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Am I worrying too much
12

allthenamesaregon · 04/07/2022 09:22

20 yo son sailed through life up to about age 14. Happy, sporty, creative, artistic, academic. He was the most playful and enthusiastic kid I knew and said yes to everything - performed on stage in lead roles, played drums, did about 6 sports, representing the school in 3, played inter-county chess, read 4 books a week, wrote stories, created content online - one video has had over a million views. Was tipped for Oxbridge from year 6. I often wondered about ADHD as he was the energiser bunny but school said no way. At 14 his mood started dropping. We thought puberty/hormones etc. He dropped out of a few things. We thought no worries he's focusing on GCSEs. He told us he was depressed and we took him to the GP who prescribed antidepressants which seemed not to do much. Also had 6 sessions of CBT but they said he was already doing all the things they advised - was still active, was eating well, was getting enough sleep, had no negative thoughts apart from 'I feel shit'. Did ok in GCSEs but nothing like he was prediced at 11/12 - but enough to go onto A Level in 3 tough subjects. (His choice, we never pushed him).
Then the pandemic hit and we went into lockdown. His mood lifted. His school were crap and there were no lessons online for 5 months. He was totaly fine with that. Stopped taking meds and had a great lockdown. Missed A Levels. Was given better grades than I think was realistic as school still saw him as this superbright hard working kid which he had not been for a long time, But Pandemic masked that. Then went to Uni. Was diagnosed ADHD and depression by adult mental health. Put on meds for both. Hates Uni and has come home for the summer not sure if he's going back. He'd have to resit loads of exams if he returns. But has no other plans for his life at all. I run my own company and have offered him 3 jobs but he lasted 2 days in one of them and said no to the other 2. He says he's 'unemployable' as he can't cope with being told what to do. He says he wants to run his own bar but has not ever even got a bar job. He once said he wanted to create content for a hobby and hopefukky make a bit of money on it - paired up with amother content creator and they did well. His videos were brilliant - very funny. But he rapidly lost interest and does not even do it as a hobby anymore. He has never had a job. He denies drugs and there's no evidence he's on drugs but he does drink too much and gambles. He says he's not depressed anymore - because no one is telling him what to do. He is polite, well mannered, helpful round the house and has lots of friends. But he also comes home falling down drunk or not at all sometimes. I veer from thinking he needs to grow up and accept some responsibility, to thinking he's young, been through a very weird 3 years and is just taking his time figuring stuff out to thinking he's clearly truggling, has mental health issues, neuro-developmental issues and he needs help. But what kind of help!

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PritiPatelsMaker · 10/07/2022 07:35

It sounds as though he's self medicating. Adding in the fact that people with ADHD are often a couple of years behind their peers it's going to be difficult for him.

Really not sure what you can do though apart from trying to get him to engage with the MH team again.

Does he do anything at all to try and self regulate?

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PritiPatelsMaker · 10/07/2022 07:39

Also, I don't think it would be awful if he left Uni. He's clearly not coping there but you need to make it clear that if he finishes, he gets a job and pays board.

Some people are simply not ready for Uni at 18 and come to education later. A job might help him focus on what he actually wants to do with his life.

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KangarooKenny · 10/07/2022 07:39

If he’s not working where does he get money to gamble ?

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Autienotnaughtie · 10/07/2022 08:09

My dd was a bright sporty energiser bunny until she hit 14 when she morphed into this person who never leaves her bed, constantly in her phone. She did ok on GCSEs, had to do an extra year of a levels. At uni now she's enjoying it but struggles with time management, doing things she doesn't enjoy. She also has issues with control and food . We think adhd although she's not bothered about a diagnosis. Obviously it's up to him if he goes uni or not but I'd be clear if he doesn't go back he needs ti get a full time job.

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PritiPatelsMaker · 10/07/2022 10:35

Do you think an ADHD coach might help as well @allthenamesaregon?

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allthenamesaregon · 10/07/2022 13:04

Hi thanks for replies. The only money he has is his student grant but students find it easy to get overdrafts. We don't bail him out. I'd be fine with him dropping out. Uni does not suit everyone. But I worry he will just drift and not get a job. He would be expected to pay rent to live at home if he is no longer in education but others in his friendship group live in a flat together - and one lives in a van. I worry he would live with them not us. He says they work but they are often round here drinking beer in the afternoons on a weekday so not sure what kind of work hours allow that! Or - if they work nights - what jobs allow you to turn up pissed. As far as I can tell his friends actually do nothing much of anything. I really don't want him going down that road. I've set up introductions with people who can offer him jobs or work experience and he says 'yeh yeh great' then does nothing about it. I worry if we get too critical he will stop communicating with us. At least he still comes home, still talks to us. He is very family oriented and very thoughtful. He's one of the kindest/most compassionate kids Ive ever known. His grandad has dementia and he is amazing with him. (But would never go down the route of a job in care work - he says it's fine becayse he loves grandad. He'd not dream of working with kids or other old people though). Everyone else in the family has a really strong work ethic. His sisters have had jobs since they were 14 and 15. But equally I don;t care if he drops out and goes travelling. Or does an apprenticeship or voluntary work. Or anything really. Just not sitting in his room watching youtube or drinking beer with mates all day and then smoking weed all evening which seems the be the main pasttime of his mates.

What's an ADHD coach?

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PritiPatelsMaker · 10/07/2022 14:07

It does sound as if there's not a lot you can do apart from offer him a safe space to come back to. You say his sister have a really strong work ethic, do they also have ADHD? If not, and you're comparing him to them it could be affecting his self esteem.

Do you think he smokes week already? If all of his friends are, he probably is too.

If he's surviving off overdrafts, will he talk to you about how much debt he's already in?

There's some information on ADHD Coaches here but it sounds for now like he's getting his dopamine from drugs, alcohol and general risky behaviours so I'm not sure how committed he's be to cooperating with a Coach Flowers

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PritiPatelsMaker · 10/07/2022 14:15

*weed

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allthenamesaregon · 10/07/2022 17:59

No they don't have ADHD. We don't ever compare any of them, but that's not to say he won't compare himself anyway. I mention the work ethic really just to say we aren't generally enabling of any of them. I do think he feels like a failure because he found everything so easy till he got to GCSEs and then realised it was not so easy anymore and he needed to work hard but couldn't. So instead of trying and failing he just stopped trying. And seems now to be rejecting the whole concept of study or work saying why can't he live in a van and climb mountains everyday and just do odd jobs whenever. So I said go for it. Get a job, buy a van, travel the country, climb mountains. Do whatever makes you happy. But he's not doing anything 'alternative' with his life. He's just doing nothing at all. He watches films about climbers living in tents in the woods etc but he's not particularly interested in mountains or climbing. As far as I know he has never climbed out doors and the only 'mountains' he's climbed have been walking up places like Snowdon with us. It's just the idea of the week which never turns into anything. We feel like we are treading a fine line between trying to be understanding and telling him to pull his finger out and get a bloody job! He says he does not smoke weed and I've seen letters from his psychiatrist (with his permission) that also say he does not smoke weed. So unless he's lying to his psychiatrist too, I don't think he does. Or at least he didn't at the point he was diagnosed about 6 months ago.

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PritiPatelsMaker · 10/07/2022 18:30

Perhaps working with an ADHD Coach might work then? Could it help him figure out if he wants to stay at Uni or what he does next?

If he's only been diagnosed 6 months ago and he's home now, is he taking his meds? Has he got enough to lady him through the summer? If he's staying at home, does he need to register with a local GP?

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PritiPatelsMaker · 10/07/2022 18:50

*last

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PritiPatelsMaker · 11/07/2022 07:54

It might be worth asking if there's anything that you can do in the SN Section too @allthenamesaregon

There's a few MNers in there with experience of ADHD Flowers

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