05-30-2017 07:24 AM
05-30-2017 08:04 AM
@Trapet it definitely sounds like you have tried just about everything to break down the walls.
This must be so draining on you, and your family. You haven't mentioned if Matt has any siblings, or how all of this is affecting them and you as a family unit.
Getting our kids to open up and talk to us is extremely difficult, especially boys. Please keep trying. There has to be somebody somewhere he will open up to, you just need to keep being there for him until that person comes along.
Keep us updated.
05-30-2017 12:24 PM
Hey @Trapet Welcome to ReachOut Parents.
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. It's clear how much you love your son and care about his well-being. I think I can speak for the community when I say we get how incredibly heartbreaking and difficult a situation like this is. The feelings can be overwhelming. So much fear about what might happen, anxiety about what you're supposed to do, frustration when schools and services don't seem to be helping and the guilt about how this came about. At the time when you need to be most calm and present, is exactly the time when it feels like your chest is going to explode. But you can definitely find solace in the knowledge that you being in his corner is one of the greatest gifts you give him. Your concern is a big part of what he needs so keep reminding yourself that you guys are battling the same monster, together, shoulder to shoulder.
So I wanted to put forward a suggestion that might seem a bit strange. I was reading through what you've shared and the amazing feedback the parents have offered. And as exactly as @Big_Crab says, I'm sure you've tried heaps of things already. What if you took 'opening up' off the table for a bit? And put in 'connecting' instead? Sometimes when really full-on things are happening with our kids we start coming from a place of fear. We are so desperate to keep them safe we can get a bit blindsided. I know that when my eldest was in her darkest period I needed her to tell me what was going on inside her all the time. Sometimes she'd make a face and I'd start saying "what's wrong honey?" and 30 minutes later we'd both be crying and she'd have gone mute a while back and I would be saying "please tell me, please just tell me."
It sounds pretty dismal now but at the time I was so terrified that I was going to lose her that I felt like I needed to see inside her mind so I could start addressing the issues. What I ultimately had to do was relax, back up a bit and just be with her, in whatever way she needed me.
She later told me that she was so anxious about what would happen if she started speaking that it made her unable to speak.
Is there any chance that your son is feeling something similar?
What would happen if you stopped asking him to talk about his feelings, just for a bit, and instead just hang out with him? Even if he's staring out at space, if he knows you're nearby and that it's ok for him to be inside himself, that might make a difference. It's just a process of 'taking the pressure off'. Even though I know you don't at all mean it to feel like pressure to him if it's possible that he's seeing or feeling like it is then that may be why he's struggling so much with talking about his feelings.
@motherbear and @Lily17 both had some great suggestions. What do you think about trying them but holding off on the part where he needs to open up and instead make it more about you guys spending quality time together?
I'd love to know what @lucille thinks about this too. If you click here you can read the topic Lucille started. I have a feeling you might find some similarities.
Finally, I'm wondering about where you're getting your support from. Do you have someone, professional or not, that you can debrief and offload to?
05-30-2017 12:41 PM
Hi there (I am not sure how to make your @Trapet....oh there...I just did it! Learnt something today).
Thanks for tagging me @Ngaio-RO because otherwise I would have missed the post.
Yes....big similarities with our story and yours. We also have a 16 year old son who was severely bullied in Year 6. He is still suffering psychologically to this day....it has been the longest, hardest, darkest road over the last couple of years. He is currently in Year 11. However, he is no longer at school. He finished about 2 weeks ago.....he just walked out of the school grounds (without permission), walked home to our house and came in the door and looked at me and said 'I'm done. I can't do it anymore'. He hasn't been back to school since and I doubt we will get him back there. So the last 3 weeks have been very stressful. Even this morning, I've had tears and my husband had to come home from work to support me. Our son is also on medication...two lots...one for depression/anxiety and the other for paranoia/psychosis. There has never been any drugs or alcohol and we are not being naïve...the reason we know this is that his social anxiety is so great that he doesn't go to parties and doesn't leave the house very often. I'm just adding that bit in because sometimes people hear the word psychosis and think it is because he took drugs....definitely not. We have had excellent support from the school and he has a great team of doctors, but I can't say he's really getting better. I won't go on anymore about our story, but I just thought I would make contact and share the similarities and then you can ask questions or make contact if you want. I am going away tomorrow for about 5 days, way out west to my parents' property to support them and to give our son some time away from social media, the xbox etc. So I will be off-line for a bit but I'm here all day today. Talk soon.
05-30-2017 05:16 PM
Copied from email reply - Written by @Trapet
05-30-2017 05:18 PM
Copied from email reply - Written by @Trapet
05-30-2017 05:28 PM
Hey @Trapet I just wanted to say what a great job you're doing and, just like there's no connection between who your son is as a person and the fact he was bullied, as in he didn't deserve it, he didn't ask for it and it certainly doesn't mean he's not a good person, it's the same with your parenting and your son's struggles. Just because he's experiencing difficulties doesn't mean you did anything wrong or did anything to deserve it.
Parents with struggle free kids, who seem to walk through life without any real barriers or hurdles, aren't better parents they're just lucky parents.
Maybe it's time to call one of the friends who has backed off, and head out to a movie or dinner and get a solid break. I know that when things got really bad with my daughter and I was when it was the absolute hardest to do the things I knew I needed. It was like my guilt wouldn't allow me to have a night off when I knew she was still struggling. But I was always able to give her more when I went and recharged my batteries.
Is there one special friend you could go and have some down-time with?
05-30-2017 06:32 PM
Just thinking outside the square from experience.
When we were really down and out I found 3 things worked.
Touch, without touch we are nothing and its one of the biggest things humans crave.
You don't have to say anything at all - it gets an automatic response internally. When we are down a simple back rub or gentle squeeze of the shoulder really helps reduce the intensity of emptiness.
A simple way of letting your teen know you are around and caring is by texting, short, simple words.
A massage. You drive there, lie down, get up and go home.. and find that you are relaxed and soothed if only for a few minutes.
I found working with MH clients in hospital and the units they would be far calmer if I said nothing, sat and listened then I'd give them a pat on the back or shake their hands - their response always overwhelmed me.
Sometimes when we stress so much it makes things worse. Esp when our kids aren't communicating it messes our head up and we can't let it out. Sometimes I think my kids have more sense then I do - I just can't see it for the messiness below my gray hair..
05-30-2017 09:45 PM
@Trapet . I can see you are feeling very fearful about your sons future if he is not going to school . Please don't despair ! School is not the be all and end all . We are so conditioned to believe that no school no uni no future . This has now proved to be only one pathway to achievement and there are so many other options available to them now . Which state are you in ? Did you know there are programs such as Ayce ( in Victoria ) where the teen goes to school once a week and spends the rest of the time at home doing assignments and projects at their own pace ? Just because he may not go to school does not mean that his career as a writer will not eventuate . There are online courses he can do to learn to improve his technical writing skills and the best way to learn organically to be a writer ? Read, read, read !!
There are many online freelance websites now , where he can tap into work as a freelancer . He will find his niche . His health is what matters right now , and your ability to look after yourself while you look after him . This takes huge psychic and physical energy
Getting him well enough to function and achieve small goals is the only thing you need to concentrate on now . Let the future take care of itself .
The past is a memory , the future is a mystery , the present is a gift . Go easy on yourself and him .