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1260240 tn?1336081048

Agoraphobia/anxiety

I have come to realise that my son Glen 16 is suffering with agrophobia and anxiety, due to how he acts. If the prozac works then it will help him, but what if it doesn't it and he's only been on the meds 2 weeks and I've heard it takes around 4 weeks to notice any real difference.

At the moment Glen doesn't want to go anywhere, i.e. clubs that he used to attend, respite, school. I just about get him to School as a taxi picks him and brings him back, if that didn't happen then I wouldn't be able to get him there. Glen only goes to respite if he goes from School or they come and get him, once again I cannot get him them. Glen refuses to go hits himself constantly, hits out at me, runs to his room, etc. So I 'give in' and keep him at home for a peaceful life basically.

Not only is there the problem of going anywhere, the other thing is, for the past number of weeks Glen has come in from School wanting curtains closed in living room and light on. If you don't do this he will then kick etc as I explained above. He then wants to lay in his room for a while, even at weekends when there is no school. If I don't 'give in to him' then as I've said he gets really aggressive. So basically I whats necessary for a quiet life. Glen even asks for curtains closed & light on in living room at weekends at the same time of day (3.45pm) as he does in the week, so its not just School days when this occurs.

You are probably thinking I am way too soft, which you are right but I have tried NOT to give into Glen and have suffered the consequences of this.

Glen is still waiting this mental health assessment, which he desperately needs. He looks and appears a very depressed, anxious individual who needs urgent help.

So if you were me and please be honest would you do what I do or would you take him to clubs where he doesn't want to go, is clearly anxious etc? I look at it like this if it was me and I was so anxious about something that I didn't want to do then I wouldn't do it. Anyway please I welcome your comments on this.
15 Responses
1291268 tn?1274814522
He is able to go to school and remain there throughout the day?
How would he describe how he feels?  
How long has he been like this?  Was there something that happened that precipitated this?

It seems he is experiencing severe anxiety and probably depression.

Perhaps you should seek help yourself for methods to help deal with what's happening to him.
Best of luck.
Avatar universal
My heart goes out to you and your son.  It's a terrible situation to be in.  We're mothers, and therefore we're suckers for our kids.  We give in when others probably wouldn't.  But that's ok.  At least sometimes.  I totally understand that you don't really know what to do, and you need help, fast!!  Can you call your local mental health office and see what they have to offer.  There are probably things they could suggest that you don't even know exists.  I'd be making lots of phone calls, getting all the information I could about what help is out there.  
It's obvious that your boy needs help, and hopefully the Prozac will kick in in the next couple of weeks and he'll get some relief from his suffering.  In the meantime, find out all you can about what to do and how to do it.  I KNOW there's help out there for both of you.  
Personally, I think therapy would be a good start, even if the therapist has to come to your house.  And the therapist could help guide you in your quest to help your son.
I wish you all the best.  Stay strong.............and let us know how it's going.
Avatar universal
* Waves at The Duckster *

Anxiety and Agoraphobia can effect people in a different way. What you son does with the curtain closed reminds me of myself when I was about 20. Used to just lay on my bed. Thing was I hated light. I would want to be in the dark. Were he at least wants the light on. We can be sensitive to bright lights at times. Even now I sit in the dark. Never have a light on in my room. Just the light from the computer. It is also common to want to just lounge around. When it first kicks in you tend to lose a lot of interest in things. Including yourself. Just imagine the mind. What is going on inside of his head. He is trying to make sense of things. Why this is happening to him. What exactly is happening to him. You have a whole head full of unanswered questions. So if you seem lost as to what to do, just consider the fact that he is probably just as lost right now as to what on earth is going in with his life. It is a bad age for something like this to kick in. Mind you any age is a bad age to get this sh!t dumped upon you. The road back can be a long one. Depending on how deep rooted the problem has become. I know when it first began to effect me I told nobody for a year. Tried to carry on as normal. I was simply frightened. Lost as to what was happening. Why I couldn't do the simple things I once could do with such ease. Bit like watching your life been taken away from you. What was once easy is now like climbing a mountain.

It is great that he has a loving caring parent. One who wants to understand things and will do whatever it takes to help him out. But he has to want the help. At his age that might be hard for him to understand. It is one thing you wanting him to get better. But he has to be ready for what it takes to get better. That could mean theraphy. A lot of talking. Medication. They may change the medication from time to time. That boils down to trial and error. It either works or it doesn't. You take it. You find out. If it does nothing they give you something else. It can all be one big pain in the a$$. Again I think of his age having to go through all of this. Doctors, Shrinks and the likes. It is bound to get under his skin at some point. Like it has done us all. Lord knows how many shrinks I saw and how many bad things I said to them. You think something is not working for you, you tell them in your own special way. Lord knows I abused many of them.

Exposure is the way back. But again you son has to want to do these things for himself. It will be great to have you there with him. But let's be honest here. At his age he won't always want you around if he has to go out. If that were the case it may solve one problem and create another problem. Him becoming dependant on you. Hence he would have to do things by himself at some stage. But I see that as a bit away. There is a lot to do before that. But exposure is done in babysteps. You don't run before you can walk. Bit like you have to learn old skills you once had all over again. Like how to be calm when out. Somewhere along the line something has thrown his way of thinking off. It is all about undoing that. Learning from step 1 again. If that means the front garden then so be it. The house is right beside him. He can come back in when he wants. But he has to set goals. Be it staying out longer over a period of time. Once you run straight back in you are giving in to your fears. It is the hardest part in my opinion. To not run away. To stay and let those bad hit you. Just to show you that they do go. Just as they have come on. But the first few times this will be very hard. It does get easier. You can ask Ducky or SillyGirl ( Two members ) that one. Like myself, both went from indoor life back into the great outdoors. More about, once you see you can do it, you want to fight back that bit harder.

I know this post is turning into a book. But one final thing that is good to know. That everything is linked together. The mood, the thought, the reaction and the symptoms. I am sure a good therapist will teach him this. If he could keep track of all four it would be a good start. Something easy to start him out with. Our mood could be anger. We could have a thought of ' not this again '. We react by pulling the curtains and not wanting to see the daylight. This in turn brings on the symptoms we feel. Be it sweats or chills or feeling sick or whatever. They all go hand in hand. Be like keeping a journal. Just to see the pattern. Then you try and introduce slight changes. Could I have thought a different way. Reacted a different way. I'm sure you get the idea by now. My whole concern is that he is just 16. To try and take all of this in. Heck, it can be a lot for an adult to take in. But to understand the condition can ease the mind some. The big fear of ' am I going mad '. The big answer is ' NO '. Just trying to get him to understand what is happening to him. Keep talking to him as best you can. The more he talks the better. It is always great to talk. To know you have that someone you can talk to.

We are always here and do the best we can. At times it helps. At times our words may confuse you more than help you. We don't mind been told so. Any direct questions, just ask away. Someone will always have an answer. So stick with us. We are here for support and even if you, yourself want to vent at any time at all. Just vent away. We have all been there.
Avatar universal
If it were me I would encourage him to go to his activities and give him reassurance that if he needs to leave I will be waiting for him and we can leave right away or I will come and get him and take him home. I would give him a cell phone. You can't wait for him outside school, but I would ask him if there was anything specific that he was worried about there and talk about it and take what he had to say seriously and try to come up with a solution. Even if its, if you go and you need to come home, I'll come and pick you up, or you can call a cab and come home.

Have you ever taken a anti depressant? Its not like taking an antibiotic that doesn't interfere with your ability to function and then cures you of the infection, it messes with your brain chemistry. It hard to think, you can't concentrate its hard to interact with other people especially if he is taking the full dose initial dose. Often people with anxiety disorder really can and should start on a much lower dose and very slowly increase, if indeed they even need it. I personally do not like nor agree with the use of antidepressant especially with teenagers. The only medication that has ever helped me was xanax. It works immediately and has freed me not to suffer from agoraphobia.

I find the best thing is to have a routine. Including exactly when to go to bed, eating on a regular basis, having work done on time, no unnessary stress, etc. Then I don't need to take any medication at all.

Sometimes we are depressed for a reason and it is an indication that a change needs to be made. Do you know why your grandson is depressed? Does he know what is bothering him. Maybe try to find out what it is for him to make a change or if it is something beyond his control, help him to accept it. The best thing you can do is offer all the love and support you can give.

Best of luck.
Avatar universal
I'm sorry, since I wrote the above I didn't realize that your son might be autistic. My girlfriend's son as asperbergers and he took prozac for two years and it helped him.
1118884 tn?1338596450
All I will add to thread is that your son is very fortunate to have a mom like you.

Hang in there.  I did check your profile; you have a lot to deal with, but I believe both you and your son will come out of this crisis just fine.        Best wishes.
1260240 tn?1336081048
Hi yes my son Glen is autistic, he is not able to tell me how he feels, why he is anxious, why he doesn't want to go to clubs etc, I wish he could.  I hope the prozac helps him I really as this has become a desperate situation.  Glen is still waiting for a mental health assessment and until that happens he needs something now that can ease some of his anxieties.
1260240 tn?1336081048
Well I really tried today when Glen came in from School.  As soon as he took his shoes off he went into the living room and put the light on and closed the curtains.  I talked to him as simply as I could saying: Mummy's room, Mummy wants curtains open etc.  Glen can have curtains closed in Glen's room.  That sort of thing, but Glen then became very distressed as I could see clearly in his face, he then started hitting himself, pacing up and down and then would have hit me if I didn't 'give in', which I did I'm afraid to say.

It seems to me that as the living room is the main room of the house, where Glen spends quite a bit of time, I think that come the afternoon he needs it to be 'night time', so that he knows he will not have to go anywhere else and he knows it will soon be bed time and associates all that with darkness.  Hope that makes sense?

I do not want to distress him unnecessarily, so I think I will have to 'go with it' for now.
1118884 tn?1338596450
I agree. Go with the flow for now.  In his current distress, Glen could hurt you.  You are preventing this by giving in. Wise decision.

I must tell you, autism aside, that the desire for a dark, quiet room with soft light the only illumination is my favorite  environment.  I worked as a librarian choosing night shift whenever I could get it.  The absolute worst thing for me is to be trapped in a large open space that is extremely bright.  I wear sunglasses to protect me form the glare and anxiety that comes when in such environments.  So I understand the primal need.  Like we might have felt safe in a cave in another era.

And your son needs most of all to feel safe.  Threaten him when he is in darkened room and her will fight back.  Sixteen is a hard age without his disorder.  I think he is doing well to recognize instinctively what he needs his environment at home to be

I am no expert on autism, so can only relate to Glen's need for a 'cocoon': nothing wrong with letting him have it.

As far as meds go: I think there might be a more appropriate one for him.  This based on my experience with Prozac.  It heightened my anxiety to the point where I felt like screaming when on visit with brother: also brought on serious insomnia.  You have heard and already know that our systems are all different, so take that for what it is: my experience.

An adjunct to Prozac at the very least might calm him down.  Thank you for sharing your story.  We all hope you will soon have smoother days and nights.

Avatar universal
I have 2 daugters(10y, 12y) diagnosied with depression and son(5y) with mild anxiety. My girl are both prozac(in australia is called Lovan). It took them about a year to really show any major improvement but they are younger than your son and I really dont think that depression is there main diagnoise's. i suspect my 12y has asperger like her 14y old brother and I suspect my 10y really has OCD like me. My 14y was crying every day over every thing and the crying became very controlled in a short time and with encoragement from us she and seeing her pychiatrist(rarly) she is now making some pretyn good friends and really seems to be enjoying socializing even thoe she struggles to get it right a lot. My10y also has anger issues serious anger issues that she's has since she was a baby. The Dr's refuses to refure me to a child phycologist or a ped when I started asking for help when she 1y.

I think the best way to deal with your son is to make sure you dont give in to his fear's. Dont force him to go place that are to social(busy) but dont let him avoid every thing either. If it my 16y old child I would not be leaving him home alone if I going out to the shops simply because I'm the parent and his safety and future health is still my responciablity at 16y. I would be going place that require him to at least get out but slowly get back to having a social life. May be friends of the family first or out to lunch. I would require him to partisipate in some way as well. Not sure what age is considered to be an adult where you are but here it's 18y and once they are 18y it will be even harder to be an authority in there life and you become more of a by stander. Dont be mean about forcing him to be with you in social setting envolve him making chooses but if in the end he refuses I would be saying well sorry I dont feel comfortable with you staying home or in your room so you need to listen and do what your told and if you wont step up and try to be adult then I'm forced to treat you like a child.

In my oppinion that the base line if a child does not start to do think more like adult as they get older the in the parent that make sure they are still doing everything in there power to make sure you teach them what it mean to be an adult when it time. By not doing this you are basicly telling your child that you dont care enough to fight for them every step of the way. This all needs be done fimly but calmly as well not anger, always offer choice that is going improve there abilties not you can come with me or stay in your room that will never improve the anxiety. Find good info on how to deal with anxiety if you need to he's old enough to read and understand it.

bacily the only way to get over a fear is to chalange the fear and sit with the fear and not run away back to a safe place.The longer you can let the anxiety stay with you in the situation that causes it the quicker you can get threw it and over it.

take care.
1260240 tn?1336081048
Hi thanks so much for your very welcome comments.  It makes a lot of sense what you have said.  I agree that you should challenge your fears.  My son being autistic as well, hasnt got communication and understanding skills.  He cannot hold a conversation etc.  We are taking him out for a meal this coming saturday, my daughter will also be there so hopefully that will go ok knowing how much he loves food.

I wish you and your family well and hope things start to settle down for your children it cannot be easy for you.

Take care.
Avatar universal
It is really hard for any of us to give you the right kind of answer. At first I never knew your son was autistic. So I went and wrote the reply I did. Which would be the reply I would give to a person with full understanding skills. The autistic situation must make it that bit harder for youself. Not exactly knowing what your son would probably love you to know. I do have a friend who has worked with autisitic kids all her professional life. So from speaking to her I know bits and pieces. But certainly not enough for me to merit an answer and say it is 100% right. I might ask the friend to have a look at this forum and direct her towards the post. The next time she emails me. Just to see what someone in her position would have to say about an autistic kid with anxiety. I am sure she has seen it all before. And may be able to answer some questions. If I take that route I will let you know what she has to say.
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