I need advice on how to help a depressed kid

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by BailyTheFox, Aug 28, 2017.

  1. BailyTheFox

    BailyTheFox Monkey+

    A few weeks before moving to Florida I made friends with the kid my boyfriend has been mentoring for years. Hes 15 and has serious issues with depression/anxiety and suicidal thoughts. He never sleeps well and doesn't eat right either. He opened up to me pretty much immediately which is surprising because hes a very quiet kid with social anxiety. He's bullied terribly in school, the teachers are no fucking help and he can't go to his parents or family for help. He's afraid to talk to his parents because the one time he tried his dad blew up at him, calling him ungrateful and saying "how dare you we give you everything you wan't you shouldn't be sad". After that incident the boy absolutely refuses to tell them anything, he doesn't want to make them worried or angry with him. I'm trying to talk him into therapy but obviously he can't do that even if he wanted to because his parents would know.

    I don't know how to go about this, he's good at telling me whats going on and when hes having a super bad night but we've hit a wall as far as how to move forward. I don't know how to help him get started in working through these issues. I've been in his exact position before, he and I are so alike in fact its like i'm looking at a younger version of myself.

    I'm no therapist though and I don't know how to teach him the skills to work through this. Sometimes hes so depressed he doesn't even want to try. I can't just tell his parents because that could easily make matters worse with his dad being a prick. I just need help here.

    I'm worried the kid is gonna hurt himself or try to kill himself again one of these days and i'll be too far away to do anything.
    chelloveck likes this.
  2. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Brewery Monkey Moderator

    No therapist here, but I found that studying Martial Arts gave me a feeling of self confidence, accomplishment, self respect and respect for others.

    Poor kid, sounds like he is bullied at home, too.
    Zimmy, Dont, SB21 and 5 others like this.
  3. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That Moderator Founding Member

    I agree with DR on an activity that will enhance his self confidence. However, just because that is what he "heard" his dad say doesn't mean that was what he really said. Most people have interpretive listening. We hear what out state of mind wants to hear. I'm not saying that you shouldn't believe the kid, just try not to side with him against his parents. that can be a disaster for both the kid and the parents. In addition to DR's suggestion, I would add that if I were you, I think I might try helping him connect with his parents. They may want that more than the kid knows. If you can help him open a dialog at home, you may be giving him the help he really needs.

    Its good for teenagers to have a alternative to discussing problems with adults other than parents but just make sure you don't side with him against the parents.
  4. Tevin

    Tevin Monkey+++

    The only thing you can realistically do is find a therapist for this kid and make sure he keeps his appointments. If he is in imminent danger of hurting himself or others, call 911 immediately. Being a friend is nice, but it has its limits. This is way above you.

    And I'm not saying the kid is purposely lying or does not have a problem, but teenagers do have a tendency to over exaggerate their issues. You're hearing only one side of the story; this is why it's important to have a professional sort it out.
  5. snake6264

    snake6264 Combat flip flop douchebag

    Professional help is they way to got be it a psychiatrist or a therapist that deal in anxiety and such it worked very well for my daughter when she was a young teenager
    Short term meds to get her back on the even keel then just therapy did the trick
    sec_monkey and chelloveck like this.
  6. Tully Mars

    Tully Mars Metal weldin' monkey

    Very true, and good advice.
    @Dunerunner is spot on with the martial arts thing.
    I remember a skinny kid as I was growing up. Good kid, but had some self esteem issues because of his size and thought he had to do as well or better as his father and older brother in sports and such. Wasn't much for rodeo'in but was a solid defensive halfback and bout Jr high got into martial arts and weight training. That skinny kid blossomed into a 5'7" 205 pound man with 3% body fat and so limber he could do the splits. Became an Air Force PJ, was a member of their kick boxing team and served in Desert Shield/Storm. He taught my daughters how to defend themselves with an open hand, and has been kicking his older brother's arse for a long time now. But that's ok because I can still out shoot him ;)
  7. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    I had a friend that lost his teenaged son to suicide. Martin was a very quiet but talented kid. He spent hours walking the woods and fields, drawing some of the most beautiful wildlife sketches/ He could take his motorcycle apart, repair it, put it back together again blindfolded but he couldn't explain what or how he had done it. Martin's last drawing, before he shot himself, was of a covey of quail hiding beneath some briars. They look like they are about to burst into flight and you can almost hear the sound of their wings. His father is a good man, a retired professional military man that spend a career helping develop Germany's GS6. I never understood the dynamics between Buddy and Martin. I spoke with Martin the day before he killed himself. I helped carry his coffin to his grave. Forty something years have passed and I still wonder at why God would give so much talent to a child and not give him the means to express it where it counted. Please support but do not enable. Where he is blind, shine a little light maybe he'll see something besides the shadows that have brought him down.
  8. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Bailey, just know that you are a good hearted woman, and that this kid trusts you, says much about you. There are ways in which this kid's situation can be improved and some of the fellow monkeys here have given good counsel on some of the possible options. One thing that you need to take care of is your own well being: Emotional, psychological, spiritual, existential and physical. Don't neglect your own important and essential needs in these domains whilst supporting your friend.

    I am not able to offer any considered counsel at this moment....but will be thinking upon it, and will have a more comprehensive reply later in my day...it being 11:05am here in Sydney.

    cheers...from chell
  9. Bishop

    Bishop Monkey+++

    A few ? Is this kid self medicating does he stay inside a lot abd what kind if exercise does he do
  10. BailyTheFox

    BailyTheFox Monkey+

    I'm trying not to be pissed at his parents, it's just hard for me I guess. I'm quick to blame the parents because i've seen so many that fuck it up at every turn or are just plane awful. I always tend to mother hen the shit out of people I care about even when I was young. This isn't the first kid I've taken under my wing, the other one has always been blatantly sociopathic and now sells illegal guns and drugs at the age of 16 because his parents were to busy fighting and doing lines of coke to raise their children. I tried to pick up the slack but I lived an hour and a half away and I was only 10 when I started trying to teach him morals...idk my parents are fantastic but seeing all of my friends parents ignore their children's issues and mistreat them has me assuming the worst of them.

    Again i'm trying not to, I don't have a clue as to how child-rearing goes it's just difficult for me to see another kid who can't trust his parents.

    I'm trying so hard to convince him to get help but he thinks its a waste of time and money. He is incredibly pessimistic and really doesn't want his parents to know. I keep telling him how therapy worked for me once I found the right person but he can't get past it.

    It's a difficult balancing act...you can't be hard on him and vilinize the behavior because that feeds into his extreme self-esteem issues and drives it forward but at the same time can't take the words lightly. There are many times where I feel like if I say the wrong thing I'll push him over the edge and it'll all be my fault. Sometimes I can't think of anything to say or do to make it better, I hate it because I should know how to help because I've been where he is but the words still fail me. I try to distract and reassure him that he's a wonderful and beautiful.

    But he never believes me. He's convinced himself that he's a terrible person that should just stop existing, that there is nothing for him and nothing to look forward to in life. He thinks we will all abandon him and he'll always be alone. The amount of pain he is in is extreme.
  11. BailyTheFox

    BailyTheFox Monkey+

    I'll admit that there has been a few instances during our heavier conversations where I've stayed up until 2-5 am trying to talk him down from this place. And after or during these conversation I just...lose it and break down because it reminds me of when I was in the same exact state. Except this kid doesn't trust his parents and doesn't have that vital support. It breaks my fucking heart. I'll panic because I don't know what to do for him, I fell for this kid hard and fast because we're so similar. He's one of my closest friends now.

    He stays in and plays video games mostly, He doesn't exercise because he has a heart condition that gets real serious sometimes. It acts up if he laughs too hard even.
  12. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    You can never take the blame for another's actions. Guilt is not a natural and healthy thought when you know you've cared and tried to understand. When it becomes drama, it's time to shoot straight and not enable by willing to assume fault for another's failings.
  13. snake6264

    snake6264 Combat flip flop douchebag

    It is so NOT a waste of time or money trust me I know first hand and I have three grand daughters to prove the fact it does get better
    sec_monkey likes this.
  14. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That Moderator Founding Member

    When my daughter was a teenager, our home was the "safe" house for many kids. I had a few rules but our house was never without a group of kids just hanging out
    1. No drugs or alcohol, period.
    2. They had to call their parents every day and I would listen in to make sure they weren't bluffing me.
    3. No going out on school nights and an 11pm curfew one weekend night - either Friday or Saturday
    4. they had to functionally contribute to keeping the house picked up, everyday.
    5. Our house rules were their house rules.

    Don't try to make it so easy that you become the golden solution to their problems. Don't try to replace their parents and encourage them to work to build that parent child relationship if possible. In other words, don't be a mother hen but a wise adult

    Some would stay a week, other a few months but the main goal was to keep them in a safe environment while they worked out their issues with their parents.

    One night, my daughter and I were having a bit of conflict and she said she thought she should go to her friends house for a few days. My response - guess again Sweetheart - you stay here and we will work out our problems. Face your problems and solve them rather than running away from them. Its too easy for that to become a life long habit.

    So, I guess I would advise that being a friend is important but helping them learn that the keys to their kingdom are in their hands then helping them to find those keys.is the most important thing.

    I would also reiterate the advice of another monkey; if you even suspect this child may harm himself or herself, don't hesitate for one moment to dial 911
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2017
  15. BailyTheFox

    BailyTheFox Monkey+

    I know that very well I've been in therapy for years, He's having a difficult time understanding that point because in the past therapists haven't given him much help.

    I'm trying to help him see but hes so far in the pit he cant even imagine the light at the end of the tunnel.
  16. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That Moderator Founding Member

    It doesn't happen overnight just because we wish it were so. You can't help him but you can help give him the tools to help himself. It all takes time. Offer him the tools and then acknowledge when you see him using them.

    And remember, teenagers have mood swings that put a pregnant mother to shame
  17. BailyTheFox

    BailyTheFox Monkey+

    I just wish I could sit down with his parents and talk to them, but i'm in fricken florida now. I feel like everything would be solved if I could.
  18. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That Moderator Founding Member

    There has been this wonderful discover of a device that send sound waves through space! Pick up the phone and give them a call. You might find that their goal is the same as yours, to help him through his adolescence and into adulthood
    sec_monkey and chelloveck like this.
  19. BailyTheFox

    BailyTheFox Monkey+

    I'm deathly afraid that i'll make it worse, that they'll just talk over me or ignore me. I'm a stranger to these people, what right do I have to tell them whats going on under their noses?
  20. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That Moderator Founding Member

    You might approach it in a way that lets them know that he has expressed feeling to you that you want to make sure they are aware of, just in case he hasn't expressed it to them. DON'T call them accusing them of being uninvolved or of not caring. That would certainly exacerbate the tension in the house. don't leave them with the impression that you feel you are more equipped to deal with their child then they are, just a concerned friend - just concerned that he he hasn't talked to them
    sec_monkey and chelloveck like this.
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