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Old 05-28-2015, 05:10 PM #1
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Default Need advice for my 12 year old son - thank you!

Hi everyone,

I am here for my son, who is 12 years old. I need to figure out what is going on with him, or at least figure out a general direction of where to look for information until I can find and get him to a psychiatrist.

AJ was diagnosed with ADHD, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, and Anxiety when he was 7 years old, and since that time he has been taking Vyvance for the ADHD, and then at night he takes Risperidone for the ODD, and Clonodine to help him sleep. He is unable to sleep without it, and if he doesn't take it he will stay awake for up to 3 days. Everything was going much better. He was being bullied at school, but then we moved 2 years ago, and then he turned into a bit of a bully in the following year, but now there seems to be no bullying, but something ENTIRELY different going on with him.

Let me start by saying that AJ is the youngest child of 3 boys. His brothers are 26 and 23, and (again) AJ is now 12 1/2 years old. When he was 9 both of his older brothers, who he worshipped and who spent a great deal of attention on him, moved across the country to the east coast and have not yet moved back. Importantly, both of my two older sons are gay. We are a very progressive family, and fully support all of the kids in their endeavours (as long as they aren't harmful, but fortunately nothing harmful has come up.)

So, loving family, no abuse. AJ's father and I have a loving and mutually respectful relationship. I, along with his older brother, suffer from Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia. It really limits my life, but I am in CBT for it.

Now, in the past year AJ has really changed - perhaps it has to do with puberty. I'm not sure. Here is the new stuff that he is doing that is scaring me.

He decided about a year ago that he was gay. There were no indications with him as there were with his brothers. He could not define what "gay" meant when we asked him to explain. No matter, as of last week he changed his sexual preference to bisexual.

He is literally obsessed with a boy at school, and has been for the past school year. We'll call him James. James is 11 and in the same grade as my son, and is also new to the school from a foreign country. I have heard AJ talk about James for so long that within a month I was already worried about the psychological aspect of it, and what it could indication, so i spoke with AJ and he said he understood that if James didn't want to be his boyfriend that he wouldn't push him to be. Things were mostly quiet for a long time, but in the last month I'm hearing more and more about James again. AJ just so desperately wants James to be his friend, but James is having none of it, and has called him "queer", "stalker", "psycho", "freak", etc. The entire 6th grade in our small town has seen this up and down ride with AJ and James. AJ has had some friends, and still does, but yesterday I got an email from his last-period teacher that said he's been constantly asking to go to the counsellor's office (Doug), which she allows him to do, but instead of going to see Doug he is actually sneaking out of class to be wherever James is in the school. Most days James has to leave five minutes early to catch a different bus, and AJ has been repeatedly leaving class and the school building to go out and try to talk to James - who does NOT want to talk to AJ. Yesterday I got a note from his last-period teacher detailing how she finally left the class to go and find him, couldn't, and then caught him as he was walking back into the building after following James to his bus. She gave him 4 days of lunch detention because this was not the first time it had happened; apparently it's happened so often that she couldn't give me an exact figure other than "so frequently." Of course, he's also not doing what he's in the classroom to do - which is catch up on, and receive help with, his homework. His grades are abominable no matter what we've tried.

So there's the INTENSE obsession.

Next, about 6 months ago he started talking to himself. I asked him about it, and he said it's because he has no friends and is lonely. It's commentary-like talking...like he'll be watching a youtube video and he'll talk as if he's the announcer for the video. He has no tv or computer in his room, and I've heard him talking to himself in his room through the door, and it sounded conversational. I continue to monitor it, and was advised by many on Reddit that it was completely normal for a 12 year old to do this.

Next, he refuses to wear shorts. It's going to be 80 degrees here today, and that is HOT for where we live, and there is no way in hell I could talk him into wearing those shorts! Maybe this is normal body-image issues for a 12 year old, though.

He needs to be forced to take a shower, wash his face, and brush his teeth. I admit fault here for not checking, but at his last dental appointment he had 2 cavities because he has been going into the bathroom and simply running the water and not washing his face OR brushing his teeth...for who KNOWS how long. At least with his hair I can tell if he washed it or not.

He constantly lies. About things he wouldn't even need to lie about. Maybe that's normal for a 12 year old, too...I seem to recall some of that with his older brothers, but I talk to him and tell him over and over that there's no need to lie about something like "did you get a new book at the library" when it's no big deal if he simply forgot. Another simple example is that he'll say he ate breakfast and lunch at school, but yet when I go on the school's website it shows that he hasn't. That's no big deal, I realize, but there are so many lies and I can't think of something better right now because I'm upset.

My two biggest worries are, of course, the unhealthy obsession with James, and the talking to himself.

I just don't even know WHERE to start looking online for a clue as to what is going on, what this type of behaviour is called, or ... I just want to help him. I just don't know where to start and I can't get him in to see his family doctor for another month, and it will be 2 months until he can see a psychiatrist. I need to fill that gap.

Finally, AJ is a great kid otherwise. He is not exceptionally affectionate, but he is caring, he's especially defensive of the little kids at school who are being picked on and will make sure that they're okay if they are being bullied, or if they fall and get hurt. He's funny, he likes to draw cars - that's the only thing he'll draw, though - cars. He knows everything that there is to know about car safety and different models of cars. He loves crash test videos. He's extremely intelligent.

Okay, so now that I've written an entire book about my worries, I have to apologize for the length of it, but I hope that you can sense my worry and urgency. ANY help pointing me in the right direction for research or personal experience anyone could share would be incredibly appreciated.

I am not a person who posts once and then will never come back. I have been using a forum like this for the past 20 years for myself, and run a website for people with panic attacks. (It's nowhere near as active as it was in the late 90's or early 2000's, but it's still up.) I know how annoying it is when you write a long response and the person just never comes back, so I promise not to do that.

Oh, one last thing - we do make sure that AJ is eating properly. Complex carbs on a limited basis, fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and extremely limited sugar (and that usually only on the weekend.)

Thank you so very much for reading. It's been so helpful just to type this out.
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Old 05-29-2015, 09:41 PM #2
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Default Re: Need advice for my 12 year old son - thank you!

Hi spiroll. Welcome to Psych Central(PC). I am so sorry you are suffering from what seems like might be called caregiver fatigue. I know it is a difficult situation and you are the parent but one risk of spending too much time on AJ and not enough time on you is burnout.

As far as specific advice for AJ, having a therapist that is sympathetic but not an advocate for being gay could be a help. You mention diet, I find a high protein low carb diet helps me stabilize the emotional rollercoaster.

People here at PC may also have a therapist to talk things out for themselves as well as for the person they are caregiving.

Besides being an active participant in helping oneself at Psych Cental, many people also help support each other by replying to other people's posts. Many people who are actively involved in Psych Central find it helps take them out of their own problems to develop empathy for others. And their problems are more manageable the more they help others.

Glad you are joining us here. Some people find the forums give them the compassion and empathy they seek. http://forums.psychcentral.com

Please feel free to private message me or any of the Community Liaisons by left clicking on the name in blue to the left of their post) for questions or just to share.
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Old 05-30-2015, 01:16 AM #3
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Default Re: Need advice for my 12 year old son - thank you!

While it may take two months to get into a psychiatrist, you should see if you can get him into see a therapist sooner. While a therapist wont be able to prescribe medications, they can evaluate and help see what is going on. If your son's school has a health clinic you can see if they have mental health services and can evaluate him before the end of the school year (though some of the clinics in some schools run year round). The obsession sounds concerning.

Contrary to CANDC's advice, no therapist worth their license is going to pressure your son to be gay. They are going to support whatever understanding your son comes to about his sexual identity. It is more important to make sure that the therapist is glbt accepting, but with your older sons, you probably already know this. I just needed to address this for others who may not know.
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Old 05-30-2015, 09:15 AM #4
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Default Re: Need advice for my 12 year old son - thank you!

Googley, I appreciate your response. I am going to see my psychologist this week and just flat out ask her if she could interview AJ. I would be willing to give up my appointments for him if she has no other times. I just don't know if she's lgbt accepting, which is such an important aspect of this. I want AJ to come to his own healthy conclusions about his sexual identity.

I had to go and pick AJ up from school on Thursday, and he was too upset to go to school on Friday, because a girl he is friends with had a breakdown of sorts right in front of him and as he was trying to help her teachers kept pushing him out of the way to get to her, the police/ambulance were called and the school was put on lockdown. He truly cares so much about people, to the point where it affects him TOO much and increases his anxiety. I just don't know how to handle any of this, and the unhealthy obsessions just have. to. stop.

Thank you again for taking the time to respond. It means a great deal.
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Old 06-03-2015, 05:41 PM #5
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Default Re: Need advice for my 12 year old son - thank you!

Do you have any updates regarding your son? Is it possible that his symptoms could be explained by OCD? You mention anxiety several times and also that he tends to be obsessional in his thinking. Just a thought. I've worked with many young adults who were initially similarly diagnosed, but it took several years and trial and error to clarify the diagnosis.
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Old 06-04-2015, 01:46 AM #6
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Default Re: Need advice for my 12 year old son - thank you!

Thank you so much for asking. The obsession is still there, but hasn't been disruptive again. He is undergoing counseling, and we'll talk to his doctor in 2 weeks about the possibility of medication changes.

Now he thinks that he is bisexual. He doesn't even actually know how the act of sex is done - I asked (in the most gentle way possible, and we had two long discussions about it, so now he is aware.)

I feel like we have a long road ahead of us, but that, thank God, we're catching it early enough that it doesn't have to go for years or decades without being diagnosed. We have been watching, and have been able to rule out, signs of psychosis, thankfully. I am watching his behavior like a hawk, and I'm actually worn out.

My own care provider, an ARNP, decided last Friday to reduce one of my medications for my panic disorder without consulting me. My anxiety has been through the roof since then, and the withdrawal is horrible. And then last night I had a diabetic related low blood sugar event, which I didn't know was possible for a Type 2 diabetic, (my blood glucose went down to 39 when the lowest it should be is 70, and I woke up shaking, sweating, and with a pounding, racing heart. Felt like a panic attack, and now I'm really scared to go to sleep tonight because the doctor's office didn't give me any further instructions than to come in on Friday for an A1C check, and then next Friday the 12th for a follow up visit. So, 9 days until I will be able to know if it's safe to sleep. NOT a good time to be going down on a medication...in fact, the one that helps the most with my panic attacks.

I wish I could drink. Or that I was capable of crying.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mygrandjourney View Post
Do you have any updates regarding your son? Is it possible that his symptoms could be explained by OCD? You mention anxiety several times and also that he tends to be obsessional in his thinking. Just a thought. I've worked with many young adults who were initially similarly diagnosed, but it took several years and trial and error to clarify the diagnosis.
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Old 06-04-2015, 06:05 PM #7
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Default Re: Need advice for my 12 year old son - thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by spiroll View Post
Thank you so much for asking. The obsession is still there, but hasn't been disruptive again. He is undergoing counseling, and we'll talk to his doctor in 2 weeks about the possibility of medication changes.

Now he thinks that he is bisexual. He doesn't even actually know how the act of sex is done - I asked (in the most gentle way possible, and we had two long discussions about it, so now he is aware.)

I feel like we have a long road ahead of us, but that, thank God, we're catching it early enough that it doesn't have to go for years or decades without being diagnosed. We have been watching, and have been able to rule out, signs of psychosis, thankfully. I am watching his behavior like a hawk, and I'm actually worn out.

My own care provider, an ARNP, decided last Friday to reduce one of my medications for my panic disorder without consulting me. My anxiety has been through the roof since then, and the withdrawal is horrible. And then last night I had a diabetic related low blood sugar event, which I didn't know was possible for a Type 2 diabetic, (my blood glucose went down to 39 when the lowest it should be is 70, and I woke up shaking, sweating, and with a pounding, racing heart. Felt like a panic attack, and now I'm really scared to go to sleep tonight because the doctor's office didn't give me any further instructions than to come in on Friday for an A1C check, and then next Friday the 12th for a follow up visit. So, 9 days until I will be able to know if it's safe to sleep. NOT a good time to be going down on a medication...in fact, the one that helps the most with my panic attacks.

I wish I could drink. Or that I was capable of crying.

Please keep taking care of yourself through this ordeal and get the support you need. It sounds like you might have it covered, but I've worked with many parents and caregivers who have self destructed at the expense of caring for someone else!
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