My son is 22 now, but has been battling depression and anxiety since he was 15 years old. He has dropped out of college, and his depression has been really bad this past year. When he was younger and dropped out of high school, he went to a school refusal program which helped him finish high school. He experienced the same troubles when he went to college. It seems every three years or so he gets "manic", and it lasts almost a year. I have convinced him to attend an intensive, outpatient program in which they have changed his meds and he has all new doctors and therapists now. He is back to being passively suicidal, and wants to quit program. With him being an adult, it is hard to get him admitted into the hospital. Can anyone give me some feedback? What else can I try to help him? I'm really at a loss.
Mother of a depressed 22 year old - Anxiety and Depre...
Anxiety and Depression Support
If he gets "manic" and depressed, he might have bipolar disorder. Then he needs to take appropriate meds for starters.
Thank you. I have thought about that as well as borderline personality disorder. I'm waiting to see if the new psychiatrists diagnose either of these. He doesn't have the "highs" I have read about with bipolar but I am not a mental health professional so really don't know. Thank you for your input. I really do appreciate it.
I am so sorry about what YOU are going through, too...I know that has got to be so very rough...I am proud of you for writing and contacting this group! Hopefully your son visits with a psychiatrist on a one to one basis, too, not just in a group...
You sound like a wonderfully caring person and mother....but this is my advice to you...please, kind lady, please YOU also make some appts to visit with a therapist. You not only can use this...you DESERVE some professional help, too!! There is only so much you can do...and you have GOT to take care of yourself...this, actually, also, is helping your son by YOU staying strong. Please take the best of care of yourself.
Big hugs, Betty
Often times, as much as a patent wants to help a young adult child, we also have to be careful not to be overly involved in diagnosis and treatment. It can tend to exacerbate the sufferers feelings of inadequacy.
It's such a delicate balance, and often times it is hard to NOT help unless help is asked for. In my experience, if a parent is working as hard or harder at helping an adult who happens to be to be their offspring, it can give a subliminal message that they are desperately broken, rather that just needing a bit of help to re-balance themselves.
Of course, this may not be true in every case, but my extensive experience suggests that it very often is. If a parent looses themselves in over-parenting, both parent and offspring will experience a lot of personal imbalance, thus making the dynamic extremely un-healthy, even though that was not at all what was intended.
As far as a suggestion, which is what you requested, have you ever attended Al-Anon? That might be a very good place to start.
Wow! You are so spot on with all of this. He knows I will spend hours giving him a "pep talk" when he is having a rough day. I find myself guilty of picking up his pieces constantly. I believe he knows that too so we repeat the same patterns over and over. And I have not attended Al-Anon. That is a great idea! I'm sure the same principles would apply to a family member with mental illness right? And I would be considered an enabler. Ugh! This has been an eye-opening post. Thank you for your honesty, knowledge, and great advice.
Alanon wouldhelp even if it’s not alcohol related , try reading some of their literature and there are on line meetings and phone meetings as well as in person meetings
Just an update - my son quit the intensive outpatient program. The meds he has been on have not been helping, so they try others. He had a terrible episode after starting a new med which made him hallucinate. He is off all meds. I searched for alternative help since the traditional method of trying different meds didn't work.
I found a clinical neuro psychologist who did two days of testing, as well as an EEG of his brain. Her results were staggering. No ADHD which was one of the meds he was on, and no bipolar, which was another med they were going to try. Instead she found he had some brain damage from being concussed at some point through sports, childbirth, or some other form. She found executive functioning issues, and the part of his brain that is damaged is causing much of his depression and anxiety. He will start neuro biofeedback treatment instead of more anti-depression meds. He also will need some physical therapy for fine motor skill issues that went undetected all these years.
I will post his progress as he continues treatment. I am optimistic that this will finally help him.
Any update on your son?
The neuro biofeedback treatment seems to be helping. My son does not have the extreme lows that he once had. He is still refusing meds, so is dealing with the depression and anxiety just through this treatment which he has been attending twice per week since July. He is experiencing a plateau, but will continue with treatment. He was a serious computer gamer, but says he finds no joy in that anymore. So something is definitely happening to his brain. Thank you for asking.
Thanks for your reply. I'm glad something is helping. Keep up your support and love for him. That's gota be helpful. Let me know if you need an ear to listen or a shoulder to lean on. Best, JP
Thanks so much. It’s a very delicate situation. I try not to do to much because then I enable. But when he hits rock bottom, I obviously try to help him. I wish there was a parent support group around me. It’s very difficult to know what is the right thing to do. And I ask the mental health professionals and they aren’t much help. And I sure do need a shoulder to cry on and an ear for listening. A sincere thank you for offering.
I know how you feel. It's so tough to see your kids in pain. Have you contacted a church to see if they have support groups available? Also did you consider talking to a life coach or family therapist to help you learn what you can or should do for your son?
I see a therapist. She is helpful, but my son sends many mixed signals and when he is belligerent with me- I back way off. Then he will call me crying that he wants to hurt himself. It’s a push-pull with him so the specialists tell me to detach with love. I do that and the cycle repeats itself. I NEED to break this cycle. I don’t want a “rinse and repeat” every month or so. These episodes have slowed down since the neuro biofeedback treatment has started though.
What is neuro feedback exactly?
Hard to explain. When he started with this doctor, she immediately did an EEG to see what areas of the brain were not functioning as well. The brain damage was in the center that controls anxiety and depression. The treatment is done on a computer, where it has situations that he has to respond to, helping to retrain the brain. I am not explaining it very well. The reviews of effectiveness are mixed on this treatment. He is getting results though.
So sorry to hear about your son. I think it's nice that you are doing all that you can. Maybe a bit unpopular advice here, but perhaps find a qualified acupuncturist in your area later down the line, and have them check on him. But in any event, don't give up and hang in there.
Just wanted to reach out and say it sounds like you are doing a great job of handling all this. I can't believe all your son has gone through. Hopefully now that they have a concrete cause they can address the brain damage and give your son a little peace.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. So nice of you. I find the people on this site amazing. So supportive. I’m thinking the neuro biofeedback is helping, but I think he still needs therapy. He refuses to go through anymore therapy because he says “my brain is broken - nothing they say or I say will fix it”! Ugh. I have to step back and let it be.
I’m so impressed by your love and support for your son. Thinking outside of the box and finding him the specialist he needs was incredible. I’m so happy for you and him that it is working. Everyone with depression needs that kind of support ❤️
You are making me cry here! Seriously. Sweet of you. If my son had some strange health issue - I would b doing the same thing for him. Unfortunately mental health is not a perfect science and I don’t know who to go to, or to ask, or what to do... I try to use my intuition as a mother and that seems flawed sometimes. And friends who don’t have a loved one with mental illness really don’t get it. Anyway... I’m rambling. Thanks for you kind words. I love this site and am so glad I joined.
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