Please help with advice for despondent college age son

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Heart Heavy, Feb 20, 2015.

  1. Heart Heavy

    Heart Heavy New Member

    I would appreciate hearing from anyone who has advice or insight or experience in dealing with a situation like this. I’m so scared. Thank you.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015
  2. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi Heavy Heart, welcome to the forum. I'm sorry you are feeling scared but I understand.
    It sounds to me like your son is dealing with an identity crisis. How awful for him to endure the cruelty of the other students. If he really is gay then I'm sure that is a huge part of what's going on with him. Bless you for not turning your back on him because of that possibility. Being that he's a twin he might be comparing himself to his brother.
    I think it would be great if you could get him into some counseling or some type of support group. He's only 20 and hasn't really gotten into to much trouble so I think there's hope for him getting things straightened out. You are showing him you are there for him and that you love him. Ultimately it's up to him to do the work and make the changes. You are doing all you can for him and that counts, you will know in your heart no matter the outcome that you have done all you could.
    Also, don't blame yourself for any of this. It's nothing you did or didn't do, it just is.
    I pray that you, your son and family will be able to find some peace and work through this.
    I'm glad you are here. Please let us know how things are going.
    ((HUGS)) to you..........
  3. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Hi Heart,

    First, I am so sorry you and your loved ones are going through this.

    Getting psychiatric help when needed is difficult in our location also. It is stressful and frightening and so very frustrating. husband and I dealt with this with our oldest son.

    While I do not have first hand info, I do want to share a story. Friends of ours had a son who went through something similar while away at GA Tech. It was a very scary time for them. Son finally came home and went through a couple years of doing not much (pretty much sitting around), but apparently healing. Eventually, he got a basic-level job and did that for awhile. There seemed to be not much progress, but at least he was doing something.

    But, you know, he eventually went back to school in a college here. Graduated, married and got entry-level job at Radio Shack. A couple years later, he and his wife moved to Atlanta area because he got a much, much better job.

    So, things looked very bleak for several years. But, given plenty of time, this son worked his way through it. At a slow pace for his parents....but it happened. And, he seems to be thriving now.
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  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Your entire post screams "Aspergers Syndrome" to me. These are children and adults who are often academically brilliant but so socially clueless that it impacts their lives to the max. I can't even think of anything else to say. Will he allow himself to be tested by a neuropsychologist? Very bright Aspies are often overlooked by psychiatrists because it is a neurological difference rather than a psychiatric problem (although it can mimic one and can be misdiagnosed).Your therapist should NOT have diagnosed a person he has never seen. My son, who is on the spectrum, was wrongly diagnosed with bipolar and put on medications he never needed. Psychotic? How? Psychotic means he is out of touch with reality. I think your therapist, since he is a therapist, never met your son and is not a neuropsychologist is looking up the wrong tree. BE CAREFUL!!!!!!!! Yikes!

    I am a lifelong psychiatric patients and it is hard to get the diagnosis right even when you see the patient let alone just by listening to you describe him. Not to mention, therapists are really not allowed to diagnose anything because they don't have the training. Your therapist may be good for you, but he is not aware of Aspergers...a common problem...or he would have at least mentioned it with your son's particular problems.

    When your son said he was "socially retarded" and did not fit in, my heart started beating faster. I have a son on the spectrum. That's exactly what Aspies are like. And they don't "get" people at all and people often find them awkward and strange. There is tons of help for this, but he needs a diagnosis by the right type of professional. You CAN teach bright Aspies to live and function in this world.

    Without treatment though, Aspies often fail. What was your son's very early years like? Was he extremely precocious? Speech delay or just the opposite? Obsessive about his interests? Few interests, but very intense? Inflexible? Scared of or unable to transition well from one activity to another? Extreme perfectionism...things had to stay the same or he'd meltdown? Either shy or just socially inappropriate, such as running up to another kid and sticking his face into the other kids face and starting to monologue about his interests. Inability to have a give-and-take conversation? Onesided monologing? Able to recite television commercials or shows back to you verbatim?

    There are lots of traits. I think your son diagnosed himself. Normally I tell mothers of adult sons to let them learn to be independent, but I'm not sure your son can do that without outside help. He seems to know that he is different and would probably be maybe relieved and eager to help hiimself if he could only get diagnosed. These young adults often do not learn by watching others. But some do. My son, who is a step below an Aspie, has learned A LOT and is far more "normal neurologicallyl" than he used to be. But, then, he's been getting help since toddlerhood. Your son is so bright that everyone missed it, I think. He was probably "differently wired" from the time he was born...maybe started struggling socially early on.

    Of course, I could be wrong. Don't take anything verbatim. But do check it out.

    Good luck, hon. I think your son will be ok.
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    Last edited: Feb 20, 2015
  5. Heart Heavy

    Heart Heavy New Member

    Thank you. After the very first crying episode in January, my son had texted that evening if he had ever been tested for autism. He had been researching it and thought that might be the problem. I told him he hadn't been but to talk to the counselor at school about it. I don't know if he did or didn't. I have no clue if therapists or psychiatrists can even diagnose that. Where do I go for that type of diagnosis? I think he would agree to go if I could find someone who tests for it.
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    As an adult, it is a different process than for kids. Where I live (not the USA), there is an Autism Society. They have a web site. There may be a similar organization in the US. Here, the website has links and lists of professionals known to be good at diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and/or Asperger's Syndrome. I'd start there.
  7. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome Heavy Heart. I am so sorry you are going through this with your son. Whatever is going on with him, he has loving, concerned parents who are willing to do what it takes to help him, he is a fortunate young man to have that. I think you've been given good advice, it certainly sounds as if he needs to be evaluated. Sometimes it takes awhile to get the right diagnosis.

    Listen to what everyone says and take what feels right and leave the rest. We can offer clues, but you know the whole picture, we don't. This is hard right now, but now you understand that there is an issue that needs to be dealt with. You have pointers in what sound like good directions......keep posting, we're here for you......
  8. Heart Heavy

    Heart Heavy New Member

    I'm at a complete loss on how to talk to him (if at all) or what to do. I'm mad at myself for snapping since the last thing he needs is me complaining that I'm worried. He's a mess and I can't even get him help.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Take him to a Neuropsychologist.
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Do you have any help lines for suicide or mental health? Here, anyone can call - not just the person who is depressed - and someone can give you advice on how to handle the situation.
  11. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    My daughter is a psychological examiner and responded with this when I asked her if she had anything to offer as far as your son looking into possibility of autism. I did not give her much info to go on. From your latest post, sounds like he needs to talk to a therapist ASAP.
    There are still IEPs for college, but that's rare and more difficult. I'm going to guess that if he's made it this far in life, that diagnosis should not accurately fit him. I'd do what the mom suggests, then. Go the the counselor, but not in search of a diagnosis. He should go to address what specific issues he feels are hindering him in life. If the counselor sees an autism spectrum disorder, they can follow the proper channels from there. But being diagnosed this late in life is super rare and not likely.
  12. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Not as rare as it used to be, and there ARE significant gains to be made from knowing. Some people have already raised their kids and find out this is what they are dealing with and it is life changing.

    I agree with starting with a counselor and dealing with specific issues and challenges - but keep an open mind, and don't be afraid to bring up a broader spectrum of issues.

    You might also want to do more research into Asperger's in particular - and see for yourself if some of the early signs were there when he was growing up.
  13. Heart Heavy

    Heart Heavy New Member

    Tomorrow is the day we have to contact my son's college so he can apply for a mental health leave of absence.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015
  14. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    I am following along and am praying for you all. While you are waiting, if necessary, go to the ER and admit him if things get worse. He can stay there and get emergency treatment until he can get in to see a specialist. We are here for you. I am so sorry for your pain and fear.
  15. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi Heavy Heart, just checking in to see how you, your son and husband are doing. Let us know how things go.

    ((HUGS)) to you.......
  16. Heart Heavy

    Heart Heavy New Member

    I finally found a psychiatrist who could see him tomorrow afternoon. It's been a roller coaster here. This site reminds me that I'm not alone. Thank you
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Lots of adults are diagnosed with Aspergers. I've gone to a neuropsychologist myself and they considered that. It makes a big difference in your life if you know it and can get help, at any age.

    However, his comment about "consciousness" and knowledge that he can't undo makes me think of other things that could be more serious, such as a thought disorder or ideas that he knows something nobody else knows. I hope that's not it.

    Hugs and good luck!!!
  18. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    I'm glad you found someone who can see him. It may take a few sessions before he is willing to really open up about what's going on. Hoping he will be able to share with the Dr. and start getting things figured out.
    Thanks for the update. Please let us know how it goes.

    ((HUGS)) to you.....
  19. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I am so glad that he's home and that you got an official "leave" for him.
    And that he has an appointment with-a psychiatrist. I agree, that it will take a few times to get to know one another and for your son to open up.
    My heart aches for all of you.
  20. Heart Heavy

    Heart Heavy New Member

    Just got back from his first appointment. Due to my son's age, the doctor obviously shared nothing with me nor did my son for that matter. All I know is that he was give a prescription for 20 mg of citalopram which I guess is the generic for Celexa. I did ask the doctor if he does therapy or just medication management. He said he will discuss that with my son at the next appointment in 2 weeks. Not sure if this is going to help but I guess it's a start.