Depression in older teens

Old 05-28-2017, 07:21 AM
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Depression in older teens

Hi all, my son has revealed to me that he's battling a lot of demons these days. He's a very sensitive empath. He sees someone in pain and he wants to fix it for them, he says he almost feels what they feel. It depresses him.

He also has low self esteem, social anxiety, and he's trying to rescue his father from his alcoholism as well. He lives in his head. He says he knows he thinks too much but he can't shut off the feelings and/or the thoughts that cause him distress.

He has a therapist but he only sees the guy about once every 2-3 weeks. He has mentioned suicide, but from what I can tell it's along the lines of suicidal ideation. He told me he's never come up with a plan to do it and he looked appalled when I asked him if he had a plan to follow through with it. He says it's more along the lines of, "The world would be a better place without me," or, "I can't handle the stress of my life and the world I live in so maybe death is the easiest route away from it all?"

My heart breaks for him. I've had those thoughts. I know how harsh the world can be but for a sensitive soul such as his, I fear for him. I truly fear that he will try to cope with drugs or alcohol some day. And, I know that there is not much I can do to stop him except keep educating him, keep pushing him to get to Al Anon faster and find a sponsor (he keeps stalling at this), and to encourage him to increase his appointments with his therapist.

What can I do? I can turn him over to my HP, but that doesn't make my mom heart hurt any less. I wish I could help make his path lighter and more manageable. He has been through so much. He knows his life is valuable. He knows he wants to help people with his art and he even told me he thinks he wants to be a motivational speaker one day. He wants people to not hurt anymore.
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Old 05-28-2017, 08:34 AM
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I remember going through a good deal of that too. My mother encouraged me to join her church but I was way too judgmental about how judgmental I thought all Christians were to do anything like that lol... but what was really bugging me was my own insecurity, resentments, envy etc. Quite often my brain would start chewing on me in the morning and I'd end up profoundly edgy all day. Other days I'd be fine; so the curve tended to be often below "fine". Booze and weed did get me out of my head a bit though in the end weed just made me paranoid... I don't know why I'm not an alcoholic, best I can think is that booze just wasn't enough of a fix to make me comfy, so I remained uncomfortable.

But the empathy angle is interesting, I <thought> I could feel what other people were thinking & feeling- because if I heard what they said I could reason it out to some conclusion then I must be correct, right? That particular angle has caused me trouble for getting on 40 years and it took Alanon to finally make it clear. But really, I was mostly obsessed over my own emotional condition and how others "made" me feel.

This stuff wasn't continuously a problem, it would be big sometimes, small others, sometimes not a problem at all. I was not a great student and didn't care much for school. Graduating and getting a job and getting on with things was a HUGE improvement. Of course the self-centered stuff was out in the parking lot doing pushups for a later return in strength but thats another story.

We had a mother and her teen son in our meetings for a while, fresh out of the alcoholic disaster. She and I talked a bit and she had me talk to her son who had anger issues, I pitched my Alanon experience pretty hard; how that anger screw would just get tighter and tighter until I'd snap, and I couldn't stop or control it- and how recovery was the only thing I'd ever found that would get me out and keep me out. I hope I made an impression but at that age nobody could tell me much of anything either.
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Old 05-28-2017, 08:36 AM
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Could you maybe direct him into some volunteer activities where he could do work that would give him some positive "feel-good" feedback? I'm thinking of something like Special Olympics--he's an athlete, and the kids involved in Special Olympics are big on hugs and spontaneous expressions of happiness and gratitude. Might be a real upper for him and show him he CAN make the world a better place.
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Old 05-28-2017, 12:50 PM
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I can't imagine how hard this is.

I just want to remind you that there is a piece you have already done.

You attended therapy, you attend Al-anon and have your own program.

That is a huge blessing for you and your son. He has seen someone have success with similar pieces that he is working on now.
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Old 05-28-2017, 05:07 PM
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It's hard but I often wonder if I'm doing a crap job as a parent. After my XAH abused him the other week, I was wondering what my part could be. My son asked me to stay out of it, which I have.

I feel like I've thrown my kid to the wolves. I protected him and wrapped him in bubble wrap for years and kept him from a lot of the damage of facing life headfirst. I did the best I could but I know I coddled him over the years.

Now, here he is at 18 and I feel like my hands are tied. I took him for a neuropsychological testing the other week, trying to make sure he can qualify for accomodations for college. I have him in counseling and he takes care of those appointments himself and schedules it.

Have I stepped out of my role more than I should have? I think that's what I ask myself. Have I gone too far as I, myself, have tried to get used to working full time, managing a new life for us, and trying to take care of all the other in between stuff that comes up? Have I abandoned my son too quickly instead of taking care of him?

We just got back from a 5 day trip to CO to be with family. I still travel with him. I try to go hiking with him once a month. I take him out to dinner and we walked around downtown last night checking out all the cool coffee shops, etc.

I feel like I'm failing him. Like I didn't transition him well. But, I had to get out of that marriage. It's been over 2 years and my son was 16 when I left. He's matured a lot but he's still struggling and I believe he always will. Sigh.....
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Old 05-28-2017, 05:24 PM
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Certain I missed some things.... but can he see the therapist every
week for a while? He has been in alateen? alanon?

So sad, prayers to you & your boy.
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Old 05-28-2017, 08:25 PM
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Thinking of you my friend. Always hard to support the fledgling but add to that the AH abusive dysfunction and your son's ongoing "stuff" and you are in for a bumpy road. Don't be so hard on yourself. You are very aware and your son has such a good heart. It will smooth out.
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Old 05-28-2017, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by mylifeismine View Post
Certain I missed some things.... but can he see the therapist every
week for a while? He has been in alateen? alanon?

So sad, prayers to you & your boy.
Yes, I'm asking him to increase his therapy appointments thru the summer. He has been to both but I am encouraging him to go to Alanon again. Well, I always encourage it but I constantly talk program to him and have given him my books, etc. He is aware there is help for him and he knows where to find it and he does talk to both myself and his dad. Yep, he talks to his dad and, for some reason, my XAH can be supportive and encouraging as long as he's not drunk.
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