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TW: 16 year old male with anxiety hurting himself occasional school refusal

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TW: 16 year old male with anxiety hurting himself occasional school refusal

Casual scribe

TW: 16 year old male with anxiety hurting himself occasional school refusal

Feeling overwhelmed my son 16 is suffering from anxiety and depression. We sought a psychologist for him last year, but he didn't find a connection with him. His anxiety increased, so I took him to his GP, who prescribed him medication and suggested trying a new psychologist it can be hit and miss. Have since found a new psychologist, but we have only been able to get one session in due to availability. He has been on the meds for around 2 months now - I thought he was improving he seemed generally less irritable/emotional however, at the 6-week appointment, he said that he didn't think they were working - DR said let's persist for a bit longer. Over the weekend, he refused to come home leaving his workplace before he told me was finishing - he got a lift with a coworker to where is girlfriend works - he had turned off his life360. He did message me to say that he had left work and wasn't coming home that night and needed space. Eventually, he rang me and told me that he was going to his girlfriend's house. I made contact with her mum, and she was ok with him being there, and we felt it was the safer option. I picked him up the next day. I decided to avoid having any discussions yesterday as felt that it wouldn't be productive and that I would come back to it later in the week - I made other conversations with him that living life was ok. Today he was trying to avoid going to school and ended up late and very shut off - he refused to say what the issue was and why he didn't want to go to school. I am aware that he self-harms. We had agreed with him to change his schooling subjects/pathway to what he wanted, which was applied to learn, and have been helping him secure and negotiate a school-based apprenticeship for him. He has had issues of bullying in the past at school and struggles with perceived aggression/yelling ( sometimes he perceives people as yelling when they aren't and has a flight/fight response) The new psychologist has fitted him in earlier ta scheduled - I'm just so overwhelmed, worried - maybe the meds aren't working - what do I do.

Prolific scribe

Re: TW: 16 year old male with anxiety hurting himself occasional school refusal

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Hey @DCR123 

Welcome to the Online Community.

Thank you for sharing this with us, it sounds like it has been a difficult time for you and your family recently and we are really glad that you have been able to reach out for some support. I can tell how much your son means to you and how hard you are trying to support him through this, even by posting this shows how hard you are trying - he is very lucky to have you.

It’s good to hear that you have gotten some support from the GP, I was wondering if you have raised your concerns about the medication with the GP? It is also really good to hear that you have found another psychologist and your son will be seeing them soon.

I can hear how concerned and worried you are for your son and it is understandable that you are feeling this way, I’m wondering if it could be helpful to create a safety plan with your son? We have some information on how to create one here or you could even ask your GP for some support creating one.

I know that you mentioned that your son self-harms and was wondering if the GP is aware of this and whether you have spoken to your son about this? I wanted to share this article with you around Self-harm that I thought might be helpful, it has some information along with suggestions of things to try and how you can support your son. I also wanted to let you know that if you’re interested in more self-help content, we have a collection of articles and resources for parents around mental health, common concerns and communication that provides some information along with some strategies and things you can try.

I’m mindful of the impact that this must be having on you and was wondering what supports you have and whether you’ve been able to speak to anyone about this and get some support from either family, a GP or a mental health professional? It’s important to remember that your wellbeing is just as important, and you also deserve all the support available and don’t have to do this alone. If you would like some more support, we have a free one-on-one service for parents and carers where you can speak with a professional family and parenting coach.

Again, we want to thank you for sharing this with us and want to remind you that we are all here to listen and support you.

Also I have made a small edit in your post so that it aligns better with our community guidelines.


Re: TW: 16 year old male with anxiety hurting himself occasional school refusal

I’m sorry to hear the suffering your son and you are going through.
It feels so scary.
The thing that stood out to me was that your son told the GP he feels the medication isn’t working, and he has given it two months. And that the GP said he needs to persist.

In my experience, when a similar thing happened, she got worse because she felt she had tried to speak up and wasn’t heard.

It may help to say something like:
1. I’ve been thinking about the recent appointment and how you explained your medication isn’t working
2. It must have been so hard when you were told to just keep taking it
3. Would you be open to making another appointment and I will help advocate for trying a new medication?
4. It may take time to get the appointment, wean off this medication and start a new one
5. You know best how you are feeling and what is working and helping. I want to support you to find a way to feel better and I will try to listen and understand and to back you up.

Good luck! People tell me that it gets better and I hope and pray our children all heal and that their lives become better for them.
Casual scribe

Re: TW: 16 year old male with anxiety hurting himself occasional school refusal

Hi, Thanks for the reply.

I discussed with him going back to the GP he asked to wait until he saw the psychologist earlier this week. I've just let that settle in and plan to revisit him next week. We are pretty lucky our GP tends to have some appointments each week, and if I were to call he would fit him in. He didn't feel heard when he asked to come off or change, so I need to help advocate for him with the dr. In one breath he is telling me he is 16 and doesn't need me to baby him yet I can see he still needs some help along the way its hard to find the boundaries - I am going to try your steps and see if we can have the conversation again with the GP and I can be more support to him to make sure he is heard. Fingers crossed

Casual scribe

Re: TW: 16 year old male with anxiety hurting himself occasional school refusal

Thanks for the reply. Yes, I have read the articles on the site. The GP was aware of the self-harming- he told him directly, which was good. He hadn't told his psychologist about that, but she is now aware. I will look into the sessions for parents. Thanks