hard to cope caring for son with sudden depression

For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.
Hello everyone
I haven't been on for a while, I've some how managed to cope and just get on with it(as you do) and until now my 18 year old son hasn't had a very 'down episode' such as this, so things have not been so bad.
I forget just how bad it gets when things are 'manageable' and then when he goes very down all of a sudden for what seems like no apparent reason, I just don't know what to do for the best as nothing helps him improve, and I hate it. I feel in a panic(but I try not to show it). Some days seem to be going so well, he gets on with some hobby and is smiling and chatting and as the 'good days' have lasted for a while now I forgot what its like when its bad, and I became complacent into thinking things are 'normal' and I had been slowly planning small things in my mind such as him doing a very part-time course and making friends.
I started to let myself believe in a future for him where he can have some happiness.I even started to think (wrongly)that things were getting to normal. Now I don't know what to think,what to do, and I'm exhausted and worried all over again.
How stupid of me to think anything was ok! I realise I had just been kidding myself that it was more ok than it was to be able to cope.
Its so difficult when it comes on so suddenly,after what I thought had been a good day today as we had taken a trip to town, he had his haircut at the hair salon and was happy (it truly seemed like he'd made progress).All seemed well, until for what appeared no reason he suddenly went very down and quiet and is now non communicative, crying and so down again.With a little frustrated anger if I offer any help(which just isn't him, and he quickly apologises for snapping) and even that makes me feel so sad, knowing hes struggling so much.
As he has ME and back problems causing pain and also jaw pain, he uses a medical symptom from his physical illness to explain the reason for for his mood, but I feel this is an excuse and not the actual reason when his depression comes on so suddenly like today.
It is complicated, as he suffers with anxieties and OCD and gets very depressed about his looks. Its just been going along much better for a while(or so I thought) that this episode out of the blue, seems particularly difficult.

Thank you for allowing me to go on a bit.. I hope you are all managing as well as you can.
I know its good and bad, and I know that whenever its been bad before,it did get better, so I know it will get better again, Just have to keep believing and keep hold of one word...HOPE!!!!!!

There is always 'sunshine after the rain'! xxxxxxx thank you.
Tracey, I do feel for you, very difficult to cope with ups and downs like that. My son has different health problems to yours but I do understand what you mean about that ray of hope that everything's okay and then it feels like such a big set back when there's a relapse of some sort.

I think I try and keep focusing on the good bit that came before, as it does show that change is possible, even though it might not be permanent! When things are good I try and get on with as much as we can and when things are less good I try and focus a bit more on getting on with the house and the garden (as my son goes through phases where he isn't up to going out much and he'd rather do his own thing at home than have me hanging around him all day). It is tough, though and I think we all need a bit of wallowing every now and again - personally as much as I try and think positive I can't keep it up all the time and every now and again I need a bit of 'life is so unfair' stuff - and this is the perfect place for that!

Hope he picks up a bit soon and that things get a little easier xx
Thank you so very very much for your reply.
Just being able to express how you're feeling about your situation, especially at a difficult period really can help, and all the more so when a response comes through from someone empathizing, so I sincerely do thank you for that.
This morning my son is doing better again and I take that sigh of relief and feel so glad-and it truly is sunshine after the rain- but I know from the times before that it is a fragile moment in time.Still, these moments are to be enjoyed as much as it is possible as they are all the more precious aren't they.. I take each day as it comes and today, at this moment, it is ok. :)
I hope you are ok as I type this and that the day goes well for you and your son.
Best wishes xxxx
Hello Tilly

Your situation goes to show just how difficult it is trying to cope as a carer. Your heart and mind is pulled in many difficult directions and all you want is for things to get better or return to a state where everything was ok. Your post shows how important carers are not only within the family unit, but also for the community, its a shame us carers are not valued enough where we have to devote and sacrifice so much to make a difference.

I really hope you are getting the support you deserve, since you are giving and caring so much.
Dear Tilley, I am the mother of a 20 year old, and although (thank God!) he is in good health, please don't envy him too much as he had to go through the nightmare of losing his dad to cancer when he was only 15, so he has definitely been through the mill.

I mention him only to show that 'we mums' (!) agonise over our children, whatever their situation. I know my son went from being 'quite unhappy' at school (the usual teenage issues of 'I'm not cool enough' etc etc) to now, at uni, having 'found himself' socially(plus, thankfully,this year, a girlfriend - hurrah!).

At 18, your son may feel entirely miserable and 'down' yet, in a year or two ('for ever' I know, when a teenager!), things may have transformed for him in his life. So please, do hang on in there!

That said, you mention that he is worried about his lucks (oh, what teenager isn't??!!!) (and if they aren't, they are probably conceited little brats!). Now, whilst, outwith plastic surgery (probably a bit too much at his age!!!!), the very, very best thing any teen (especially male ones!) can do about their looks is to do their best to improve their physical musculature. I do appredciate that he has physical health issues, and of course he will ahve to work around those, but a good personal trainer can adapt any work out to what your son can cope with, and what works best for his particular physique.

So, if finances allow, I personally would recommend you suss out your local council gym, and see what a couple of session with a PT would cost (probably around £30-40 an hour), to see if he can devise a work out programme that would be tailored to your son's particular abilities and limitations. Show me a young male teen who wouldn't like to have a better physique, and I'll eat my hat!

Improving his physique will ,inevitably, boost his self-confidence and as an added bonus, exercise of all kinds will boost his natural brain endorphins, which are the 'feel good' hormones that give us that buzz after exercise. It's a win-win for him.

All the very best for him (oh, and, exercise is a GREAT medicine for depression as well!!!!)

Take care,kind regards, Jenny.,
Thank you purge for you reply. I greatly appreciate your understanding and I hope today is a good day for you.

Thank you Jenny for your message and advice and I hope today is a good day for you.
I totally agree that exercise is good for depression and there is a very good book, Exercise Beats Depression by Jim Johnson which explains and coaches in simple easy to follow english. My daughter is qualified in health and fitness and has helped my son with what he is able to do, and he also currently sees a physio for his scoliosis (curved spine) so he is doing what he can in that department.Thank you.

As myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) isn't always fully understood, I would like to take this opportunity to explain a little for those who would like to know.
As (ME) can be very debilitating -as in my sons case-it is not possible or advisable to exercise 'hard' or even at all at the onset of the illness. The Tymes Trust.org is an me charity for young people and explain how damaging Graded Exercise Therapy (GET) has been found to be for patients with ME in the early or severe cases of the illness.
http://ww.tymestrust.org/pdfs/vision2011-1insert.pdf

The symptoms of ME vary from person to person and many find themselves physically and mentally disabled by this horrendous, and as yet, not fully understood illness which can sometimes last for the life time of the patient with ME. There is no cure and no treatment.

It is crucial that the ME patient carefully 'paces' their activities to try to avoid a relapse,
although any energy used can sometimes cause a trigger of symptoms, at best, 'pacing' is to maintain lower level symptoms that are at least-or have become, due to longevity-manageable. There is an excellent article that has since become a mantra for people with 'invisible illness' and helps to explain to others about having to use their energy carefully, it is The spoon theory.
http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/wpres ... on-theory/

I am not an expert, just a parent who has witnessed first hand and experienced the effects of ME in my son for 10 years.We have learned what works and what doesn't, and found where the right support is and definitely where it isn't. Very best wishes xx
Hi there
As someone who has suffered from clinical depression for years. As a teenager I spent most of my time suicidal and in the pits of despair. It must be so hard caring for your son. To me you seem to be doing brilliantly. Is your son suffering from clinical depression? This causes physical pain too. Post again if you need to talk about anything at all I can help you with .
Thank you Corinne for your post. As I write, this moment is a good one :) , but I will be intouch, thank you. Best wishes xxx