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Topic: 19yr old son refuses help

11 posts, 0 answered
  1. Nelie
    Nelie avatar
    5 posts
    5 October 2021
    Hi, I'm am after some advise really. I have a 19yr old son who suffers from depression. He has given up his apprenticeship 6 mths ago. He did see a therapist once and said it was a waste of time and won't go back. The Dr gave him medication which he refuses to take.
    He lives in our Perth home while we live 3hrs away in the country. We do see him every 10 days or so, either staying with him or him staying with us for a few nights. Our oldest daughter also visits him when we are not there. We are in contact daily. How can I help him? Or encourage him to accept the help on offer? I'm very concerned. I have suggested him moving in with us even if its only for a while, but he won't agree to this either. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
  2. Petal22
    Community Champion
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    Petal22 avatar
    2020 posts
    5 October 2021 in reply to Nelie

    Hi Nelie,

    Wellcome to our forums!

    Im sorry your family is going through this I understand the worry involved.

    Is is possible for your self to spend some time with your son in the place he is living at now? Just having you near him would be a world of comfort to him.

    By yourself being close to him you may be able to give him the support he needs and encouragement to keep seeking professional help for his depression…. I understand he is not wanting to take his medication maybe you could accompany him to his doctor and speak to the doctor together……

    Just keep supporting him and encouraging him to seek professional help

  3. therising
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    therising avatar
    2715 posts
    6 October 2021 in reply to Nelie

    Hi Nelie

    My heart goes out to as you work so hard to help your son and as you feel so deeply for him at the same time. As a mum, I can say to feel so deeply for our child when they're in pain is painful and at times overwhelming.

    If your son's a sensitive guy, I imagine him to be a deeply feeling person. Do you have any idea what challenge or challenges he's trying to feel his way though? For example, does he feel the apprenticeship was not really him? Say, if he was studying/practicing carpentry, did he get to a point where he could feel he's just not a carpenter and maybe he's left feeling no solid sense of identity? Kind of like a 'stuck in limbo' feeling. Is he perhaps sensitive enough to feel his own thoughts and feel the impact of his imagination. While this is a gift if what we think and imagine are inspiring, it can feel more like a curse if our thoughts and what we see in our mind are depressing.

    Do you wonder what your son imagines when it comes to seeing a mental health professional? Based on his one time visit, does he imagine all therapists as being the same? Maybe he sees them as simply semi-detached shirt and tie people who pick at your brain with a load of ridiculous questions which appear to be leading nowhere. Must admit, during my years in depression, this describes the 2nd therapist I saw. I didn't see him for long. Being pretty sensitive myself, I could feel I was just another client and I just could not shake that feeling. It just felt so cold, clinical. I'm glad the 1st one I saw was a laid back open minded jeans and jumper guy who had no issue with putting his feet up on the desk. Unfortunately, he was simply trained as a counselor and not a psychologist, so he could only help me so much. What I loved most about him was his openness, such as in telling me he was no expert at life, for if he was he wouldn't be divorced. I suppose his mantra was kind of like 'We all get it wrong here and there, on our way to getting it right'. I felt his genuine interest as a guide, his warmth. Would be interesting to get your son's take on what he was feeling/sensing about that therapist he saw. Maybe he was spot on. What do you think he'd say if you suggested 'I want you to get a feel for the right guide in life. Too cold/clinical, we move on. Let's take the Goldilocks approach 'til you find what's just right'? Also, if you feel meds will prevent you from getting a better sense of why and how you're feeling your challenges, we can look into that'.

  4. Pumpkinella
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    Pumpkinella avatar
    98 posts
    6 October 2021 in reply to Nelie

    HI Nelie,

    Firstly it sounds like you are already doing an amazing job. You obviously care deeply about your son, you all take turns in seeing him and offer him assistance and someone to talk do. I would say this is really the most important thing for someone with depression.

    It can be really difficult when a love one doesn't want to seek help that you believe will benefit him. My brother suffers depression and does not seek help but has over time managed it himself, so I do understand the feelings of helplessness you may be feeling.

    Our instinct is to keep trying to convince them to seek treatment. However its normally not the way to go and can have the opposite effect.

    I agree with the above post - the best thing is to simply talk to your son with empathy and understanding. Try to understand why he is feeling the way he is. There is a HUGE power in being able to speak about these things and have someone listen without judgement and without trying to force something onto him. Do not underestimate how much you can help him simply by allowing him the space to talk about it. Trying to be pushy or convincing (even when it comes from a place of love) can make him not want to talk to you about it anymore.

    It doesn't mean you can never suggest it again or talk about it, but just be aware of that urge. It can prevent us from overstepping the mark.

    I would also suggest educating yourself more on caring for someone with depression. Have you thought about seeking your own assistance - seeing a psychologist or counsellor? They can help you manage your own feelings too.

  5. Nelie
    Nelie avatar
    5 posts
    6 October 2021 in reply to Petal22

    Hi Petal22

    When my son first showed signs and was diagnosed, I stayed with him for 5 weeks, but due to needing to work I had to come home. Although my boss is very understanding and has allowed me to reduce my hrs in order to see him more. I have been to the dr with him on many occasions but he wont talk. Just clams up. Its hard to get him out of the house even with me if a dr or therapist is even mentioned.

  6. Nelie
    Nelie avatar
    5 posts
    6 October 2021 in reply to therising

    Hi therising

    Yes he is a sensitive boy. I'm lucky he will open up to myself and his sister. He actually liked his job, but keeps saying what's the point of it all. You work long hours and on your days off your too exhausted to do anything. Iv suggested part time work. Etc but says, all you do is work and die. That's there's no point to life. Also feels like his not good enough at anything he does. Although he understands others don't feel that way and it's just him thinking this.

  7. Nelie
    Nelie avatar
    5 posts
    6 October 2021 in reply to Pumpkinella

    Thankyou pumpkinella,

    I'm lucky my son will talk to some extent. I try very hard not to push but more along the lines of suggestions.

  8. Sophie_M
    Community Moderator
    • Works for beyondblue moderating these forums
    Sophie_M avatar
    6652 posts
    6 October 2021 in reply to Nelie
    Hi Nelie,

    Thank you for sharing this here. We hope you find some comfort in the kindness and understanding of our lovely community members. We’re sure we’ll hear more from them.

    It sounds like you are a really caring and supportive parent, and it sounds like you’ve taken some incredibly important steps. It’s so important, that while caring for your son, you are aware of your own emotional wellbeing. Please remember to reach out any time you feel you are struggling, to the Beyond Blue helpline on 1300 22 4636, or you can reach our counsellors via webchat, here.

    Your son is, of course, always welcome to contact us too, or there’s our friends at Lifeline on 13 11 14. We can hear it might be hard to encourage him to do so, but we are here all the same. The Black Dog institute also has some support groups you could look at by selecting your state from the options, here, if that seems like a suggestion he might be more open to. If it's useful, there’s some advice here on having the conversation when someone isn’t sure they want to see a professional.

    Please continue to share here, whenever you feel comfortable. You never know how your story might help others who can relate to what you’re going through.  

    Kind regards,

    Sophie M
  9. Petal22
    Community Champion
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    Petal22 avatar
    2020 posts
    6 October 2021 in reply to Nelie

    Hi Nelie,

    Im sorry you are going through this it would be difficult.

    Just keep supporting your son in the best way you can I can already see you are doing this, it’s so hard when the person doesn’t want to receive the help, sometimes to the person it can feel like a thick fog…… I went through anxiety and depression it was a long journey I’ve now recovered…… thanks to the help I received….

    You can only keep encouraging him to seek professional help.

    It helped me to be around people and meditation really helped me aswell.

  10. jaz28
    Community Champion
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    jaz28 avatar
    467 posts
    6 October 2021 in reply to Nelie

    Hi Nelie,

    I am sorry. My partner is an apprentice and it is very tough on him sometimes as it is physical work. I can't say I have never seen him burnt out and on the brink of quitting. He sticks at it though. But I can understand how your son would have struggled to keep that job if he is battling feelings of depression.

    If he refuses to get therapy and take his meds, there is nothing you can really do but be there for him. It is hard living so far away but just a simple text to tell him you love him and support him can go a long way. I know it's difficult to step back as a parent, but I think you have done all you can do. Just be there.

    Stay strong,

    Jaz.

  11. therising
    Valued Contributor
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    therising avatar
    2715 posts
    7 October 2021 in reply to Nelie

    Hi Nelie

    It's sounds a little like your son's questioning life in general and perhaps coming up with a lot of depressing answers, which leads me to wonder whether he's ever displayed a sage-like or philosophical nature. My 16yo son's a little like this. He's an incredibly sensitive kid in so many different ways. While his older sister's also incredibly sensitive in many amazing ways, it definitely feels more like a challenge when it comes to raising a sensitive boy.

    With my own sensitive boy, he spent the first few years of primary school sitting outside on his own at lunch time, remaining sensitive to the need to not give up his true nature and simply go off and click with the kids he couldn't tolerate (those who loved swearing, the blokey-bloke boys who pick up this nature from their dads, the boys who spoke poorly of girls etc). He remained true to himself, which amazes me, at that age. While he was bullied to some degree through primary and the earlier years of secondary school, he was sensitive to the nature of a-hole behaviour. When being advised to 'Just hit 'em', he was also sensitive in remaining true to his pacifist self. He's sensitive to his imagination, how truly brilliant it can be and how potentially depressing it can be at times. To the best of my ability, I help him manage his imagination, triggering it to take different directions. He's sensitive to questioning life to the point where we have fascinating conversations about the nature of reality, with elements of quantum physics thrown in.

    Sounds like your son's become highly sensitive to some shi**y aspects of life, aspects of life which are not natural: You work, you get home exhausted, you sleep, you get up, you work, you get home exhausted and so on. Somewhere amongst it all, you get paid for the soul destroying process. In speaking to people who have a different sense of reality - you work to raise funds for your natural self. You work hard to buy the mountain bike which puts you in touch with 'the adventurer' in you and the part of you that rides as they work out the stress in life. The riding is their daily or weekly 'workout'. Their recreational activities are a part of their constant re-creation (of self).

    'Who am I? Why am I here? What's the point? How am I going to choose to not live that groundhog day lifestyle?' Could he gradually be waking up to who he doesn't want to be? That lifestyle is, without a doubt, depressing. Living in Melbourne lockdowns, I can feel it at times.

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