Is my 16 yr DS REALLY depressed or is it all drama?(3 Posts)
My son had a brief relationship with a girl who lived some distance away, it emerged she'd tried to take her life, not for the first time, and had a history of self harming (pre-him) I had a sit down talk with him and managed to get across that a fellow 16yr old (him) wasn't the best person to help her with this huge issue and her demons. He was very confused, concerned, worried, the whole deal. Her poor parents must have been in a terrible situation, I can of course see that, but immediately my priority at that point was, I admit, my son. The girl got help, was helped medically, and the relationship fizzled out - the distance and different schools contributing.
He has now embarked on a new relationship with a girl who lives closer and is at the same school. He says she is bi-polar, and that she is helping him with HIS depression ! What depression? He is outgoing, funny, sleeps well, holds down a part time job, he is loving and caring....what he IS, in my opinion, is a typical 16 yo, moody, never at home, hates homework, hates restrictions on his going out / phone & computer use, not being allowed to do what "everybody else" is doing etc etc....like we ALL did! I'm really worried she's given him a label to hang round his neck, and he's being led. He's an only child, and a bit of a follower rather than a leader, keen to please. I have witnessed and helped with depression in friends and in my DP, so I know how it can be in its many forms, and believe me, he's exhibiting none of the signs. There's no history of it in our family either which can often play a part. Dare I say, I think he's just a typically moody teenager who thinks everything is dramatically unfair and the world is set against him (I remember feeling like that!!!) but I've a 'what if' niggle...I'd never forgive myself if I was wrong.
At the girls instigation he says he's seen a doctor (whaaaat???)who gave him a tick box test to do, but with no follow up apparently. I've tried talking to him but he clams up and says he doesn't want to talk about it. I've suggested the Pastoral staff at school......I feel like I'm getting half a tale, we've just come out of an issue with catching him smoking weed which he claims to have stopped...I know there could be a link.....I'm at my wits end.
If he has seen a doctor it sounds like he didn't get a diagnosis for depression so it would seem that you could be right. I think teens do struggle with their identity and labelling himself as depressed might be just experimenting. On the other hand, I guess you don't want it to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Can you just use it as an opportunity for talking about general emotional health issues like how to handle stress, making time to do relaxing things, exercise etc? All useful tools whether you're clinically depressed or not. That way you can be supportive without making a drama over it. It sounds as if you'll be the first to notice if it does turn in to something more.
Thank you Clare, reading your reply really helped. I agree, we need to keep talking. Last night he was full of it, up beat, chatty, full of fun, then he was told he couldn't go on the computer and it all went south - for about half an hour, then he was fine again. I really remember what a moody little moo I could be at 16, and how every little issue was a huge deal - and he IS very like me! Thank you again, this is my first go on Mumsnet, but I'll definitely be back - teen trouble is never ending!
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