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Forums / Supporting family and friends with a mental health condition (carers) / Advice needed for heartbroken mum - 15yr old son depression/suicidal

Topic: Advice needed for heartbroken mum - 15yr old son depression/suicidal

13 posts, 0 answered
  1. Soulmumma
    Soulmumma avatar
    20 posts
    25 February 2018
    Hello community I am hoping someone might offer some suggestions on how to help my son through the tougher days. We are seeing counsellors which is going well but there are times it gets all too much for him and I have to leave work to collect him from school (if he's managed to get there that day) we also find Sunday nights are bad - he has gone to bed feeling nauseous and has created an anxiety physical response to thinking of going to school tomorrow. More recently not eating alot either. I would really like to find some strategies for me to help him help himself when he gets low like this
    It's so heartbreaking to see him this way. I would especially appreciate some tips on how to chat with him to allow him to get through a whole school day. Attendance is a major concern for him at the moment. Pressure from the school about this is not helping either just another thing for him to worry about!
    1 person found this helpful
  2. Carla09
     Carla09 avatar
    35 posts
    25 February 2018 in reply to Soulmumma

    hi Soulmumma,

    Is there someone else beside you he can talk to? Perhaps a grandparent or someone who can just come around and talk to him When you can’t be around. There are a few teenage help lines, perhaps he can speak to these. Is it possible to arrange that he enrols to do his school through TAFE..not sure if he is a bit young but I know sone people completed their high school certificates through TAFE..if school is genuinely the problem.

    2 people found this helpful
  3. PamelaR
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    PamelaR avatar
    2740 posts
    25 February 2018 in reply to Soulmumma

    Hi Soulmumma

    Welcome to Beyond Blue Forum. We're a friendly bunch here and try to provide support to many out there with mental illness and those supporting them.

    It's so good you've been able to find your way to our forums. It sounds like difficult times for both your son and yourself. Going to a counsellor is a very positive step you've taken - good for both of you. Well done!!

    If things aren't going too well, I just wonder if you and he have also visited your gp? This is important to ensure you can rule out any other underlying cause for how your son is current feeling.

    Do you have any idea about why he is feeling this way? Is it associated with school or learning? Is his counsellor aware of how he makes himself sick rather than go to school? Maybe sit down with him to identify the cause of his anxiety - something practical like making a list, seeing why he is thinking that way, were does the thinking come from, seeing how you can get him to change the story he is telling himself. However, if there is any outside influences, e.g. bullying, then the situation can be different and I suggest you discuss this with your school.

    There are a range of resources available on the Beyond Blue website for youth. Have a look at:

    https://www.youthbeyondblue.com

    In addition, when I've experience panic attacks (e.g. nausea, palpitations), my routine is to:

    • focus on my breathing by counting in for 5 and out for 5. At times when it is severe, I hold my breath for 5 and after breathing out I hold on for 5.
    • listen to peaceful music, something relaxing
    • relax my shoulders
    • during the day I'll get some exercise, e.g. brisk walk
    • mindfulness - have a look at a very useful thread on the forums under staying well to find out more information about what it is and how to do it.

    I hope some of this may help you and your son.

    Kind regards

    PamelaR

    1 person found this helpful
  4. Carla09
     Carla09 avatar
    35 posts
    25 February 2018 in reply to Carla09

    Also if you sign up for audible there is a great Cognitive Behavioural Therapy book from the great courses that really helped me when my mind was racing and I couldn’t get through a day or night without the anxious ruminating thoughts...breathing exercises, if possible getting him to exercise in the mornings...

    1 person found this helpful
  5. Croix
    Community Champion
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    Croix avatar
    10556 posts
    25 February 2018 in reply to Soulmumma
    Dear Soulmumma~
    Welcome here, I’m sure there will be many parents who have the same situation. It’s an incredibly worrying one, and once can feel both frantic and lost as to what to do.

    Before anything else I’ll talk about suicide for a moment as you mention it in your title. While keeping anyone alive is a joint effort between the person themselves, their medical team and their family there is one particular measure I’d wholeheartedly recommend.

    There is a free smartphone app called BeyondNow that you use to make a safety plan. It is filled in not just with crisis numbers and people to contact but also with all sorts of other activities. Basically it is a two person job to fill it in, the person in danger, and someone else that understands the situation and knows them well.

    Once filled in it is something easy to reach for when frightened or overwhelmed. If your son accepts you enough to help fill it in it is a good way of becoming close and letting him feel less isolated about the subject of suicide.

    It is found here

    https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/beyondnow-suicide-safety-planning

    Please forgive me if I retrace ground you have already covered. Do you know what it is about school that your son finds so difficult? The reason I ask is because always a good idea to see if there are stressors that can be avoided, or at least made less. You mentioned pressure from the school about attendance, between you and his doctor can something be done about that?

    That ‘anxiety physical response’ you mention could take the form of many things and these can themselves create more difficulties and stress, headaches and diarrhoea being only two examples. As a result seeing your GP about these may be appropriate so the symptoms can be treated.

    The standard measures for anxiety consist of as healthy a lifestyle as possible (exercise, good nutrition and proper sleep). In addition regular distraction and doing things one enjoys are most important. I find books or movies, pets, and exercise all have a most important place in my day and give me something to look forward to.

    I’ll mention the free smartphone app Smiling Mind, which with practice does provide an effective way of stopping repetitive anxious thoughts.

    Do you have proper support? You are going through a very difficult time yourself and someone you can talk frankly with and share worries would be a great thing.

    I do hope you return and talk more, it is a hard situation to make better

    Croix
    1 person found this helpful
  6. Soulmumma
    Soulmumma avatar
    20 posts
    5 March 2018 in reply to Carla09

    Thank you so very much for your kind words and advice. It's so nice to know we are not alone. We have managed to find some pretty terrific supportive people both within and outside the school community. Loads of advice and support. The hardest part i'm experiencing now is trying to convince him to help me to help him by doing some of them!

    In saying that we did manage to get through a whole day at school today!

    I know and he knows the recipes for success....exercise, sleep, good food, mindfulness and meditation. I can only make him do so much then if I keep suggesting he gets upset & frustrated at me..

    "Im trying mum" or " I can't help it". We're both exhausted from all of it but I'm so determined to not give up. Just gotta convince him not too either.

    Loads of people ive spoken to are suggesting low dose medication but it scares me...any advice here?

  7. Croix
    Community Champion
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    Croix avatar
    10556 posts
    5 March 2018 in reply to Soulmumma

    Dear Soulmumma~

    I'm glad you got though the day at school, every success helps. Also you have found those who are willing to understand and help. I can understand your son's reaction too.

    You asked about medication and I can only tell you of my own thoughts years ago when faced with a somewhat similar situation. The basis was : If you think the situation very serious, (and from the title of this thread and what you have said It would appear so). And if you think that you are not winning, that is you can't see the light - even if far away - then perhaps a trial might be something worth thinking about.

    It is worth remembering that medications can do good, however everyone is different and their reactions reflect this. They can take time to become effective and time to tail off if started. Side effects can be minimal or pronounced and can vary before the dose becomes established, so close medical supervision is needed.

    I'm probably not telling you anything you have not already thought of. As the person closest to the problem you judgment is the important one, I'm not sure there is an easy answer.

    Croix

    1 person found this helpful
  8. Croix
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Croix avatar
    10556 posts
    5 March 2018 in reply to Croix

    Sorry - I left a paragraph out.

    When trying to decide I guess by talking with your son the situation may become clearer. If he is violently opposed to the idea it probably would not be a good thing , unless you persuaded him over time of course. If on the other hand he sees meds as a possible area of relief from a most unpleasant situation then it may well be worth trying.

    -C

    1 person found this helpful
  9. Summer Rose
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    Summer Rose avatar
    1615 posts
    5 March 2018 in reply to Croix

    Hi Soulmumma

    I am sorry that your son is unwell. I know how hard this is on both of you. I can relate to your efforts to encourage him to attend school, as I spent years helping my daughter get to school after she fell ill with OCD/anxiety at the age of 13.

    There were a lot of "two steps forward and one step back" experiences. I found the trick was to set realistic goals that reflected what was happening for her each day. Some days getting to school by noon was considered a win, sometimes it was just making it for an important class. And that was okay because I knew she was trying her best.

    I spent a lot of time behind the scenes talking and negotiating with school to relieve the "pressure" around attendance. For example, my daughter still had to sign in when late but the ladies managing the sign in process and her teachers were well briefed on how to respond when she did arrive. It made a big difference to be greeted with a smile and "nice to see you" as opposed to a frown and "late again".

    Arrangements were put in place to ensure she was provided with missed assignments etc without her having to ask (she found this draining and it drew attention to the fact she had been late). I was given trust and didn't have to ring to say she was going to be late every day because school knew what was happening and that she was struggling. I only rang if she was not going to attend for the entire day. This took pressure off of me, so I could be less stressed and more helpful to my daughter at home.

    Schools have a lot more flexibility than you might realise and if you speak with them it should be possible to make the experience easier for your son and you. I really encourage you to see if your son will agree to you speaking with school. Your son may need assistance down the track to manage assignments and exams as well, so any effort you put into building a strong relationship with school now will help.

    From my experience, no amount of pressure is going to get him through the door. You can't get blood from a stone. He is unwell and likely already doing his best to please you and school.

    Time, patience, perseverance and the right treatment will help. You sound like you are on the right track. I know it's hard but just keep going. Your son is lucky to have a mum like you.

    3 people found this helpful
  10. Soulmumma
    Soulmumma avatar
    20 posts
    13 March 2018 in reply to Summer Rose
    Thanks for your advice and support - all of your comments are so very helpful. We're getting there slowly - like you say 1 step forwards.....many back at this point. Thank fully we have found a supportive welfare person at the school who willing to be helpful not a hindrance. That helps alot - at this point school is the last of my concerns - every day I'm scared that I will come home to the worst possible scenario - I just can't shake the extreme dread and feraful thoughts of him taking his own life. It's so exhausting....
  11. Soulmumma
    Soulmumma avatar
    20 posts
    13 March 2018 in reply to Croix
    Thank you for all your kindness and advice Croix. We have discussed the use of meds and have currently started a course for a month to trial. Obviously takes time and this week in particular is already starting out quite difficult. Hopefully things will start to improve for him soon so he can see there is light at the end of the tunnel.
    1 person found this helpful
  12. Summer Rose
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    Summer Rose avatar
    1615 posts
    14 March 2018 in reply to Soulmumma

    Hi Soulmumma

    Thank you for the update and I'm glad there's some relief at school. I understand your fears about losing your son. I have experienced this same fear and it is nasty, gut-wrenching stuff. Kind thoughts to you.

    When I thought my daughter was in imminent danger I removed all  dangerous items from our home (anyone looking in the boot of my car would have got a shock) and I literally kept 24-hour watch over her. However, at all times during acute illness we had a safety plan in place.

    BB has great resources on suicide prevention planning and there's even a BeyondNow ap to help. I encourage you to check it out on the website.

    I will keep you and your son in my thoughts and prayers. Feel free to post anytime.

    1 person found this helpful
  13. Carla09
     Carla09 avatar
    35 posts
    25 March 2018 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hi Soul mumma,

    I hope things are going better for you and your son. I just wanted to say not to feel defeated at the use of medication...It is sometimes the very thing that is needed to get the person well enough to want additional help

    1 person found this helpful

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