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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5809
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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My son is 28 years old. He's been suicidal since about the

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My son is 28 years old. He's been suicidal since about the age of 10. Unfortunately, his parents didn't recognize (or believe) the seriousness of his pain and despair. He has had very few friends--and I use the term loosely because they turned out to be total users who stabbed him in the back. One girlfriend who dropped him and then seeked him out to drop him again-3 times. His teeth are in horrible shape--he visited the dentist every 6 months until he was 18 and then I'm not sure how often he went but now he has been told that he needs to have the all pulled and implants or dentures -- $30,000. His hair is receding and he now feels that since he hasn't had a real girlfriend in his 28 years he certainly will never find one now. He's gone to school to become a journeyman machinist and has found that people shovelling ashphalt/working at wal-mart/HVAC and many others make more money than he does and required no school or skill. He lived at home until November 2010 when I asked him to leave because his threats of suicide and the horrible arguments that followed were too much for me to bear. He has now bought a house--which was my hope when I asked him to leave--but the neighborhood is totally quiet with older people and no opportunity to meet anyone. He's been to 2 family doctors and one counsellor and they have been of no help--one even told him to get out of depression he needed to take up a sport! He has no mental insurance coverage and said he will not go to any more doctors because it hurts so to pour out his soul and have them tell him to get a sport! His father has psychologically knocked him down his entire life while praising his brother, 6 years his junior. We go about a week--sometimes less and sometimes more--without these blowups. I've bought him books on building self-esteem and confidence--managing anger (he's explosively angry with a hairpin trigger). I can't help him and he keeps telling me that I make everything worse--he goes from deep depression to a total rage when talking to me. I cannot believe there is no hope for his life to improve--he says this is BS optimism based upon nothing. How can I talk to him? I've suggested that he write down all his fears, anxiety and feelings to send to a doctor before his visit so he doesn't have to pour out his heart but he doesn't believe that will help. He is totally hopeless and in desspair. Should I just not talk to him since I seem to make everything worse? I'm so worried about him but he's a grown man and his mother in the middle of his life is not helpful. My younger son moved 1000 miles away to get away from his "family", my daughter--between the two boys--will not even come out to visit because of her father. My psychologist said I should leave as well but I feel an obligation to my husband and since the kids are gone he's not destroying anyone anymore. I am not blameless as I have had bouts of depression for years as well and did not remove them from this bad environment. I know I can't save him but I need some guidance as to how to get him to seek help. I've threatened to have him taken to a hospital for evaluation but he thinks they'd never let him out and he'd lose his job and his house. He believes I have put the last nail in his coffin by throwing him out of the house when he was the most down. I don't know what to do!!!!
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like you are doing everything you can to help your son. I understand you may feel frustrated and upset but you are making a good effort. Much of what you are doing would be exactly what a professional would suggest. But your son is making it hard for you to help. With chronic depression, it is often very difficult to help the person because they don't want to try anything. Their mood is so down that efforts to get them to do things that would make us feel better fall flat with them.

Although your son is not willing to accept the help, that does not mean that you don't want to try. There are some additional things you can do. Here are some suggestions:

Educate yourself- the more you can learn about depression, the better your choices in helping your son. Here are some resources to help you get started:

The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness by ***** *****, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal and Jon Kabat-Zinn

Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn't Teach You and Medication Can't Give You by Richard O'Connor

Talking to Depression: Simple Ways To Connect When Someone In Your LifeIs Depressed: Simple Ways To Connect When Someone In Your Life Is Depressed by Claudia J. Strauss and Martha Manning

You can find these books on or your local library may have them for you.

You can also just sit with your son and listen. Let him know that he can talk with you anytime he needs to. Resist giving him advice. People sometimes will just need to let out their feelings and that is what helps them the most.

Don't forget to help yourself. You need a break and a time to recharge and you cannot help your son if you feel stressed.

Do give your son some space. Let a few days go by in between visits or calls. He does need time to work out things on his own.

Suggest group therapy if you feel it would help him. He can find a group on line or in person. Here is a link to help:

He can also try therapy at the local community mental health center. Contact your local United Way for information and contact numbers. Community mental health centers will see anyone who needs help. Payment will be on a sliding fee scale. They also have psychiatrists to help with medication. And they are a great place to contact with questions about community resources for your son.

Let me know if I can help in any other way,

TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you