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How to help my teenage child

  • 02-11-2020 12:21am
    Registered Users Posts: 52 ✭✭

    My kid suffers extreme anxiety and ocd. They imagine that they have every illness going. Damn Dr Google.
    Over Covid their condition has deteriorated and most days they have spells where they are crying.
    They say they feel very tired all the time and that they can't study. They were normally a procrastinator anyway but this feels different.
    I had said that between leaving certificate, the uncertainty over it due to Covid and Covid more generally is hugely stressful, so they should cut themselves some slack.

    We have been back to their doctor and got medication and after a few weeks I was told that it wasn't working for them and they were going to stop; That the side effects were too much. I am not sure if the side effects were partly psychosomatic as these too were subject to forensic googling.

    So meds were cut and then we went back to shrink where we got different mess which they are now not wanting to take in case they get side effects. To be fair, they did describe terrifying nightmares which shrink did say was from meds.

    I'm trying to get a psychologist as well but we have had several now with little success.

    I've tried explaining that the solution can be helped from the outside but must come from within, by doing some exercise, eating better, setting small goals, mindfullness etc but I may as well be talking to the wall.

    I feel very sad for my child and very helpless.
    It's also starting to affect the other kids in the house. My kid says that they just want to feel normal, That their brain feels foggy and they are scared they will never feel normal again. I don't know how to reassure them or what I can do to help. If it were an adult, you might say it's their problem but it's my child.

    Has anyone any suggestions?


  • Registered Users Posts: 585 ✭✭✭Windmill100000

    Hi op, this sounds very traumatic for your child and you.

    You don't mention how old your child is. Would they be open to talking to a counsellor to unravel the root of the anxiety and ocd? There are a lot of things children/teenagers can't/won't say to their parents but may say to a caring, impartial person.

    Was there any trauma within the family growing up? Your child may need to talk about this but doesnt want upset anyone by doing so.

    Are the meds antidepressants? They can take up to 8 weeks to work. There are so many nowadays that it really is about finding the right fit. Of course I understand your child's fear of wanting to feel normal and taking medication is at odds with that.

    For most teenagers, fitting in and feeling normal is essential to their self esteem. An empathic counsellor could help your child see beyond their struggles so their struggles don't define them.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,023 ✭✭✭Gruffalux

    Can totally understand why they want to avoid meds. Side effects are real. They also dont deal with root issues. Good CBT program. Dr Clare Weekes audio recordings. He should listen to them regularly. And some kind of vigorous outdoor sport that is not a team activity eg horse riding, surfing, climbing, wind surfing, kayaking etc . As often as possible. A punch bag.

  • Registered Users Posts: 614 ✭✭✭Meeoow

    I have every sympathy for you both. I have anxiety and depression, thinking back, probably from my teens. The lockdown is magnifying these illnesses.
    I had to stop antidepressants as they caused tinnitus.
    I have found counselling and walking to help me. I try to go for a walk every day, and feel much better. Aware have some good CBT courses on their website, might be worth a look.

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,880 Mod ✭✭✭✭shesty

    I really suspect that an agreement to severely limit internet time might have to come into this OP.
    I absolutely understand that is extremely difficult to do,especially with an older teen, but Dr.Google really exacerbates problems, and teenagers do not understand that.The less screen time the better but it should probably be negotiated between you as to how best to manage that.
    Definitely recommend all the other actions you are taking, lots of outdoors or a good hobby and CBT sessions or similar.I feel for you, it sounds really really hard, trying to help somebody to help themselves.