02-14-2023 03:04 AM
I have 4 children 1 daughter 29, 1 daughter 20, 1 daughter 18, and 1 son 15. My 20 and 18 year old have suffered with social anxiety (my words for it) I would say all their lives. I have as well. Both have had difficulties going to school. Which lead to both being removed from public school and home schooled in jr high. I am convinced one or both may be on the autism spectrum. I tried for years to get help from their pediatrician, their school, counselors and one went to therapy which ended when we were forced to literally carry her kicking and screaming to the car. They both ended up dropping out of homeschool and now for the last almost 7 years since we have moved to a new town have been completely isolated from any kind of friends. Won't put in any effort to help themselves. Don't want to be social with anyone. And seemed not to mind having no friends whatsoever.
Since they refuse therapy I am in therapy myself to help them see it is a good thing but also because I am so stressed over it and more that i have panic attacks or anxiety attacks myself. I have been diagnosed with depression and moderate to severe ptsd (past trauma)I have tried talking to them one just refuses completely this is my 20 yr old who Im almost positive is on the spectrum. And my 18 yr old only says "I don't know" every time I ask a question about how shes feeling. I worry about her the most shes in her room all the time only comes out to eat. Barely says 2 words in a day. My therapist says it will take a long time to get them to come out of this with very small steps. They have no real life skills and I blame myself so much for where they are but for years I have tried to do the best I could I reached out to so many different ppl with no help. Dr's always said "oh they will grow out of it" That has not happened this is the worst its ever been. I don't even know what I'm even asking for on this forum. I just don't know what to do anymore. Mental health help in America is so hard and so expensive. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
02-14-2023 12:11 PM
Hi there @trishontheedge
Thank you for sharing this with us. It sounds like you really needed to get this off your chest, and I'm grateful you found our online community.
The love you have for your children shines through in this post. I can see how hard you've tried and are still trying to get them the support they need to live fulfilling lives. Between trying to involve health professionals, stressful experiences in therapy and role-modelling by going to therapy yourself, I'd like to recognise the steps you've taken to support your children.
I also hear your concern - it can be challenging to communicate with young people, and many parents in similar situations often feel helpless. I imagine you wondering how to help them open up to you when you ask a question and hear, "I don't know".
I want to highlight how impactful it can be for a young person to witness the important adult in their life taking action and seeing a counsellor. It might not feel like enough at times, but I do not doubt that your willingness to take action for your mental health is planting seeds for them.
You mentioned that your therapist says it will take a long time to get them to come out of this with very small steps. I'm curious to know if you and your therapist have spoken about what those small steps might be?
I have some resources to share with you which might give you some ideas about what small steps to try with your children. We have a number of articles on how to support your teen with anxiety, and I'll list some of them below:
How to build coping skills for anxiety has a few tips.
FAQ about teen anxiety for parents touches on how to overcome communication barriers when discussing anxiety.
How to communicate effectively with your teenager is a video we created with a psychologist who suggests how to help your teen open up about their feelings.
Tips for having a difficult conversation is a great article with some great suggestions.
Let us know what you think of those articles, and please know that we're here to continue this conversation with you. It would be incredibly difficult to navigate the mental health system in America, and we'd like to support you as much as possible.
02-23-2023 12:27 PM
Thanks for sharing your story. I have a similar experience with my 19-year old son. I suffered from huge disappointment and depression to see my only son change dramatically from a happy smart young boy turning into a young adult with no motivation for life in last two years time.
He now stays in his room whole day sleeping and looking at phone, only come out to eat when he feels hungry. He doesn't dare to go out as he is afraid of any possibility of social interaction. I don't see any signs of improving no matter what approach I try, supporting, coaching, listening, crying.... I have tried all possible ways to influence him but failed. He is stubborn with his current lifestyle ad believe there is no point to make any change as life is pointless.
I want to have one on one coaching from REACHOUT but found it is only available for teenager under 18. Appreciate any advice on what I can do to support my son.
02-24-2023 04:24 PM
Hi there @shgarden thank you for sharing your son's struggles with us. It sounds like the past two years have been hard not only on your son but for you as well. Understandably, watching your son struggle with depression is a cause for concern, and I hope we can support you through this.
It's tough when you feel that nothing is helping. You may have already tried this, but I'm curious if you've spoken to your son about seeing a GP for a check-up and a mental health care plan. You've mentioned that influencing him is difficult, so I understand that might be a challenge.
I'm sorry to hear you aren't able to access the one-on-one parenting support service due to age restrictions. It sounds like getting some support to help you navigate this situation would be beneficial, and I have a suggestion for you to look into.
The carer gateway might be worth looking into. They support people caring for a loved one, and you might be able to find some helpful information on their website or through their helpline, which you can contact on 1800 422 737.
I hope the carer gateway can connect you with the support you and your son truly deserve - nobody should walk this tough journey alone. Please know we're here to continue listening and helping wherever possible.
03-01-2023 07:33 AM
03-01-2023 01:21 PM
We wanted to give you a warm welcome to the community!
Thank you for being so honest and for sharing this with us all – it takes a lot of courage and bravery to do so. We can only imagine how hard it must have been for you share this, but we are really glad that you have, and have been able to connect with other community members.
I’m sorry to hear that you and your family have been going through such a difficult time, it sounds like you have had a lot going on and it is very understandable that you are feeling this way. I can tell how much your daughter means to you and how hard you are trying to support her – she is very lucky to have you.
It sounds like you have been doing such an amazing job at supporting your daughter and have been rallying up as much support for her and your family as possible. I can see how hard you have been trying to support her through this and continuing to try and find the best support which must be difficult, but really shows how much you care about her and how hard you have been trying.
I know that you mentioned that you feel like a failure as a mother and I’m really sorry that you are feeling this way, but I want to remind you that you are only human, and it sounds like you are doing the very best to navigate through this. Your daughter is very lucky to have a mother like you who cares, loves and supports her as much as you do.
I wanted to share this article with you that I thought you might find helpful to have a read through. If you’re interested, we also have a collection of resources and articles for parents that include information, strategies and stories from other parents which you may also find helpful.
It is great to hear that you are seeing a counsellor and receiving some support, I’m mindful of the impact this must be having on you and it’s important to remember that your wellbeing is just as important, and that you deserve all the support available to you. I was wondering if there was anything you enjoy doing, or if you do anything for your own self-care?
I also wanted to let you know that ReachOut has an Online Community for young people where they can connect with each other and access support through the forums, along with articles and resources that your daughter might be interested in and might find helpful. I thought I would let you know in case this is something that you wanted to share with her.
Again, I want to thank you for sharing this with us and for being so honest. Remember that we are all here to support and listen and that you aren’t alone.
04-05-2023 07:50 AM
Thanks for your reply. Reading your story it just sounds so similar. I feel all those feelings you expressed. I feel such guilt like I"m not doing enough I didn't do enough. I just feel so lost sometimes. My one daughter just seems so sad. I wish I had somne sort od wisdom to share with you. Its so tough.