What the hell can I do? 17 yr old dd refusing to do anything

(20 Posts)
whitepearl17 Tue 29-Aug-17 10:17:51

After doing less while than expected in 2016 with her GCSE's my dd did 2 BTecs at school this year. She has very bad anxiety (on meds) and hardly attended school. It was a miracle she got a distinction * and a merit as she basically self taught herself at home for the year.
I am a teacher and am starting in a new school next week. My dd showed interest in their 6th form and got a place to study A-levels there. She is now refusing point blank to go as she doesn't feel she'll be able to cope with the work. I am upset about this but can sympathise. I told her she needs to think about what she would do instead as she can't just do nothing.I have given her lots of info about apprentices etc but she is just not interested and refuses point blank to get out of bed. I asked what she wants to do and says nothing or shoot herself. She is very manipulative and has threatened us with killing herself on several occasions.
I am at the end of my tether with her, I just don't know what to do to help her but AIBU in thinking she can't just do nothing???? She is seeing her GP again on Thursday.

OP’s posts: |
campingismyjam17 Tue 29-Aug-17 10:32:29

No, I don't think you are being unreasonable, she does need to do something.
My daughter had very bad social anxiety and was receiving counselling through CAMHS for over a year on a regular basis and at one point was almost refusing to go to school. I am also a teacher and for a very long time I didn't work just to make sure I could get her to school and be there to pick her up. Her anxiety meant she didn't go out and she put absolutely everything into studying for her G.C.S.E's . She got 6 A*'s, 3 A's and a B. Wonderful I know but at a cost.
Now she is a lot better which is great but has royally messed up with her A levels(I have a thread on here myself). Don't have any answers but can empathise, especially with starting a new job as teaching is so hard.

Samsara123 Tue 29-Aug-17 12:51:57

I don't know what to say to help but I'm in a similar position myself.

Northernsoul58 Tue 29-Aug-17 15:09:57

I was just about to start a thread along the lines of 'NEETs, what happens next?' It seems your situation is similar to ours Whitepearl17.
My DS (17) gradually dropped out of Yr 12 after Easter due to anxiety++ and a couple of paracetamol related A&E visits. He's having private therapy because the CAMHS waiting list is 20 months.
His school were very supportive and say he is welcome to come back in September and do Yr 12 again. He's not an A student but clever enough if he puts the work in (which he was doing in the Autumn term last year).
But he is now refusing to even engage in thinking about what he will do in September. He casually told me three weeks ago that he didn't think he'd be able to cope with school, even though this is the easiest option for him. He has no intention at all of doing any work or apprenticeship. I have tried to explain about NEET and that there will be a financial cost - we will lose tax credits and he may need to pay for A levels after he's 18. But he stubbornly refuses to engage, even after his therapist got us both together to talk about it. Apparently she thinks he's OK to go to school He just doesn't want to even get out of bed. It's really exasperating. You have my sympathy OP but I have no solutions.

whitepearl17 Tue 29-Aug-17 20:52:55

Thank you for all your replies, I'm glad I'm not alone and it's really helpful that you can understand my situation, I do sometimes think I am going mad! Good luck to all of you too.

OP’s posts: |
Flimp Tue 29-Aug-17 20:56:15

Is she getting support with her mental health? Because it looks like anxiety/depression/something else is affecting her functioning quite severely.

You frame her threats to self-harm as manipulation?

LadyWithLapdog Tue 29-Aug-17 21:00:16

My DS has had a particularly bad year. Same problem, difficulty with him actually engaging in anything at home or at school. I'm at a loss as to what next. He has a mountain to climb to get anywhere decent, let alone what he would be capable of.


Samsara123 Wed 30-Aug-17 07:51:00

Is she getting support with her mental health? Because it looks like anxiety/depression/something else is affecting her functioning quite severely. The thing is, if they won't engage in anyway with anyone, what can be done, this is why it's so difficult, they're adults or virtually adults. My son is not motivated by money, so what's left, turn the internet off, well, he sleeps most of the time anyway, so this'll just increase. I'm just hoping he'll pull himself out of it and keeping my fingers crossed he can manage school again come September. Feeling pretty hopeless is the word.

whitepearl17 Wed 30-Aug-17 20:18:18

Exactly Samsara, we tried counselling and it was awful, she refused to engage with the counsellor at it was the longest hour of my life!! Good luck with your son next month.
And good luck too Ladywith lapdog, there just appears to be no straight forward answers sad

OP’s posts: |
HelloSquirrels Wed 30-Aug-17 20:25:49

Anxiety is a VERY powerful thing. You could be describing me 7 years ago except for the suicide threats (maybe try not to see that as manipulation more as a cry for help)

I refused councilling as well. Had little to no motivation and to be honest wouldnt listen to anyone who tried to tell me they knew best.

There will be a million and 1 what ifs going through her head and what you're trying to make her do she will find absolutely fucking terrifying if she is anything like I was.

Honestly nothing solved it for me one day I just decided it wasn't going to get the better of me anymore and I would go one step at a time. I eventually got an apprenticeship and it was hard to turn up every day but I did (had a few days off when i was really bad). I met my now dp there and truly he is what helped me the most. I wanted to go places with him, to socialise with him. And so I pushed myself harder I fought the anxiety bit by bit and 6 years later I am mostly over it.

There are situations that bring it all back (like driving oddly!) And so I avoid them whrtevet possible with a view to pushing through it when ready

I suppose my advice is please don't push her too hard because you might inadvertently push her away when she needs you most. I think for a lot of people with anxiety they need someone who understands. I certainly did but unfortunately I think the only way to truly understand it is to experience it.

Samsara123 Wed 30-Aug-17 21:17:27

Thank you whitepearl17. Sorry the counselling session was so stressful. My son went to one session with the school, that was it though, I think he only did that to appease the school and me.

I hope you're right Squirrels re pulling themselves out of it like you did, glad things are going well with you. I've backed right off from my son. Because he won't talk to me I sent him an email saying I'm here if he needs me or wants to talk. What was the best way you found for your family to try and help or did you just want to be left alone?

HelloSquirrels Wed 30-Aug-17 21:24:04

I can't speak for everyone but for me I really had to want to get better if that makes sense. I suppose not dissimilar to something like quitting smoking (so dp tells me) to be successful you have to want it not just do it for everyone else.

To be honest yes I kind of wanted to be alone and everyone stop nagging at me to snap out of it. I wish I could have done what they suggested but it was like j couldn't physically bring myself to do things I would feel physically sick at the thought sometimes and would worry so much I actually was sick which then started me off with anxiety about being sick! That's another story but I guess it was good to know when I wanted the help they were there so I think your email is a brilliant idea.

I guess them just accepting how I was was a big thing. Dp especially just dealt with it and let me go at my own pace.

I think in hindsight counselling could have really helped and it's something I'm still considering but I was not in the place I felt I could do it back then. Don't write it off completely though your son might come round. I'm trying to think there was something I read which helped me understand how I was feeling. I'll try and find it!

I hope your son manages to come out the other side of it soon i know that it affected my parents and they were worried so I can understand how you feel. X

Samsara123 Wed 30-Aug-17 21:59:15

Thanks for your message Squirrel.

As it's been the Summer holidays the pressure has been off some what but like I say, we'll see what the new school year will bring. His eating hasn't been great, so I'm sure that won't be helping towards having much energy in the first place.

PootlewasthebestFlump Wed 30-Aug-17 22:05:56

As your dd is 17 she would be eligible for psychological therapy through IAPT which is accessible through her GP or by self referral.

It's unlikely CAMHS would accept her and she'd wait a long time then be too old...

She needs professional help. I hope it's available in your area x

PootlewasthebestFlump Wed 30-Aug-17 22:07:55

Just an afterthought : often teens engage better with adult services than children's services, so IAPT is worth a try, you could speak to her GP about your concerns.

whitepearl17 Thu 31-Aug-17 18:45:18

Thanks Poolte we saw her GP this morning and apparently at 17 years and 9 months, she is 18 in Dec, she can register for adult services!

Squirrels your post is extremely helpful to make me see even more clearly how my dd feels. I have copied some of your text for her to read to help her realise she is not alone!

OP’s posts: |
Northernsoul58 Tue 05-Sep-17 17:07:09

Any news anybody. DS's school enrolment day came and went today. He didn't go. Have ignored him all day as I'm too angry/stressed to talk rationally with him. I am sympathetic about his anxiety. But he just doesn't appear motivated to even try to move forward.

millifiori Tue 05-Sep-17 17:22:16

Sorry if this is a stupid thing to say but she doesn't have access to guns does she? If she's threatening a specific form of suicide then I'd be doubly wary.

It sounds like she's very depressed indeed, in which case, remove all pressure from her to do anything except get well. Acknowledge that she's completely demotivated and don't put pressure on her to do anything other than take good care of herself as best she can. Treat her like an invalid for a while. That's not pandering - that's recognition of how incredibly physically and mentally debilitating deep depression can be.

I'd start by taking 100% pressure off her. Tell her you realise she's very low and you want her to take a week off. She may have had months off already but there's a massive difference between weeks in bed with pressure to get the f- up and achieve, and a week in bed devoted to recovering from serious illness.
Make sure she has clean sheets and PJs, plenty of healthy snacks and water, no sugar except fresh fruit and dark chocolate, no white highly processed carbs as they make your mood run riot. Then help her fill her phone with her favourite uplifting music (you may need to steer this a bit if she has downbeat taste.) Get her a box set of her favourite comedy - again, the least dark one she genuinely likes.

At night, encourage a shower or bath and a short spell outside if she can bear it, then encourage her week by week to build up to gentle exercise, journalling, more time outside, plenty of vitamins and healthy food. Imo (having suffered clinical depression for decades) focusing on the physical symptoms first is far more effective. It helps you recognise this is an illness, and stops you hating yourself and encourages you, and others to take good care of yourself.

millifiori Tue 05-Sep-17 17:24:48

Pootle's idea of IAPS therapy is a very good one. I had online therapy last year with one of their counsellors. She was incredibly helpful and I LOVED the fact that it wasn't face to face. It felt so much more secure to be in my own surroundings and only speaking online. If she has social anxiety that might appeal to her too.

PoppyPopcorn Tue 05-Sep-17 17:32:36

OP it's a hard one. We have a family member who was in exactly the same situation as your DD four years ago - well, in a worse position really as the school refusal started before GCSEs and they left school with no qualifications. A place was secured at sixth form to do an IT course, child refused to attend. Child also made suicide threats - nobody knows if they really meant it, but the fear of it was enough to make the parents back right off and let the 17 year old dictate the agenda.

Fast forward four years and the 17 year old is now 21, still refusing to seek medical help for mental health issues, still neglecting basics like hygiene, no friends, no prospects, no qualifications, never leaves the house and plays Xbox all day.

Don't make the mistakes my relative did and think things will improve on their own or if you give your child a bit of space. They might, but they probably won't. Once your DD turns 18 she is an adult in the eyes of the law and you can't proactively investigate things like CAMHS or other therapy, that will have to come from her. So time is of the essence. A year out is perhaps a good idea as long as it is just a year and with a clear plan of how she will move forward with her life after that, whether into further education, a training or an apprenticeship.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in