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Social anxiety

(2 Posts)
HarHer Sat 30-Jan-16 22:12:25

Hi,

We have been through quite a difficult time recently and both my sons have quite severe anxiety disorders. For nearly a year, neither son has engaged in activities outside the home. My youngest (who is 14) has two mornings of home tuition provided by the local authority, but this is the only time he interacts with anyone outside the family. My 16 year old (who has Asperger's syndrome) has no education, training or employment. I am trying to change things, but it is incredibly hard.
I have contacted a voluntary agency in our area and they run a gardening project. The co-ordinator has offered my eldest son the chance to join the project and to be mentored by a young man who sounds as though he could really help my son. However, my eldest has really distressing panic attacks when we broach the subject of simply meeting the mentor for a coffee.
I really am getting desperate. We have had social services and CAMHS intervention, but nothing has changed. The boys remain trapped in this inertia and life is passing them by.
Has anyone any advice about how I can help my sons? Any tips from people who have overcome social anxiety would be more than welcome.

Clare1971 Sat 30-Jan-16 23:29:18

Gosh that sounds hard. Would the mentor come to your house for a first visit? Might not be allowed but worth asking. You could then tell your son that you are going to talk to the mentor and that your son can listen through the door, and come into the room if he feels able. If this isn't possible (I could understand volunteers not wanting to go to people's homes) maybe you could ask your son to write down questions he'd like to ask the mentor and they could begin by being sort of pen pals? Do your sons want things to change? If so I guess you could ask them what they think they could manage. I've seen some good work done where socially anxious people list ten things they would find hard in order, with something easy at the bottom (eg: walking to the shop and back with you) all the way up to something harder but not impossible (eg: catching bus into town). You then practise the easy one enough times for it to feel comfortable before moving on to the next. This requires them wanting to work on the issue themselves though so not necessarily possible.

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