View Full Version : drama or danger
I have felt so much better when I have written here before, I hope there are some hopeful words again. My 14 yr old son has been through cutting, depression, and I think successfully on antidepressants since a little over a year ago. I've seen no evidence of cutting in over 10 months. He does have a mohawk, with our permission, but due to his previous problems with selfharm we've said "no" to piercings. He seems to understand that this is something he can decide as a young adult. But "hair"
go ahead it will grow back. He sees a psychologyst weekly and a Dr for meds once / month. Our family has also been seeing someone for family therapy weekly, but she has felt that we have come so far that we could discontinue those sessions. She was the first to alert us to how serious the cutting / depression was, and I value her opinion greatly. She felt that our making clearer boundaries for him was crutial, and saw the improvement from that in each of us. ( our 12yr old was quick to tell her "mom and dad are more in control now, and everyone seems happier). I wanted to give this background, to let you see how "out of left field" I feel about the psychologyst's comments last week. Apparently our son has been telling him about "hearing things",and seeing things. I approve of the Dr's keeping his actual comments confidential. I've told our son how important it is that he talk to someone. It does not have to be us. His meds have been increased. I don't want to seem to be in denial, I'd do anything, go anywhere for my son. But I know he is a very dramatic ( seriously in a special drama program afterschool) and very creative. He also has been reading books which mimic "voices in people's heads". Things at home have seemed so much better, except for the normal fights about computer time, playstation, the stuff we "should be arguing about". He's very involved with 3 musical instruments as well as his theatre program. I just wonder if this is drama or danger. Thanks as always
02-12-2004, 04:50 PM
How about just asking your son about these things? If the psychologist had your son's permission to share that with you, then perhaps he wants you to know, and may want to discuss this with you.
The line between "drama and danger" can be a fine one in a teen's head, and often they speak poetically. But his shrink should be the one to judge whether these voices and visions are actual hallucinations or only dramatic representations of conflicts in your son's head. If these are real hallucinations, the psychiatrist needs to see your son immediately. If these things are just a teen's way of describing various parts of his own mind, then that is "normal" craziness (or drama).
Please move very quickly to sort this out. Hallucinations (particularly visual ones) can be very serious indicators, and need special medications to control.
Please keep us posted.
Since I wrote last we've had several Dr visits, an additional antiphsychotic added to his meds, and a pretty relaxing feb vacation with my husband's parents in florida. I took all my questions I wrote above to the psychologyst (before vacation), which was very useful.
Dr Bradley, one thing we do have is a great network of Drs, and family therapist ,all very connected, so even though it sounded like I was questioning the diagnosis, we have agreed with all the treatments they have recommended so far.
I was just trying to organize this new information in my head. I felt I needed to show the Dr the side of our son that we see, I know it isn't the same view he gets from their appts. What the Dr pointed out to me that was very helpful, was that all the things that I saw as encouraging him to perhaps overdramitize things, could very well be books, stories etc. that made him feel that he wasn't alone... Really made me look at things differently.
I really believe that his telling the Drs about these things was the only way he could bring the information to us. I'm so proud of him and so grateful for the tact the Drs are showing in keeping as much confidential as is appropiate. It is still hard for my son to discuss these things with me, he seems more able to talk to my husband. I can see their relationship improving every day !!!! and whatever little voice might be saying "why can he tell mommy?" is drowned out by the voice saying " now we are a real team, it isn't all on my shoulders anymore !! "
I also had to realize that however scary this seems to us now, I'm sure it doesn't come close to how scary it must have been for him to deal with alone.
Hopefully, this is related to adolecence and not the begining of a larger problem. I think our Drs are being very proactive. But at least we are all on the same page, and my son knows he has a lot of people covering his back !!!
Thanks for your help, and I also want to point out how helpful it has been to have a place to come and write these things down. I would really encourage anyone who is reluctant to write any questions or comments to give it a try. The support is great, but this has not been the first time I've written things here and saw the issues clearer as I set them down on ....... screen ? :) Well you know what I mean !!!
Just an update. We are moving along I think. Big changes in that our son (14) is now part of a punk band. WOW. This is some interesting stuff.
I'd really like to hear from other parents of punk or other musical/appearance oriented kids....
We are getting some very interesting reactions from other parents since our son has a green mohawk, and some mighty interesting clothes.... but no piercings or tatoos. Oncce you've been worried about depression / cutting and other issues, the clothes and hair just don't bother us.
We have also been very supportive of his band. Been able to get to know the members ( and I have names and numbers of at least one parent of each member in my palmpilot) . The lead singer who is 17 is very passionate about the band and making a success of it. I think that is why he feels comfortable with our son, who though he is 14 is also very musical and driven to make this work. They have been very open about their plans. We've driven them to hear other bands ( and return trips.) It's well worth it to know they have a safe ride. They also know we have some pretty solid rules of behavior. Any substance abuse, and our car will not be an option, and they will loose a member of the group.
My son has also been giving me lessons on the subtle differences between kinds of punk music. He's very patient with me, saying "did you hear the horns in that part?" and if not replaying it for me.
I don't think that the other issues have gone away. He is still discussing things with the various doctors, and more and more my husband. I think he is reluctant to share any disconnection with reality with me, because he is very protective of me. The day he does, will mean he himself is a lot more comfortable.
But in the meantime. The music and his improving schoolwork are things we can celebrate.
As I said I'd love to hear from other parents who's kids are in bands, and like to look dramatic but within family rules. How do you deal with reactions from others?
03-16-2004, 10:42 PM
Dear MLL: Our son also was in a band when he was 14 (metal.) He's a drummer. He dressed in black band shirts, (lots of Metallica) baggy pants, ear piercings. He had shaved hair on the sides and a pony tail. He went through a phase of braiding his hair, which I did for him. It gave us good conversation time. We are both in conservative occupations in a small community. Through the book we came to focus on the important things and let the appearnce issues go. It is difficult sometimes. We just explained his appearance with: "He's a musician! He's in a band! What do you expect?" If it helps his creativity and performance, more power to him. He's now 16 and has a buzz cut, collared shirts, more of a "jock" almost hip-hop look. Go figure. At his middle school football awards banquet a dad sitting next to my husband was bragging about his daughter, and commented, "Wow, there sure are a lot of freaks at this School," referring to the appearnce of some of the kids, including our son. My husband just smiled proudly, poitned, and said, "yes, and that one there is our son!" The look on the other dad's face was hysterical. Be proud of your son and his musical talent. It's a great self-esteem booster. he must be talented to be sought after by older musicians. Good luck!
I knew I felt right about supporting his look, as long as it didn't break any of our family rules ( learning to say family rules instead of house rules..... I think they'll all grow up to be lawyers :) But my own support group of friends just don't have the same things going on. They all agree in principal, but I do see their eyes widen and the occasional, " I can't believe you let him do that, I'd kill my son" The last obviously not from a close friend. So it is good to hear from other parents who have actually been in the same situation !!!!
One lucky thing is that being proud of him does come easy. He really is terrific. The battles at home are horrible, but I do know that they represent the stage not the person.
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