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tell me how i can best support my very depressed son

(15 Posts)
DieselSpillages Sun 24-Jan-16 19:07:36

My Ds 17 is suffering from bad depression and anxiety. He is seeing a psychologist he likes and gets on with. He's been on 50 mg sertraline for 6 weeks now and seemed to be getting a bit better but the last week he has got reallly low again.

Last week after a fall out with his girlfriend he smashed his head open by banging it on a wall. He's been back to the doctor who thinks he should persevere with the medicine.

He is so very low today. He tells me he feels devoid of all hope. Luckily I have a good relationship with him and he trusts me but I am so worried about him. He talks sometimes of wanting to end it all. I feel I have to watch him all the time, but at the same time I want him to know I trust him and he's 17 , I can't be in his face all the time ! I'm so worried he will hurt himself again.

How can I best support him. He knows I am there if he needs me. I just want to help make it better. I try to just listen and offer him empathy and hope for brighter times ahead but he just has no hope at all.

I was wondering if anyone who has suffered from depression could tell me what they needed from loved ones in these moments of despair so I know what to do to help him through these dark days.

dontrunwithscissors Sun 24-Jan-16 19:45:32

50mg of Sertraline is quite a low dose--the starting dose, if I remember. Is he due a meds review soon?

DieselSpillages Sun 24-Jan-16 19:59:06

He started on 25 mg for 3 weeks and then went up to 50mg but was getting loads of brain zaps so the dr told him to alternate 25 one day 50 the next and since his self harming last week she has put him back on 50mg.

ThirtyNineWeeks Sun 24-Jan-16 20:03:43

My parents watching me like a hawk was imperative and made me feel safe. Knowing that even my weirdest, darkest & most obsessive/irrational thoughts were accepted and understood by them made me feel safe, too. Their unwavering insistence that 'you will come through this; you will get better' was what actually stopped me from killing myself twice.

You sound an amazing mum and I pray your boy will find peace thanks

DieselSpillages Sun 24-Jan-16 20:24:24

Thankyou Thirtynine I take comfort in the fact he did call me last weekend to come and get him because he felt out of control, but I couldn't stop him smashing his head open once I got there sad .

It's helpful to hear that your parents presence made you feel safe. I do hope that Ds feels the same. I was going to be at the circus tonight with DH and DD but instead I've chosen to stay at home "caring" for Ds who's in his room wanting to be alone with his misery.

I can give him hugs which he sometimes accepts and food he doesn't want to eat. I laid down next to him in the hall when he collapsed there in a heap with his head out the door and tried to comfort him just by being quietly present.... Not sure what use I am being. In all honesty I feel out of my depth here.

ThirtyNineWeeks Sun 24-Jan-16 23:06:53

Oh, sweetheart, you are truly amazing. Does his therapist know about this behaviour (lying on the floor with you next to him) and your level of anguish? Is there opportunity for you to speak alone with his therapist (i think this is really important for you; you need support)?

AzuremystBrandy Mon 25-Jan-16 00:44:29


I don't often post on here but I really wanted to let you know you are doing an absolutely amazing job. You might feel like you're not doing much but what you are doing means the world to your son. You can't take his pain away but you being there for him in the way that you are makes the unbearable slightly less painful if that makes sense. Maybe that's the wrong way of saying it... You probably make him feel safe and reassured.

It's also a credit to you that he feels so comfortable speaking to you about how he feels. Many young men isolate themselves from others completely and keep their suicidal thoughts secret. The ones that don't reach out are the ones at most risk. I also find it very reassuring that he contacted you when he felt suicidal. This tells me that he doesn't truly want to follow through with the thoughts deep in his heart but that the pain is so unbearable that he can't see beyond it and probably fears that he will act on the thoughts. I will find some materials I use in my work and post the links.

As Scissors said 50mg tends to be a starter dose. The GP may be reluctant to increase the dose due to his age and side effects but when he has been on the current dose for 6 weeks it should be increased if its not working.

You haven't mentioned whether there are any specific things that have led to his depression. Has he considered counselling or CBT? Both can be very effective but use different methods and therefore the one that is most suitable depends on the nature of your sons depression.

Please ask if you have any questions.

I know it's difficult but you really are an amazing mum

AzuremystBrandy Mon 25-Jan-16 00:50:43

AzuremystBrandy Mon 25-Jan-16 00:54:28

shiteforbrains Mon 25-Jan-16 01:07:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MummySparkle Mon 25-Jan-16 01:22:16

Diesel you sound amazing flowers I wish my mum had been like you when I was ill.

The best advice I could give seems to be what you're doing already. Give him space, but also let him know you are there for him whenever he needs a chat. Make yourself 'available' to talk to. I always find it easier to talk when I'm doing something else. If you can see that there is something really bothering your DS, rather than confronting him you could ask if he would like to help you make dinner or walk the dog, sort through the pile of books to take to the charity shop - anything really that you can do together and quite peacefully. mostly just be there for him.

It is almost impossible to keep him completely safe. But you could re-think how things like medication / sharks are stored in the house. Perhaps keep them somewhere harder to access. And pop in on him every now and again.

Keep chasing up the psych team if you feel he needs more help. There are things available, but unfortunately funding is so scarce that people have to fight hard to get support. Fight his corner for him in that front. My DP is always willing to make phone calls to people for me chase things up, that really helps.

You are doing brilliantly. I hope your DS can overcome this quickly. It's hard, but much less so with a really strong support network.

NanaNina Tue 26-Jan-16 17:38:11

I can't really add much but I also think Sertraline 50mg is a low dose, not a therapeutic dose so maybe he can talk to the GP about increasing the dose. When we are very depressed we just want to hide away from others - the medics say that's not a good idea but they don't know how depression feels.
Do you know the cause of the depression? and do watch him because suicide is not uncommon in young people.

You sound like a very lovely mom and I'm sure you will help your son get better. Are his friends visiting?

He might like to look at the website YoungMinds

SoThatHappened Wed 27-Jan-16 00:39:06

You're doing wonderfully.

My mother screamed and swore at me to fucking stop it and told me I'd end up in a straight jacket.

She made me worse and when i finally recovered she took the credit for bringing me out of it and where would I have been without her.

DieselSpillages Thu 28-Jan-16 19:46:42

Thankyou so much for your kind words and insights. Thankyou Azuremyst for all the very helpful links.

DS seemed a tiny bit better the last couple of days but has now been at his girlfriend's house on his own the last two days because she's at school and he's not up to going in. I hate the thought of him on his own there. He sounds so lethargic and low when I call him up and I have to restrict this to a maximum of twice a day or he get's annoyed. He says he just wants to be left alone.

I have cleared out the medicine cupboard. I have untied and hidden the rope on the rafters in the barn, hidden the blades etc. but I can't go and clear out his girlfriend's house sad I can't really protect him from himself and this terrible dark hopelessness at all.

He's seeing his psychiatric doctor weekly and a psychologist who specialises in teens whom luckily Ds likes talking too. I will ask about upping his dose. I am worried though because there's so many articles in the news about young people taking seratonin and getting more depressed. He does seem to be worse. Less panic attacks and anxiety but definitely more low and paranoid.

notagiraffe Fri 29-Jan-16 11:04:15

Hi Diesel,

You do sound lovely and as though you are doing a brilliant job already. It can't be easy to support him if he's at his girlfriend's. When he's around, though, I think it can help a lot to treat the physical aspects of the illness. He probably feels shattered and too overwhelmed to take care of himself. If you can give him clean clothes and bedding, encourage him to bathe and eat healthily, to spend a bit of time outdoors each day, that could help. And take all pressure off. If he says he has no hope, reassure him he doesn't have to have hope for the future right now. The future can wait. All he needs is right now to take the best care he can of himself mentally and physically while he is unwell and to let you help him in that. He doesn't have to do anything more.

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