20 yr old depressed son

Lisa J

New Member
hello. This seems like a supportive site, and since my husband is out of the country, I might as well sound off to you all.

My son is going to be 20 in a couple of weeks. When he came home from college last week, he borrowed my phone since he was awaiting a new one. He left his FB account open and I noticed a msg to his girlfriend about smoking pot. This is very out of character for him, so I was very concerned.

I called him on it, yelled at him, calmed down, and talked it out. That was a couple of days ago. Tonight's conversation opened my eyes to the fact that he is clinically depressed.

A bit of background... My boy has a very mild case of Tourette's Syndrome. You wouldn't know if you met him, but it has had a huge impact on his social-emotional development. He is very creative and smart, but never felt as though he fit in. I am a child psychologist. My husband is also a psychologist, but really more quantitative stuff. He also has been depressed and suicidal during a very difficult time around 10 years ago. The self-doubt and recrimination my son describes sounds very much like what my husband experiences nightly, but sons is on a grander scale.

My boy said he felt suicidal two days ago, but his friends talked him down. He has not been surely or belligerent; just very weepy, isolated, and self-loathing.

He said it really hit him when he returned to college last fall and that's when he started smoking. His grades have been fine, and he is in an extremely challenging software engineering program. Last year he about failed a class and he didn't seem nearly as upset as he is now about a recent final he messed up, despite still coming out of the class with an acceptable grade.

Please don't use "your the psychologist, you should know what to do". I have questioned him as I would any kid. I understand the genetic and cognitive contributions. I understand what is likely my parenting contribution. I will research medications (although I would appreciate advice here, too). But, I am scared. What if it doesn't get appreciably better? What if he gets worse? What if he tries to kill himself? What if he shapes up and then I have to send him back to school?

He is starting a summer job he is excited about as well as a summer class on Monday. I hope that will help. He says he hates being home and the high school memories. I hope that working and going to school downtown rather than here on the burbs will help.

I also have an 11.5 year old. Today she texted the sons girlfriend to ask her if she knew why her brother was so sad.

To make matters worse, my husband is on an overseas trip and knows nothing about this. He'll be back Thursday. Given his proclivity to obsess, I thought it best to wait unti he is home to share this.

Thank you for "listening".

in a daze

Well-Known Member
I'm so sorry you are going through this. Is he willing to see a therapist and a psychiatrist? Where's he getting the money for the pot? Do you think he's s smoking every day?