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Worried about my 16 year old son and depression

(14 Posts)
Cygnet44 Mon 15-Jul-13 16:56:49

Hi I'm hoping someone has had a similiar experience to what I'm currently going through with my son and give me hope that he can be helped and supported as I am at my wits end.
My son is 16 , will be 17 next month. He flunked school, even though he is a bright kid; all his teachers were so frustrated with him as he is bright but chose not to use it. He achieved very low results in basic things like maths and english. He managed to secure a college place in creative media for a year and has just achieved a pass in that. He was talking about applying for a 2 year course and re-doing his GCSE English/Maths. However, he hasn't bothered applying, despite his tutor offering to support him and now it's too late.
He started to look for some part time work a while ago, but has become disengaged from that; saying he won't bother because he won't get the job anyway. A lot of his friends have started working now and he just spends his days, shut away in his room, playing on XBox and his laptop or watching films. He has put on a bit of weight and is self-conscious of it and said he would like to join a gym. I thought great, something to keep him occupied and make him feel better. I got him an induction sorted at the gym I go to and he went along and got a programme sorted. He had a free week to take advantage of but used it once and hasn't gone back since. He won't go unless someone takes him and I offered for him to come when I go, but yesterday it was 'too early' and he 'had a stomach ache'.
We've been having counselling as a family because my son was having suicidal thoughts, my husband and I were constantly arguing about my son (his step-son) and the three of us just couldn't seem to get on. My husband used to have a good relationashiop with my son but somewhere it broke down. My son doesn't have regular contact with his real dad and when he does, it's very destructive and only over the phone. He hasn't seen his dad since he was 8 years old. My son does feel like the outsider in our family, comparing himself to my step-son and his cousins who are all doing well in school and life in general.
We all had a acounselling session last Friday which was very traumatic as a lot of feelings came out and the counsellor suggested my son could be depressed. I also said this to my son a few weeks ago and offered to take him to see the GP but he refused to go.
I'm heartbroken for my son, I feel like I have done something wrong in bringing him up and that he has lost his way somewhere. He used to be such a happy, bubbly young lad and I just don't know what to do for him anymore. I try and encourage him but he says I'm interfering. He doesn't even want to sit in the same room and communicate with us. We've tried to organise things to do to include him but he doesn't want to know.
I'm at my wits end with worry, it's making me feel sick inside and i just want to cry the whole time I think about it sad

pippetypong Mon 15-Jul-13 18:13:44

Really feel for you and I'm not going to be much help but can offer a <hug> and reassurance that someone will be along presently who has very helpful experience and advice to offer.

Are you going to have more counselling together? it sounds like a good idea and that fact that he has gone along with it is one positive sign. The situation with his real Dad must have been quite damaging for him and at some point was bound to rear up as an issue that he had to deal with.

Has he said that he feels an outsider compared to the other kids in the family or this that your interpretation?

hernow Mon 15-Jul-13 21:02:57

bumping for you. I have no experience other than having a family member who went through it with their DD and a friend who is going through it with their DS right now. At some stage you really need to get GP help. If you could see the doctor first would that help at all? Maybe it would be the first step towards your DS thinking about going himself. Does he think you would be in the room with him? Maybe if you say it is his choice as to whether you see the GP with him or he can see the GP with you waiting outside the room in case he decides he wants you to come in that might help as he may not realise that he can see the GP alone and also may not want you to feel he is rejecting you or that he will upset you if he says how it really is for him to the GP. Maybe the GP could offer the next step of counselling without seeing your DS. It is sad as so many youngsters seem to go through this at this age and I know that both my family member and friend have told me this when they told the school what was going on that they have so many each year who for one reason or another are going through the same thing. Depression does make you feel like you are not part of the family or friends. I know this from what the others have told me and also from the times when I feel down myself but I am not speaking as one who knows how bad it is to feel so low. Depression can be short lived and hopefully if your DS can get help at the right time his can be too. So sorry I can't offer any real help.

Cygnet44 Mon 15-Jul-13 22:48:29

Thank you for your kind messages. I've tried to talk to him this evening and said I would make an appointment to see the GP if he wanted to, but he has refused at the moment. If he changes his mind, it will be his choice whether or not I would go in with him.
Yes he has said himself he feels the outsider and not treated the same as the other children in the family; I also feel my DH has played a part in this as he treats his DS quite differently when he comes to stay and doesn't have any problems with him, talks about him in a positive way as he should. I feel so torn, it's almost split me and my DH up. Only tonight, my DH had a go at my DS for eating the wrong dinner, dished up on the side (he has dished up two portions of the same thing, one with more than the other). My DH and I were out so when my DS came home he picked one (the biggest portion) and ate it, as you do and apparently my DH shouted at him. He didn't know which was which, it's so unfair :-(. i know this sounds really petty but that's how bad things get and I feel like clouting my DH sometimes for his lack of support and his attitude towards my DS. It's just making it worse. Which is why we're having family counselling in the first place, however nobody wants to make the effort once we get home. I feel I'm going round and round in circles and can't seem to break this awful cycle and help my DS :-(

Cygnet44 Tue 16-Jul-13 15:26:53

So this morning I went to see the GP and pured my heart out and sobbed about my DS. He empathised but said he couldn't do anything without my DS coming to see him. He also said he referred two 16 years old last week to MH services and that there are some good services available. He made a note of everything I told him about my DS on his medical record and asked to see him for a double apointment this week. So I'm going to try and get my DS to the appointment I've booked for tomorrow morning. Hoping and praying my DS is up for getting some help.

pippetypong Tue 16-Jul-13 17:01:22

You are doing everything you can and I really hope your DS will take that appointment - he really needs to make something happen in order to make a positive change in his life.

I feel so sorry for your DS - it must be awful to feel the outsider and to have this rubbed in by the good relationship his stepfather has with his son. In a different world he would have formed a new, positive father-son relationship with your DH and a supportive brotherly one with your step-son but things don't always work out as we hope and there's no point blaming yourself or your DH.

What he really needs is to start stepping away from his family - however hard that will be on you - and forming new relationships outside of it. Obviously that isn't going to happen while he is holed up in his room with no plans for the future. You mentioned that he is too late to apply for the english/maths course - is there anything he can enrol in for the next year to tide him over - doesn't he legally have to be in education or training of some sort until he's 18?

Keeping my fingers crossed that you will be able to get through to him about the GP appt. Good luck xx

Palika Tue 16-Jul-13 17:07:51

quote: I'm heartbroken for my son, I feel like I have done something wrong in bringing him up and that he has lost his way somewhere. He used to be such a happy, bubbly young lad and I just don't know what to do for him anymore.

I am really sorry for you. I think the problems lies with your guilt feelings. Obviously, you are a very loving mum, even going to counselling for his sake.

So guilt feelings are clearly inadequate.

I believe part of the problem lies with you doing too much for him.

I think the way forward is to only allow him very little time on the computer and also to demand that if he does not go to school that he needs to find a job. That will create MORE suffering for him in the short-term but will also make him wake up to reality.

It's the doing too much for our children, this constant helping that gets them more deeply into trouble because they are not using their resources.

Hope this helps.

hernow Tue 16-Jul-13 23:03:49

Oh gosh Cygnet44 I really hope you can get him to the appointment tomorrow (Wed). I really feel so sad for you both. Personally I wouldn't worry about the type of education he gets just now but just a good reason to get up and out every day and so even if it means just something that is fun to learn, fun to try, something that gives him a bit of happy time. Then again as I have said before I really am in the dark too about such matters but it just seems to me that we all need a reason to get up and out. Even if it is just a walk, a regular pattern seems to be key for people with depression from what I understand. I forgot I had heard of someone else whose ds had managed through a counsellor or young peoples services like CAHMs to get volunteering work to help others which also helped him. I really hope you both get to the appointment.

hernow Tue 16-Jul-13 23:07:58

sorry just re-read earlier parts of your posts and realised you have already tried the gym and there is so much going on. Walking can be easier as you just have to set off and if you have time it may be good for you too. I know myself I have to push myself sometimes just to spare the time to walk but it really can be a positive step. I don't want to say anything about your DH as I don't wish to say anything negative as you already have enough of that going on but I would say we are all on a learning curve and often wish we handled things better time and time again. I do so wish you a positive day for tomorrow.

Cygnet44 Wed 17-Jul-13 13:56:45

Thank you everyone for your kind words of support. My DS did go to the appointment this morning and has been diagnosed with clinical depression, he's being referred for counselling. He was angry this morning and kept changing his mind about going; he had a particularly bad day yesterday mood wise and didn't sleep too well last night. But he did get up this morning, showered and kept the appointment in the end. I took him but respected that he needed to see the GP alone. Afterwards he thanked me for making the appointment and that he was glad he went.
@Palika some of what you say resonates with me; this week I have started to limit the internet usage and have told him that he either gets onto another course, finds some work or does some volunteering but he's not going to sit around the house all day withou doing anything at all. I've taken the router away during the day. It's a very tough situation because I find myself perhaps trying to compensate for the lack of paternal love in his life. I'm hopeful that we can get through this.

pippetypong Wed 17-Jul-13 15:54:37

Well done to your DS for doing that - it takes guts to admit you've got a problem and need help. I really hope it's the start of something more positive in both your lives.

Palika Wed 17-Jul-13 16:14:47

we found it is key that DS is on board with all the rules and consequences and that we do not just order him around or inflict new rules without his consent.
I find that if we are having a good moment the more mature side agrees with virtually everything I say. then, when he misbehaves he is angry but there is still a part in him that know it's not me how is the 'enemy' but his 'bad side'.
But before you do that with DS you need to first do it with DH. Surely he will agree on sensible rules when he is in his mature self?

Palika Wed 17-Jul-13 16:17:26

Sorry for all the spelling mistakes in my post above - I don't see an edit button sad(

hernow Fri 19-Jul-13 00:11:35

Really to good to catchup and see that our DS managed to get t the appointment. Well done you both. Also tough love is hard when everything is just okay so must be even harder give the circumstances but I do think you are wise - stick to your guns OP.

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