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Topic: New - Seeking Advice on Teen Depression

5 posts, 0 answered
  1. KateK82
    KateK82 avatar
    2 posts
    4 September 2018

    Hi,

    I wasn't sure where else to go. My son (16) expressed some incredibly concerning dialogue with me - but also expressed that if I rang his school to get him into the school psychologist - or if I forced him to go to a Dr, I would completely 'ruin his life'.

    Now, I know I need to get him help & that he may not appreciate my actions straight up - but I Have no idea how to gently balance it so that he doesn't just clam up completely by feeling forced. Knowing my son as well as I do, I really don't think forcing the situation is a good idea - but from what he discussed with me, I would like to get onto it asap. I also don't want him to think he can't speak up to me without me betraying his confidence.

    I would appreciate any advice or opinions.

    Thank you

  2. romantic_thi3f
    Community Champion
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    romantic_thi3f avatar
    2778 posts
    4 September 2018 in reply to KateK82

    Hi KateK82,

    Welcome to the forums and thanks for being here.

    As a young person hopefully I can offer some input here - I can see both where you and your son is coming from. It sounds like a bit of a tricky balance in wanting to get him help and not wanting to force him at the same time.

    I'm wondering though, what about seeing the school psychologist or the doctor 'ruins his life'? Is it the idea that he's forced to talk to people he doesn't know? That other students might find out? That he has to be labelled with a mental illness? The stigma of something going wrong? The awkwardness of being in therapy forced to talk about your feelings? These are just ideas that I'm floating with here but I think it would help to get to the core of why he doesn't want help.

    A big part of doing that is having the conversation. Given that he's already opened up to you - it's a good sign that he trusts you. So being able to gently poke or nudge him into talking more can be a good next step.

    Once you are able to understand the reasons why I feel like it will be easier to tackle them so he's not so reluctant to open up.

    The other thing that comes to mind is giving him options. The first thing that everybody thinks of is straight up therapy; but sometimes just reaching out can be broken up into tiny steps. Perhaps that might be looking at things online, talking to young people (like on here) or just seeing what things might be like.

    There's a few websites here targeted at young people which I'll link below -

    https://www.youthbeyondblue.com/

    https://headspace.org.au/young-people/category/a-healthy-headspace

    https://kidshelpline.com.au/teens

    Both headspace and kidshelpline also have web-chats which is a great way to be able to open up at a pace that's a little less intimidating then a GP or a school psychologist.

    Hope this gives you a place to start,

    1 person found this helpful
  3. KateK82
    KateK82 avatar
    2 posts
    4 September 2018 in reply to romantic_thi3f

    Thank you romantic_thi3f

    Everything you said is incredibly helpful, and you're right - initially the first thing I thought was to get him to a Dr, and referred to a psychologist - but the suggestion of this is what made him say I would ruin his life.

    Yes, he is concerned about the stigma. He's worried about people finding out he 'needs help' as he fears he will appear weak. It is quite the typical 'men can't talk about their feelings' situation. A comment he made during this break down was "I can't believe I've ruined it all - I was doing fine by pretending to be OK" (obviously as an adult, I can see he obviously was not doing OK - just burying his emotions)

    He did open up to me, on a Friday night. It was interesting to watch his persona change after he unloaded - he was relieved, but by Saturday morning, he had his brick wall straight back up again. I'm trying not to 'push' him to speak to me about it, but I have found some helpful looking websites & even the headspace app which I am going to gently nudge him to look at.

    Thanks again.

    Any other advice would be welcome.

    1 person found this helpful
  4. romantic_thi3f
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    romantic_thi3f avatar
    2778 posts
    4 September 2018 in reply to KateK82

    Hi KateK82,

    Thanks for your post. I'm really glad that it was helpful and resonated with you!

    It makes complete sense that your son is worried about the stigma. Sadly, there is a lot of it. While I'm female, I see it too. Whether it's in males, in students, or people in general - there's this whole idea that we should all have our stuff together and never fall apart.

    I'm hoping that a male will jump in here and talk about that from his perspective - but from my own experiences it comes down to this:

    The choice of getting help has to outweigh not getting help.

    If he's doing fine by pretending to be okay, how well is that working out? If he decides to go back to pretending, how long can he hold that up? Even though the answer is probably not well and not long, ultimately that feels like the question to ask and answer.

    It's also important to know the limits of confidentiality, so what he tells his doctor is between him and his doctor. Nothing goes outside that room. The doctor only has to break confidentiality if he has thoughts about hurting himself or others. Even though the policy with the school psychologist is the same, it's more likely that people will find out. The reality is that there's probably other teens at his school who are getting help too - they are just pretty good at hiding it!

    I think it's also pretty helpful to know that with whatever he is going through, he isn't alone. The headspace link above has a section on 'real stories' which has a few guys on it and we have a young people section with a few guys on it as well. A lot of the posts here are from teens in the exact same boat. Living with stigma is hard - but living without it and not telling anyone is even harder.

    Best of luck,

    1 person found this helpful
  5. Soulmumma
    Soulmumma avatar
    20 posts
    13 September 2018 in reply to KateK82

    KateK82,

    Firstly I'd like to say I feel for you. I am living a very similar thing.

    This has been the hardest journey we've been on as a family & the most heart breaking as a mum. I've never shed so many tears in my life. We too have a 16y old son battling anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, self harm & anger. The hardest part has been losing communication. At the start, my son opened up to me seeking help. It was scary and confronting for all of us but I was so glad he'd chosen to tell me he wasn't coping. I started asking him how he wanted to handle things and also setting some "rules", that if he wouldn't speak to a counsellor, he had to speak to me, write stuff down, or give me some indication of where he was at day to day. This worked for a short while, then he started to self harm, so I had to insist on action for his safety. Sadly we don't get to stay their friends through some of this hard stuff. My heart is broken now as my son has stopped talking to me much at all. He has been to Dr & Psychs & we tried medication which made him worse. He has so much anger toward me and himself. I miss him horribly. I don't share my story to scare you or tell you how to act, but to offer support & strength. Trust is a huge part of your son's journey & yours! Trust your instincts too. If he trusts you now try to hang onto that but be honest in expressing to him your concerns, then offer options moving forward with an explanation of why you feel that will help. I write stuff down & leave it with him so he doesn't feel on the spot pressure to respond. Give him ample space too. Deliver what you need to say & leave, giving him time to process. Keep consistency with everything else, chores, coming to dinner table, tell him everyday you love him (even when you may not like him that day), be honest & most importantly you need to look after you. I made the mistake of trying to be superwoman. Get therapy for you to support him, then you can pass this info on to assist him on the journey to wellness.

    I really wish you were not going through this as I know how hard and heartbreaking a ride it is. I wish you all the very best. You & your son are not alone. You're doing the best you can & that is amazing xxx

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