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please help, I don't know what to do.

(72 Posts)
CoffeeIsMyFriend Thu 01-Sep-11 14:25:42

Little bit of background, DS (11) is a lovely boy, quite quiet, not particularly sporty but he is usually quite happy - bit geeky I suppose, he likes his x box, electronic things and gadgets.

Anyway, today we were out school shoe shopping, DD (8) noticed DS had scratches on his arm, I didnt see as he had a long sleeve Tshirt on. Came home, I asked him if he was ok, he was really quiet, has been nasty to his sister over the past few days and is generally in his shell. After a while I got some information out of him. (cutting and that he felt depressed)

Turns out he feels depressed, has self harmed his arm - not deep, but lots of scratches with a knife up to elbow level. I am struggling here, dont know how to help him, what to do, should I call his Doctor? Contact CAHMS.

My stomach is in knots. Apologies as I am sure this will be disjointed, I know it is, my head is racing at a million miles an hour.

We had a long chat in his room, he is nervous about starting secondary school, has fallen out with the only boy he knows starting there next week - nothing major, just a silly thing while talking on xbox live. DS has had a good cry, has said he feels worried about everything, I have spoken to him calmly, tried to find out what he was upset/worried about and run him a big bubble bath.

Fuck, I just dont know what to do, how to handle this. Inside I am screaming, depression runs in my family (usually females after giving birth) but he is only 11. I am sitting here in tears, trying to type and think of things to do. Dont want to blow anything out of proportion, but dont want to do nothing.

Please help me to get a plan in place.

Tianc Thu 01-Sep-11 14:41:01

Oh heavens. Sympathy sympathy sympathy.

I think you're already doing brilliantly keeping channels open. Listening, not minimising his feelings, giving him the space to articulate and tackle his worries will help with the cognitive side.

It's not daft to have a chat with the GP since he's actually self-harmed and you do have a family history. Would you prefer to go alone and ask what help's available rather than take DS along?

CoffeeIsMyFriend Thu 01-Sep-11 14:48:37

I dont know Tianc I just dont know. DH has just got back from work (working partly from home today) and I had to tell him, he knew by my face that something was up. Anyway, DH is upstairs in bathroom chatting to DS.

Just taking DD to the supermarket with me as I need to do 'something' even though my head is mushy. sad

Fennel Thu 01-Sep-11 15:01:38

Sorry to hear this.

You might find National Self Harm Network (NHSN) helpful, it's a big support site with lots of advice for parents and friends, and lots of links to other places. They also have lists of what they call Distraction Activities - things to do instead of cutting yourself when you feel anxious.

CeliaFate Thu 01-Sep-11 15:10:15

So sorry to hear your ds is so worried. As well as contacting the NSHN, I'd contact his school head of year immediately - teachers should be in tomorrow if school starts on Monday. Follow up the call with a letter or email. I'd also tell his G.P. and take him to the dr to see if a referral to CAMHs is necessary.
I don't think this is something that can be managed alone, tbh. It's important that everyone involved with your son's welfare is kept in the loop so they can put in place measures to stop it getting worse.
You sound like a lovely Mum who's doing the best for your son - keep the lines of communication open and ask him what you can do to help him.
Good luck - please keep us posted.

cornsilksi Thu 01-Sep-11 15:11:56

what a shock for you op . Young Minds [[ http://www.youngminds.org.uk/ here]] have a phoneline and will offer confidential support and advice.

cornsilksi Thu 01-Sep-11 15:12:18

sorry here

CoffeeIsMyFriend Thu 01-Sep-11 16:10:38

Thank you so much, since he has spoken to DH and myself he seems much more himself again, but I will contact his GP too and will check out all the links you have posted for me.

Cant thank you enough, I feel like such a shit Mum at the moment. I knew he was a bit anxious about starting a new Secondary with nearly nobody he knew and had spoken to him about making new friends etc but had no idea he felt so bad about himself in general.

ShirleyKnot Thu 01-Sep-11 16:35:04

Argh just lost a post. grrr.

Right.

My son did this, he was a little bit older, and I was very upset and paniced about it. He was doing it after a spate of bullying at school, and was actually colluding with a friend - they were both doing it. hmm

Anyway, firstly I got a GP appointment, talking it through with the receptionist when I made the appointment to get a sympathetic doctor.

Then I let the school know what had been going on.

DS was pissed off at me for taking him to GP - but the doctor was great and told me this is very common and it's importnant not to medicalise it too much. DS's cutting was very light, just scratches really.

This was all a few years ago and DS never did it again.

Click the clinks, get a GP appointment and DON'T blame yourself.

CoffeeIsMyFriend Thu 01-Sep-11 16:44:21

shirley thanks, your story has helped me. I am hoping this is a one off like your son.
As it happens DH has an appointment now at GP and I asked him to check when DSs GP was in again. She is lovely, specialises in children so hopefully she will have some helpful advice for us.

DS has had the same bunch of about 7 friends since he was in nursery/playgroup and he is the only one going to this school. I think at the beginning of the hols he was fine, but the closer it gets to start date the more anxious he is getting.

I just dont know where he would have gotten this idea from.

ShirleyKnot Thu 01-Sep-11 16:58:05

It is really common, honestly.

I think...and I hesitate to say this but I'm going to...that in some circles (I know my son could be included in this)..it's almost fashionable. It's part of a movement which has been called "emo" and is wrapped up in music and angst, you know the usual teenage stuff.

I banged on at the GP about finding ways to cope with anxiety and finding some coping strategies. Push for some info with this, and the best of luck.

ragged Thu 01-Sep-11 17:12:45

Isn't it about bottling stuff up? Sorry if I'm being naive. I just suspect the more they know they can get their problems out of their head (ie, share them), and the more they actually talk about worries & random thoughts, the less their thoughts will fester & lead to self-harm type behaviour. Is fixing this type of thing much more complicated than that?

CoffeeIsMyFriend Thu 01-Sep-11 17:15:35

HAve had a look at Young Minds and their webpage is really good. Have given link to DS for him to look at and he has been reading and looking on youtube from links from YM.

shirley I asked DS if he knew anyone else who did this and he said no. Dont want to push him. He sort of likes emo style and all sorts of different music - not that I blame that at all.
From the outside we have the 'perfect' family. DH works hard, I am SAHM, money is not an issue, we are not fighting/arguing, we are a loving family, we talk, chat and have fun together. Kids are encouraged (but not forced) to work hard at school, have friends round etc etc.

The only thing that I can think that may have started this was when our beloved family dog was PTS in 2009.. That really really upset DS. The dog and him were brought up together as baby/puppy. We talked about life/death and how it makes us feel and we have 2 dogs now - not to replace, but because we love animals.

Oh I dunno, trying to make sense of this.

CoffeeIsMyFriend Thu 01-Sep-11 17:17:08

I have spoken to DS about bottling things up and how it is better to talk things through, even if it seems daft. IF something bothers a person to have a chat about it usually makes it better.

CoffeeIsMyFriend Thu 01-Sep-11 18:05:49

got a Dr appointment in the morning for DS.

CeliaFate Thu 01-Sep-11 18:25:22

Coffee, perhaps you could encourage ds to write a diary? Having an outlet for worries or negative thoughts can help to put them into perspective. I bought
What to do when you worry to much for dd and it does help. We had "worry time" for a while, when your dc has you all to themselves for 15-20 minutes to discuss anxieties. If they mention them outside that slot, you say "we'll talk about this during worry time" which sounds very American, but actually works.

MumblingRagDoll Thu 01-Sep-11 18:30:44

Feel so bad for you and DS. I was very like your DS and have strong memories of my own "breakdown" at the age of 12.

I was SO unhappy...due to being a bit geeky, brighter than the other kids and also socially awkward.

It DID pass. I DID make friends....my Mum and Dad did get outside help for me in the form of a drugs councilor...I had been smoking dope with some older boys. It was to gain cred. and also attention.

I remember that what really helped me was loads of attention from Mum and Dad, which you are already doing...it had all come out over the course of one day when I landed in a heap of trouble at school...Mum and Dad loaded me with love and cosseted me. I was taken shopping for new clothes to cheer me up.

I felt a lot better once it was all out. I suspect your DS may already feel some relief for having told you how he has been feeling.

Poor DS. It will pass. Much love to you both.

MumblingRagDoll Thu 01-Sep-11 18:32:56

Such a difficult business...growing up. It's a very awkward age. We blame ourselves too easily but like your DS I had a VERY stable home...I was almost looking for Drama...can you enourage him into creative writing? Drama?

QuickLookBusy Thu 01-Sep-11 18:44:25

Just like to say the idea of a diary is very good. My DD [17] has always bottled things up and recently her best friend diedsad. It has been the most awful time and I was petrified as to how we would get through it.

The first piece of advice I was given from the Dr was to get her a book to write down everything she didn't want to say outloud. 3 months on, things are still very raw but she uses her book a lot and she has gradually started to open up to me and her Dad.

It must have been an awful shock for you today but you sound such a lovely caring family and I'm sure your DS will be OK.

CoffeeIsMyFriend Thu 01-Sep-11 19:33:11

I will encourage him to write down how he feels. Good idea re diary.

Tianc Thu 01-Sep-11 20:58:11

Oh lots of good ideas there. You may have to do a bit of filtering so they don't all land on DS in one go!

Particularly the "worry time" bit. I'd have thought at the moment it would be better to be very available to him. After a few weeks, if there's still a need, you could focus into a narrower slot. Actually it might be a good idea to have a regular slot once or twice a week anyway, which fulfills the same function. Doesn't have to be "worry time", could just be "DS/DD time" or "sharing time."

Also like the idea of not over-medicalising. The GP should be able to give some perspective and let you - and DS - know what support is out there, if the need arises.

But with any luck, he was just experimenting with ways to deal with anxiety and pain. Learning other ways, from diary to just talking out loud to a sympathetic listener (confessional debugging, if you like), should be really useful.

Learning to recognise and talk through problems is an important life skill in its own right.

Oh good luck with all this, Coffee.

<makes comforting brew>

<sneaks Coffee a fag>

CoffeeIsMyFriend Thu 01-Sep-11 22:30:37

ooh ta for fag very much needed at moment.

DS has gone off to bed without any fuss, havent told him about Dr appointment, will do it in the morning, didnt want him to worry needlessly.

will update tomorrow once we've seen Dr.

CointreauVersial Thu 01-Sep-11 22:43:56

Awww.....as I also have a nervous DS awaiting his first day at senior school, I can sympathise. You have had lots of good advice here, and it seems your DS has a hugely supportive family behind him.

Maybe it is worth contacting the head of year/form tutor privately before the start of term and mention that your DS is particularly nervous (without going into specifics). He/she can then keep an eye out and make sure DS has enough support for the first few days and doesn't get lost in the crowd. A good start will make all the difference; hopefully it will become a distant memory once he has settled in and made some friends.

Tianc Thu 01-Sep-11 23:15:07

Sorry, just re-read and I'm coming over curt and even more than usually bossy. Too tired to say things right today.

So have some v unMNetty (((hugs))) instead, and best wishes for things to go well tomorrow.

CointreauVersial Thu 01-Sep-11 23:31:48

Don't be daft, Tianc, you brought the fags at least. wink

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