Ask a Psychiatrist and Get Answers to Mental Health Questions ASAP
I have changed the format to Q and A so you can respond when you are ready as you are offline at the moment. Can I ask you, has your son ever experienced problems as school, issues with learning, being told he is not learning well, etc. OR has he experienced what you might call a trauma - an emotional experience at any time in his past that he may not have had the resources to cope with at the time? OR has there been pressure to do well and to learn? Many thanks for your info, it will help me to advise you later. Best Wishes, Sarah
Apologies for the delay in my reply. This may not be the answer you were hoping for, but it may be the answer to take your son forward. I understand that your son is bright and has chosen his own subject, which requires lots of time and effort. However, I also hear that, as caring parents, you have cajoled and forced (your word) him to do better along the way, no doubt with good and positive intentions that he gets a good education and a good job, so that he can have a comfortable life, which is what we all hope for four our children. Yet I would question 2 things here, and maybe they are related. In order to 'keep going' at something that is tough, it is important to have some levels of internal motivation, rather than external, ie. it needs to come from within the self, rather than from parents or teachers, etc. If the main motivation to do so much hard work comes from an external source, then eventually it will run out. This is because the benefits also become external - I'm doing this for someone else and not me. I wonder whether, one and a half years ago, this 'phobia' was a fear of letting someone (you as parents???) down if it doesn't go well? (I am only guessing, this is a theory based upon what you have told me). The situation then becomes very 'stodgy' for him - the work is hard, he is not self-motivated and the benefits are (perceived to be) for someone else. Maybe he is working out his frustrations now on a daily basis in sport.
If the above is true (and it may not be), then it is possible that your son does not even realise what is going on and may be as confused and concerned by his lack of wanting to learn as you are. Therefore if you ask him about this, he may simply deny it. My advice to you would be to show no concern, as hard as this may be. The consequences of this, over time, would be that your son becomes more and more aware of the consequences of 'not getting on with things' for himself - in some ways, you are his scapegoat - you tell him he must do well, he tells you everything is fine, and this supports his belief that 'everything is fine' when the reality is that all is slipping away from him. You need to allow it to slip without saying anything to him, so that he can see it is slipping without you to be strong for. Then your son can see clearly - this is my life, it is my future, if I work at it, the consequences are for me, the benefits are for me - no-one else. Yes, my parents will be proud - but I am doing this for me. If he chooses to let it all go, then that is his choice and he must suffer the consequences - it's one of life's lessons. Do you see? He cannot do this for you, or his dad, or anyone other than himself. he needs to find his own confidence, his own motivation, his own strength. I'm afraid it's called 'tough love' and it is indeed very tough. You and your husband (or partner, or whoever you have to support you) need to find support and solice in each other and let your son become the person he is going to be. Let the bird out of the cage and he will fly alone - if he dips, he will learn to soar again. I hope this is useful for you. Please press accept if you find my answer valuable. Happy to respond but it will be tomorrow. It is getting late now in England. Be strong, With very Best Wishes, Sarah
Thanks for your info - depression is a word used by so many people and it is important to know that it means so many different things to every person - maybe your son is depressed because he is lonely, if his friend dropped out and he feels alone. I wonder how much he needs to find an escape route and how much supported he would feel if he were to follow this through - how would you feel if he dropped out? Changed course? took a year out? I wonder if he needs to make changes and feel supported by you in this. if he doesn't wish to take your calls, perhaps you could write to him, but not to tell him what to do, but to tell him how much you love him and are concerned that he is sad, and that you would support him in any decision he feels to make is necessary to take his life forward and be positive again. With regards XXXXX XXXXX flow, I can understand totally where you are coming from and if he was doing a less stressful course, I would agree that independence would be best - but given the stress from the course, I wonder if that would be too much for him. Ask him what he needs, rather than giving what you think he needs - it may be the key to his moving on. With best wishes, Sarah
Thanks for your reply - i am pleased to know that you have supported your son in any changes that he may find useful. I have another question for you - is there a memory where your son 'failed' at anything, been disciplined, upset, annoyed, something happened as a result of the 'failure' ? OR maybe he has never 'failed' at anything, always been a good performer, the best in his class, etc. I will tell you what I am wondering - whether this may be a fear of failure and a reluctance to accept that he may be happier if he made changes to his original decisions. If you think this may be true, it may be worth pointing out to him that if he has made the decision that he could be happier elsewhere, then it is pointless not to act upon it, more positive to accept new pastures and more of a negative to stick to what you know is wrong for yourself. I can only offer these suggestions for you to ponder and reflect upon - another question that springs to mind is maybe he has fallen in love and been spurned by a new partner? he may not wish to share this info with you. What I can say is that, no matter how much you wish to help him and get him to see a professional, he can only do this and take it forward if he is willing to help himself. With regards XXXXX XXXXX formal diagnosis, he can only be assessed should he wish to meet with a professional in order to do this. If he feels he can sort it himself, there seems little you can do in a practical sense. In the meantime, you can only continue to be supportive, offering to support whatever he needs without judgment, letting him know that you are around, unconditionally, and that your door is always open. I do hope this is somewhat comforting, even if you cannot do much more for him at the moment. I wonder if, one day, he will appreciate your continues support, but it may be much later in the future. With best wishes, Sarah
I had lots of pressure and stress and I was lost in many thoughts I could not understand what was going on but Sarah helped me to sort out reality from thoughts and her words draw a more clear picture and helped see more clearer, she brought the long distance short and the far near. Her words comforts my anxiety, I wonder if we have such people around why do we wait so long to seek their help and take their advice. I wish if my son will contact her. Thanks again sara for your patience, deep analysis and professional thorough reply.