New and confused (very long)

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by almondjoy, Oct 6, 2007.

  1. almondjoy

    almondjoy New Member

    Hi everyone. I just ran across this site last night. You all seem so nice and I desperately need someone I can talk to on the "outside" about what is going on with my 16yr old son right now.
    He says he's depressed. VERY depressed.:( But it's weird, because the only times he seems extremely depressed to me is when he has gotten in trouble. I know that sounds horrible for a mom to say, and I feel guilty for even thinking that...but I have bipolar disorder myself, so I've "been there, done that", and I'm just not sure what to think right now.

    For instance, this past Sunday, he spent most of the day with my nephew (nephew is 14). My son (I'll just call him Scott) drove my nephew around for a long time, they went out to eat together, and to visit a mutual friend together. Scott seemed fine...until I got a call from my sister saying that my nephew had given my son $25 for gas! When I approached Scott about this, he instantly acted very ticked off and defensive. (He gets upset if we question him about anything! But he has given us reason to question him! Last school year, we found out he drank and tried marijuana upstairs in his room!).
    Anyway, after I asked him about the $25, he went upstairs to his room. It was late, so my husband and I went to sleep. Unfortunately, Scott didn't :frown: Instead, he cut himself a few times (not deep), and burned himself by heating the tip of the knife he used to cut himself. :frown:
    I had made him an appointment with a psychiatrist already, but it wasn't until Nov. 27th, so I called that psychiatrist's office and the secretary said to take him to the ER. The lady that saw him in the ER gave us a name of a different psychiatrist that could get him in faster. So, we see the psychiatrist today at noon.
    Back to the examples...night before last, Scott was on his computer very late (about 1am). My husband told him to get off the computer. Yesterday, I noticed an odd ring around Scott's neck...I asked him what it was from wrapping a guitar cord around his neck!!! He said that my husband checking on him so much made him feel "crazy", and that it made him sad and mad so he did that after my husband told him to get off the computer!
    Mind you, he seemed fine before he was told to do something or before he got in trouble. I'm just soooo confused! He said that he isn't depressed when he's around his friends. What? How can he go from having fun, laughing and talking, to hurting himself just minutes later? I just don't get it.
    I just don't understand what has happened to my little boy! He has talked about being depressed for some time now. Two years ago, we took him to a psychiatrist that diagnosed him with-bipolar disorder...but he did that within 10mins, no kidding! As soon as he heard that I have BiPolar (BP), he instantly said Scott did too. He gave him abilify, which did nothing except cause my son to gain weight pretty rapidly. The psychiatrist refused to switch medications, or even change the dosage! After a couple of months, we stopped going to him since he wouldn't listen to a word I said. At that point, we were having lots of problems with my youngest son, so we didn't immediately pursue getting Scott to another doctor. Obviously, that was a big mistake on my part. Hindsight is 20/20 :frown:
    I'm sorry this is so long. It's just hard to explain what is going on with-out writing quite a bit here. What it comes down to is, it seems that Scott does just fine...unless someone questions him about something, or he gets caught doing something he shouldn't. His grades have fallen tremendously the last year or so. I can pinpoint exactly when that happened. Up until the end of his 8th grade year, he was pretty much a straight "A" student and was in the gifted and talented program. But, one of his teachers back then assigned a report. He wouldn't do it! He didn't like her because of a remark she made to him (he made a rude remark in her class about how dumb the report was so she said if he didn't like her class, he could have his schedule changed). The report was a huge project for her class. The worked on it for months. But it was like pulling teeth to get Scott to work on it for 5 minutes! I thought we would never get through that!
    He finally finished the report, but that attitude has stayed with him. Last year, he was put in ISS because he was caught with cigarettes at school (3 times!). The same thing happened...he wouldn't do his work. They wouldn't let him out of ISS until he completed the work. It took about a month in ISS before he finally did it! And that was only because he decided he hated the ISS teacher and that was his only way to get away from him.
    So, to sum it all up, it seems to me that Scott is doing what Scott wants to do and only seems to get upset if someone questions or accuses him, or catches him doing something he shouldn't! He told me himself that he isn't depressed when he's around his friends.
    Looking back, I can see sooo many signs that now make me how he has always had such a bad temper! Especially when it comes to his younger brother. For some reason, he seems to set him off the worst! He's a loud child...always making noises of some sort...that gets on Scott's nerves bad. If my youngest son makes too much noise or doesn't do what Scott wants, then Scott threatens him. That has gotten better the last year or so, but I think maybe that has to do with the fact that my youngest son knows not to tick Scott off now. Also, once when Scott was about 10, he got mad at my mom and scratched something really crude on her car! (that was the only time something like that happened)

    I wanted to take him to a doctor when he was very young. No one else in my family agreed. They all thought I was over reacting. If only I could go back in time and ignore them now! But like I said earlier, hindsight is 20/20. I know that all I can do now is get him the help NOW. And I certainly intend to do just that. Aside from the psychiatrist appointment today, he also has a therapist appointment this next Tuesday.

    One thing that frustrates me a lot is that I know HIS story will be much different than ours! HE will just say that he is sad and depressed...I'm sure he will leave out the part that he only hurts himself when he gets in trouble! I'm afraid that the doctor will immediately say bipolar again, simply because of my diagnosis. (by the way, I have been stable for a long time now). But, I'm just not sure that that is what is going on with Scott. Maybe it is BiPolar (BP) and he just has different symptoms than me, but I want the psychiatrist to really listen to us and consider everything, not just BiPolar (BP) because it's the most logical.
    I love Scott soooo much! I want the best for him! He's so smart and I just know his future could be so great...if only.....:(
  2. Sunlight

    Sunlight Active Member

    hi there, I welcome you and read your post. I am glad you are seeking help for him. it is a good step and I hope he is able to comply and get answers. ((HUGS))
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Here's my feedback, for what it's worth (and I have a mood disorder too--mostly depression). First of all, I wouldn't be shocked if he was a drug user, even if he swears up and down that he isn't (I had a daughter who did that). If he was already smoking pot IN THE HOUSE my guess is that it wasn't the first time and that he was getting away with it on you two so he got reckless and did it under your nose (been there/done that too). That isn't helping him.
    I'd get a home drug test and spring one on him.
    Secondly, I don't know your son, but bipolar is in the family and that's significant. I don't have a clue if he has bipolar or not, but he is doing some things that kids do when they are very sad. If he's been complaining about depression, I believe him. I was a very VERY depressed teen, but I would temporarily feel better around the "buzz" of my friends. It was when I was alone or under any pressure at all (be it just small pressure) that I fell apart. I didn't cut, but my drug abusing daughter did--at the very least that's a cry for help. At the most it's a serious problem. My daughter claims cutting became addictive and it was hard for her to quit doing it.
    I think his action at ten years old was a big red flag that something was wrong, and I don't blame you for giving into family pressure, but I would stop doing that NOW. They should have no say so over how you treat your son--if they are like my family they'd rather hear "he's manipulating you" rather than "he's mentally ill." I'm again not a doctor--none of us are--but bipolar is very hereditary. It's all over my family tree. Under the circumstances that you have bipolar, I think it would be a great idea to try him on bipolar medication. Psychiatry isn't perfect, but that would make a lot of sense. However, if your son is self-medicating--alcohol or recreational drugs, bipolar medications will not work. He needs to be clean. I would take him to a very good Adolescent Psychiatrist and, if bipolar is mentioned, I'd try the treatment for it. What else do you really believe is causing it? He does seem to have some sort of mood any rate, whatever you decide to do, good luck to you and your precious child.
  4. AllStressedOut

    AllStressedOut New Member

    Have you considered a neuropsychologist instead of a psychiatrist? I found that they spent more time with both me and husband and then later more time with my boys. Then after testing the boys, he spent even more time with me and husband. It was much more thorough than my experiences with psychiatrists.

    I'm not sure about the bipolar diagnosis in your son. I have heard that it shows itself differently in kids than adults, but he is older than my kids. I do know what you mean about them assuming if the biomom has it, the kids must too. That is our case too. I'm not the bio mom, but their bio mom is diagnosed with bipolar. The most recent psychiatrist thinks all 3 of my difficult children have this. I disagree.

    Oh, one more thing, have you read the book "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene? It comes highly recommended on this site. I would also look into the book "The Bipolar Child", the name of the author escapes me right now. Both should be able to be checked out from your local library. If you get a chance to read them both, see if you see your son in any of the examples. That may help you decide what you think about the diagnosis.

    Welcome to the site. Many more will be along shortly to offer advice. It may be slow coming since it's the weekend, but you will get good advice.
  5. almondjoy

    almondjoy New Member

    Thank you all for your replies! I feel I need to clarify something though, I DO believe there is something wrong! I believe he is feeling depression as well! But I'm just not so sure it is BiPolar (BP). I have wondered about ODD accompanied with-depression. Sorry if I made it sound like he is just a spoiled brat seeking attention! That was farrrrr from what I meant! (that was said a couple of times when I was a teen dealing with-unmedicated way do I think that, it's a horrible thing when ignorant people assume things like that)

    I'll go along with whatever the psychiatrist thinks, as long as he LISTENS to us. I don't have a problem with trying him on BiPolar (BP) medications, as long as the doctor listens if the medications aren't working (like before).

    The psychiatrist today isn't specifically one for kids, but the appointment he has for November is. From what I've heard, that psychiatrist is a great one. I really don't know anything about the one we are seeing today, but at least it's a start.

    About the drugs, we already do the random tests now. He's clean for now...he swore that the time he did it in his room was the 1st time. I believe him because he told my niece (he told her everything, which is how I found out).
    Again, I'm sooo sorry for the way my post sounded. I didn't even consider that! I was just trying to get everything out. I know there is a problem and I know he doesn't want to feel this way :frown: I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure he gets better. As far the rest of my family, they can keep their opinions to themselves now LOL I have only been stable myself for the last few has taken some time for me to trust my own judgement. But now I do, and things are going to get better around here! :smile:

    I have read The Bipolar Child, but not the other one. I'll see if I can find it today at the book store. Thanks!
  6. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator


    Keep the appointment in November with the child psychiatrist, if even for a second opinion. It's better for an adolescent to see a child psychiatrist than an adult psychiatrist.

    Think of ODD as a symptom rather than a diagnosis unto itself. Either depression or bipolar disorder could be the underlying cause behind ODD behaviors. My son definitely presents this way.

    You should also be aware that between 30 and 50 percent of children who present with depression actually go on to have bipolar disorder. My kids' primary symptoms are anxiety and depression, and they have more than garden-variety depression.

    Good luck. Let us know how the appointment goes today
  7. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Wanted to add my hello!
  8. AllStressedOut

    AllStressedOut New Member

    Don't worry about anyone on here thinking your child is just a spoiled brat seeking attention. We know how it feels to be on the receiving end of that comment. It hurts to have someone imply it is your fault your child is acting this way. We all know better.

    My middle difficult child answered questions the psychiatrist asked in the manner he thought the psychiatrist wanted to hear. He said yes when asked if he was hearing voices and answered yes to all the questions the psychiatrist asked. Those answers weren't honest answers, he just didn't know what the guy wanted and wanted to give him what he thought he wanted. I think this is why the psychiatrist thinks he is bipolar. I think he is ADHD with situational depression. What I mean by situational is that he gets sad when sad things happen, but otherwise he is happy. I think that is perfectly normal and that it doesn't warrant BiPolar (BP) medications.

    Good luck with the appointment today. I hope this psychiatrist listens to you. I know how important it is to have your side heard.
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi, and welcome.
    I would definitely seek professional help for a good diagnosis and good medications, and I would also work on behavior modification or some sort of training, so that your son can learn to cope with-his panic and feelings of being put-upon when he's asked or told to do simple tasks. He's got to be able to function in the real world, and the family is a microcosm of the world, a practice area, if you will. He's got to learn that if you tell him to clean his room, he can't have a meltdown. For ex., our little kids will literally throw themselves on the floor and have a tantrum. Your older child will wrap a guitar string around his neck. He can't cope. (And yes, he's getting attention, too, but it's hard to say what came first, the chicken or the egg.)
    Don't worry about the spoiled brat stuff. We've all been there done that. You've come to the right place.

    Good point about situational depression, AllStressedOut. That's why Almond Joy's son needs a good diagnosis.
    And it takes awhile.
    Good luck!
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Welcome and hugs!!!!

    I am so glad you found us and so sorry you needed to look for us. As for how your post sounded, forget that little worry right now. You sounded like a mom who loves her child and is trying her darndest to get help for him nad the entire family.

    Glad the drug tests came up clean, but do they cover OTC medications? One scary thing kids do is abuse cough suppressant medications (with dextromethorphan.. though that is not spelled correctly). This is very dangerous. Might want to keep an eye on that.

    I am sad and angry when someone calls me on bad behavior, but it is not an excuse for me to not have my behavior corrected.

    It sounds like there is some sibling abuse going on, you say your younger son knows not to tick his bro off. You need to step in in a big way to protect your younger child. He has to be an big elelment in this. He deserves to feel safe in his home, and it does not sound like he does. It is common for our kids to abuse siblings, my son was really really bad with this. Keep a close eye out, and therapy for your younger to help him deal with all the chaos may be needed.

    I would keep both psychiatrist appts. It is important to make sure that if they think he is bipolar they use the first line mood atbilizers before they use any other medications. Lexapro is an SSRI, these medications can cause our kids to cycle (high moods then low moods). Search for mood stabilzers on google or this site and you will get the info you need.

    Love and Logic is another thing to try. The website is and has lots of free stuff to give you an idea of the program. It is another good resource. The books are in most bookstores, but the website has a broader range of them.

    You are doing a great job from the sounds of it. You are very aware of his problems, and you are doing the best youcan to get him help. This makes you a warrior mom :warrior: congratulations!!! You should be proud of yourself, very very proud.

    You have gotten your own illness under control, that is a huge thing to do. You recognize your son has problems and are searching for help for him, that is wonderful. I am not trying to blow sunshine up your tush, I just want you to stop a minute and praise yourself. Our kis wear us down and can make us feel horrible about ourselves. It si very important to take good care of mom and dad.


    Susie :ghost:
  11. jamrobmic

    jamrobmic New Member

    A good psychiatrist or therapist will listen to what you, the parent, have to say. I never had one who accepted my son's explanations about what was going on with him while ignoring my input (I did have a couple who didn't listen to either one of us, unfortunately). It's helpful to do a parent report; it makes it easier to keep from forgetting the things you want to make sure the doctor or therapist considers. Here's a link to help prepare one, along with info regarding a multidisciplinary evaluation:

    You said you think your son has ODD; the one diagnosis everyone agreed my son definitely had was ODD. However, once he had been on a mood stabilizer for a few months (Lamictal, in his case), he didn't exhibit ODD behaviors at all. Now that he has been off of a mood stabilizer for a year, his behavior once again is extremely oppositional. I'm not saying your son is or isn't bipolar, but most of us (not all) have found ODD behaviors to be a sx of another underlying condition. When that condition (and it's not always bipolar) is correctly diagnosis and treated, the ODD behavior improves or disappears altogether.
  12. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I wanted to add my welcome.

    Your son seems to truly live in the moment...and I don't mean in a way that is typical for kids. The emotions he is feeling at THAT time become all-consuming, it appears. When he's with his friends, he's happy and that defines him. When he's in trouble, that seems to define him to the point of SI (self-injury). That is very split thinking and I would make sure the psychiatrist and therapist are aware of this. Whatever his diagnosis turns out to be, it's something that can be addressed in therapy. With the knowledge of how he reacts to these situations, I would think that either CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) or DBT (Dialectal Behavioral Therapy) would be very helpful for your son.

    You're right; hindsight IS 20/20. There are a thousand things with my daughter I would do over if I could.
  13. almondjoy

    almondjoy New Member

    Thank you all sooo much for your replies! And all of the tips and links!

    The appointment was a bit different than I expected. The psychiatrist talked to my son alone first...not sure I like that. It was obvious by the time he called me and my hubby in that he had already made up his mind what the problem was. But, he did seem nice and smart, so I guess maybe that's ok...time will tell.

    He said that he felt Scott has depression with some social anxiety and some Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). He prescribed lexapro...that scares me! He said that we would watch him close and if any signs of mania popped up, we'll deal with it. I'm sure I'm overly worried about it because of my own experience. I was diagnosed with BiPolar (BP) after taking wellbutrin for a caused a manic episode. So, I'm very worried about him taking an antidepressant. But, the psychiatrist said he didn't see any signs of mania, so he feels it's just depression...yeah, that's what MY docs used to think too!

    Everything I've read says to give a mood stabilizer first if there is any doubt that it could be BiPolar (BP). I guess this psychiatrist doesn't read the same stuff I do LOL I'm going to be watching him like a hawk for a while, that's for sure! But just because I'm BiPolar (BP), I know that doesn't mean he neccessarily is...but I also know it raises his chances.

    About the sibling abuse...I don't see much of it now, but yes, there was a period of time in the past that I was very worried. It was when we saw the other psychiatrist a couple of years back. Now they get along much better thank goodness. But, I do think that is mostly because my youngest son knows when to stop now. Mostly, it was screaming and yelling, only a couple of times did it go further than that. It was only with my other son, never my daughter. But I still keep a close eye on that to make sure nothing ever happens again. If I hear them start to argue, I'm up the stairs as fast as I can get there!

    Thanks again for everything!!! I'm so thankful that I have found this place! As someone mentioned earlier, sometimes going through this really beats us parents up and makes us feel bad! I've often wondered, "if only"...."if only" I had done this, or that...hadn't done this or that...or if only I didn't have BiPolar (BP) (I was unmedicated while he was younger)...but I guess the most important thing now is that I have finally gotten help and am now stabilized, and now we are getting him some help. Thanks again everyone! :smile:

    PS. Just thought I would add something since I mentioned that I wasn't medicated when he was younger...I didn't physically abuse him or anything like that! He just heard way too much screaming and yelling and door slamming pretty much :frown: If I could go back in time and change anything, it would be to get my BiPolar (BP) diagnosis a LOT sooner! Stupid psychiatrists just didn't "get it" though...I went through soooo many years of not being diagnosed right. I'm thankful that I do at least know what to look for with my son if he should end up BiPolar (BP)!
  14. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    There is one other thing that you need to do.

    I am no doctor, but I bet that I would get the backing of every mamma on this board.

    Stop feeling guilty for what you did or did not do in the past. You are here now, and doing your very best. That is what matters. What you need is some YOU time. Take some time out of the day, or set aside some time each week to do something for you. Do you do that? If so, great. If not, please do. We cannot take care of our kids if we aren't taking care of ourselves.

    Treat yourself to a spa, lunch with a friend, an afternoon of shopping...or if you are on a budget like me, an afternoon in the park with a good book, a bubble bath, work on a craft that has been in that drawer for 4 years. Do something that makes you feel good.

    Good luck with the new medications, and keep us posted!
  15. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Yup, totally with BBK ... we can all beat ourselves up for what we did and didn't do in the past. However, it does no good and is a waste of time and emotion. The only thing to reflect on about past behavior is to learn from it and not make the same mistakes again.

    Having said that, now I'll welcome you to a wonderful group of people who will give you great advice and lots of caring. There's a tremendous amount of knowledge here.

    You're doing a super job! Your son is lucky to have you as his mom.