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BS17 Depression

justmakingthebest's picture

Writing as a pissed off BM right now.

My son (17) has battled with anxiety and depression since he was 14. There were lows where he mentioned he wanted to un alive himself. He has been on medications that have really made a difference. His father has always been against him being on meds. For some unknown reason he is very anti med and thinks fish oil fixes everything.

Anyway for the last 6 months my son has been off his meds. He is a f*cking roller coaster every day. He is mean, he is moody, he isn't himself at all. If he isn't hysterical he is sleeping. He refuses to take his meds because "dad doesn't think I need them".

He has also put on at least 50lbs because he wont stop eating. I feed my family a healthy dinner and when I wake up in the morning he has gone out and gotten fast food leaving wrappers everywhere. It's ridiculous! I've told him to stop, he won't. I don't know what to do. His dad won't support him getting the help he needs. He refuses to go to counseling. I'm just at a loss!

I just spent 20 mins on the phone with him while I'm at work trying to calm him down because he didn't get a job he wanted. He was SOBBING. We are talking an almost 6ft tall man child that weighs +250lbs sobbing like a baby! I can't cope with all of his drama all the time because he is refusing to do what he needs to stop feeling this way.


grannyd's picture

Oh, Hon!

You're a strong and sensible woman so I'm suprised that you haven't taken your husband to task about his negative influence on his son's health. Put your foot down, dammit, and let dad know that he's destroying his child's life; the proofs right in front of him!

So sorry that this his happening to you. 

justmakingthebest's picture

This is probably the first time I wished his dad lived closer. 

I want to show him 1st day of school pictures from last year compared to this year. You see it in his body, you see it in his expression. My son is not ok. But if I text that to his dad it will just be shown to him and I will be the bad guy "bullying him". I have already been accused of that all summer. He is so over the top right now!

TheAccidentalSM's picture

Your ex is a poo poo head.

Is there anyone in your lives that your DS admires who has successfully managed their mental health struggles?  He might be more willing to hear and listen to advice on meds and counseling from a peer or mentor at this point than from either of his parents.


justmakingthebest's picture

My family doesn't really have those stuggles outside of me. I have anxiety. However, I take medication. Sometimes I am fine with a quick med like xanex and other times, like currently I need a daily medication for a while. He just doesn't see it in himself.

He does kind of like the one male counselor at the school. I might reach out to him. He is young and does body building so he's "super cool".

Survivingstephell's picture

Does Bipolar  run in either family?  I'd put my foot down and get him screened by a psychiatrist before he turns 18 if you can.  After 18 you won't be able to force him into any kind of treatment.   

Your ex is a real douche canoe.    

TheAccidentalSM's picture

After 18 you lose all the control even if the person isn't adult enough to handle their own health.  Don't get me wrong.  Some people are able at 18 but others aren't.

When we had issues with YSS health, I raised it with relatives who are doctors and they both agreed that young adulthood was an incredably dangerous time for people with his problems partly due to them aging out of parental control.

justmakingthebest's picture

I have always suspected that his father was but he was never diagnosed. I do worry about my son having Bi-polar though. I need to reach out to his psychiatrist without him. 

strugglingSM's picture

I was going to suggest he be evaluated for bipolar as well, since some of the things you're describing seem like they could be symptoms of bipolar disorder. 

It seems like it's easy for your ex to weigh in on the whole meds things, when he doesn't live full time with the child and doesn't have to deal with the impact. I'm not sure where you live, but many states allow a child to make a decision on taking meds after a certain age. I believe in my state it's 14. 

I hope you're able to get your son the help he needs. Being a teen is hard, being a teen who deals with mental health issues can feel impossible, for both the teen and his/her parents. 

Rumplestiltskin's picture

17 is a tough age. My BD17 is quite the handful these days too. It's a hard choice between letting them make their own mistakes vs intervening. In your case, i would recommend making him see a counselor or psychiatrist, even if you have to drag him kicking and screaming. You still have legal authority for a while and it sounds like he does have some type of clinical emotional disorder. Maybe try a counselor first. A young male counselor may have some influence. A guy that's the type your son would look up to maybe. My son is 22 and seems to do best with that type of counselor. He has mild anxiety and goes to counseling on his own to deal with the daily stresses of college. My daughter, well, she's been through 3 counselors and thinks she knows better than all of them. Sigh. 

justmakingthebest's picture

He brought me to tears this summer. He said that if I made him go back to counseling that he would move out on his 18th birthday, go live with his dad and our relationship would be ruined. 

Rumplestiltskin's picture

Ugh. It sounds like your ex has poisoned him against therapy. I wonder if your ex knows the extent of his difficulties, though. It's hard to know if you should do it and risk him moving or not. Either would be reasonable. But, i will say - you are his mother. Even if he moves, he will always be your son. You are only doing what you feel is best for him.

justmakingthebest's picture

I just called his psychiatrist. I have an appointment in a week and half to discuss my concerns without him there. I wish it was sooner but I'm on her cancelation list, so fingers crossed. 

Rags's picture

This is outside of my wheelhouse of parenting.

Don't forget to take care of yourself.

Lillywy00's picture

His father has always been against him being on meds. For some unknown reason he is very anti med and thinks fish oil fixes everything.

^That's really unfair to the kid. 

Just because he's in denial or embarassed or whatever doesnt mean the kid should suffer when there is something that can help alieviate his symptoms.

A lot of people don't understand how brain/mental health is just as important as physical health and that medications are necessary especially for moderate to severe cases. (and if he's threating to off himself then that is pretty serious)

Next time he has migranes, high blood pressure, diabetes, dementia, anything where doctor writes him a script make him decline and take fish oil. Just clear out the medicine cabinet and leave him with nothing but fish oils. 

Lillywy00's picture

I personally would require that he stay on his medications if he wants to live in the house with you. 

If he wants to go off his medications he can do that

  • in his own home (if he were 18+)
  • with his father (who gave the horrible advice) or
  • in the local psychiatric facility.

Psychiatric medications typically require tapering off with psychiatrist guidance 

Quitting psych meds cold turkey is going to be a VERY bumpy ride! Possibly unsafe for you and your son. 

Like others mentioned (I don't know your son and not licensed to give mental health diagnosis) but if i were to guess based on what you said, I would agree with others as far as bipolar and most people with that condition need medication to stabilize their moods. 

I've seen true stories of successful NBA players, award winning actresses, etc loosing everything and ending up broke and homeless on the streets because they refused psychiatric medication that would have helped them then self-medicated with hardcore ilicit drugs. 

Winterglow's picture

This is just my opinion and no reflection on anyone but me - your ex is an ignorant, self-important boor who would rather spout uninformed noise than actually help his son, and because he hasn't a clue what he's talking about but enjoys the sound of his own voice, he is prepared to ruin his son's chances at a rewarding life. 

Meds are prescribed for a reason. I very much want to Gibbs - slap this ignoramus.

justmakingthebest's picture

Well, things got really bad last night but then they got better. 

I had to challenge a lot of his perceptions. That got ugly. He had decided that I was his enemy for whatever reason. When I would ask why, he couldn't tell me. I told him that he isn't hurting me in this conversation, but if I am not being the parent he needs me to be he has to talk to me. The thing about parenting is, I have never been my age, at this point in my life before. He has never been his age and experiencing his life like this before. I am doing my best to figure it out, but I don't have the answers and if I am doing something wrong or something needs to change, we have to talk about it. All I ever want his for him to be happy, and supported and become a successful human. 

He did admit that he is deeply depressed. That he can't even bring himself to start his college application process. He has no drive, no motivation, no joy.

He doesn't believe that any meds he has tried have worked. I showed him pictures of himself on meds and the pictures over the last 6 months. I said I know you don't think you felt a difference, but here is proof that there is a difference. His eyes kind of opened. 

He agreed to go to the appointment that I have scheduled with his psychiatrist and to go back on something. I told him that I want to consider a full evaluation to possibly see if there is another or better diagnosis for him. He agreed- which was shocking. Hopefully over the next couple of months we can get him in some kind of therapy and find a medication that works.

Thank you all for the words of support. Parenting is hard. Teenagers are hard. Mental health is hard. 

Winterglow's picture

Wow. I can only admire what you did there. It must be heartbreaking to watch your child deteriorate before your very eyes and yet you got him to listen. I am very glad he realises he NEEDS help. I hope he follows through. 

WalkOnBy's picture

you just proved to him that he can have uncomfortable conversations with you and you both can come out the other side still on the same team.  Super great parenting, right there!

I am glad to hear that he is going to the appointment AND that he admitted he isn't well right now.  That is HUGE for a 17 year old.

Good job, mama!!

Rags's picture

It was for me.  And I had the world in front of me without the struggles of the psych or behavioral syndrome of the moment.  I did not have the option of the Military.  I was medically DQd.

It was for my dad. He enlisted in the USMC at 18.

It was for my SS at that age.  He would not make applications to any Colleges/Universities.  His master plan was to stay at the Military Boarding school for JC.  Though he never tried to apply for the ROTC early commissioning program. We kept hounding him to make application to any schools he wanted to.

As it turned out, he screwed up staying at the Military School by undermining even that opportunty for himself by working with his Spermidiot to hack the school firewall so they could play WoW all night every night and then failing the only class he needed to graduate.  So, we jerked him out of Military school and he had one semester to graduate of get out.

He graduated, with honors, on time.  

Then.. we worked his ass off with the endless chore list until he enlisted in the USAF. 12+ years later he is doing great in his adult life, is successful in his career, and is a man of character, honor and standing in his community and adult life.  He went in at 18yo and has completed his 12th service anniversary.  Less than 8, and he can retire. Full pension, full medical benefits, for the rest of his life, starting immediately upon retirement.

He will retire about the same time as I do, though about 30yrs younger than I will.  

Structure his life, build and stoke the burnign platform, and support his launch into adulthood. It isn't easy for either the parent or the struggling kid.  But being a sofa rodeo rider in mom or dad's home, cannot be an option.

On the mental health front, SS probably had some depression and struggled with ADHD.  Not paralysing, but... likely.

He was recently Dx'd with ADHD.  He is medicated and it has made a huge difference in his qualith of life.

IMHO, kids who struggle with launching/depression/etc... need even tighter standards of behavior and standards of performance invoked by parents. 

It made a world of difference for our son. 

We got him to 18, we stoked the burning platfor, and he stepped off of the platform to finish growing up on his own time and his own dime.  Under the hairy eyeball of people who are expert at structuring life for young people and leading/developing them into viable contributing adults.We did not force him to enlist. Only the individual can sign those papers and make that commitment.  However, motivating that choice can be an effective way for a parent to get the kid to launch off of  the burning platform and fly into their own life.

All IMHO of course.

While we were badgering him to make his Uni applications, our son (my SS-31 adopted at his request when he was 22yo), told us that he knew college was important, he would get it done, but that he was not ready to focus and put in the effort. That it would be a waste of his time and our money.  As frustrating as that all was, I respect and am proud of his self awareness.  As it has unfolded and continues to unfold, he has completed an AS in Computer Science and is working (slowly) on completing his BSCS.  He is living his life, thriving, and going, though slooooowly, in the direction his mom and I hoped he would go.  His BS graduation then his retirement ceremony, are our final parental bucket list items.  After that, we want to watch him thrive in his continuing life and career, and enjoy life.

So far, so good.

Survivingstephell's picture

In the meantime , you can get a book or two written by Julie Fast on Amazon , she writes about Bipolar and her latest book has been updated on the meds available and how drugs affect the bipolar brain.  AND it tells you how to deal with the "bipolar conversation".  She does Instagram too.