He’s tried a few different online tools. He just treats everything with disdain. He goes through the motions just to appease me I think. He has improved gradually over the years and puberty has been less rocky than I expected. He’s very immature socially (has his own little group of nerdy/geeky kids) so I’m hoping that one day he will mature enough to decide that he needs to start looking after himself.
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Oh he definitely has OCD traits and is well aware of it too. Still won’t see anyone for help though. So hard when they won’t help themselves. We can have very rational discussions about how much he has missed out on because of his issues. He knows it logically but just can’t face it.
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Hi, Sadly I have no answers either. This week it is melanoma and he is asking me to check him every day. We have set boundaries - I will check him every two days for no more than 5 minutes. In a month or two we will be on to something else I expect. The sad thing is that he knows it is irrational but he just can’t help it. And oddly, the things that he should be worrying about that could actually impact his health, he flatly refuses to address. I haven’t managed to get him to a dentist for 4 years and he is overweight with a terrible eating pattern. Im sorry you are going through this too.
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Thanks @taokat @ElleBelle. I really appreciate your replies. I haven’t tried digging deeper for fear of embedding the issues but I may give it a go. i will keep gently pushing the idea of counselling but I’m not holding out much hope for that. I think he will need to come to that conclusion by himself. I just hope it is sooner rather than later. thanks again. (Yes, we’re all Whovians here lol)
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@TOM-RO thank you for your reply. He is acutely aware of the impact that his anxiety has. He knows that he has missed out on a lot. He knows that he is spending hours a day being miserable because of it. He know the impact that it has on the rest of us too. One of his biggest fears is that one day I won’t be around to support him. For a long time his focus was on death and dying - not suicidal at all, just worried about what happens after death, the finality of death etc. This still flares occasionally but for now the focus is on potential medical issues. We have discussed often that his anxiety is not a conscious decision. He was just born with a higher dose of it. Like his blue eyes, or freckles, it is something he has, and something he must live with. But in an acute stage he can’t see past it, or figure out how to turn off the anxious thought process. With respect to therapy, it is just completely outside of his comfort zone. He is acutely self-conscious and loathes talking to people. Sitting in a room discussing his emotions and fears to a therapist is akin to repeatedly stabbing himself in the eye with a fork. He hated every second of it and really only went along because I begged him to seek help from someone other than me. Unfortunately this experience has reinforced his belief that it is a waste of time. He has done on line programs (Mindgym, Brave program, anxietybc program) but they are like an academic exercise for him. He can see what they are doing but they don’t provide real answers. For him, therapy was about coping with the thoughts in his head, or recognising and defusing the thoughts themselves, or learning how to diminish the response to the thoughts. He isn’t satisfied with this because as far as he is concerned the underlying issue that he is worrying about will still be there. His way of managing is by finding out answers to the things that are causing the aniety in the first place. The only way he can obtain reassurance is by researching what is worrying him. For example, if there is a 1 in 100,000 chance of having, say, skin cancer, he will argue that therefore he could potentially be that one person, and that he therefore needs to be sure that he is not that person before his anxiety will be appeased. I have asked him to focus his research on useful things such as how to manage health anxiety. He can see the logic in this but the pull to feed into his anxiety is stronger. As for me, I muddle along. I work part time and have another child to parent as well. We have been dealing with this anxiety issue for so long that it is just part of what we do. His sister gets ear infections, he gets anxiety. We deal. I will I’ll read the link you included. Thank you again for your reply.
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My 16 year old son was diagnosed with severe anxiety disorder at four years old following some major separation issues when he started kindy. The assessment and diagnosis was instigated by the teaching staff. He would hang on the gate crying for the entire session because nobody could “prove” to him that I wouldn’t be killed in an accident while I was away from him. His anxiety also caused issues such as refusal to attend parties, go to sleepovers etc.
He found making friends very difficult and was never part of a large social group. He stopped being invited to parties after his continual refusal to attend. Other kids just gave up on him.
We eventually muddled along fairly well using some strategies provided to us by the psychologist until some serious bullying in year 6 caused huge setbacks and school refusal. At that point he very reluctantly saw a psychologist (CBT and mindfulness techniques).
After half a dozen sessions we were advised that he was “resistant to therapy” as he simply sat and observed and would not offer any discussion, or participate in anything. He is academically gifted and essentially treated the whole process with disdain. His analogy was that it was like watching a magician when you already knew how to do the tricks. The psychologist actually said to us “You are wasting your money. You can lead a horse to water. This is not for him.”
Since then his anxiety is always present but is usually manageable until a few weeks ago when it manifested as major health anxiety. The trigger is a complete mystery but he has complained of transient shifting leg pain. He is constantly checking minor lumps and bumps and is convinced they are cancer. He asks us dozens of times a day to feel various bumps and reassure him that he does not have cancer. (We are not medically trained and keep reminding him of this).
He is acutely aware that his thought process is illogical but he is unable to switch off his concerns. Anything less than proof will not do. He has seen a physio this week who has assured him that the pain in his leg is a minor sprain but he still is not convinced. He says that sometimes pain = cancer so it could be that.
I have discussed seeing his GP for help with his anxiety but he does not want to go because “unless I get an MRI to prove that I don’t have cancer there is no point”. He spends hours a day researching symptoms despite knowing logically that the internet is not going to be reassuring.
He refuses to get help, will not participate in therapy, and expects that I will provide him with reassurance. We have had sleepless night where he sobs because he does not want to feel like this anymore and begs me to help him feel better (and only me, not a professional). It is wearing me out.
But my choice seems to be to keep talking him down from his anxiety and his crises myself or have him decompensate and refuse to go to school. He is stubborn and intelligent and it is a difficult combination to deal with. I need external help for him but he won’t accept it. I’m stuck.
We have discussed medication and he is amenable to something to help reduce his anxiety, I think though this is only because popping a pill seems an easy way for him to deal with it rather than having to sit and talk to someone. However he is terrified that it might also slow down his thought processes, and as his intelligence and academic skills are really his only source of self confidence he does not want to risk his academic ability by trialling medication.
So sorry for my very long first post. I’m hoping someone else has a stubborn, resistant, gifted, anxious, hypochondriac teen and has figured out how to progress past total reliance on their mum.
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