New to all of this!
Hi there 🙂
I have never done anything like this, so here goes. My amazing son has come to me and opened up about how he is suffering from depression and anxiety, and to be honest I don't know what to do. He has always been a shy kid growing up, but has really come out of his shell in the last few years and is one of the most amazing and beautiful people you will ever meet. To be honest he is my step son, not that it makes a shred of difference. He has lived with us for nearly 10 years and has no contact with his mum, (just for back story). In my opinion his issues start from his parents splitting up, compounded by lots of other small issues.
A year ago he reached out and said he was feeling over whelmed and depressed and I thought it was just a feeling during a stressful period, but I now realise that was him crying out.. and I feel devestated that I missed the sign and didn't follow it up.
A few weeks ago he came to me again, the new year rolled in and he said he didn't want to live with this by himself anymore, he wanted to be open and start dealing with it, so we have been talking a lot, I have been looking up amazing forums and pages/sites like this to try and learn as much as I can so I know how to help him.
My amazing sister suffers the same, and although she goes through her own struggle she has been so helpful in keeping me calm and educating me from her perspective.
We went to the local gp yesterday and they have prescribed him medication, as well as starting counselling asap, the thing is I'm so new to this, I guess I have always been a bit old fashioned believing that counselling and dealing with issues is more effective then medication. I guess I'm asking about other people's situations. I'm scared to put him on medication, however what is the alternative?
I found him sitting under a noose he had hung up in the garage, and can not describe how heart broken and devestated I am. I dont know where to go from here, but know that I need to be strong for him to help him as much as I can. He is the love of my life, the most amazing and generous person, and im so shocked that this has been brewing under the surface for so long.
Thank you for listening, and I hope to hear from anyone at all x
A warm welcome to you Happy go lucky
First, I feel overwhelmed by how truly beautiful you are. Your step-son, let's call him your son, is so blessed to have you in his life, he truly is. To have you and your sister as part of your son's circle is such a powerful start in things changing for the better.
I get where you're coming from, regarding the therapy and meds. I'm Mum to a 19yo gal and a 16yo guy (who sounds similar in nature to your son) and I've expressed to them my feelings about meds being last resort or, in come cases, a 1st step when it comes to greater well being. I think it's a decision made based on specific circumstances. Because depression can be such a combo of factors (mental, chemical and naturally depressing challenges), if the chemistry in the brain is so seriously out of whack, chemical assistance (meds) may be the 1st port of call before being able to change mental perspective. Can work the other way too, a change in mental perspective can sometimes naturally alter the body/brain's chemistry.
We're big on mental health in our house, based on me battling through 15 or so years of depression in the earlier part of my life. We're big on addressing feelings, for feelings are experienced for good reason. I imagine your son is a 'feeler'. I imagine he feels just about everything, such as depressing situations, people's degrading words, what he imagines (images that come to mind), maybe other people's feelings (their stress or sadness). I imagine his ability to feel is what led him to open up to you. I imagine he feels you as an open minded, compassionate, approachable, beautiful, inspiring, caring person. If you are all of these things, which I easily imagine you are, you'll be able to see how spot on he is when it comes to this ability he has, to get a sense of people or situations through how he feels them. Chances are he can sense or feel when he's in the presence of another sensitive/feeler, such as yourself. Sounds like you're like 2 peas in a pod. Add your sister and you've 3 🙂 Btw, if your sister's a super natural feeler, I'd imagine they'd be able to feel the same things. You could test them with 'Who do you both sense as being the most depressing or stressful person in the room?'. If they pick the same person, you've your answer.
You're obviously someone who comes from the heart, explaining the heart break you felt when you walked into the garage. You're an incredibly powerful person who is a gift to him. You're his angel 🙂
Hi Happy go lucky
'Old soul' kids are definitely different from the norm. My 16yo son's very much like this. Occasionally he'll spout out wisdom beyond his years. Recall, when he was quite young, him saying to me 'Ask me anything and I'll give you the answer'. My question, 'How can I be a better person?'. His response was mind altering, 'You already are (a better person)'. He was right; on reflection I realised I'd come far from who I once was. I'd become a very different person, based on a lot of hard work in trying to manage my mental health and the challenges of life. I felt incredibly proud of myself, as I thanked my little sage 🙂
As I say to my kids 'If anyone tells you 'you're too sensitive' and you need to 'toughen up', ignore them. The challenge is to ramp up your sensitivity and master it, as opposed to ignoring it or suppressing it. Some of the advantages of ramping it up
- It becomes easier to read people/sense a person's nature. With such sensitivity you can sense who's depressing and who's not, who's inspiring and who's not, who's stressful and who's not. As I say to my kids 'If you're sensitive enough, you'll easily be able to get a sense of who the biggest a-hole in the room is' 🙂 Bit rude but true nonetheless
- It becomes easier to get a feel for or a sense of what serves you best and what doesn't. It's your compass
- You can sense when someone's stressed or down. Sensitive people are the kind of people who feel compelled to help others because they can easily sense when someone needs help. Sometimes they can take on too much when it comes to serving others, which can lead to exhaustion. Something to be weary of
- You can gain the sense of 'When to emotionally constructively switch off'. For example, if you get a sense that you are having a conversation with a narcissistic seriously degrading a-hole, you'd emotionally switch off, otherwise you're going to feel their impact, leading you to experience anger or sadness. Switching off in favour of pure analysis may allow you to reach a logical conclusion, such as 'This person is highly triggering. I gotta watch out for them and their manipulative self serving ways'
While being highly sensitive is typically seen as a 'fault', I've found it actually points to an incredible ability. While being a HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) is basically acknowledged in the field of psychology and the physical field/study as to who we are (mind and body), in the field of spirituality it's absolutely inspirational.
Hey Happy go lucky,
First of all, a warm welcome to our forums, and thank you so much for your honesty in your post. Your words are so beautifully written and your story is heart-breaking, I'm so sorry to learn of your son's struggles. That must be so tough from a parent's point of view.
It's also amazing to see that you've taken on such a huge role in his life. The fact that he feels comfortable confiding in you about his struggles says a lot about the relationship and bond that you have with each other.
I may not be a parent (I'm currently at the tail end of my adolescence and have just entered adulthood) so I cannot advise from a parental standpoint, but as somebody who has struggled with my mental health, I may be able to offer some help from a child's perspective.
I find that when I am struggling and my parents notice, they will sit down with me and have a chat about my feelings, and how they can help. If you feel comfortable, I would encourage your son to open up to you about how he is feeling, and maybe try asking him the best way for you to support him during this time from his point of view. Ask him what he needs from you, the supportive role he would like you to fulfill, how you can best attend to his needs etc. I know from experience that my parents opening up an honest conversation with me has really helped me feel more comfortable with talking to them about my mental health, and I feel better knowing that I have their support. Your son may feel similarly.
You said that your sister suffers the same, I'm assuming you're talking about the same struggles as your son. Maybe it would be good for your son to have a chat with her about their experiences, if he hasn't already? I've often found solace in social support when I am struggling, you may find that your son will too.
While it is important to support your son during his struggles, it is also important to remember and nurture your own mental wellbeing as well. If you feel overwhelmed or just like you need to talk to somebody, you can always see a therapist, counsellor, psychologist or your own GP. They may also be able to offer you some professional advice for supporting somebody who struggles with their mental health.
I hope all this advice helps! Please feel free to continue having a chat with us, we'd love to help support you more.
All the best, SB