To feel completely lost now over my teen son(238 Posts)
DS(14) is under CAMHS for depression and entirety. We've had a really rough year with him drinking, running away once, constant moodiness and attitude, missing school because he is refusing to go, swearing at us, breaking his phone in a temper.... lots more.
I'm at home today as I've had a meeting with school about his absences where we have been threatened with a fine and prosecution if he doesn't start going every day.
When I got home I checked my Instagram and noticed he was active about 3am.
I did something bad. I signed into his Instagram account and checked his messages. I know some will think this is wrong but I did it and am not about to get into a debate over whether I should be reading his messages.
He was messaging friends in the early hours of this morning saying he was drinking alcohol (no alcohol missing in the house so I don't know if this is true), taking my prescription drugs (I know this is true as I've checked my packs), sending pictures of our big kitchen knife saying he would hurt himself and talking about how it would feel to stab someone with it. There's also messages from the past few days about meeting up with friends and asking them to sneak vodka out of their houses in water bottles. There's explicit messages and images between him and some Instagram "star" who must be about 18?!?!
I feel like this is the last straw. I've fought and fought for the CAMHS referral but he won't engage with them so they keep telling me there isn't much they can do. I've talked to him, I've shouted, I've punished, I've cried, I've sat on the floor and sobbed. I don't know what to do. I don't know how to make this right, I don't know how to talk to him, I don't know how to fix him. I want to scoop him up and kiss him better whilst slapping him for being so.... I don't even know what the right word is.
Please please can someone help us??
Just to add, my family are anxious and so am I
still doesn’t make it my/our fault
That’s helpful M3lon. Thank you.
I think you are right, you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. It’s much much easier to blame someone else or circumstance rather than look inside.
Dd told me last night she didn’t want to exist anymore and it was all my fault. It’s so so awful, I do understand. Please try to be kind to yourself, the more ok you are the more you can deal with your son.
Thinking of you. x
I think its really really difficult to know how much to let your children see your own MH struggles. He might have learnt a lot of coping strategies from your openness - and might have been in a far worse situation if you hadn't been honest!
You've asked a few times why he would make up so many things. I wonder if this is exactly because he doesn't know why he feels the way he does?
I see this a lot with students suffering depression/anxiety...they come with all sorts of strange sounding pseudo 'reasons' for their feelings. Something I constantly correct people on is asking "why" someone is depressed/anxious because I don't think it works that way at all.
For any given person with depression/anxiety you could identify things that aren't ideal in their life, but you could also find a million people with the same circumstances who aren't depressed/anxious. Its like someone telling you they caught a cold because they went out with wet hair! Just not something that really makes any sense.
He is likely depressed/anxious because he has established a pattern of behaviour that makes him feel better in the very short term, but is making his mood and anxiety worse over the medium to long term. What triggered that pattern is essentially irrelevant at this point. Breaking the pattern and getting him back engaged with normal behaviour and interactions that, while they may feel scary and shit in the short term, will decreased his symptoms on the medium to long term.
Apologies, for the essay - especially as you probably know all this stuff due to your own MH struggles, but in short, he is likely makign stuff up because he doesn't have a reason for feeling the way he does and he (erroneously) thinks he SHOULD have a reason.
Thanks guys. It's really hard to not blame myself for the way things have turned out. It's so easy to look back and think of all the things I should have handled differently.
He's probably right, he has caught it from me. We have a family history of anxiety and he has seen me at my lowest points. In hindsight I should have hidden it better. Sorry I'm a bit depressed today, I feel beaten.
It’s not your fault. Be clear in yourself about this. We have all made mistakes because we are not perfect and all have our own insecurities, but that is not your fault, that’s life, the way it is.
He has not caught anxiety from you, lovely.
Please don't feel bad. You've done so much lately
You were doing your best, don't be too hard on yourself OP.
This is a tough time for him, just continue to try to be there for him.
Things are tense at the moment but relatively calm compared to how they have been.
DH gutted his bedroom over the weekend. The stuff we found down the side of his bed.... empty cider bottles, food wrappers etc, god knows how he has got all this stuff into the house.
He's back at school today. Have just spoken with pastoral care and updated them on everything that's gone on over the week. Unfortunately we also got sad news that a girl he had been getting very close to has passed away over the weekend. He is going to be devastated and I know this sounds so selfish but I'm worried that this news could tip him back over the edge again.
She had been battling cancer for the last 2 years. I had promised him I would speak to her mum and organise a visit one evening this week, I feel like such a failure for not taking him to see her before she passed.
Hi OP I hope you're doing ok. I've never been in your position but my brother, sister and I have all been in your son's in our late teens. I attempted suicide twice and my brother didn't get out of bed for two years with depression. It sounds mad, but could your son have a vitamin D deficiency? It's common in this country in winter and my brother's was very severe. His doctor said it can play a part in low mood and depression.
The other thing is if you're in London or Herts, have a look at the Priory. They saw my brother, sister and a close friend. In my brother's case the GP had diagnosed depression and anxiety but the specialist there identified that he'd been struggling for years with undiagnosed dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD. My brother would never have been able to explain any of these influences on him but he's doing really well now - I'm not sure if he's off medication but he has a good job and he's happy.
My first thought is attention seeking but I feel that way way trivialises his MH issues.
There may well be an historic habitual need for attention which is now out of control?
Yes he is the oldest. Younger sister is an absolute dream. I think I've had to tell her off twice in 9 years, she is the easiest child ever.
Obviously I would never ever say out loud that she is easier than him but he has always been difficult to deal with, right from toddler tantrums.
He says he has "caught" anxiety from me and it's all my fault for teaching him to be anxious.
Is he the oldest child? Is younger sister very "nice" and compliant? Is he the "difficult" one? He's probably feeling it is all very unfair, and excluded from the happy family time you share with DD.
Not excusing his behaviour. Just noticed you could be looking more deeply into reasons.
Anxiety doesn't come out of thin air.
Yes of course I question myself, constantly. It's so hard to know if I'm doing the right things. Especially in this position where nothing I am doing seems to get through to him.
The CAMHS nurse did speak to him about the effect his messages could have on his friends. I'm not sure how much of it he took in but she basically said it was massively unfair to put another child through that much worry.
SS phoned my husbands mobile yesterday but as it was only his second day in his new job he didn't have his phone on him so couldn't pick up the message until they had closed for the day so I have them to call back today. I'm hopeful that once they see the other lies he has been telling and actually meet my DH they will see that none of this is true. For a start off DS weighs 9 stone and is 5ft 3. There's no way DH could lift him up and throw him!!!!
He's also told friends in the messages that he has been prescribed AD's, that I've told him he was a mistake and I never wanted him and that he is drinking in the night when all the alcohol is locked away. Add to that the lies he has told to school about us having no money and the cupboards are bare.
I just wish I knew why he is saying all these things??
I hope things are okay for you today OP. Horrendous position for your family to be in. I know you say that it feels like a betrayal calling police if your son gets volatile but MH issues is no excuse to abuse or hurt another person. He sounds like a strong kid, with all those big man portions, and you have got to keep yourself safe. If he hurts his sister, or hurts you badly, you’ll be dealing with a lot more. I know it’s so hard to call police on family but genuinely, ignoring abuse and assaults does nothing for the person in the long term.
I’m also a bit worried about reading he is sending upsetting messages to his friends about him taking drugs and self harming. At 14, that must be a huge worry to them. It sounds emotional abuse. I know the poor child is in the throes of a mental health crisis but again, it is no excuse for how he treats other people.
It seems so frustrating because you are exhausting every avenue that is available to you, you’re doing everything you can and there doesn’t seem to be anyone available to help you. I have no other advice for you, you’re doing everything I could suggest. Just be mindful that you don’t let yourself be abused, because you have mentioned you also suffer from MH and I am sure you would never assault or manipulate anyone so don’t let him do it to you.
Wishing you and him the best of luck.
Surely you question yourself too op? I know I do. That's not to say anything is your fault but our actions do impact and with the best will in the world we don't always get things right. I don't think ssd's question about the grandparents was out of order, although I don't remember her previous posts.
It was my brother at 13, I haven’t lived your experience, but it can only be more devastating with your child. So sorry.
I'm trying to see it from his side op. I don't think there's anything wrong in that. As I said you are getting a lot of wonderful support here which is good. I'm just trying to see it from his side.
But as this is making you angry I'll leave now. Good luck with everything.
@JRMisOdious it was reported to CAMHS on Friday and was discussed with the MH nurse on Saturday before he was discharged x
@ssd yes it was snappy. The same as most of your comments on my thread and comments I have seen you make on other threads.
The arrangements to stay with grandparents was made weeks ago to give us childcare over half term. So no he doesn't feel "shipped off". Me and DH need to work and DS will not go to my in laws and cannot be left alone.
Agreed I have had some amazing messages of support on here. However all of your comments have been questioning me and my judgement which I don't appreciate.
Calling the police isn't betraying him. You need to have a safety plan to protect your dd, you, the rest of your family and him. That might include him going to stay with grandparents or someone else, your dd potentially staying someone else for respite f he won't, and calling the police when he gets too aggressive or becomes violent.
So sorry. From stark personal family experience, you MUST report his talk of stabbing himself or another person to CAMHS today before it goes beyond words to potentially devastating actions (for your son, you or another innocent party).
one thing that seemed to help - tell ds the most humiliating, cringing stories of failures from your past, the more awful the better. i think from their perspective we've got it all - and sometimes we can cover up our vulnerabilites - so our tales of getting sacked/bad interviews/failed exams etc etc can really cheer them up..
hope things are feeling brighter.
That's good the grandparents are fine. I felt your reply was pretty snappy there. I get your nerves are frayed. But you are getting a lot of sympathy and support on this thread, which is fantastic and hopefully helping you. I hope you don't mind me asking from your sons point of view. He's an angry boy and that anger and hurt is coming from somewhere in him. I can understand dd being scared of him. But I'm trying to imagine how he felt leaving hospital and going to stay at granny's. If I was 14 I'd see that as rejection,like a problem being shipped off.
I know he doesn't talk but IME a lot of boys don't.
I know you won't like my post but I'm trying to see all this from his side and giving him some sympathy. Maybe he didn't want to go home and wanted to stay at grans, what do the grandparents think of it all?
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