03.12.2021

How to help an adult son depressed?

My son is 28 years old. A year ago, he on his own initiative, broke up with the girl before that, he lived 7 years. Then wanted to go back, but the girl refused him. He quit his job, tried to commit suicide. Moved in with me (mother did not want to live), sleeping every day until 14:00, then all evening and all night playing video games. Not looking for work, friends had virtually none. I try to talk to him, to somehow influence, to convince to live differently, for example, re – engage in the sports he used to play football, we along for a bike ride. All to no avail. How to help him?

Alexander, 53 years

«Как помочь взрослому сыну в депрессии?»

“Remember that and you and son have a choice”

Jean Arenas, psychologist, coach

Understand your confusion. Perhaps now you feel helpless. The first thing to do is to try to embrace this feeling and live it. No need to feel anxiety or guilt. Difficult to follow the rule: if the situation, do your best for this and whatever happened then, take the consequences without guilt for what happened.

According to the letter, you have already done much. You encouraged him to sports, convinced to go to work and not sit in front of computer games… All in vain. Remotely difficult to assess the extent of his depression, but from your description it seems that is a serious matter. I would compare the condition of your son with a bottomless pit. The more you persuade him to settle down and take himself in hand, and butanization the more inactive it becomes.

Some people experiencing depression, develops a kind of sadism. Their inaction and apathy, they show loved ones that all their efforts are useless, that they are stronger in your depression, in your omnipotent the negativity.

Maybe it’s too long and depended on you, the parents, and now makes you pay for this dependence. He brings you scores, demonstrating the suffering and showing that you are powerless to change anything. While you are painful to experience it. In this situation, it is important to emphasize that your son really have a choice. The problem is that people in a depressed state realizes the freedom of choice as a further regression.

Continue to live your life the best you can in this situation to do stay close, but arrange their lives

For example, you can remind him that he can choose the method of treatment: either to go for a session to a therapist to talk to, or make an appointment with a psychiatrist to obtain medication. Surely your disabled son regularly asks you for money. Hint that your financial aid will continue only on the condition that he will begin to visit a doctor.

And yet it seems to me that you don’t need to take too much responsibility, to be at the forefront. Perhaps you and your son have formed a codependent relationship, while he on the one hand asks for your help, and with another – is in no hurry to listen to the recommendations. It would be nice to expand his circle of friends: if he has a cousin or sister, any advice would to go through them. You said that he has almost no friends, but may need to seek help to those that are left?

Look for “reference” person for your son, do not load the burden of depression just on their shoulders. Try to protect yourself from his depression, which may be “contagious”. Despite the fact that you are full of compassion and empathy, distancing.

In fact, continue to live your life the best you can in this situation to do. Stay close, but arrange their lives. You probably feel guilt and responsibility for his twenty-eight year old son. But remember freedom of choice – yours and his. And don’t forget you are not omnipotent.

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