02-23-2017 01:02 PM - last edited on 02-24-2017 10:13 AM by Ngaio-RO
My son has been battling depression for the last three years (he is now 19). Was on medication (said it was making no difference) and has now come off the meds, but has recently sunk even deeper into that dark hole. Nothing has helped. He is self harming again and I feel the only reason he is still around is because of me and his father. He has no friends, goes nowhere and does nothing but watch Youtube videos (some comedy) plays his guitar and music.
He hardly had any friends at school and has lost touch with those he had. He is a self confessed "social black hole" says he repels people (which he does - nobody knows what to do with him or how to deal with him, even his family struggles). His sister doesn't want to be home anymore because it makes her feel depressed being around him. I feel like a zombie. I wake up every morning wondering if I will find him alive in his room. He is so utterly sad. I feel almost guilty for keeping him alive when I feel that his suffering would end if he took his own life. And then doubly guilty for even thinking that. I am at my wits end. I don't know how to be a cheerleader anymore. We are loving and understanding parents. His father shares the same love of music and they have both bought motorbikes together last year in the hope that would give him something to enjoy (he has always been passionate about motorbikes) but even that became another reason to be miserable. His motorbike has broken down on occasion and although he is capable of fixing it, he just doesn't have the desire to ride it much anymore. I just don't know how to convince him life is worth living when he clearly has nothing to live for. I have tried to help him connect with like minded teens in our area, but nothing is happening. He did find someone to jam with briefly, but the guy was in his 40s with kids and really didn't want to continue with my son being the way he is. This has almost destroyed my marriage, but we are battling through. I just want him to be happy.
02-23-2017 04:35 PM
@dazzlejazz I am sorry to hear about your sad story. You must be having a hard time right now.
I am afraid I have no personal experience on depression. Let's see if our other members can share theirs.
Two weeks ago, I happened to come across a church where a youth band is playing some church music for parishners on a Sunday afternoon. Even though it is not my religion, I was touched by the people and the community there. I don't know if you could go an talk to your local church (or similar where nice things always happen), and see if your son and husband can find some company in music.
02-23-2017 10:29 PM
Hi @dazzlejazz thanks for sharing this story. And wow, that's an incredibly emotional ride you've been on. Well done for reaching out and seeking some support from like minded parents.
There are some resources available to you that I would encourage you to get in contact with. These supports are available to you free of charge and sometimes these services can be the first step in feeling a little less alone when dealing with clinically depressed young people.
Suicide Callback Service is a free helpline that you can ring if your Son is self harming/trying to end his life. You can phone as a parent needing support on how to assist or even get linked in to some further emotional support for yourself. Their website is here - https://www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au/ They're 24/7 fully qualified counsellors, the number is 1300 659 467.
I am not sure if he would be up for it, but Kids Helpline work with young people up to 25 years of age. Their staff are incredible, and again totally free. With an online chat option as well - https://kidshelpline.com.au/
Look forward to hearing from you soon.
02-24-2017 10:13 AM
I'm so sorry to hear how hard things are for you all. I can hear how heartbroken you are.
I'm so glad you found Reach Our Parents, it's agreat support for parents experiencing really difficult times like you are now.
If you click here you'll see that a search in the forums for the word depression shows just how many parents are going througfh a similar situation to yours. It's important to know you're not alone.
As you may have realised, we are not health professionals here, so we do not give medical advice (nor are you asking for any) It's just that the way you describe you son's situation, particulalrly the nose dive he had after coming off the medication, has he been diagnosed with clinical depression?
For many, the idea of a diagnosis is very scary but it can also be very freeing as it moves it out of something he's doing into illness that needs treatment.
How willing is he to talk to a professional?
And what supports do you have in place for yourself?
02-24-2017 02:33 PM
He was labelled as suffering from depression and went through the mental health team at our local hospital. Has seen a psychologist but tends to tell them exactly what he believes they want to hear. All along he has said he is not suffering from depression, he is simply sad. And was adamant the meds didn't change the way he felt at all.
It took a long time to reach out for help (myself) and even longer to get him to accept he needed help. And all of this after dealing with it all ourselves (as a family). The help he has received has hardly done anything (and this is no dig at the professionals who have been involved). I just don't really think they 'get' him. And this is obviously why we have ended up in the same position even after all of that.
As for the suicidal thoughts (he has them constantly). We have bad days, and really bad days. I just needed to talk to someone (anyone!) and now I know I can on this forum I know it will help.
Thank you to everyone who has commented and left ideas and tips. He knows about the online resources but will not speak to anyone online (hardly wants to speak to the doctor or anyone else he has had to see). And there are more days than not that it's even hard for him to speak to us. I feel like he is doing his best to push us all away.
02-27-2017 03:22 PM
You mentioned that your son has seen a psychologist but tends to tell them exactly what he believes they want to hear. I understand that would be very frustrating for you.
I also have a son that doesn't like talking to counsellors/psychlogists about things that are bothering him or when he does, I get feedback that he is doing ok. What I find frustrating is that that's the polar opposite of the behaviours that I am seeing at home. I have found that when my son is at a low point, although he may not be talking to the professionals, he seems to be letting me know where he is at and they professionals tell me this is good, because he is talking to someone.
From your post, it sounds like you and your son are talking about what is going on for him, even though you say at times it feels like he is pusing you away, having you there as his support I imagine would mean a lot to him.
Having your own support and access to resources, will also help you when talking/supporting your son.
02-27-2017 07:29 PM
Thank you, CareBear! That means a lot to me. We have talked some more tonight and will be trying another psychologist who specialises in hypnotherapy. Hoping that might be a better option for him. Not sure what to do about the meds (which he didn't think were helping) because he now says he just wants to be so drugged up he doesn't feel anything. We have a long way to go, but every day we wake up and he is still here shows us he does still have fight inside (inspite of what he says). It means a lot to me to know I have somewhere I can come to off load and to feel not so alone.
Thank you everyone.
02-27-2017 08:27 PM
Hey there @dazzlejazz good luck in seeing another psychologist. Medications and their effects can sometimes be the most helpful or the biggest hinderance to a teen's mental health. I always like to think of a GP as the centre of each of our health - do you think you could get in touch and consult with your son's GP about this? That way you can have any fluctuations (good or bad) in mood etc. monitored by the person hopefully prescribing me the medications etc.
Hope this makes sense =) Let us know how you go, Sally
02-28-2017 11:30 AM
Hi @dazzlejazz - firstly a big hug - they can be lacking when times are so tough.
Your situation is most defintely a difficult one, and your title 'Can't do this anymore', struck a cord with me. I have been in that position, and to the point where I have asked my daughter to be put into foster care. That didn't happen, thank goodness, but there were times when I really was at my wits end and had no hope for a better future for my daughter.
It sounds like you are a very supportive, open and loving family, so your son has a headstart there. I know the benefits of it seems nil at times, but the fact that your son comes to you is actually huge. It can be burdensome though when you don't have the answers, and to feel that burden is ok. (We're human - we're parents - we just want our kids to be secure and content, and when they're not we suffer with them.) It shows you have created and nurtured a strong bond with him, which is more than a lot of parents have with their kids, struggling or otherwise.
I also relate to your situation with services and counselling. We were knocked back time and time again for much needed help, for various reasons. Can I say the best help we had was from The Benevolent Society. We had a case worker for 2 years who taught me so much and who cradled us through some extremely impossible times. I highly recommend their services! ReachOut also run a parents coaching course which is done online. I have my last follow up session this week, so having done it I can highly recommend it. I'm sure Sophie or Ngaio can give you more info if you're interested.
My daughter has been isolating in her bedroom for over 12 months now, and is educated via distance ed due to her isolation. Over the years we have formed a very strong bond which is her lifeline at times. It also benefits us as my daughter can be sucked down by her depression too. With love and offering whatever support she needs, I sometimes talk to her about her role in her own life, and the fact that this is her life and only she can decide what she wants to make of it. Only she can reach out and make the most of services offered to her. Only she can decide to help herself and learn to manage her mental health issues to create the best life she can. Or she can choose to do nothing and continue on in the same way. She sometimes kicks and moans but it seems to get through and she is quite proactive now. It sounds harsh, and feels harsh for me sometimes, but it's a lesson she needs to learn as I'm not always going to be around. How do you think your son may react to a similar conversation?
My daughter has bipolar I, PTSD and anxiety. All mental illnesses, including depression, are real. They aren't a choice, so I hope you understand I'm not trying to say your son or my daughter need to just snap out of it. I would never be so disrespectful. For my daughter, she has come to learn that having a choice in how she manages it all, gives her empowerment. She can say 'I have....' instead of the overwhelming belief that 'I am...'
I hope what I've said makes sense and that I haven't rambled too much.
Please let us know how you and your son are going. Remember to take care of you in all of this too. With the right help and the right medication/s, things can improve. I think my little family is living proof :-)
You're doing an awesome job. Hang in there.
02-28-2017 11:38 AM
That's amazing @dazzlejazz What may feel like a small win of him talking to you and agreeing to try a different psychologist is huge. Just as you say, it shows he has fight and maybe even the tiniest bit of hope. Which can be utilised to help him keep hanging in there trying to get better.
This info should help. It gives practical steps on how to create a safety plan with your son. This is the plan he implements when he feels like he's at risk of taking his life.
Then this is a guide on how to help him manage his suicidal thoughts.
Let us know how it goes.