06-27-2018 02:27 PM - edited 06-27-2018 02:27 PM
I am new this forum and stumbled across this site. My son who is 14 years, started developing Anxiety half way through year 7. It came out of the blue, was a normal morning drive to school and when I pulled over to let him out he just sat there like he was frozen. When I asked what was wrong, he burst into tears. I didn't know what to think and all these thoughts were going through my head. The unimaginable came to mind. He didn't know why this was happening, the next day he stayed home complaining he was sick, stomach cramps etc. Happened again a couple of weeks later and this time he asked for help. We went to see a Clinical Psychologist, he felt ok talking to her but felt it was getting him no where and he refused to go anymore.
It was effecting his day to day, didn't want to play basketball anymore said he is beginning to hate it which was upsetting him to the point he pulled out of WABL (WA Basketball league) after he got accepted, didn't want to be at the school anymore (was in the Basketball Specialist program) and made excuses catching up with any of his school friends. I contacted the school to voice my concerns but got no support, all they said was that they haven't noticed anything and will keep an eye on him.
At first he wanted to just go see our GP, who did blood tests but they all came back normal. He finished the year, started back at the school but that lasted two days. I enrolled him at our local school, told them what was happening and they were so understanding. Our son was starting to be happy, didn't want to do try out for WABL anymore but started back again with domestic basketball but again second half of the year his anxiety came back. Year 8 he attended school 56% during the second half. The school were very supportive and put in place strategies to help him. We found a psychologist he felt comfortable with and things were starting to settle.
This year started off great, the anxiety was still there but he was managing it. I don't know what it is but it has now again, half way through the year come back to haunt him. He asked to go back to the psychologist even though he thinks he can't help but wants to try again. Unfortunately we can't see him until July. I asked our Doctor is there anything we can give him to help calm him down so he can process things clearly as when he gets like this, it doesn't matter what you try to tell him, he sees himself as a failure and a disappointment. In turn he starts to withdraw . The GP said he doesn't think we should go down that path, he is too young........
Sorry this so long winded, I feel like I am going around in circles. I would love to know what you have all tried, what has worked and what hasn't. I cry every time when I talk to someone about this. I am so worried and feel so powerless. I don't want this to effect him in later years. He has so much potential if only he can see that.
06-27-2018 06:40 PM
Hi @Popcorn welcome to ReachOut and thank you for sharing. I'm so sorry to hear that your son has started developing Anxiety and that it is effecting his day to day activities. It's great to hear that he went to see a Psychologist and that he has been open to support and that the school has been understanding. I'm wondering if there have been some useful strategies that the Psychologist has suggested that he finds helpful when he feels anxious? While he waits for his appointment in July would he be open to getting some support on Kids Helpline? They provide a free online web chat or he can give them a call on the phone for some counselling support. It sounds like it is a very difficult time for you and your son and I can see that you are a really loving mother doing the best that you can. I'm going to tag some of our members for some support @hippychick @taokat @Mum2017 @Sister. Self-care is also really important during this time, we're here to listen and support you.
06-27-2018 07:29 PM
I am really sorry to hear that your son is going througn a tough time. Hugs to you for being so loving and caring to him. You seem like a very loving parent who wants only to see your son happy. I am going through a similar situation with my 17 year old son. He finds it very hard to go to school. In fact, he isnt going much at all but wants to finish his schooling.
Like your son, my son had has anxiety since the beginning of Year 8. Mainly it shows up with people he doesnt know well, teachers or shop keepers etc.
Do you think your son may be feeling anxiety because there is a larger workload that he has to keep up with? I know my son finds it hard to manage his work he doesnt ask teachers for help because hes so shy. Is your son able to identify what triggers his anxiety? Is it a general anxious feeling when he thinks of school? Or is it more specific? Does he feel uncomfortable around the other kids? Is it the pressure of schoolwork? Also, hormones play a major role here so remember that they will amplify his feelings. I agree with the doctors to avoid medication. He would benefit more from therapy. Medication can become an easy way out for these things and it may develop bad habits...in my opinion anyway. I just want you to know that you are definetely not alone and its great that he has a good relationship with you.
06-27-2018 09:49 PM - edited 06-27-2018 10:01 PM
06-27-2018 09:59 PM
Thank you @Lan-RO
Not sure my son would contact the helpline. The first time when this all started he reached out to Headspace by emailing them as he wasn’t ready to talk to someone. He checked his email everyday and was disappointed they took a week to respond. When he got the email he told me that he was so lucky to have me he could turn to and he then said there are others who can’t talk to their parents and may do what I did. They may not be here the next. It broke my heart as I had to ask him if he felt that way and he said the thought never crossed my mind. I couldn’t help it, I broke down in tears and he gave me the biggest hug.
There were some strategies but he said they don’t help, I think he doesn’t do them quick enough because he still unsure it’s anxiety he is feeling and doesn’t believe me when I tell him.
06-27-2018 10:26 PM
He hasn’t been able to identify what triggers him. The workload i don’t think is the problem, as he always finishes on time , has sat assessments and even went in and did NAPLAN. I do know he won’t go out of his way to ask the teacher for help as he doesn’t want to look stupid, I’m really trying to change this as his teachers are fantastic.
No social trouble but when anxiety hits he does avoid his friends, thankfully they understand and don’t shut him out. I agree hormones do play a part.
I wish we did know what triggers his anxiety, then we might be able to catch it before it begins. The psychologist said we may never know, he just needs to know that is what he is experiencing and try to manage it before it gets out of hand. We can see when it’s happening but until he does, all we can do is be there for him.
06-28-2018 04:01 PM
Hi @Popcorn, as others have said in this thread, it's so clear how loving and supportive you are of your son and the positive relationship that you have with him cannot be underestimated!
It sounds like even when things are really bad for him, he knows he can come to you for support which is huge.
It can be so painful when you don't know what's caused anxiety, as it makes "fixing" it seem much more challenging. Unfortunately, there isn't always a clear reason for why someone starts feeling anxious, but there are things that can help. Things like regular exercise, keeping to a routine, doing things that your son enjoys (perhaps together?) - it can be a bit of a catch 22 if he feels too anxious to do these activities, but if it can be built into a routine, they can get easier.
We have some information over here on anxiety that you might find helpful.
As you've said, the most important thing you can do is to be there for him. We're here to listen to you
06-29-2018 09:34 AM
06-29-2018 01:22 PM
Thank you for taking time out to respond.
I am hoping it is a phase and he will grow out it. Did your daughter go on medication? I am hoping when we go back to the psychologist again, he can help my son come up with things that can help him manage it. We had stopped going (agreed by my son and the psychologist) with my son slowly improving and was managing it. A few times he composed himself and even though he missed the morning classes, he took himself to school for the rest of the day. He got sick with a mild case of the flu and then just spiraled from there. He went back to school after 3 days but I could tell he just didn't want to be there and he asked to go back to see his psychologist but first appointment isn't until the 10th. He did go see our doctor in between but my son said it just isn't the same. I have made monthly appointments now until the end of the year and I will continue to do this next year even if he feels he doesn't need it.
06-29-2018 01:40 PM
Thank you @gina-Ro
I have been reading up on things but just need to get our boy to understand and try, instead of saying it won't work or no its not what I am feeling. We do keep him in a routine, even if he feels he doesn't want to. Plays domestic basketball 3 times a week and we always encourage him to go out to the park with his friends.
We will just keep on trying and hopefully one day it will just click and he will be fine.