Suicidal son

For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.
Thanks Jenny, I'll take a look at that

This is his fourth hospital and they have all offered schooling. Some do am or pm school and then some therapeutic activity in the other half of the day. One did all day school. The schooling seems to be optional, as do the therapy sessions, but luckily he's recognised that it's beneficial to him to go to school.

The problem lies at weekends and in the school holidays. Often there's just nothing for them to do, and often the staffing problems mean that even going out for a walk is impossible. So they can just be stuck sat around for days. Luckily he's been allowed to take his guitar in adn the ward had a piano, and he has his iPad (not connected to the internet) and a couple of books but they have nothing in this ward because it's acute.

I know the independent advisor has said he wants to stay on the case and has said that he will make sure an independent doctor will do if he can't for any reason.

Yes, early teens (well, any teens) are a really bad time potentially for mental health. As said above they feelthings so deeply, and their brains are going through a big cull of unused wiring, and their bodies are changing, and their hormones .... Then we add exam stress to all of that... I feel for them.
Oh Alison

My heart goes out to you. I know what pain you must be in. I would like to share my experience, as it is similar to yours:

My son (now 23 years old) always presented as "different" from his two brothers - and came across as slightly "different" or slightly autistic to other people. He complained he was being bullied at school aged 11, and I investigated, but there was not very much evidence beyond a boy his age teasing him. He struggled to knuckle down to academic tasks - and was a soft and dreamy boy who needed a LOT of affection and demonstrations of LOVE. He complained we didn't love him, and for years his resentment grew. Our mystification grew alongside his neediness.

Homelife during his adolescence was difficult, as his father was very controlling and almost militaristic - and sometimes verbally abusive and agressive towards my son/s. Nothing my son did was ever "Good Enough". When I filed for divorce, my (middle) son started smoking cannabis with "friends". He would often stay out at night during the school week and turn up for school and sleep during the school day. My despair grew at how to help him. Adolescence was a turbulent time for him (and us), and I attempted to address the worsening "problem" by trying to understand my son's mind (inquisitive, intelligent, sensitive, easily-influenced); by trying to help him as best I could. I set up meetings with the School Prinicpal, various Psychologists, a Family Therapist (not all at once, but over the course of five or so years). Nothing "untoward" showed up but my son grew progressively more and more uncontrollable and aggressive towards us.

Fast forward to 2013, when my son started an Arts Foundation Course in London: his disorganisation became worse, he was smoking more cannabis, barely understanding what was required of him in the academic sense. The two years ago, he almost succeeded in killing himself. My world cracked wide open, and I started living with the nightmare of a child who is out of his mind. I became his fulltime carer, and I became HYPERVIGILANT (and I still am to some extent). He was put on Risperidone anti-psychotics and an anti-depressant, which helped to some extent. But he was still managing to procure cannabis and that made his psychosis worse. A year ago he was planning to end his life again, and I stayed with him during the stormy months that followed hospitalisation.

Fast forward to today: my son is hugely improved since we moved to a quiet rural area in Wales, where there is no pressure or stress on him to do anything other than recuperate from his long-term illness. I have given up my life (as I knew it) to look after him and to nurse him back to health - with the help of a marvellous Mental Health Unit in London and now one in Wales. It's been gruelling, and challenging, and disheartening - but ULTIMATELY wonderful to see my son "emerge" from the uncommunicative state he was in. There is a sense that he is, to a large extent, "back on track" although he may need regular monitoring for the years ahead. I feel I have helped my son conquer the worst of his self-doubts, and fears about social contact.

In essence, I have come to the conslusion that my son just didn't know how to "do life" and wanted to regress to his childlike state where all was safe - because as a baby, your every need is taken care of, and there are no threats, and no responsibilities. The unrealistic academic demands and social pressures put on any young person nowadays is enormous. It's no wonder some of them would like to escape.

I wish you strength and love in the days ahead. Remember to take care of yourself - that's something I learned is VERY important to do during the tough days. Please let us know how you get on.
xxx
Alison_18091 wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 6:33 pm
Hi Jenny

Thank you so much for reading my post and taking the time to answer me.

He was 100% normal until he was 12 1/2. He was bright, talented in multiple areas, popular. A few things happened then - I was diagnosed withal an autoimmune disorder, he broke his arm, and he also started puberty. At some stage, probably a bit after that, he started being bullied. Mildly but that's not the point.

He became withdrawn, school attendance dropped (migraines nearly every day). After a while we found out he was self harming and hearing very negative distressing voices. The following year he started talking about suicide and a few months later he made his first attempt. 14 months in an adolescent unit. He always said the symptoms were just the same, despite therapies and medication.
Now he doesn't present as normal but hospitals always assume he's autistic as he doesn't look at people and can be very hard to talk to. My son is in there somewhere but we get rare glimpses of him these days.

Today we have had a small glimmer of hope. As you've probably found, they dislike diagnosing young people but the paperwork says depressive psychosis with anxiety. They say it's not schizophrenia because he's not deteriorating.

He had an independent advisor and doctor into the hospital today to section him and this guy has called us this afternoon and said he doesn't think our son is psychotic. He feels that he's emotionally hyperactive and anxious. Also controlling. He's hoping to stay involved in our son's case because he feels it's a puzzle he can solve.

So just a tiny glimmer but I'll take it! We have yet to hear the hospital opinion on this but if he's right it will be the reason why the antipsychotics never helped him at all. And if he's wrong but he gets people to look at the problem from another angle maybe he can be helped before it's too late.

Thank you again so much for answering me. I know there's such a drive to talk about mental health but I find I don't talk about this with many people because I'm a private person anyway and because it's not my own mental health. Fortunately mine is robust! So to know that when I do get to needing to reach out that someone is listening means an awful lot x
P.P.S
I replied to your post at length in another post (apologies for the long reply), but what has always got me wondering about my son, is if he had ADD or ADHD. Just a thought that maybe there is some neurological basis for your son's behaviour such as his Executive Function is compromised (the frontal lobe is not fully developed in some adolescents - leading to a problem with information uptake, and disorganisation). My son's mind is always on "fast-track" mode.

These resources I found to be helpful:
https://www.rethink.org
https://www.mind.org.uk
www.sane.org.uk
Thanks Janet and so sorry to hear your story, but I am pleased to hear that he is improving. You're amazing going to such drastic measures to help him. I did give up my job for C but we have other children to think of too. One is only 5, bless her...

He used to suffer from debilitating migraines and he has had a brain MRI to check his brain. Thinking about it we never received any feedback from that (it was done whilst he was an inpatient so I guess the results went to the hospital rather than us). I think we'd have been told if they were unusual. Like you, I'm not sure my son's bullying was much, but I think he may have been acutely sensitive to any comments made....

On Friday the consultant called wanting to talk about having a meeting to discharge C sooner rather than later as he had refused to go to his school, which he'd attended on Tuesday and Wednesday. Bit today a nurse has called and told me that he's made another attempt on his life so I'm hoping that may put a spanner in the plan of discharging him soon as he's clearly still in crisis.... He tied a ligature using a torn up bedsheet he'd attached to the back of his door... There's no was he's safe enough to be home.
Alison_18091 wrote:
Sat Sep 15, 2018 4:42 pm
Thanks Janet and so sorry to hear your story, but I am pleased to hear that he is improving. You're amazing going to such drastic measures to help him. I did give up my job for C but we have other children to think of too. One is only 5, bless her...

He used to suffer from debilitating migraines and he has had a brain MRI to check his brain. Thinking about it we never received any feedback from that (it was done whilst he was an inpatient so I guess the results went to the hospital rather than us). I think we'd have been told if they were unusual. Like you, I'm not sure my son's bullying was much, but I think he may have been acutely sensitive to any comments made....

On Friday the consultant called wanting to talk about having a meeting to discharge C sooner rather than later as he had refused to go to his school, which he'd attended on Tuesday and Wednesday. Bit today a nurse has called and told me that he's made another attempt on his life so I'm hoping that may put a spanner in the plan of discharging him soon as he's clearly still in crisis.... He tied a ligature using a torn up bedsheet he'd attached to the back of his door... There's no was he's safe enough to be home.
Oh my gosh. How awful for your poor son. And how worrying for you. So it seems as if school (and even the thought of attending) is causing him to feel suicidal. The pressure that having to concentrate on academic matters might be all too much for his brain to manage. Poor soul. I am sending so much love to you, as I know how tough the situation is. I gave up my job and a new four-year relationship to focus on my son. A mother always knows instinctively what's best for her child/ren. A friend of mine has said that her son benefitted from a course of TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) which I am going to investigate next. Please let us know how you get on. xx
Alison, only a thought - do you think your son himself feels 'safer' when he's been sectioned? I was wondering whether this terrifying latest attempt might be to STOP him being discharged?

Do you think he actually fears his own suicidal thoughts? That he WANTS to be in hospital, being 'safely looked after'?

(Slightly inverted logic, but I was wondering - I know that for some suicidal patients, the 'attempt' is deliberately 'just that'. I know the old trope 'a cry for help' but it can be that, all the same??)

As for the academic work, it should NOT be a 'pressure' but a 'joy'! All learning should be!

Are there subjects he likes more than others, so that he could focus only on those? Would that help, do you think??

Is the class environment communal? Is that an issue for him perhaps??

Is it 'good' for him to be mixing with other youngsters also finding life incredibly hard, or the reverse??

Kindest thoughts, as ever.