21YO Son with depression and friendship issues

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21YO Son with depression and friendship issues



I've just joined this group hoping to get some support and advice on how to help my 21YO son who has had depression and anxiety issues for a number of years.


He moved out of home 9 months ago as he wanted his independence but is still very reliant on us especially when things don't go well.


He started a uni degree and did one year and has been on a break for the last 18 months as he was being bullied at uni.


He lacks self esteem and can be a target of bullying, he isn't very tall and has been rejected by many people male and female due to his height.


He's started a new job hoping he would make some new friends but doesn't seem to be and he is extremely depressed especially at night when he is home alone. I can't seem to motivate him to do anything.


All he wants is to make some like minded friends to spend some of his free time with. He is very lonely.


Any suggestions on how I can help him, as I get extreme anxiety myself when he texts or calls me crying.

Parent Community Champion

Re: 21YO Son with depression and friendship issues

Hi @Nero4554 


It is never easy to hear our children are not thriving the way we would hope for them.

It is good that you are still supporting your son even if he has moved out.. Has he gone far?  Are you able to see him as well as support him when he calls and texts?


Unfortunately it is often those who are most at threat which seem to be targeted by bullies.

It is good that he is out working and it is important to encourage him to continue to engage with the world.

Not all work places result in great friendships, that would be more the exception than the rule IMHO.


Is there any interests he has were he has a passion that he can meet with others to enjoy?

I have been trying to get my 21 daughter out of the house and finally got her to sign back up to fencing which she did in high school.


I wish there was some secret I could share to make it easier for you and your son but reality is it sounds like a tough situation.  All I can say is keep loving and supporting him.. encourage him to keep trying to find good people to have in his life.  


Active scribe

Re: 21YO Son with depression and friendship issues

Thanks @PapaBill ,


It does help that there are so many people that are having similar issues and that we are not alone. Unfortunately it doesn't help that I have anxiety issues which only flares up when he has issues. \\


He only lives 30 mins away so he is close and I try and see him each week, when he wants to.


He seems to be in a place where he expects me to help him resolve his issues which I think comes from parenting him in that way, when he was younger he had anxiety issues and we seemed to do a lot for him.

Which I think is preventing him from going out there and doing this for himself, he just seems to come up with excuses. I'm trying to encourage him to go back to his hobbies, he was interested in painting miniatures and playing Warhammer board games and card games. But he keeps coming up with excuses saying no one talks to him and he needs more models which of course costs more money.


I've told him to join the under 25 online forum here but he seems resistant, he'd rather catch up with groups rather than one on one online chats. He just doesn't seem to want to try.


Today he was at some training for his new job and one of the exercises was to put themselves in height order, and that got him so upset, as he was the shortest and that was with all other females (though sometimes I think he exaggerates).


He sees a psychiatrist but has stopped seeing his psychologist as it used to make him more upset each time we went. He has meds but does not take them everyday as he says it doesn't help.


Trying to take it one day at a time but it's hard to not think about the future and what that entails.


It's also tricky trying to suggest sports as he not the most athletic so I don't think doing something that he will fail at will help. He loves ice skating so did try doing ice hockey but the other kids were teasing him, so he quit. I just wish these kids would grow up and all this bullying and teasing would stop and if they only knew what damage this was doing to their victims. My son has spoken often of wanting to end it all and just to let him go but I have constantly told him that I will never give up on him. I'm getting a bit teary now so might stop.


Thank you so much for all the love and support.


Parent Community Champion

Re: 21YO Son with depression and friendship issues

Hi @Nero4554 


mm.. lining up by height seems a strange training exercise.  


Playing Warhammer board games and card games is social even if it is seen as some to be nerdy!

I spent many a late teen night doing similar games.  If he is in a major city is there a club or group anywhere he can join?


I am glad to know you will never give up on him.  The challenge is sometimes it hard to know what is the best way to help them and support them.  


There are a lot of skills to be learnt before becoming an adult and so few are taught in school.  

Sounds like you have an idea of some changes you can to make to help support your sons growth?? 

i.e. To support him in doing things on his own.  These will take time to learn and each time he is able to do something independently it helps him grow.  It will take time but it is not to late to help him learn !




Active scribe

Re: 21YO Son with depression and friendship issues

Hi just wanted to reach out and let you know you are not alone in feeling this way, my daughter who is 17 affects me the same way as soon as she is struggling my anxiety is in overdrive with worry about her, she struggles socially too.

I’m sorry I have no advice other than to let you know I’m in your side and happy to be someone you can chat to if you like as I struggle just like you.

keep trying, your son is lucky to have such a loving Mum x

Active scribe

Re: 21YO Son with depression and friendship issues

Hi @hermum76

Thanks for you kind words and if you ever need to talk. I’m here too.
Tonight my son seems to be in one of his moods and the anxiety is in overdrive for me. He lives on his own and usually texts me to reach out and tonight he mentioned that he has marks on his arms. Now I don’t know if he’s just trying to get attention, he doesn’t want me to go over. I’m stressing out. I don’t want to talk to my husband about it as I don’t want to make him upset and anxious too so I try and keep this from him.

I’m taking deep breaths and I’m hoping bring on this forum might help

Active scribe

Re: 21YO Son with depression and friendship issues

I can totally understand how you feel tonight, given that he isn’t under your rooftop nor can you see for yourself that he is ok.

How would it go if you mentioned that tomorrow you could go get lunch together or do something he likes to do, just to get him and you through tonight, give him something else to focus on? If not maybe ask him if it would make him feel brighter if your ordered a pizza and had it delivered to his house tonight. Try and change his focus just in case it’s an attention thing. 

Stay strong, you are doing a great job by caring so very much.


Re: 21YO Son with depression and friendship issues

Hi @Nero4554, welcome to the forums and thanks for posting. I edited out some keywords in your post, as we avoid describing the method of self-harm. These guidelines are to protect our community but we know you are new here Smiley Happy I can only imagine how stressful this situation must be for you. It can be really difficult to know what to do and it can produce fear, anxiety and distress. So on that note, thanks for reaching out for some support. Attention seeking can have a negative connotation and it is best to approach these situations seriously. You can never be too cautious in these types of situation and often the young person is seeking support, care and love. As you mentioned, you cannot see what is going on for yourself and your son often texts you to reach out for help. Are you able to check on him without your husband knowing? If not, you can ask your son to call 000 if he needs medical attention, has an intention to end his life or harm someone else. You can also give him support services to chat to, such as Lifeline, eHeadspace, Kids Helpline and Suicide Call Back Service Heart Just so you know, we are not a crisis service so the services listed above are most beneficial if you believe someone is at risk of harming themselves or someone else. That being said, we are always here to listen and provide support as a community!

Active scribe

Re: 21YO Son with depression and friendship issues

Hi @Taylor-RO,

I apologise for any unacceptable wording. Thank you for letting me know and your advice.

Re: 21YO Son with depression and friendship issues

Thanks for reaching out @Nero4554. I did not mean to cause any offence, just wanted to clarify as we take all mentions of self-harm and suicide seriously. It can be difficult to know what is going on inside someone's head so it is best to take all precautions possible Heart Please keep us updated.