Author Topic: Older teens pain  (Read 1968 times)

Trying

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Older teens pain
« on: March 26, 2015, 07:55:04 AM »
I have posted many times about the struggles my oldest son, 18, has had since DH died.  To recap, he failed out first semester freshman year of college because he wasn't going to class.  Whenever we spoke he said everything was great.  He injured his shoulder swimming competitively (he did manage to go to swim practice) and had to have surgery for the second time (first time was 6 months after his dad died). So his surgery and recovery time have been the official excuse as to why he is home this semester with only a few people knowing the whole truth.

My conditions of him being home included therapy/grief counseling and getting a job once he was cleared to take sling off.  Sling has been off for 2 weeks and still no job then I find out he's been no showing for therapy.  Yesterday I went with him to therapist and the amount of pain he is in is excruciating to witness.  He has agreed to 10 sessions but needs me to take him and sit in the waiting room so he won't back out.

I will do ANYTHING to help him get better and move forward with his life but I can not let him sit in the house doing nothing any more.  It's driving me crazy and I know that the inactivity and isolation is not helping his depression.  How hard can I push him when he is so fragile? I want to build him up by having him take on more responsibility but if he really can't handle it I don't want to set him up for more failure.

I thought he would be further along in therapy but he wasn't going when I thought he was and he's 18 so his therapist had to get creative to let me know (left a message for son on our home phone).

I don't know how I can send him back to school in the fall when he hasn't made any progress yet. 

Anyone who has experience dealing with young adult kids suffering from depression that is interfering with them being productive, I would appreciate any advice. 

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Wheelerswife

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Re: Older teens pain
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2015, 07:58:06 AM »
I have no experience with this at all, but I can feel your pain and wanted to send you hugs, D.

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trying2breathe

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Re: Older teens pain
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2015, 02:59:18 PM »
Trying   So sorry that you're dealing with this.   I too have an 18 y/o son, he has had some issues but right now is doing okay.   It is a very fine line trying to figure out how much to push when a child is so fragile.   

The important thing for us was finding a therapist that my son could connect with.  I asked the high school counselor for recommendations and she gave us the name of one that has worked well for my son.  The only other thing that I can think of is to possibly find a group of his peers that have experienced the death of a parent.  My daughter joined a Facebook group of teens that had lost a parent, I will look for this and send it along to you via PM. 

Big hugs to you, hope that you can find some resolution very soon.  Please keep us posted.   
 
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Gabzmom

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Re: Older teens pain
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2015, 04:51:43 PM »
By daughter was a young teen when she lost her dad.  She has had some struggles and I think part/most are attributable to her grief and the rest being a teen trying to move towards independence and adulthood.  She is 16 and there have been hard lessons with many more to follow I am sure.  RIght now she is doing alright. 

I wish I could offer you more than hugs.  The main thing I have done is hold her accountable to her commitments and to honor her truths.  Aside from that, we are still learning as we go. 
"I always knew looking back on my tears would bring me laughter, but I never knew looking back on my laughter would make me cry." ~Cat Stevens

Mangomom

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Re: Older teens pain
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2015, 05:18:51 PM »
His therapist can't speak to you about his patient per HIPPA laws, but he was creative in his messaging.  Is it possible you can contact the therapist and discuss your concerns?  Tell him you are worried about pushing him.  As his therapist, he can't respond, but he can certainly listen and tailor/apply what is needed in session.  And, with your son's approval, you can sit it.  In my state the medical age of consent is 14 (!!!!) so legally, I have no conversation regarding my son. I am, however listed as a family therapy patient, and in those visits, we can discuss my son freely, with or without him.  Just a thought.

Good luck.  It is so hard to watch them struggle.  And the fear of falling is so great it is paralyzing as a parent.  (((hugs)))

Trying

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Re: Older teens pain
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2015, 06:26:57 PM »
Mangomom, 14??? That's crazy!  I did get to sit in with his therapist yesterday and talk about my concerns and my need for parenting advice.  The plan is to bring me back in periodically but the first step is getting son to show up.  My therapist is helpful, giving me strategies and ways to talk to my son.  She recommended this therapist after hearing about my son for the last year and a half and a failed attempt with her partner. 

The hardest thing for me is that my son was on a great path before his dad died and he was totally derailed.  I'm so scared it's going to mess up his future and cause permanent damage.

Worrying about him sucks up all of my emotional energy and I have 2 other kids to raise, they need my full attention and aren't getting all they need from me.
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Mangomom

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Re: Older teens pain
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2015, 09:03:01 PM »
I hear you.  I have no answers, only ears.  He sounds like my kid.  Had the world by the balls and he lost it when his Dad died.  Just kind of gave up trying.  He is graduating, and just decided on his college, so he has a bit of momentum.  But, like you, I'm sure, I am waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I'm terrified it won't be til first semester in school, like your kid.

Ugh.  It'll all work out how its suppose to.  Its just so hard to watch :(

klim

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Re: Older teens pain
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2015, 10:29:52 AM »
Joining the discussion with stories but no answers

I have 2 boys 17 and 19( 15 and 17 when their dad passed). 19 year old has transitioned to university and living away since his dad passed and seems to be doing quite well. Younger one is supposed to be heading off in the fall.....he struggles  with school and what he wants in the future. My problem is I don't know whether its the loss of his dad or just his personality or normal teenage angst. I too try hard to find a balance of how hard to push him. He is moody( always has been) and I don't want to demand too much but know I can't just have him lazing around. I have not had him to a therapist because"therapists are stupid"...his words.

So no answers just a similar story
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Bluebird

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Re: Older teens pain
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2015, 11:12:07 PM »
Hi Trying,

When my DH died my son was 17 and I was extremely worried about him. He was all at once torn between dealing with his own feelings of grief, wondering what he needed to do to take care of me (I only learned of this later), and his 8 month old son (that's another story!)

At the time I recall his mood was extremely variable - alternating between quiet and introverted, to angry and back again....His grades plummeted and I was fearful he may not graduate with his class from High School.

Every day was a challenge in those earlier months - would he wake up?, would he go to school? Would he stay there? Would he pass his exams? It was harrowing. And he refused therapy.

I was also on alert ALL THE TIME. Fearful that somehow, I might lose him too...that he would slip through the cracks and disappear.

Was he depressed? I don't know. Was he grieving? Absolutely! Was he exhibiting teen-like behavior? For sure! But I could never tell which was which and given my hyper-alert state, I was probably the worst person to figure it out.

Unfortunately, I and his girlfriend and friends, were all he would let in. I'm so glad you've been able to get professional help for your son.

One thing that I found helpful in the situation with my son was to cultivate quiet times for us to talk. I sometimes shared some grief reaction I was having and asked him if he experienced it...like did he ever experience someone asking him something absurd, or making a DGI statement? Or did he ever feel like he'd come home one day and DH would be there? Or what's the funniest thing we could remember DH doing?  It would start the most amazing honest discussions that I believe helped both of us. It was through one of these conversations I learned that he felt he had to take care of me. We talked about his responsibilities and mine and the idea that we're both old enough to be responsible for ourselves, with the support of each other.

I offer this up, I know it's nothing special, but it really helped both of us and with time, he started to move forward in his grief and start to pursue his own life goals.

I hope your son will be able to find a way to express his feelings and that the veil of grief will lift for him soon. In the mean time, I think you're doing an amazing job getting him to therapy.

Take care, Bluebird
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Trying

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Re: Older teens pain
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2015, 03:41:26 AM »
Mangomom, it is terrifying sending them off to school but I really think it can be the best thing and I hope eventually it will be for my son too.

Klim and Bluebird, thank you for sharing your stories, it is hard to know what is teen angst, personality or grief.  For me it's the dramatic change in him, the fact that he can look me in the eye and tell me everything is ok, that is doing what he's supposed to, and then I find out it's all a lie and he breaks down about how unhappy he is.  He really had such a bright future and is so far off track right now.  I don't care if the path has to change I just want to see him taking steps to find the right path.
You will forever be my always.