One step forward, two steps back
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October 17, 2013 at 11:43 am #1177
Well here we are a couple years later and my son is 20 now. He saw a phychologist who helped him get his driver’s license. Even after failing the first driver’s test he tried again and passed! I was so impressed. He tried college, but dropped out after only a few weeks. The sad part is that every assignment he did he got 100% and he could have done so well if he stayed!! He said he did not like to drive there and did not find the classes interesting. We can no longer see the phychologist because of insurance reasons (the doctor is out of network). At the end he totally closed down anyway and stopped trying. In between all this my husband and I have both had a few medical issues and unfortunately could not focus on him for a while. I also have anxiety myself, just diagnosed this year. I worry about him all the time. I think in order for him to change it has to come from within him. And he’s not there yet. Will it ever happen? What can I do? Everyone thinks I’m too soft with him but they don’t understand. My son won’t even admit he has a problem, he just says he is shy. He has never worked. He mostly just sits home all day. He has a childhood friend that he sees and he does go places with him and occasionally stays over at his house overnight. He likes to go out places with us (his parents) but never interacts with anyone. I do want to take him to another physcologist but he is not interested. Any advice would be appreciated.October 21, 2013 at 1:05 am #1469
Is there anything your son is interested in like a sport or a hobby? For example you could use what he already likes as a springboard to encourage him to join a club or a group. There are websites like meetup.com that has a lot of different things to do.
When he was seeing the psychologist, did you ever go in with him? I think it’s just a matter of finding the right person who will understand what he is going through. And if someone doesn’t know, you can always direct them to some good SM information online. There’s some good information for treating professionals these days if you take the time to look.
I hope he can find the right motivation, because if he waits too long then he will miss out on some great years of his life. And I hope you are taking care of yourself as well, because I know it is not easy on you either.
-SethOctober 21, 2013 at 7:32 am #1470
Hi, Thanks for the reply! He has some hobbies with my husband, working on cars and going to the shooting range. Sometimes my husband’s friends go with them and my son is comfortable going and being around them but he doesn’t engage in any conversation except for “yes” and “no” answers. My husband’s friends say he is too sheltered but they really don’t understand. He doesn’t seem comfortable around people his own age. I’m not sure why, I think because they will be quicker to ask him why he isn’t talking or what is wrong with him, where older adults don’t do that. Any advice on how hard we should push him? Since you have experienced this, would that have worked at all for you? For example he won’t order his food at McDonalds and we try to pause and let him order but he stands way back and kind of hides behind us so we always order it for him. Should we just say if you want to eat you have to order? I think he would probably not eat. Thanks for listening!!October 24, 2013 at 2:43 am #1471
It sounds like he is familiar with that environment around cars and the shooting range. There may be something there as far as him being more likely to talk. If there is ever something he wants to ask them, you can help him to form the question and write it out or practice first. That way he is more comfortable with the idea and with himself. It doesn’t have to be a question, it could just be a greeting like ‘hi, how are you?’
Ordering food can be a great tool for you guys because it’s such a structured setting that doesn’t really change very much. A conversation with a friend could be unpredictable and can go on many different tangents, but at a fast food restaurant there’s little variation. It’s usually ‘Hi, welcome to McDonalds may I take your order?’ or they might ask you if you want to try their new burger first. This can help to lessen the anxiety of the unknown and seemingly random nature of spontaneous conversations.
And it would even help to break it up into little steps. First he can order by himself at home in private, then he can order to you or your husband by role playing, then he can try the real thing. Knowing that he has done it before and can definitely do it can give him a boost as well. Competence brings confidence. And whatever you can do to lessen his anxiety and help him feel more comfortable will help a lot.
You can still push hard without making it unreasonable. It’s kind of like if you want to sell a product, you will talk about it, show what it is, say how good it is, and how it has changed your life, etc. And then after you build it up it becomes easier for someone to buy it. If you just ring the doorbell and say ‘buy this please’ you probably won’t be very good at your job. Similarly, if you guys are driving home from the shooting range and just happen to stop by a burger king, you can’t have an expectation of ‘this time he can do it!’ It’s a nice thought to have, but you’re kind of throwing him in the deep end. It is better to gradually and slowly build up to it so that he can gain the confidence and feel as comfortable as he can be.
Besides all that though, he has to want to do it himself first. If he isn’t cooperative and doesn’t believe in his family and in himself, then all the advice in the world won’t help. I have been in his shoes before, and if he is anything like me he will want to get better and take control of his life, even if he won’t admit it outright. It will take the combined efforts of his whole family to help him. And with the right motivation and support, I know he can do it!
-SethOctober 25, 2013 at 11:44 am #1472
Thank you so much, your advice is really helpful!!! It makes a lot of sense what you are saying.
He actually brought up college last night and why he didn’t like it. He said the class setting was too small and he didn’t like the people – which I’m translating to he doesn’t like to be so close to people, like sitting at the same table. I tried to continue the conversation and say that online college would be great for him. But he said then he would have to get a job afterwards and I think that scares him. He wouldn’t talk any more about it. I asked if he wanted to start slowly with things and practice at home but he wouldn’t answer. It’s so hard to break into the shell he has around him. If only he would share his sweet and funny personality with everyone!
We did go to the pychologist with him. I thought he was great, but it was a very, very slow process and very expensive. It is hard to find a doctor that even knows what SM is! That is a great idea to bring some information with us if we go to someone else.
I really, really appreciate your response! Thank you :).
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