Hello :) My story

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Day, Jun 11, 2015.

  1. Day

    Day New Member

    Hi there, i have a 19 year old son, who is struggling with severe social anxiety and depression. He takes Zoloft and Serequel, sees a psycologist weekly, a psychiatrist monthly, and we have even tried hypnotherapy. He refuses to work or go to school, since February. He has a stutter and a learning disability, which makes things a little more difficult. Up until a year and a half ago, he was playing sports, had a girlfriend and got good grades. But he always feared getting a job. When he finally got one, with my pushing, he hated it, but worked full-time through the summer. What started the spiral was a bad break-up with his girlfriend of 2 years and I later found out, a verbally abusive boss. He stopped going to school, stopped all contact with friends and stayed in his room. He did follow through with a welding program but did not finish it, due to too many missed days. The struggle now is what to do? Im trying to set some goals for him to leave the house, but he wont. He says the medication makes him too tired. His jobs are walking the dog everyday and doing the dishes, which he does. As you can see, i am at the beginning stages of this and i went through my own depression dealing with this. Im trying to figure out when to push and when not to? I want our old life back.
  2. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Hi day and welcome. Wow that is hard. It sounds like he has diagnosis and then some bad setbacks. Can you meet with him and the psychologist to create a plan that all agree to? Keep it simple at first to slowly move him back to functionality? My son's downward spiral into addiction really ramped up at age 19. Transitions were always hard for him too. Does your son use substances?

    Are you going to therapy? Ramp up your own support system as much as possible during this time for new ideas plus support for you.

    We are here for you and we care. Keep posting to us. Warm hugs today.
  3. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi Day,
    Welcome to the site. It's good that your son is going to therapy, that alone is a great. Since he says the medication he is on makes him too tired I would see if his psychiatrist can prescribe something different. I know it can take some time to get the right combination.
    Does he seam satisfied with his psychologist and psychiatrist? Since he's 19 are you able to get any feedback from them? I agree with COM in working with them to create a plan.

    Here I see a possible job opportunity, may no be much but it's something, since he walks your dog maybe there are others in your neighborhood who need dogs walked.
    Does he do well with animals? A way to ease him back into a working environment is maybe he can volunteer at an animal shelter or a vet clinic.
    I would try and think of areas where he would have minimal contact with the public. It sounds to me like his self esteem has taken a huge blow with the breakup of his girlfriend and having a verbally abusive boss didn't help matters either.

    Let us know how things are going.

    ((HUGS)) to you......................
  4. Day

    Day New Member

    My son tried to escape through drugs around 14 and 15, but drugs did not agree with him. He was the child that couldn't even handle cough syrup. He went through a drinking phase but only once in awhile and was self harming when drunk. He read how bad it is to drink on his medication so has slowed it right down. Plus he doesn't have any money. He was very honest and said that he would definately be a drug addict, if they made him feel better. His addiction is gaming. He said that is the only thing in life that makes him happy and if i take it away, he will have nothing left. He has friends that still come around but they always want to go out so my son usually says no. He really likes both doctors alot and rarely fights me to go to appointments. If you were to ask him, he is quite content and has expressed that he never wants to leave. This does not work well for my husband and now that he is an adult, we are feeling the financial strain, for medications and therapy. He would love to volunteer at an animal shelter but there is an interview process and he said he is not ready for that. My husband wants to turn off the internet and has tried to take him camping and fishing but he wont leave the house. I have gone to some counseling and so has my husband as our marriage was crumbling. Thank-you for your kind words of support! It really does help.
  5. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Since he is open to volunteering at an animal shelter but not ready for the interview process I would think this something that one of his therapists can work on with him, they can help him practice.
    I think you should at least bring it up to his therapist.

    I'm glad that you are getting some counseling. I know how hard it can be on a marriage. My son's problems were very different from what you are dealing with but they was still a strain on my marriage. I'm glad that my husband and I stuck it out.

    I'm glad you are here with us.
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  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Raising a challenging kid IS really hard on a marriage. You can get through this, but maybe your husband doesn't understand depression? I had to help my husband wrap his head around it. Men often see depression as simply laziness, and it is NOT the same thing. It truly is a mental roadblock.

    Stupid idea: are there any internet cafes around? As in, would he go out with you for a "coffee" if he could do his gaming while there? I'd discuss it with his counselor first, but... sometimes the first step is just to get them out of the house at all.

    Would he do yard work for neighbors if he didn't have to go find the work? i.e. you line it up and he just does it?
  7. Day

    Day New Member

    Great ideas :) I have a few things lined up to see if he will try, such as lawns but my fear is him not following through. He has had 3 job opportunities where at the last minute, he didn't go in. The last one he had a panic attack in the car. I had to pull over and he would not stop crying. He has more of a social phobia. No, my husband does not understand mental illness. He is struggling more than I and we are still mourning the loss of what was and what we thought would be plus heart broken to watch him let his life pass by. Plus starting to see that he may never leave and we will have him living with us forever. At our worst time, my husband said he would leave as he has no intentions of living with an adult son forever. I said fine, do what you need to do but I'm not going anywhere. I dont want to enable him either so we are trying to come together and find the balance. It's not easy though i know things could always be worse.
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Neither of you should be looking after him "forever". Face it, he will likely outlive both of you. If he is totally disabled and cannot work, he needs to go into some form of care other than you. For now, while he is working with his doctors and trying to find answers, you might want to allow him a bit of time. But... there does need to be a plan, and a timeline. This should be discussed with his doctors.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Has he ever been evaluated completely? He sounds like he could have a form of autistic spectrum disorder and it is ruining his life. My son has this and early intervention saved him. Medication did nothing for him and he is sensitive to medications to, which is a common trait in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). All ASDers have some sort of social issues, whether it is not knowing how to socialize appropriately or being afraid to socialize at all or just preferring to be alone. And they hate changes. My son doesn't like vacations. He has his own place now and he can only sleep there, nowhere else. He also likes a set schedule. He does have a part-time job and collects SSI and makes enough to be on his own. He has one friend that he really likes and has no interest at all in hanging out with anyone else like most twenty one year olds do. He thinks the idea of a girlfriend would be "too much drama" and right now has no interest in dating or malls or anything but...you guessed it...videogames and also movies and he does like Special Olympics Softball (notation: He has a normal I.Q., but finds the Special Ollympics easier for him to socialize and perform in).He is very easygoing and well balanced and happy with himself. When we first got him, he was a mess and raged and stayed up all night for two years. the interventions REALLY helped him.

    He has never tried drugs or drinking.

    But he started interventions in his infancy, when he was in foster care. And we continued fast paced after we adopted him. He is doing well. Not all kids need therapy. It depends on what is really wrong with them. Perhaps you have not gotten the right diagnosis yet.

    How is he with the environment. Loud noise bother him? Being touched? Certain fabrics? Certain foods? Is he obsessed with certain subjecsts and has narrow interests (big red flag for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)). Did he speak late, even if he caught up? Does he make good eye contact with people he doesn't know? My son had to work on this. He can do it, but it's hard. I asked him why it's so hard to look somebody in the eyes and he said, "Mom, eyeballs are gross." I had to laugh. He is a great young man and your son sounds very nice too. That's why I wonder. His willingness to accept help is gold. He CAN be helped because he WANTS help. It is common for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) to be mistaken for stuff like social anxiety, ADHD, ODD, bipolar and a ton of disorders that may mimic it in some areas. Psychiatrists are not as able to diagnose autism spectrum as neuropsychologists (see paragraph below) because it is not a mental health issue. It is a neurological difference.

    Neuropsycholgists (psychologists with extra training in the brain) are my choice of diagnosticians in child AND adults. Even though your son is older, he shows a willingness to get help or be helped. Perhaps he is being treated for the wrong disorders. If he has Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), medication won't change his differently wired thinking and sensitivities.

    Just food for thought. No diagnosis. I don't play a doctor on TV or here ;) Good luck.
  10. Day

    Day New Member

    All of the things you listed, he had as a young child. Sensitive to light, touch, sounds hated change, late talker, temper tantrams as a toddler. By kindergarten he had out grown those and was very savvy socially as he was very intune to peplems feelings and he is very int
  11. Day

    Day New Member

    Oops! i was saying intuative. But it does seem like something we should look into. I always considered him my 'sensitive' child. His feelings are hurt easily and deeply. His thought processes is almost like a running record, that he can't turn off. His escape from his feelings is gaming or reading now. But 2 years ago, he was a different person. He had to be liked and popular, played hockey and rugby, played guitar, had a car, job, girlfriend, parties. He says now he just got too tired of trying so hard to be 'normal'. Thank-you! I am definately going to look into this.
  12. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Please look into a comprehensive evaluation, as was suggested. This could be any of quite a number of disorders, not just autism spectrum. The whole fact that he "knows" he is not and has never been normal, is important. He is probably right. And depression is too often treated as a standalone disorder, when it is frequently co-morbid with other conditions or is part of another diagnosis such as bi-polar.
  13. Day

    Day New Member

    I will for sure. He has an extensive medical history as he had a stroke in utero and we had many visits to Children's hospital. What was supposed to be cerebral palsy, never came to fruition, so we carried on. He had an assessment done at 7 years old and he had mild add and mild Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) but not enough for an official diagnosis. He worked hard on his schooling and again, we carried on. He started talking about depression in middle school, saying 'i know i should be happy, i have a good life, so why am i not?' We started him on counseling, supplements, and exercise really helped. We went through the blip of middle school with girls, marijuanna experimenting, some drinking but he seemed happy, grades were good. We had some amazing family vacations,everyone is close, we all got along, hiking trips with his dad. And then his girlfriend of 2 years broke up with him, for another guy and that is when the steady spiral down started and no medication or therapy or trips away, would help. The trauma maybe triggered something that was laying dormet. The doctor said it sounds like he has had mild depression and anxiety his whole life. Looking back, I feel guilty for not doing enough. We were so happy and thank-ful that he was physically healthy that we never even thought about his mental health. I have called a nueropsychologist office to get an assessment done. Thank-you everyone.
  14. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi Day:

    My 26 year old son suffers from these symptoms and behaviors. Unlike yours, he was not that amenable to therapy and refuses medication. He says he fears the side effects.
    Do you have a Department of Rehabilitation near you? The one near us will arrange volunteer positions either at animals shelters or zoos, and minimize the need for interviews.
    I agree with your husband. I do not think it is healthy for your son, or for the two of you to accept the situation as it is as a forever or long-term solution.

    Your son must find a way to mature and become independent as he is able. You have no reason for guilt. Every step of the way it seems you have tried to do the right thing for your son. Your son sounds like he has lots of strengths, good judgment and a willingness to work with others to solve his problems. The very fact that he backed away from drugs and alcohol, knowing the risk, sets him apart from many others. And he has already had successes: friends, a girlfriend, sports, school. It sounds really like he needs to learn how to rebound and recover from losses and setbacks and this is an important skill to learn.

    If he gets involved with the Department of Rehabilitation, with his therapists he will have a team whereby he can take responsibility to create his next steps, with supports. That does not necessarily mean that he work at a job.

    There is also school. Or he can enroll in college online, and minimize the need for social interaction. If he is interested in gaming, there are many computer science programs online.

    If he believes he cannot work he can apply for SSI, on the basis of mental illness. He must do something, I think, after a period of mourning the loss of his girlfriend.

    To indulge anxiety makes it worse. If depression is so disabling as to be incapacitating, there are residential treatment programs. But your home is not a treatment program and in my way of thinking it should not be anything but a means to another end, that your son work on making a life.

    If he cannot function due to his psychiatric medication he needs to tell the psychiatrist. There are many options instead of Seroquel. In fact, it is not allowed to be prescribed in many prisons because it is sought out for abuse.

    The decisions of what to do are his and he can do so with his psychologist, I think. Your responsibility is to decide with your husband how long and under what conditions your son can continue to live with you. To give your son the idea that his disability or his despair can drive your life and marriage and household is to empower him to remain ill and grow more so.

    I know how hard this is, Day. In our case, my son is older, but how I wish I had had the mindset I do now. Every year I tried to push my son, resulted in more conflict and bitterness between us, and delayed the inevitable, that he emancipate and deal with his own problems. I was doing all the trying. He was not.

    My son has been connected with social services and mental health in 3 counties, and with the Department of Rehabilitation. Thus far he has not utilized fully the services he can get. But I know when he is ready there are all kinds of supports available for those who need them and want to utilize them.

    When our children have such terrible problems and seem unable to overcome them, the pull is that we do as we have done for all these years: Holding them close, supporting them, trying and trying and trying yet again.

    In our case my trying did not work. In our case, my son's social anxiety, depression and body dysmorphic disorder have greatly diminished as I have insisted that he solve his own housing and financial matters. I do not like the way he lives, but he is living as he is able and responsible for such. If he does not like it enough, he will change it.

    This new way of living is very, very difficult for me. But the old way, too, was horrible. At least now there is the possibility of growth for both of us.

    It does not seem that you have made one false step. The next steps and decisions are your son's to make.

    Take care.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2015
  15. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    A break up after two years is extremely hard on a young man, and this goes double for someone who is already struggling. But time, counseling and healthy activity should be of help.

    A comprehensive evaluation does sound like a good idea.

    I personally think that sometimes psychologists are not ideal for some situations and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker or a Mental Health Counselor might be a better fit. A psychologist is unlikely to help a person to set goals and encourage them to attain them. Another thought is to keep the psychologist, but to employ a coach as well. BUT, it would need to be a life coach who has worked with young adults and has some experience with different thinking individuals, for example there are ADD coaches.

    Since your son seems to have either a social anxiety, depression and/or other difficult issues right now, perhaps a part time job would be a good idea.

    This would also allow him to see the doctor(s) without him having to possibly ask for time off from work, which is stressful for anyone. He could work PT for now and perhaps down the road, say in nine months, you could re-evaluate.

    Another thought...is to check the local community college or a similar area that offers training programs. Ex Plummer, electrician etc. and see if anything interests him at all. Maybe one of these educational programs wouldn't be too taxing and it would help him move forward.

    I would definitely put boundaries, limits...on his video playing activity. Gaming can get out of control, addictive and fast. If at all possible, put limits on this NOW! I know someone whose son played video games about twenty hours a day for several years and caused chaos in the family. It didn't start off that badly, but it rapidly worsened, until it was a horrible situation.

    It's great that he is in counseling and you've had counseling.

    This might sound strange, but does your son take vitamins? Do you? Some vitamins that help with stress and depression include: b complex, D3 and Fish Oil. They help me Immensely!!!! Turn my world around for me. (I suspect stress depletes our vitamins. But of course, everyone is different. )

    You and your spouse need to stay strong and nurture your relationship...go out, have fun, get counseling if needed, etc. this is taxing stuff. Keep your marriage paramount.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2015
  16. Day

    Day New Member

    I can't express enough how helpful all of your responses are! I know in my heart Copabanana, that he needs to move in that direction. I know it is best for him. When I bring it up, he looks terrified and gets tears in his eyes. He does not want to be alone and right now I can't do that to him. I just don't have the will to bring forth his greatest fear, not yet. But he knows that to live at home he needs to take his medications, see his doctors, help out at home. Our next step is that we got him a gym membership and he needs to go once a week to start, no excuses. He went to a welding course from September to February and did okay. We are talking about another course but he said he is not ready. I know my son is capable. I know he has what it takes to be independent. I have started putting up a bit of a barrier between myself and him. I became consumed with trying to 'fix' him and at the expense of everything. It was not healthy. I love my husband dearly and we are moving forward. We have agreed that there needs to be movement forward, no matter how small. Nomad, we do try and take all of those, as the psychiatrist is not a pill pusher and she had my son try the natural way for the first year. I have been to the doctor and I also need to get my health in order. I am 48 and pre-menopausal which really does not help! My poor husband! And i work with at risk young children and families in a downtown elementary school, so it can be a stressful job. On Tuesday an 11 year old tried to take his own life in the school bathroom. I came home and cried. When I read other posts on here, I cry. Why do some young people have to suffer so much? But your responses help so much. Your posts have made me feel stronger :) I am so thankful I found this site.
  17. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Any chance he has had another stroke? that the stress of the whole situation set of a physical reaction?
  18. Day

    Day New Member

    When he was at his worst, a year ago we got an Emergency Assesment done at Children's hospital. He had blood work done, anEEG and a CAT scan. He has been referred for an MRI. His psychiatrist said that his case is very hard to treat. There are many layers and the stroke injury complicates things. The medication that would help his ADD would make his stuttering and anxiety worse and so on. We are at the stage of still trying to figure it all out. Thank-you for that suggestion Insane Cdn. I think im an insane canadian as well :)
  19. Day

    Day New Member

    Sorry, i just presumed Cdn meant Canadian but i dont yet know all the acrynoms so I'm probably wrong about that one!
  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    After reading all this, and knowing your son wants help, could you convince him to apply for SSI? I ask because he DOES have real medical problems. A stroke is serious. His challenges are real. He isn't being defiant or difficult. You can even go with him. It's not BAD to go with him if he is getting help.

    If he does get SSI, and it can sometimes take a few tries, he will get a the dept. of job rehab involved, a caseworker to go shopping with him and other life's chores (this takes the heat off of you and gets him out and about with a person not related to him), and housing options away from home with others who may have some challenges or his own place, if he gets to that point. At any rate, you deserve a break, and this will help him move toward independence, as it did my son.
    He may very well have disabilities due to his problems in utero, but t here is help for willing disabled people who want to be as independent as possible or for those who families can't or won't let them live at home until they die. We did not want our son to have to live at home until then...and have no future.

    To get social security, gather all of his medical records. Call your local Aging and Disabilities office to get an appointment for him (or have him do it) and then he can go to that. He will need an assessment for SS. Your son will be told where he is going for this assessment and when. He may have to have a job assessment too. That is at some place of work for a few days or a few weeks. Yes, I know he is scared, but he can't go on like this forever. Along with the SSI he would get Medicare and Medicaid to take care of his medical problems and, if he doesn't drive, there is probably free van rides or cab rides for those with SSI. Or cheap ones. My son goes everywhere on his bike or by cab. He never calls us for a ride and he lives close and we'd drive him, but he likes doing it himself.

    My son had a complicated birth history too.

    I wish you luck, whatever you decide to try. And I hope he feels better soon.
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