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14 year old with anxiety and depression totally shut down(15 Posts)
Apologies of this waffles on a bit but here goes.......
My son has been diagnosed with anxiety and depression following family berevements and bullying at school. He got to the point where school was no longer an option and he stopped going in November and we deregistered in January. He has very low self confidence and has distanced himself from his friends at school. He has anger issues (punching walls, throwing, self harm) which has settled a little since leaving school but now he doesn't leave the house from one week to the next and has stopped doing any learning at home which he was doing quite happily. We have tried NHS and private counselling and they have sunk him deeper into depression. We have been offered support from CAHMS but we can't get him to leave the house to attend. Days can go past where he won't even aknowledge me or his Dad and will just watch videos on youtube for hours. He was offered a place at a college part time to do mechanics (he has been car obsessed since he has been tiny) and he was brave eough to go once for a whole day and we thought we had turned a corner then he stayed in bed for the next 3 days, didn't speak or eat.
I am at a total loss and feel an absolute failure as a mother and its effecting obvioulsy both me and his Dad. We both work full time (out of nessesity) so having to rely on family to drop in on him
I just want my happy hardworking son back and don't know where to turn, no amount of enthusiasm is helping and if he does leave the house it can take up to 4 hours for him to get ready and leave.
Sorry to hear that your son is struggling so much. I'm a CAMHS practitioner, and just wanted to say, please go back to CAMHS, see your GP if it needs a fresh referral, but do speak to CAMHS and tell them that the reason why you have not attended is because your son is too unwell (in terms of his mental state) to leave the house, not because you don't want the help. Tell them that you need your son seeing at home, at least for initial appointments. Medication - perhaps an antidepressant - may need to be considered if your son is unwilling to consider a talking therapy, but the first steps are to get CAMHS to come out and assess him at home. You may need to press for this to happen - don't be afraid to keep ringing and ask to speak to the team manager if needed. Do let your son know there is nothing to be frightened of or ashamed of if he speaks to CAMHS; people just want to help, and nobody is going to force him to do things he is not ready for.
You may get some people posting on here who have had bad experiences with CAMHS and try to deter you from doing this, but CAMHS is the source of mental health care for your son, unless you can afford to see a private psychiatrist, and CAMHS is there to help, even if services are stretched these days.
Best of luck with it all.
I sympathise with you. Not the same at all but my 9 year old last year reacted very badly to us moving house. He had anger issues, completely shut down , couldn't sleep. It was the worst period of our family life. I had to change my working hours so i could give him more attention and it seems to be working. However live in fear he will go back to how he was at the slightest upset. There really isn't the help out there for parents with children like this . CAHMS for us was a waste of time I'm afraid, we just had to sort it ourselves. It's hard not just to get in a cycle of despair. As mine was a younger child I would sometimes be able to coerce him into doing activities. Also any episodes that he had we'd just try to get him over them ASAP like "come on x we know your upset but you need to move on now, let's go and do this " it's like I have to nip it in the bud before it escalates. All you can do is be there and keep telling him that you will always be there.
I wasn't trying to discourage you from seeking help from CAMHS but for us the referrals took too long and we couldn't wait that long his behaviour was destroying our family. He also wouldn't speak to anyone he didn't know so counselling for him would have been difficult.
check for vitamin d deficiency and folate deficiency. It can hit them very hard at this age, and cause lethargy depression tiredness which appears to be a mental state but is caused by their deficiency. Blood test at GP. Son had deficiency, he is 1000 times more bouncy since correcting it. I've also home educated another child, who improved precisely because we spent so much time outdoors in the summer months (vitamin d only made by uv rays in the summer, and cannot be obtained from normal diet without supplementation)
when I was home educating my younger son who was suffering from anxiety at the time (asperger's) I used to only take him out for very short outings to start with, which had some simple focus, and then we came back to base. Then it built up over the two years, until it was still nothing like a school day but a very short "school" day outside the home (in reality not a school, just activities with other people) When he went back to school he had an EHCP, and they staggered his readmission over very short hours until he was doing full day in end of Year 9 (he left in year 7) and still had lots of study periods with no classmates to destress. Son now fine with being in school, very happy, about to take GSCEs age 16 today, never misses day of school he likes it so much. EHCP helps a lot.
Thank you all so much for the messages.
I will be contacting cahms again tomorrow. It has got to the point where he wont even aknowledge us when we speak its like hes literally shut down to the world. He is currently just existing not living. He doesnt speak to us or even look up when we speak. This has been one of our worst weeks he hasnt actually spoken since Sunday morning and its now Thursday night.
We just want our son back
Can one of you give up work? Is he alone in the day?
I don't want to scare you, but a friend of mine,s daughter killed herself when she was 14 years old and I would worry so much leaving your son alone.
I hope things improve for you, it must be terrible.
Sadly not in a position to give up work for fear of losing the roof over our heads. We have family thankfully that spend a lot of time with him when we are not at work.
Hes always been used to us being at work so think it would be more unearving for him for us to do anything else
Don't know what the specific rules regarding home schooling are but he is required to receive an education - how is he being educated if he's alone all day apart from people occasionally dropping in? Is he studying for GCSEs?
Being left alone is the absolute worst for depression - you need human contact and to get out and do things. Often you need someone to push you and go out with you. If he's home alone it's likely to be making the situation worse. Can you arrange for people to take him out instead of just dropping in, even if just for a walk? What about some activities or hobbies in the evenings? When I was depressed my parents literally had to drag me out of the house, and they asked a friend to take me to join a hobby group, which helped a lot.
I agree about the home alone. I also have a friend who found her 13/14 son was relying on the computer for friendship/interaction, and spiralled down (when he missed school, he was school refusing and often ended up alone) as he was accessing a lot of inappropriate sites, usually when she was not there; this made him feel even worse and even more depressed, as he didn't dare tell them about it (he eventually confessed during counselling) Meds might make a difference, in that they might allow him to leave the house and get further help.
I would also consider the possibility that your child might have a Autistic Spectrum Condition, which might explain his severe anxiety around social situations (which often feeds into anger issues), and why he was bullied. This is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, but might be why the counselling did not work, because pyscho-therapeutic counselling is not appropriate whereas more CBT focused approach is, and just understanding WHY he feels anxious, now, whereas before he was as you say happy and hardworking. If you have already discounted this, please don't be offended by my suggestion, I just felt I should mention it, as I have friends whose two daughters undiagnosed suffered severely, and have only just been assessed by CAMHS as having this as one of the factors in their anxiety and depression.
Thanks for the messages all.
I have spoken to the man at cahms today who will be looking after my sons case and I must admit I felt better talking to him. I have explained that is unable to attend the meetings and we have decided that it will be beneficial for me to meet with him on my own to give him the full picture of what is going on without my son to start with. Previously I have had him with me and have felt I havent been able to be as honest as ive wanted so I dont upset my son in front of people. He feels this way he will be able to lay out a better plan for us as a family to try and go forward.
I think I may a bit misleading with him being home alone. I have 2 week days off and my husband is at home at the weekends the other 3 days we have family round although usually he stays in bed.
I feel like im holding a lot of hope on this one meeting and hope Im not expecting too much
That is very good news. I really hope you can find a way forward.
Does your son speak to your family members when he gets up?
OP I hope CAMHS help you but I would advise you to take notes of what they say they will do regarding every single conversation be it face to face or on the telephone. Always write to them noting what they have said, what they have offered, what the time frame is. It is essential you have an audit trail for every interraction with them so send by email or registered mail and ask for an acknowledgement within five working days and note that if you do not hear from them you expect what has been discusssed to be delivered in accordance with the agreed timeframe.
In my experience they give back word every time on the basis that the parent misunderstood what they were being told. That way if they give back word you can whack it straight to their ceo and your mp.
You have to put your son first op. Nobody else will.
MH support for under 18s is shocking and it really isn't all about funding.
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