Trying my best, doesnt seem to cut it!

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Annmaria
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04 Jul 2011, 9:03 pm

whilst I understand my son and daughter's needs in principle, but in reality its reallly different, so different. My son nearly 13yrs whilst I really try and engage and meet his needs at times it is so impossible and impractical I am completely lost. I have researched, ask questions tried to get intervention.

Whilst my daughter (15) (ADD, GAD) I think (aspergers) engages and uses any tool that I can give her to make things easier (perfectionist). My son near very near 13yrs (AS, ADHD, OCD) cant cope with life, thinks he is better off dead! I know he doesnt really understand the impelcations, but feels he is better off! I am lost need help! I have gone private, local etc he is on meds but he always feels so bad that he wants to end it. It is usually a very little incident that makes him feel this way! I know that little to us can mean large to him, but this goes on every day, he is on holidays from school, he keeps wanting to fun things, days out, on the move all the time etc. If not he is upset to a point that I find it hard to console him.


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draelynn
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04 Jul 2011, 9:23 pm

I don't know what meds your son is on but definitely discuss this with his prescribing doctor. Suicidal thoughts are a side effect of some antidepressants. The fact that he seems to always want to be on the move sounds like his ADHD isn't well controlled.

I honestly get the general feeling from your post that something is off kilter with him... perhaps the meds are good for one thing but make another worse. I'd suggest tackling that angle first because a small change could make a big difference quickly.



Annmaria
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04 Jul 2011, 9:49 pm

He is on strattera, off the meds he can threaten selfharm regularly and at times try to hurt himself, today is the first time that he has displayed this whilst on medication. We have friends staying with us for holidays and this seems to have cause alot of stress between him, his cousin and my friend son. I have notice that he can get on one to one with a friend but when another peer is invovled his stress levels escalate.

When things get so stressful it seems to be my fault and that I dont understand etc, I can deal with all that negative stuff but not to the point of my son wanted to hurt himself or end his life. I try to make all the decision around him and his needs but I seem to fail at this according to him. He will say he wants to die, and everyone hates him, and that we ignore him or mostly that I do and nothing, this is not the case.

Any intervention, or help I try to get him to engage with he doesnt want to know. I know he has a tough time of assesments so forth. Trying to explain these intervention are in his best interest seem futile. At the same time he tells me I dont understand and I dont do anything to help? :cry:


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draelynn
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04 Jul 2011, 10:38 pm

With his moods so volatile I would discuss this with his doctor right away. Mood instability is one of the possible adverse reactions on Strattera. There may be another medication that is better suited to his needs.

While he is off on a rant about how bad things are is no time to confront him or try to make any head way. It may be best to offer a safe place and quiet reassurance. After the mood swing has passed, can you discuss things with him? He is 13 - and you commented that you are doing alot of the decision making for him. He is old enough to participate in making his own decisions. Can you ask him what he feels he needs and what he thinks may work? Empowering him to make decisions on his own will boost his confidence, especially if he succeeds. I'm not saying toss him to the wolves. If you and he can work together - and he is involved in the decision making process, has a firm say in what goes on and it still crashes and burns, he may take some personal responsibility. If you are making all the decisions alone then logically everything is 'your fault' to a literal mind. That has to stop. Involving him the decision making process may help with that.

Every single negative has the same weight as 100 positive reinforcements. Can you arrange scenarios where he has a better chance of success? If two friends is too much, arrange to play with one. My Aspie is about 3 years behind her peers maturity wise. She gets along much much better with kids younger than her. This may help him while he is still learning to socialize with his own peer group. Special interests - any activities that he can do that revolve around his interest may have more chance of success. He definitely sounds as if he needs to feel better about himself and only positive reinforcement and some personal successes can do that. (aside from correct medication if needed)

I know in my house we do not use the 'A' word. We do not talk about how Asperger's prevents us from doing this, or changing how we do that. We deal with whatever needs dealing with and try to make as least of an issue out of everything as possible. I had a parent that was always trying to change the way I did everything as a kid and it sabotaged my self esteem badly. I did not have a dx then and still do not now but I'm fairly certain I share the AS dx with my daughter. Even before I knew officially about her dx I was determined to not let her suffer the same upbringing I had. I don't care that she is different. I try to see what is her personality (the things that should not change) and what is inapropriate behavior that needs addressing and teaching. Developing and nurturing her self esteem is paramount to me because with that - she can conquer anything.

My advice is to get him engaged. Give him some responsiblity. Especially now, on the brink of puberty, the peer pressure is going to be incredibly high. Maybe he needs some down time - less intervention for awhile. more ways to blow off steam. Physical activity can be a great way to help some kids get some control of their wild mood swings. If there is anything physical he likes to do, explore that. Or maybe try something new.

My thoughts are with you! Hang tough mom!



Annmaria
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05 Jul 2011, 3:09 pm

Regarding decision making I always invovle him as much as possible, I allow him to make choices. What I do find is that if I dont encourage him to give things a try he will not participate. We usually agree a time frame on whatever activity etc and if he really doesn't enjoy it he can stop.

He is invovled in Physical activity and is a very good athlete at the top for his age. This helps with him socialising at times, can get stressful, when important matches, track events are happening (the what if's). I always let him know that if he finds it too much that we can talk and see what needs to change or what is worrying him. I help with his training on the track and this is important to him. I have told him if he is feeling stress that at any time he can have a break, or give up. But he seems to enjoy it despite the stress at times (he is extremely competitive) When younger he needed to win at everything but he can now accept if he doesnt, not always! but much, much better. It also helps to burn some energy but he has plenty in reserve :tongue:

It's really important at the moment to get the local services support, which also means school support. This is worrying at the moment his refusal to attend appointments! I am awaiting appointment and will discuss meds and his aggressive behaviour. It took a long time to find med to suit him otherwise he cant cope daily. He also needs these appointments to review meds.

Thanks for you advise.


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jojobean
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05 Jul 2011, 11:04 pm

sounds like he needs to be in a short term hospitalization while they adjust his meds so they can quickly respond if things go south and they can also get him adjusted quicker in a hospital setting because a doctor is there everyday.
It is a hard choice, but he is clearly having suicidal tendancies which in our country (US) one must be hospitalized for by law.


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06 Jul 2011, 4:04 am

Dear Annmaria

I have been mulling over this in my head for a bit, and I've been trying to write a reply for the past 3 hours and it isn't working out the way I want it to. So, I am going to give it another day or so and see if I can figure out how to write this properly. In the mean time, I figured I would give you some useful information, and let you know that I am working on it.

If you haven't had the chance yet, I recommend reading Callista's Blog at: http://chaoticidealism.livejournal.com/
She has a history of dealing with depression and has written plenty of blogs about what it is like, and how to deal with it effectively. In particular, you might want to take a look at this post, which may help you understand why your son feels the way he does:
http://chaoticidealism.livejournal.com/36183.html

And this post may help you to understand your son's aversion to getting help:
http://chaoticidealism.livejournal.com/63619.html

But most importantly, she has written some useful posts about dealing with the depression such as these:
http://chaoticidealism.livejournal.com/22064.html
http://chaoticidealism.livejournal.com/57864.html

If you get the chance, go read some of her blogs, including others that I haven't linked to. There really is a lot of good perspectives there that can bee helpful in understanding what your child is going through, and what can be done about it.


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06 Jul 2011, 5:17 pm

I agree with the others that said to call the doctor right away. The right med can greatly help a person, but the wrong med or wrong dose can make a person feel bad or just not work.

He may also have secretly stopped taking his meds--a teen would never do anything like that! Or he could be drinking, etc., on the sly.

Medical help seems imperative.


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07 Jul 2011, 5:03 pm

Hello again

I would like to begin this post by saying that I don't know how seriously you should take your son's claims that he 'wants to kill himself'. It is possible this is really the way he feels, and he is contemplating suicide seriously. Or this could be your son's way of saying, 'my life sucks and I don't know what to do about it. I am tired of feeling this way and I don't want to feel this way any more'. Based on what you have said, it seems like the later. I am not saying that your child isn't depressed, but I don't think he is necessarily wanting to die. He is just stuck and he doesn't see how it can get any better. However, I am not there and I don't know him like you do so I can't say for certain that he isn't about to try something. So all that to say, I don't necessarily think that you need to lock him in a mental ward to keep him from killing himself, but I do think something needs to be done.

Similarly, I am afraid I do not have much pertinent advice about medication. It appears that you are at the point which medication is warranted and I think that choosing the right medication will probably help your son out. But I really can't tell you which medication to take or what dosage to use as it varies from individual to individual. What might help others might not help your son, and vice versa. I do wish you good luck in getting a medication that helps him, but I am afraid that I have no specific help there.

However, while I may not have any specific information about those issues, I do have some advice that I believe will help you. I think you have read my book, and if so you will probably recognize the phrase "Working with your child". I use it often because it is the cornerstone of my advice. And I also happen to believe that it brings about the best results. Now when I use this phrase "Working with your child", I am often trying to convince parents to take a more supportive and helping role instead of an authoritarian 'Do as I say' role. Simply put, you can accomplish much more with your child when you are both working towards the same goal instead of the parent trying to force the child into doing something that they dont want to do.

Unfortunately, you happen to find yourself in a position where you are not 'working with your child', but it isn't through any fault of your own. In many cases, this situation occurs because the parent isn't taking the child seriously and trying to make the effort to work with them. This isn't the cause of your dilemma. In your case, the reason you aren't working with the child is because your child doesn't want to work on his problems. And when you child isn't willing to work on his problems, then no amount of support, help, or action on your part will constitute working 'with' the child as there is no way to work 'with' somebody who isn't willing to work.

Now I don't mean to call your son lazy, as I have been depressed and I know what it's like. But ultimately, as long as he isn't working on pulling out of this depression and giving his life meaning, then there is no way you are going to be able to solve this problem. You can help, and support, and assist, and encourage, but your son is going to have to make the decision himself to deal with these problems, and put forth work in order to accomplish anything. I know that this may not be what you want to hear, but until your son decides to work on the problems that he faces, there is nothing you can do about it. However, that doesn't mean that there isn't any hope. You just have to convince your child to take action to help himself, which is unfortunately easier said then done.

But in order to help, you need to understand why he hasn't helped himself already. When most people think 'depression' they think it is just being really sad. But while being sad is part of it, it isn't the entirety of it. For example, people get sad when their pets die, but most people don't fall into depression and want to kill themselves. What separates depression from merely being saddened is that when you are depressed, you don't feel as though you can do anything about it. You feel as though you will never get better, and that any attempt to even try is a fruitless waste of effort that is just going to leave you more disappointed.

Mostly, this situation comes about after a series of failures where your son tried really hard, and failed miserably. For example, he tried school, and even putting forth a ridiculous effort, he is barely able to get through the day. He has tried making friends and the only thing he has gotten thus far has been bullies. He has tried to deal with the problems on his own, and without any support from the school, all he has received is failure and a lecture to 'try harder'. When you try as hard as you can and just keep hitting brick wall after brick wall, it discourages you from even trying. You only need to smack your head into a brick wall so many times before you learn it is better not to try.

Unfortunately, this also ruins one's self esteem and makes the person feel worthless. And when you feel worthless, you don't hear anything people say to cheer you up. You can sit there and tell your son that he is a wonderful, talented, amazing person, and that you love him until you are blue in the face and he isn't going to hear any of it. Well, he will hear it, but he will just discount it as just being a lie that you have to say because your his mother, and that he really sucks.

So, your son is in a position where he doesn't want to bother trying any more because he thinks that it is just going to result in failure like all his previous attempts. And he doesn't believe you when you say that this time will be different because he has developed such a low opinion of himself that he believes he will never be able to accomplish anything. He is stuck in depression and he doesn't think he will ever get out, and when hes in that position, its not unreasonable to think 'death can't be much worse'.

Now the problem here is that you really can't encourage your son out of this mess. His self esteem is so low that any encouragement just serves to remind him of how bad he is failing. Telling him, 'You can do it if you try', just makes him think, 'No, I've already tried and failed multiple times. This time will be no different'. Really the encouragement just serves to rub it in how many times he has failed previously. Logic is also a somewhat ineffective tool. You could make a very reasonable case that this time will be different because you now know what problems to avoid and you have new coping methods to use. But much like encouragement, he will likely not be able to hear the message because his mind is telling him, 'it will never work, this time will be no different, your just going to fail again'.

I know this is what happens because I've lived through it. My life around the age of 10-12 was not a happy time for me. I was harassed continually at school by both my peers and my teachers. And my home environment wasn't exactly supportive. And when everything is going wrong, and no amount of effort or trying will change anything then you begin to lose hope and thats when depression begins to set in. It isn't the adversity thats the problem. its the lack of hope. Despair sets in and when that happens, you really have a hard time pulling out. The problem is that you are trying to fight an emotion (despair) with reason (i.e. its really not that bad, this time will be different, etc.). And when emotion is that strong, it is going to win that battle.

So, that to say, if your son is going to deal with this, he is going to have to make the decision to deal with it, but it has to be an 'emotional' decision. Simply saying, 'I can deal with this', isn't really going to help. It has to be something that your child 'feels'. What wound up pulling me out of my depression was anger. I know it sounds bad, but the truth is that if I didn't get angry, I never would have been able to deal with my depression. I just got so fed up with being treated like crap all the time that I decided that I had enough of it. I decided that I wasn't going to let other people ruin my life by telling me that I wasn't good enough. If the teachers, my peers, and my parents called me a failure then that was their fault for being stupid and having unreasonable expectations. I decided that I wasn't going to take their crap any more and that I was going to do what I felt was right and screw them if it wasn't good enough for them. It was more of a 'feeling' then a reasoning. Once I decided that I wasn't going to take any more crap, I began to change my view point and I was no longer stuck. I began to feel empowered by my new found confidence and that is what led me to start dealing with my problems.

Now the good news is that your son is in a far better position than I was. In that he has a supportive household (i.e. you) that is willing to help him. I never told my mother that I wanted to kill myself, and it isn't because I wasn't thinking it, but because I thought my mother would just use it as an excuse to treat me worse. The fact that your son is telling you he wants to kill himself shows that he trusts you enough to tell you how he is feeling. I know it may not seem like it, but the fact that your son is telling you this is a sign that he is at least looking for help, however awkwardly. And furthermore your son doesn't have to try and deal with his problems on his own like I did. He has you for help, and your willing to seek help elsewhere, like this forum. So all that to say, if your son can find the strength to pull out of this rut, and face his problems then he is going to get more help then I had. But your son still needs to make the first move.

So, my suggestion is simple. Sit down with your son, and tell him straight up that while you are willing to help, and while you want to work with him to deal with his problems, you cannot do this for him. He himself has to decide that his life is worth living, and whats more, living well. He has to decide to be stronger than that nagging voice which says, 'no, you'll never succeed'. He has to chose to fight this fight, and win; not because you said so, not because its what is expected of him, but because he has chosen to take matters into his own hands and he is determined to make his life better. He has to do this for himself, and he has to be motivated by himself. This is one thing where you cant provide the motivation for him. I don't necessarily like to use the term 'intervention', but that is kind of what you need to do here. You need to sit him down and tell him strait up that this fight is his to win or lose. And that he must chose to win.

Beyond that, I would try to help out where you can, and give him support where you can. And I would recommend finding somebody skilled in Cognitive Behavioral therapy (it is really what helped me) to help your son out. But you need to stop focusing on what you can do, and start focusing on getting your child to focus on what he can do. Because the truth is that you aren't doing anything wrong. You are indeed trying your best, and it IS cutting it. Its just that your son isn't picking up his end and until you can convince him to do so for his own reasons, you aren't going to make any progress.

Hopefully that helps you out. And again, I recommend reading Callista's blog. And if your son is interested, tell him to read her blog as well. There is some good information there.


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Ryio
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08 Jul 2011, 1:05 am

I don't think I can add any words of wisdom or advice. But as a mom I just wanted to say that I am thinking of you and praying that things work out for you and your son.



Annmaria
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10 Jul 2011, 5:31 am

Hi

Thanks Tracker for your response, I have look at http://chaoticidealism.livejournal.com/ and it is very helpful.

I also believe my son doesnt really want to die, but at times he does get so low or upset that he will put some article around his neck. He will tell me he has done so or I have found him in his room doing the same. Again he tells me I dont understand how is feeling and that I cant do anything to help. This mood can last for a very short time or sometimes for hours then he can act like it never happened and be bouncing around the house.

I also worry that he might accidently hurt himself or worse, I have talk to him about it and his response is that he doesnt care he wants to die anyway. He has always been saying he wants to die from a very young age. The difficulty in getting local services, GP on board is that the school doesnt pick up on this nor any clubs or groups that he has been invovled in.

Its been a lenghty battle and now there is light a the end of the tunnel as in local services at last realising that he needs support. I hope my son will engage, I have spoken with him on many occassion about him needing to help himself and that I can only do so much.

I describe life like a football match to him, we are all part of a team, must work together even if we don't like everyone on the team, communicate with each other, help each other, follow instructions, the rules of the game even if we feel its unfair at times, accept the descission and consquences if we break the rules etc.

If he can do all the above life might not be so overwhelmingly for him, he understands all the rules of football.


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Ettina
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10 Jul 2011, 8:58 am

Does he have ups as well as downs? In other words, are there times that he's extremely hyper, racing thoughts, excited and happy or feeling paranoid, etc? If so, he might be bipolar. Bipolar kids don't tend to handle stimulants or antidepressants well, they need mood stabilizers instead.



Annmaria
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11 Jul 2011, 3:16 am

yes he can be like that and non stop talking when he is excited.


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