Confused and Concerned

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by DMeadows, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. DMeadows

    DMeadows New Member

    Hello all!

    I am looking for advice on how to handle what is happening to my 14 year old son and what to ask the doctor when we go. I want to know what medicines are red flags and if there are any natural ways to help him. Below is a brief history so you fully understand what we are dealing with, which is hard to imagine, since I don't yet know what we are dealing with:(

    My husband and I have been together for 15 years. We each have a son from previous relationships as well as having two sons together. My son (IS) is the eldest and has lived with his father (my ex) full time since he was about 7 due to behavioral problems which instantly dissipated once he starting living with his father. My Husbands oldest (JR) is 15 and has lived with his mother full time and we have had limited access to seeing him throughout his life. We have had many struggles with building the relationship with him :( Our youngest (CT) is 11 and he is easy going and doesn't let much bother him. He seems to be learning what not to do from watching the struggles we have gone through with his older brothers.

    Our 14 year old (JD) has been experiencing many changes over the past several years. It seemed to all begin when we moved from St. Paul to Eagan 3 years ago and I thought it was just an "adjustment period". Unfortunately, shortly after we moved to Eagan, my husband lost his job and was unemployed for 2+ years. During this time I started to see my son's respect for his father fade away and his behavior started to changed. I thought it was just normal teenager boy stuff. But at the same time, my husbands son JR was struggling with his mother and we choose to bring him to live with us and see if some discipline and a routine would help him. Within two weeks, JR was back in trouble for dealing and smoking pot at middle school. In dealing with this issue, JR decided to bring his brother JD into it, blaming him as the instigator and the only one involved. When JD was asked, he said he was involved in a different aspect of it and came clean to the principal and both boys were EXPELLED. I was very surprised when my son was expelled the first time...but then a second and a third...I didn't understand what could be happening. Then to find out that my son felt he needed a knife at school, just confused me even more so. With much digging JD admitted to being bullied and even being beaten up in the bathroom by a group of older boys. JR had no discipline from this event as his mom came and picked him up blaming us for the problems and refused to allow us to see him anymore. JD paid the price, did the what the judge asked and completed community service without hesitation. Having no school alternative other then ALC, we chose online school for the rest of 7th and 8th grade. Finally, this past fall, he was able to start traditional brick and mortar school in 9th grade and was so excited to go to school and socialize. But it didn't last as he was again expelled for having a box cutter with him as school.

    We sat him down and expressed our deep concern for his health and his safety. We wanted to understand what was going on. But as long as his father was around, he wouldn't talk, he got upset and defensive. So I found time to just have him and I talk and it finally came so clear to me. He told me he was bi-sexual and had been bullied because of it. He told me he was struggling with his mood swings, being elated to be out having fun and all of a sudden feel like he hit a brick wall and instantly fall into a depressive state for minutes to hours to days sometimes. He admitted to not being able to eat or sleep. When I asked about the knives, he admitted to cutting himself. When asked why, he answered "to feel alive". I asked him if it was something we as parents have done or said and he responded that it was the voices in his head telling him that we all hate him and want him dead. I was in tears at this point. I was sad that he was feeling this way, upset that I didn't see it or say something sooner, confused to why he can't just shut it off and know that I love him and terrified of what he might do to himself.

    So that night we decided that we needed to get help with this. So we went online and took several online tests for bipolar, schizophrenia and depression. He tested extremely high for Bipolar and depression but low for schizophrenia. I tried to explain this to my husband and that didn't go as well as I hoped, but just as I expected. My husband thinks it is fake and that he is using it as an excuse to stay out of trouble. He feels I am babying him and is upset with me because of it. I know he loves his son, but he is very closed minded. It has been the source of several arguments over the past few weeks between he and I. I am terrified that he will say the wrong thing at the wrong time and JD will hurt himself. My hope is that he will join us at the doctor so he can better educate himself and have a better understanding and start supporting his son.

    We are going to the doctor next week and I am so terrified of what may happen. I have heard of many moms complain about the drugs not working or the constant switching drugs or what the effects of the drugs are. We are not the type of people who go to the doctor on a regular basis. We only go if we absolutely have to. We do not take even a Tylenol unless we are in unbearable pain. So I am concerned for this step, but understand it is necessary.

    Any help that any of you can provide will be taken to heart and is much appreciated.

    Thank you,
  2. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hi I'm Dee. I live by you. I've been here a year and promise am not dangerous (except to those who try to mess up my kid, lol). PM me if you'd like. You may want to eliminate the specific cities from your post though. We try to keep confidential here to a degree and it's crazy what comes up on searches.

    My son is 15. He has very different issues from your son but there are many here who can relate. I do have loads of experience witb our schools. I think it's vital to have your son assessed. If he has a mental health condition that can be treated thats one issue and another is that since it is likely related to his behavior issues, and those behavior issues are interfering with his ability to remain in school ......It can open another alternative for you. There are some good Special Education support programs for emotional and behavioral disabilities and his being diagnosed will help support your rights to legally get more support and kids in.Special Education
    can't be expelled, they can be moved if drugs or weapons are involved, but not expelled. He has quite a while left in school so this may be a route to consider. If drugs are a big part that is something others here can speak to much better than I.

    Welcome! Since it's around holiday times, you may not get the same volume of responses quite yet ....but keep posting and checking im, there is an amazing group of dedicated peers here.
  3. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    By the end of the third paragraph you wrote, I was thinking depression, but of course I can't diagnose and bipolar could fit, too (as could other things). You mentioned a doctor, but didn't say what kind. A family doctor or pediatrician isn't the right doctor for mental health issues - especially not to the degree your son is experiencing. He needs to be evaluated by a psychiatrist. There is the possibility of trial and error with medications because what works for one doesn't necessarily work with another. And with mood disorders especially, medications on their own are not enough. Therapy is needed as well.

    If your son has bipolar, medications should be a mood stabilizer, possibly an atypical AP (which are also considered mood stabilizers), and once that has taken effect only then do you add an AD if it is needed. If your son has depression, SSRI's are first choice but sometimes mood stabilizers (usually not atypical AP's) are used down the road if the SSRI's aren't enough.
  4. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome to our corner of the world D. Glad you found us but sorry that you needed to. I agree with Buddy about having him assessed. I think a good way to start is to have a mufti-disciplinary evaluation done. This involves a child psychiatrist and a neuro-psychologist. You can gain quite a bit of information from this. It would also probably be good for him to receive some counseling.

    If it does turn out to be bipolar you may decide to try medications. My son has been diagnosed with Bipolar and, yes, we have struggled with finding the correct medications for him but we finally have a combination that seems to be helping him!

    Sending gentle hugs for your hurting heart.
  5. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Your son needs a psychiatrist (MD), preferably one that specializes in children and teens. Yes, you will have to bring your son to see the doctor on a regular (likely monthly) basis. He 'absolutely has to' go.

    You and your son need support from others who have been there done that...

    Google the name of the major state university near you along with "Psychiatry, Child & Adolescent" that will get you the number for their clinic and they can help you get set up with therapy, etc.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. I am so sorry you are going through such a hard time with your son. However, the family doctor can't do much to help you. Mental health is not his field.

    I think it is mandatory that you take him to both a psychiatrist and a neuropsychologist. An online test tells you very little, actually. If he is hearing command hallucinations in his head, he needs attention. This is more than just depression. Is there any mental illness on either side of his genetic family tree? It doesn't matter what husband will think or feel. Your son needs your help. Take him for an evaluation ASAP.

    Sending gentle hugs...
  7. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    MWM, she didn't mention command hallucinations. Command hallucinations are when "voices" command or order you to do something. Mood disorders can cause the "voices" her son is hearing.
  8. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    "Voices" can be caused by many things....while the most severe would be schitzo-type homicidal/suicidal command hallucinations; it is more common that they are caused by depression and anxiety, and extreme trauma can also result in voices.
  9. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    MWM is correct that he needs a full psychiatic evaluation (it should include actual testing, not just 30 minutes talking to someone).
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    DDD, right. He's hearing voices. They are telling him what to think, not what to do (at least not yet). So you're right. At any rate, rather than guess I think it's best she take it to a psychiatrist and medications will probably be necessary for his future. There are other worrying things too, like his cutting and taking a knife to school. Not going to a doctor won't work in his case...I'm just worried about this young man. He is going to need consistent mental health treatment and the family seems to shun doctors...I hope this poster realizes that this time there is no way to keep away from doctors, for their son's sake.
  11. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Yes, I stated earlier that he needs to be evaluated by a psychiatrist, as did others besides MWM. And just because he is hearing voices doesn't mean that they will ever become command hallucinations (quote "at least not yet"). I tire of panic mode.
  12. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Oh one more thing .....people here are offering great ideas for assessment and of course much depends on.your insurance, but thankfully we have many options here.

    Luckily you are now living in a really good county. I too previously lived in the county you came from. This county public health department has much better support. Again, if he is diagnosis. With any mental health condition you can call the county dept of health and human services and they can assign a case manager who can help you find supports and funding to help your son. This can continue if he qualifies through adulthood. Including vocational and housing support. There are sometimes long waiting lists for certain programs but its always worth signing up because our kids continue to grow up and even a seven year wait is worth it if he ends up having a mental health condition that needs ongoing support. And that is NOT to say he wont have a really independent life but the support is "person centered " so designed to help him reach his personal goals.
    The case management is not income dependent and not associated with cps or anything like that. You are in charge of decisions if he qualifies.
    Just in case you do find that he has a mental health condition beyond any possible drug use, and in case it affects his ability to function in life, I thought you might want to know.
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hearing voices is a serious symptom which needs evaluation. Could be psychiatric or medically caused.
  14. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    I wasn't saying that it isn't a serious symptom. That, and the cutting, etc, are exactly why I said her son needs to see a psychiatrist, not a family doctor. But hearing voices does not mean they will ever become command hallucinations and it does not automatically mean schizophrenia or the like. My daughter has auditory, and rarely visual, hallucinations. She does not have a diagnosis of schizophrenia and her psychiatrist does not think she ever will. He thinks if she can ever get her mood properly regulated and get her monster anxiety under control that the hallucinations will go away. It's terrifying when you have a child who is hearing voices, or like mine who was living in such terror from them that I couldn't even go to bed before she did. If I had someone making comments like "not yet", it would have made it so much worse for me. It was all I could do to hold it together, and I had been a member of this board for years by the time the hallucinations came along and had a child who was born "different" and had many more years experience with difficult child than this mother has with the issues with her son. I certainly don't think we should be adding fears that more than likely will never come to fruition.