you try a homeopath? I had a brilliant one I used to talk to for an hour at a time who really helped. You don't have to "believe" in it either. AND there is the placebo effect. I regulalry use homeopathic pills on my dc: for sadness, confidence, whatever is required.

Hullygully Mon 25-Feb-13 09:59:51

And the other thing that might be good about it is it isn't called "counselling" it can more be seen as a quasi-medical approach which he might find more palatable.

gardeningmama Mon 25-Feb-13 10:59:03

Thank you all so much, what a wonderful, supportive response. I have just spent an hour at Pilates (I know, very middle class!!) going over and over the situation just not knowing what's best to do next. And yes, the main thing is to help ds before he starts hurting himself or getting suicidal thoughts or anything that might "register" him with CAMHS.

someoftheabove thanks, I will talk to school about CAMHS community nurse and will be a bit more assertive with GP tomorrow and push for help there. And I will look at Young Minds website. hully, yes we have a very good homeopath who we have known for years and who is great with child psychology. ds went to see her a few weeks ago but he wasn't as able to articulate his feelings at that point (tho the more he has talked to me since, the closer he is getting to understanding some of the issues that underly his feelings). Stupidly, I mentioned the homeopath to ds's Dr and this was one of the things that got him all suspicious and sceptical. Ds isn't that keen to go back to homeopath as she knows us so well and he wants more anonymity. But I think I will talk to her myself!

secret thanks, yes ds does talk to me, he is very angry as well in that typical teenage way so it is hard to get through to him sometimes (most times sad), but he and I have a good relationship and he trusts me. He is generally very articulate but this is throwing him and he struggles to point to anything that is causing these feelings but he certainly does acknowledge that there is a problem, I will talk to him tonight about how he might see a way through. 6th form will be a different college but trying to encourage him to believe things might be different and better in the future isn't something he is able to take on at the moment.

mumblechum1 Mon 25-Feb-13 13:24:50

My ds has gone through these phases for the last 2 winters. The first time, the Dr referred him to a local teen centre for counselling which was basically just talking and ds did find that helpful. This last Dec, I found a private CBT therapist as DS was really miserable and I didn't want to have to wait.

It was q helpful, ds has come out of the depressive phase now (I suspect it is partly SAD), he, like your ds, is not happy at school and finds it desperately boring, especially the study periods which are half of the week (he's in 6th form).

So my advice would be to find a private CBT person. You usually only need 6 sessions so not massively expensive.

gardeningmama Mon 25-Feb-13 17:07:25

Thanks mumble. Today, after loads of phone calls, I have got ds put on a waiting list to see a counseller at school (but she is independent of the school) and it sounds great, however he probably won't be seen this side of Easter. So I am going to look into private CBT as you suggest as I think this could be very useful in between times! Glad to hear your ds is in a good phase now, do hope it lasts long and good. smile

mumblechum1 Mon 25-Feb-13 21:30:31

smile Thanks. He's still a grumpy arse but not depressed.

mindfulmum Thu 28-Feb-13 01:41:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

catlady1 Thu 28-Feb-13 02:06:34

I remember feeling like this, and my doctor saying pretty much the same. My mum dragged me back over and over again, we both cried, they told me to eat better and get more sleep! I was suicidal when I was about 15. I was a bright kid, I had friends although I didn't socialise much outside of school, I wasn't bullied, but I just couldn't muster up any enthusiasm for anything and I would often feel very isolated. Eventually when I was 17 my doctor said she would refer me to the adolescent mental health services (is that what CAMHS is?) but I never heard anything else, and I was never bothered enough to chase it up. That's part of the problem with depression, you know it's not right but you can't imagine it ever getting better, so what's the point?

I'm still struggling with the feelings of apathy and sometimes awful anxiety, where I'll think about one thing that I perceive as a problem, then suddenly I'll find myself thinking about everything that has or could possibly go wrong and I end up just hiding away and unable to face anything. I've mentioned it to doctors a couple of times, I was prescribed sleeping tablets once but other than that I've had no help, and I don't really want counselling. Maybe something like CBT would help but just talking to a counsellor would be useless, since it's not a reaction to something that's happened or anything like that.

Sorry for rambling on smile basically, don't give up. Even if you can't get doctors to take you seriously or get your son to leap out of bed in the morning, just make sure he knows you're there for him and that you understand. Maybe suggest things he might enjoy doing? I find I'm always happiest when I have a bit of a "project" or a hobby, even though I tend to give up on bloody everything before I get anywhere. Have you tried speaking to the school? I know you've got him in with the counsellor but maybe if you had a word with his head of year or something they could help him out somehow.

gardeningmama Thu 28-Feb-13 09:33:16

Thank you mindful and catlady. I really appreciate your kind words and insight. I agree totally that calmness and unconditional support are the best things I can give him. He is having a duvet day today (well, with a fair bit of revision thrown in!!) He and I had a chat yesterday and he said his moods just swing so much throughout the day. He is excused from tutor time as this is one of his pinch points and he generally takes himself off to the library and catches up with work. dd says she saw him in there on his own one lunchtime and I just felt so sad at this lonely picture. But he does have friends, so it is a strange situation, and he does talk to them, although mostly his out of school friends. He says he took himself to the toilet for a cry yesterday so that decided me on keeping him home today. He is also set up to see a counsellor but after Easter, so I need to keep things going until then. At least he is open and talks to me smile

catlady so sorry you still feel low and apathetic. It does sound like mild depression to me, I know this to be the case for myself, not bad enough to go on anti depressants but enough for me to get nothing done during the day! Hope you find something to inspire and motivate you, I am writing a book!!

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