Advice for cutter, depression

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by TerryJ2, Apr 29, 2008.

  1. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    (I also posted this on the teen substance abuse bb).

    An acquaintance of my daughter, aged 17, used to go to the same private school, but P. was kicked out last yr because the Head of School thought he'd be the next VA Tech shooter. (Ass. He's the kind of person who would say that, too, and the fact that it hit the rumor mill ...)
    P. then went to a local Catholic HS and got kicked out for the same reason.
    He is now at a public HS.
    My daughter was IM-ing him last night and let me read some of their notes. She was trying to be sympathetic and is very worried about him and wants to know what to do.
    He is on anti-depressents but she doesn't know what kind (I will have her find out). I suspect he may be on street drugs, too (again, she needs more info). He said he smashes his head against the lockers when he's angry (to me, that's similar to cutting, trying to get rid of pent-up anger and anxiety) and it sounds like his anti-depressants are making things worse.

    He sometimes carries a knife to school and fantacizes about hurting someone. After he typed that, he took it back and said it was his anti-depressants talking.

    According to him, his family is very uptight and repressive and refuses to talk about emotions.

    He states that he is worthless.

    My daughter is worried not only for his mental health and safety, and others around him, but that he will get kicked out of public school for getting caught with-a knife (assuming he doesn't use it!). That would mean juvenile detention, which would only make matters worse. He needs serious therapy.
    Then again, she is afraid of waiting too long to stop him from doing something.

    My easy child's got a big heart but doesn't need this on her shoulders. (I told her that. :) )
    I can only work through her at this point, using her as a conduit.

    Which medications have you had success with for this type of behavior? Which medications have made it worse?
    I'm assuming he's in talk therapy but don't know how often.
    Thanks in advance!

  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think therapy is more for cutting than any medications. In fact antidepressants can increase suicidal ideation. My daughter was a cutter and she did it even more the short time she spent on antidepressants.
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    Sounds like this boy could have something going on other than the depression. Has he confided as to his diagnosis??

    I'd be worried the anti depressants are making it worse, and if he is dealing with bipolar instead of just depression it could very well be the case. And if he's mixing in street can take it to a whole new level. been there done that with my best friend.

    Nichole cut and burned. She didn't stabilize until she was placed on abilify.

    Without knowing his diagnosis it's hard to suggest things that might work for him. Therapy is a must, but Nichole got nothing out of it until she was stabilized with the right medications.

    Do you know the boy's parents? If you really become concerned the situation has become critical would you feel comfortable in contacting them? I think for me this would be a huge worry.

    In hs Nichole had a difficult child friend who was extremely unstable. Borderline/BiPolar (BP) diagnosis which later developed into schizoeffective diagnosis. If things got too bad, I let the Mom know. Since Nichole had the same issues, Mom never took offense and appreciated having someone else "watching out" for her daughter.

    Make sure your daughter knows that it is up to him to make his treatment/medications work for him. She can't fix him. He has to want to be stable and make effort in that direction to get there. Otherwise you run the risk of her taking on the responsibility of his well being, and that's the last thing you want.

    I hope the boy is able to get the help he obviously needs and will cooperate with the treatment plan. I think most schools now are so fearful of violence that they'd rather ditch the child than take the risk and attempt to honestly get the help.

  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Thank you.

    Yes, she knows she can't take him on and cure him. But he kept her IM-ing for 2hrs and she felt obligated to stay online at that time.

    She gave me more info tonight. She insists he's not doing street drugs but says he has tried alcohol. He told her it just makes it worse in the a.m. when he wakes up sick, plus, the initial problem is still there. (Good for him to realize that!)

    She also said he has abandonment issues. He is adopted and has never "forgiven" his bmom. Then getting kicked out of two schools made him feel abandoned.

    He is getting off of Zoloft but she doensn't know what he's replacing it with or how often he gets talk therapy.

    Again, thank you.
  5. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    The kid said it's the antidepressants talking. Someone ought to listen to him.

    Absolutely antidepressants can cause self-harming behavior and homicidal ideation. And, for some reason, often knives become very much a part of things. My son self-harmed (primarily cutting) and had homicidal fantasies while on antidepressants and only while he was on antidepressants.

    He needs to get off the ADs and let his brain heal for about six months. Doesn't sound like they're doing him any good at all.
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Now, this would be a situation where I wonder if it would help to notify the school district (a counseling person at school district maybe)- not to report the knife, but to report concern for a potential self-harming situation. I'm not sure I would go that route or not- I guess it depends on if I could relay this to someone at school district who would discuss the situation with the parents- not just arrest the kid. Ideally, notigying the parents would be best- but it sounds like they might need a specially trained person to get through to them.

    Kuddos for your daughter!! She deserves something special!!
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I'm also concerned for your daughter, because there is a part of this where he could be using her concern to validate his own pain. In other words, her sympathy could be making him dwell on his problems more than he should, instead of actually trying to fix things. easy child 2/difficult child 2's ex-boyfriend was a lot like this - he also had abandonment issues even though his mother still lived in the same flat (technically). But he would lean on easy child 2/difficult child 2 with a "poor me" routine, as if asking her to make it all better (in other words, putting her into the mother role, like a substitute). I'm not belittling his problems, they were quite significant, but he was still very much the little five year old boy waiting for his mummy to come home. He needed to wake up and realise, Mummy is NOT coming home because she's out nightclubbing again, and stop being held hostage to her possessiveness and get the courage to stand on his own. (I believe he finally has done this.)

    What is needed in this case - therapy, preferably from a health professional and not another teenager. While she is there for him so much, it takes the pressure of his need to get professional help. Maybe she needs to either set him a time limit, such as "I'll let you talk about this for half an hour, then no more. After that we will talk about other things." She needs to be his friend, not his therapist. Because until she forces this issue, he won't be as inclined to reach out for the help he desperately needs; she is constantly releasing the pressure just that little bit for him.

  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Good point. I'll ask her if she reiterated that he see his therapist more often.