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19 year old son with Social Anxiety

(22 Posts)
Cstmum Fri 09-Oct-15 20:52:37

Can anyone help me with this ? My son is suffering with social anxiety. He has put off going to university as he said he couldn't cope with it. He has been to see our GP and is on anti depressants but he doesn't think they are working. He tried counselling but said that didn't help so I think he is at a loss of what to do. And so am I. I feel so helpless. I am being supportive and sympathetic but I feel so sorry for him. He only has one friend that he sees occasionally. Has anyone any experience of this that could offer advice please. Thanks

MajesticWhine Fri 09-Oct-15 22:43:09

Hi. I'm just wondering what kind of counselling he had and why it didn't help? I doubt anti-depressants would massively help with this problem, although if he also gets panic attacks in social situations, then they might help to cut those out.
I would suggest that CBT might be more immediately helpful than another type of counselling for this problem (just my opinion), but he needs to be sufficiently motivated to get better because it's hard, i.e. CBT would probably involve him starting to put himself in situations that he isn't very comfortable with, so he would need to be up for that.

Something you could do - maybe see if there are any ways that you are enabling him and cut those out. e.g. do you make phone calls for him or pop to the shops and get stuff for him? Is he working and paying for his own phone or not? It sounds harsh but better for him to be motivated to change his ways, rather than having things easy, so he doesn't have to engage with people socially. If there were reasons for him to get out more and see people, so that he can earn money and pay for stuff then that might be a nudge in the right direction.

Cstmum Sat 10-Oct-15 13:17:38

He had some CBT counselling last year, we thought it had worked as he continued at college and stuck it out. Yes it's difficult as he seems to be struggling so much. He went for a job interview and he was really up for the job but the first thing they did was put them into groups and they had to stand up and talk about themselves, he had to walk out, couldn't cope with it. He would have been ok on a 1:1 interview and getting a job would have really helped him I'm sure. So this episode has set him back sad.The only positives have been that he is learning to drive and also goes to the gym every day, I'm thinking of perhaps he could do a course on Personal training or something - just not sure. It's heartbreaking as he is a young handsome man and he should be out there in the World enjoying life sad

wickedwaterwitch Sat 10-Oct-15 13:22:35

Ah, poor him. I think a LOT of people would have struggled with that interview scenario,mit sounds a bit unfair really. Can you encourage him to try again elsewhere?

They look grown up, 18/19 year olds, but they're just starting out really...

wickedwaterwitch Sat 10-Oct-15 13:24:04

I think he should keep up the gym and driving, both are good for building confidence.

CQ Sat 10-Oct-15 13:27:13

So sorry to hear this, OP, it must be so hard for you.

Would he consider volunteering at all? I do an afternoon a week in a charity shop, and we've had a few volunteers over the years who are battling MH and anxiety issues, and just getting out in company and learning a few basic retail skills have helped them tremendously.

I've seen them build in confidence, both with other staff and with dealing with the public, and having experience of working a till and dealing with money looks good on an otherwise-blank CV.

Some of them come in with no conversation, want to hide in the back room and gradually progress to front of shop and working the till. It's amazing to behold.

There's loads of volunteering opportunities out there, either in retail or National Trust properties, or with youth organisations etc. Worth a thought. He will get so much out of it, as well as feeling worthwhile by helping others.

CQ Sat 10-Oct-15 13:28:26

Also, if the anti-d's aren't working for him, get him to go back to the GP and talk to him about trying a different type - this worked for my niece.

Cstmum Sat 10-Oct-15 19:39:24

Hi thanks. Yes volunteering would be a good idea. Actually you have encouraged me here as I thought any shop would be really against letting him work there even on a voluntary basis. I think that's all he needs really, just someone to give him that chance. One small step in through the door. He's a clever lovely lad so hopefully someone will give him that chance. Thank you smile

CQ Sun 11-Oct-15 18:02:55

You're so welcome. Charity shops are not exclusively run by little old ladies grin. Just mostly! But in my experience they love having younger people in - they are stronger, more flexible and usually taller so they are lots more help physically. On my shift I have two old dears who walk with sticks and one who is stone deaf, so I do all the fetching & carrying, and am the only one who can answer the phone in time before it stops ringing and actually hear what's being said. It's hilarious!

Good luck to you and your lovely lad.

Cstmum Sun 11-Oct-15 19:05:24

Thank you and thanks for the advice smile

SealSong Mon 12-Oct-15 18:38:04

Hi, I work in mental health services. I would suggest that your son goes back to his GP and requests referral to adult mental health services for further support, and I would suggest that the best support for him would be continued CBT. This is the treatment of choice for anxiety and can have excellent results with social anxiety.
In some areas you can self refer to adult mental health services - they may offer a 'single point of access' as first point of contact or you may be able to self refer into IAPT (which is Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies) and is part of adult mental health services, and will be able to offer CBT.
There are also good resources available online if he wants to try a bit if self-help - have a look at resources on social anxiety that are on Get self help website, and Moodjuice website. These are both CBT based.

Please tell him from me that he is not alone in this, it is a common problem, and there is help out there that can be very effective.

I wish him all the best.

Cstmum Mon 12-Oct-15 22:54:47

Thank you so much ;)

Kanga59 Wed 28-Oct-15 23:01:00

cbt. hypno therapy. hypnotherapy tapes. self help nooks. I had GAD at that age and these things helped

Kanga59 Wed 28-Oct-15 23:01:37

self help books. sorry.

FreakinScaryCaaw Wed 28-Oct-15 23:06:21

My 15 year old son has this. He's just seeing someone from Cahms. I'm dreading him having to go for interviews in the future, really feel for your son.

I hope he's getting some help. Did he try for any voluntary roles?

Cstmum Fri 30-Oct-15 13:22:37

Hi. No we are not quite at that point yet. He is learning to drive now and that is helping as he is getting out and spending time with a driving instructor has been good for him. I just want to gently push him into some sort of job. It's not easy seeing your kids having these issues is it sad

FreakinScaryCaaw Sat 31-Oct-15 12:23:56

It's heartbreaking.

DS2 went to a CAHMS appointment this week and couldn't even look at the lady asking him questions. I'm hoping they can build up a rapport as the weeks go on?

CROSBY64 Tue 24-May-16 20:42:41

Oh my!! I have soooooo many friends with teenage boys in the same boat!! My son is at uni but whilst he was so popular at secondary school, he struggled when he went on his own to uni ( it was as if he had forgotten how to make friends!). He now has social anxiety! Now he dreads the summer , he has a job but no social life. He says he is lonely and bored and he is dreading the long , long summer. His friends from secondary have all gone to different Unis and have made new circles of friends and now he is afraid to try and remake contact (a 'beg friend'!) and sits alone and bored in his room. He has asummer job but its friends he now lacks.......he mourns his lost popularity and social life. Any ideas....I am so worried about him!

Doorknee71 Wed 15-Jun-16 07:46:31

Hello, I'm going through the same thing with my 19 year old daughter. She has just pulled out of an apprenticeship because the expectation was that she was going to talk to groups of people whilst wearing a microphone headset. She's been to the gp and had a choice of anti depressants and/or CBT so she's chosen CBT. There was a four month waiting list so I'm paying privately and she's had one session so far. It's tough and something nobody really talks about before going through it! She is driving me mad; she's refusing to talk, hates me talking to her and is constantly moody! We've had so many arguments, I've lost count (it's like living with a giant toddler)! I have made the decision recently that she's relying on me too much so have started pulling away from doing things for her, especially now she's at home. She could be doing driving lessons but is choosing not to at the moment and now, after giving up an active job, she's inside a lot. She's not really social, only having a few friends. I'm just going to be here when she needs me to be and support as much as possible but at the end of the day, they need to want to sort themselves out and until then, we can't force them. Good luck and stay strong x

OnceMoreIntoTheBleach Wed 15-Jun-16 08:06:06

Hi OP, great advice already on here but one more thing to add from someone who suffered/s from this for years.

It was a lightbulb moment for me when I read a parenting book years ago and learned about introverts and extroverts. Never before had I realised that it was OK to be an introvert and that this is just what I am.

Yes I needed to work on not being scared of people and social situations. I needed to do that to be able to function, and CBT helped, as did getting out there and getting life experience.

But the most important thing for me was to accept who I am and not put pressure on myself to be something I'm not.

I would make sure that your son knows that he doesn't need to try to become a whole different person. That will feel like too big of a mountain to climb and set him up for repeated feelings of failure.

There's a big school of thought about the value of introverts in society. Make sure he knows about that and can develop a strong understanding and appreciation for his natural personality, so that he can work with that rather than against it.

Good luck flowers

OnceMoreIntoTheBleach Wed 15-Jun-16 08:08:11


OnceMoreIntoTheBleach Wed 15-Jun-16 08:08:46

Help him play to his strengths smileflowers

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