New to the site - Struggling with my 18 year old - Social anxiety, depression, OCD

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Casual scribe

New to the site - Struggling with my 18 year old - Social anxiety, depression, OCD

Hi Parents-

I'm new to this site.  Struggling to find help for my 18 year old.  He's extremely bright - straight A's, very big heart.  Very likable when he is relaxed and being himself.  He has struggled with OCD and anxiety his whole life. He is now on meds but we have yet to find a therapist that can help him.  He is a smart kid and finds therapy a waist of time.  He has had a few girlfriends most of his high school and broke up in the Summer and now is struggling to fit in with friends.  He talks about not wanting to live and doesn't feel like anything will ever change.  He has a reminder on his phone to try and appear happy at school and try and be social but he is admitting to being used to being alone and sad.  We make suggestions such as going to the gym, getting a job, joining a club, group therapy, and he doesn't make the effort or express interest in doing any of these things.  In the past year, he has been self medicating with marijuana daily.  I am a recovered alcoholic and my parents were alcoholics and grandparents, etc. so of course I fear that he is destined to become addicted to alcohol if he doesn't find peace in his life.  He is already addicted to marijuana. His older brother also very bright, in college, great grades, but also addicted to marijuana.  My husband and I are lost how to help him.  I'm ready to quit my job that is really good for my mental health so that I can devote all my time to find ways to help him.  It is hard to help him when he has no desire to help himself.  It breaks my heart.  He's such a great kid but just riddled with anxiety.  His OCD doesn't help because he gets lost in his thought circles and worries about everything.  He also has some OCD habits of saying Amen to himself 100 times a day in his head and thinks if he doesn't say this, something bad will happen. (He just told me this tonight).  He doesn't play sports which I think would of helped him connect with a group of kids but I think because of his social anxiety, he would refuse to go to practice anytime we signed him up for sports.  He's very creative with photography, art, music and writing.  I'm just writing as much as I can about him on here in case anyone else has had a child with some similar traits that may have some advice.  Smiley Sad

Mod

Re: New to the site - Struggling with my 18 year old - Social anxiety, depression, OCD

Hi @Skye33 thanks for sharing your situation with us. I felt heartbroken as I went through your post. You must be going through such an incredibly difficult time. It's wonderful that you have reached out here to find support. 

 

Your son sounds like a wonderful person who is really struggling with anxiety and depression. It's not uncommon to see really bright individuals struggle with these issues. He also sounds like he has enormous promise and potential.

 

It's unfortunate he finds therapy a waste of time but I can understand why that might be if it hasn't really worked for him or if he hasn't found a therapist that he has clicked well with. Has he tried Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)? This kind of therapy is quite precise and is about learning to challenge negative thoughts.It's short-term and goal oriented.Here is a link explaining it in better detail:

 

https://au.reachout.com/articles/cognitive-behavioural-therapy

 

Do you think your son might be open to this of therapy?

 

I think it's great you give him so many wonderful suggestions on activities he could do. It's hard to find the enthusiasm for anything when you're riddled with anxiety. That said, every bit of effort counts. 

 

I hope other parents on this site can provide their input on this. Take care of yourself.Heart

 

 

 

 

Parent Peer Supporter

Re: New to the site - Struggling with my 18 year old - Social anxiety, depression, OCD

Hi @Skye33 Welcome to the Reach Out Parents forum.  Sorry to hear about your son, it is terribly hard watching your kids go through these kinds of struggles, and especially frustrating when it appears they do not want to do anything to help themselves. 

 

You mentioned that your son feels that therapy is a waste of time. Do you think this is because he hasn't found the right therapist to connect with, or maybe another reason?  Has a medical professional done a Health assessment with your son about his feelings of not wanting to live? I lost count of the number of times I heard my daughter say she doesn't want to live - it never got any easier, but there is help out there to deal with these kinds of feelings.  

 

If your son is not keen on therapy there is a ReachOut.com forums for young people (14-25yo) to hang out and chat with other young people about life and everyday issues in a positive and helpful way. They are an anonymous safe space, open 24/7. Perhaps your son can check it out?  The link to the forums for young people can be found here  Young people can be surprisingly very supportive and often encourage their peers to seek help when necessary.  If your son likes art, music and photography, encourage him to be continue his creativity.

 

Remember to look after yourself during this time.  Your self care is really important, and will make it easier to deal with the challenges you are facing with your son.  Click Here for some self care info

 

Reach out anytime if you need to chat..

 

Casual scribe

Re: New to the site - Struggling with my 18 year old - Social anxiety, depression, OCD

Thank you for your feedback!  

 

We have tried Cognitive therapy. (Actually since he was in the 3rd grade) We definitely have struggled with therapists that are unfortunately not that effective.  My son and I seem to know more than they do about what tools to use.  I don't think he is on the right medication but hard to know because he won't stop smoking marijuana for a long enough time. He wanted to buy some yesterday but refrained and said that he was going to buy some today but has decided not too.  

HIs biggest struggle right now is that he can't seem to make friends.  He has one group of friends that have been friends since the 4th grade and leave him out of certain events like trips they take.  They are also friends with his ex-girlfriend and so any event that she is invited to, he doesn't go to.  He takes it personally but I try to explain to him that they are immature boys and it is not about him.  He has another small group of two friends that both are not doing well - they do drugs and both have dropped out of school and he doesn't really value their friendship but ends up handing out with them because he has nobody else to hang out with.  He is use to being in a relationship with a girl so has that instant best friend by his side and then is more confident and finds it easier to be social.  He knows that he needs to be happy with himself before he gets into another relationship.  He hasn't talked about suicide in at least 6 months and I am thankful for that but my fear is that he is going to head in that direction if nothing changes.  I appreciate your feedback and we will keep trying to find a therapist and maybe a new psychiatrist.

Casual scribe

Re: New to the site - Struggling with my 18 year old - Social anxiety, depression, OCD

Thank you.  I'm going to talk to my son when he gets home from school about that forum.  That might be really good.  I would rather have him to do group therapy in person but this may be a start.

 

Yes, I know I need to take care of myself.  I put my sobriety first and make sure I go to at least two meetings per week.  I work full time and have an adopted 88 year old man that our family helps take care of.  Very busy all the time but I know how important it is to take time and do the things I need to do for me.  I just signed up for 1/2 marathon and my husband and I are going to start training for that next week.  Running for me is great therapy!

Parent Peer Supporter

Re: New to the site - Struggling with my 18 year old - Social anxiety, depression, OCD

HI @Skye33 I agree, therapy in person is preferable. The Reach Out Youth Forum will be a good start to help your son interact more with his peers in a supportive environment.  Let us know if he joins up? 

 

You sound like you have your priorities right and super busy!!  I am impressed about the 1/2 marathon.  Running is a fantastic way to clear the head.  All the best with the training. 

Scribe

Re: New to the site - Struggling with my 18 year old - Social anxiety, depression, OCD

Hi I'm struggling to cope with my 19 year old son

Community Manager

Re: New to the site - Struggling with my 18 year old - Social anxiety, depression, OCD

Hi @Pippa19655 I'm sorry to hear that you're struggling at the moment but I am glad that you've reached out here for support. Just a quick note, I edited out your name from your last post as we try to keep things anonymous on RO. For a bit more info on how to naviagte the forums you can check out our community guidelines here.

 

With regards to your son, was there something in particular that you're struggling with or would like some help with?  

Scribe

Re: New to the site - Struggling with my 18 year old - Social anxiety, depression, OCD

Hi Skye33

I realize it has been a year since you posted on this forum. But your post truly resonated with me. In my current situation. 

I do hope you have found some resources and that your sons have moved beyond some of the difficulties that you posted about.

I am in a similar situation with my 18 year old son. He is in 12th grade and my immediate concern is his marijuana use. But he is also at risk of not graduating high school. He has been on a spiral for the last few years but I had hoped it was teenage angst and it would pass. 

Unfortunately his pot smoking habit has become a priority and everything else secondary. My husband and I work full time and we have 2 younger girls at home. So his issues affect us all.

I am at my wit's end and I really have no idea what to do. 

Today my son and I went to his doctor who spent the appt telling me how I enabled my son and lecturing my son. Can you guess how effective that was?? We were there to get a referral for drug counseling but the doc didn't seem to have any idea what that meant for my marijuana smoking son. So he said we should have a referral in about a week if my insurance deems it so.

I live in a place where recreational pot is legal which makes it so accessible and almost fruitless to fight. Almost.

I don't know where to turn for help for him and some times I am not even sure he wants to change. 

Thank you for hearing me out.

Mod

Re: New to the site - Struggling with my 18 year old - Social anxiety, depression, OCD

Hi @DJ626 welcome to ReachOut and thank you for sharing. I'm sorry to hear about your concerns regarding your son's marijuana use, it sounds very difficult. It's unfortunate to hear that the doctor's appointment wasn't effective or helpful, that must have been frustrating for you. I can see that you are based overseas and just wanted to advise that the resources available on here are Australian based. However you may find some of the articles available helpful.

 

I'm wondering if there are any online or local supports available where you are based? Does the school have a counsellor that he could speak to that may know of some local supports? You are most welcome to start a new thread topic which will allow other members to see your post and provide further advice and support. We're here to listen Heart