Hi It's like I'm reading the start of my youngest son's transition to highschool, except his friends before Highschool started bullying him to make it worse. My son turned 17 7days ago and he hasn't gone to school for longer than 1/2a day collectively a couple of weeks a year, he'd slowly work up his confidence, in a "special" learning class, for 1/2a day, with a teacher taking an incredible interest in helping my son, slowly work up to going to school by week 8 or 9 of term,so he'd be starting to try going for short periods of the day, but then the school holidays would start and he'd regress back to his room and by the time the next term started, usually 2 weeks, he'd be completely entrenched in his device addiction, anxiety preventing him from leaving his room, having a shower,brushing his teeth, let alone not eating! The effort that went into just trying to get him to school and/or eat even a semblence of a sustainable diet, going at times days without any food and/or trying to get him to care about his personal hygiene, and/or anything to do with having any quality of life, the effort was never ending and soooo exhausting. So here I sit, reading about your son, thinking about my son and how similar the stories are. My son is now 17years old, on anti depressants, having gone to hospital and getting a tube put down into his stomach through his nose to be refed and out of the 4 walls of his bedroom. Still struggling with the EXACT same issues AND 3 visits to the youth mental health unit, having to be put in under the Mental Health Act, where a magistrate makes him legally HAVE to go to a facility, 2 of those times but unfortunately, against my assumptions of the very most basic foundations of and not given ANY proper therapy or tools to assist him to be successful at managing his anxiety or ANY of his other issues standing in the way of having any type of adolescent life and quality of. Let alone offering us as a family therapy or tools on what to do when my son's anxieties and device addiction start taking him down the dangerous path of lying in his bed 23hoyrs a day only interacting with his devices, not with any people, on his devices or in reality. Or educate all of us on how to deal with the dynamics within the family largely created by my youngest son's issues and the bad angry dark moods he would so often be in. So, here I sit staring down the barrel of 18, that scary number when you as a mother no longer have any authority to appropriately advocate for your child and moreover, the systems he has to inevitably go in to because of his problems that, now, are inevitably entrenched in a pattern of coming home, keeping his healthier habits from a long time in a NSW health care facility, for a very short period of time then he would rapidly regress back to 23hours a day isolating, not eating, on his devices etc, until his health, mental AND physical gets so low and dangerous that he gets taken to Hospital and often thereafter taken to a youth mental health facility for "therapy" (Ha!!or lack thereof) before being discharged back into my care where he would proceed to follow the habits learned, pressed upon him while in care, then after a short period of time, regressing back to bad habits that results in dangerous health problems that leads to NSW health interviening and taking him to a health facility as they decide depending on the presenting symptoms. And round and round again. I really WISH this response was full of tools and ideas on how to counter your son's unhealthy habits and mental anxieties and fears, and remember they are just entering the rollercoaster ride of puberty, and all the angst and issues that arise from THAT alone. I wish I had an answer that would console you and have you hopeful that it's a little glitch in your son's highschool/ adolescent life. I can't stress enough how serious your son's problems could become, before you know it, major mental and physical health issues that will take many years and lots of effort and engagement from him and his health carers. Especially physchologists, he needs to be able to talk about how he's feeling regularly with somebody that's not you. That will get him out of his room at the very least, and at best, he'll engage with the therapist, that's so important, that they engage with people around them, and in life. What doesn't kill them, makes them stronger right!? Except for bullying, watch for peer pressure and bullying and engage the school and or the other kids parents and make it clear that your son NEEDS and DESERVES to feel safe in his environment, school and out of school and educate yourself on what strategies the school employs to combat bullying and peer abuse and bullying. Make SURE they're rigorous strategies and that you are fully included in all steps in the strategies. That's the best help I can give, that and, get yourself someone you can 'dump' or 'vent'/ workthrough with, because you're on a long, seemingly endless rollercoaster of effort fear exhaustion and worry for your boy so YOU need to be ready and mentally and emotionally nourished. You are your son's advocate and only you, and his father really care about how this is and maybe will effect your son's life health and mental state. So it's up to you to scream and shout and try to ensure that your son is able to tackle his issues long before he is at the end of his highschool life and before he turns 18years old and enters a system that 'medicates' before or in place of rehabilitate and you will have absolutely no say in any decisions about his type of care for whatever he is displaying at the time. I wish you nothing but luck love and strength in life and with helping your son navigate through this.
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