Self identity

Self identity

Full of heart

A visit to a Psychiatrist with our son left us with many questions and uncertainties and I’m not too certain of the value of the visit to us.

The line of questioning was met by our son with a blank expression. Not understanding what was being asked of him, causing him to withdraw into a silent world, showing no interest and so I was responding on his behalf.

We were told that our son is extremely anxious and depressed and that we should consider anti-depressant medication for him – in conjunction with his Neurologist and his anti-epileptic medication – I’m not so sure! One valuable opinion we were given, was that our son will be trying to establish himself and forge his own identity as anyone would, or does and that he will be frustrated by his inability to express himself emotionally in such a way to be understood. It was suggested that we ‘listen’ more to what he says and that we should respect his reluctance to do things or go places as him saying ‘no’ and allow him not to, as that is his choice.

Experience has shown us that our son will very quickly get into a routine of ‘not doing’ and ‘not going’ and instead he finds his comfort from just sitting and experiencing very little and not looking for more that life has to offer, his world becomes that which is immediately in from of him.

We are now going into further debates around increasing medication which hopefully will control his seizures, but there will be side effects, not least of all increased lethargy, which will make engaging the world outdoors more difficult that it is already, but there is a concern about the damage uncontrolled seizures are having if we do nothing.

Helping our son overcome his anxiety and depression is essential as it is life restricting for him and challenging to our family unit. With respect to our Psychiatrist’s comments, I do retain a belief that having an interest in activity and ‘places’ is paramount to his recovery, giving him something to see and focus on and if handled correctly, creating happy memories rather than accepting his resistance. I do need to consider and reconsider, and no doubt reconsider again, our methods of motivation and enthusiasm to create a desire to even step over the threshold.

We started this website blog with a desire to travel accessible wheel-walking routes and to try and return to that interest is our aim. There is much to do and it will take time, there will be constant setbacks, and resilience is going to be essential. We should not ignore professional guidance, nor will we, but we do need to consider our own parental observations and understanding of what works to find that elusive balance. Our journey continues …..

10 thoughts on “Self identity

  1. Hope you can find and settle on some middle ground with the best of both the experts’ knowledge and your own deep understanding of Marc.
    And hope you all get out on the road again on those SuperWheels. Your guides to Accessible Walks are much appreciated also by those of us who now have to avoid hills and rough terrain as far as possible!
    (Very nice picture too)

  2. So sorry to read of the difficulties you are all experiencing. I wish I could help in some small way.
    I know you have tried so many different things to help Marc manage everyday life, but have you considered subliminal messages. I don’t know much about it, other than it can make the individual feel as though something was their idea when all the time it was your strategically placed photograph, information etc. that led them to suggest it. It might be worth exploring.

    Best wishes


    1. Your suggestion has made me think, Dougie. We did have some thoughts (need to have some thoughts) about turning things on their head and relooking at how we are going about it. I am working on the development of what they call a ‘talking mat’ which is photograph based – in our version – which would allow for the inclusion of a subliminal message through an image. That’s a great idea and I appreciate it very much. Fingers crossed 🙂

  3. That’s a difficult one for you all Paul. You know Marc far better than the Psychiatrist did. I’d also be careful of adding *more* medication, but for that I’d want to get further medical advice to see the pros and cons.
    What I do know if that you’ll do the best you both feel is the right thing for Marc.
    Take care all of you. xx

    1. Thank you so much, Jane. I did stress that medication was my least preferred intervention, particularly as we have seen bad reactions to changing it in the past. We are seeing our Neurologist again soon and will have a detailed discussion with him, but I do still have a great belief in coercing him in a novel and motivational way to get out to see things that don’t hurt him and don’t lead to the disasters he fears and reinforce those realities with discussion and pictures. I kick myself for not seeing the lack of progress as perhaps I should, but now it’s pointed out, I have a chance to reinforce my attempts at supporting him.

      1. I agree that getting him out so see things – anything really is a good thing. By using photos and the other things you use, he’ll know that the outside world isn’t all negative and nasty.
        It not only helps him, but helps you too, as you can’t be expected to stay inside all the time when Marc refuses to go anywhere. I’d push a tiny bit if he says no to the next outing and see what happens …

        1. Thank you, Jane, I’m thinking like you suggest. We have a plan to revisit one of our local wheel-walks this week. Talking through where and when, using previous pictures so he knows what to expect and planning our picnic basket. So far so good. It will be a start, take more updated pictures and then it’s important that we keep it up.

  4. Dear Paul

    I worked in the NHS for many years, 3 of them in a Psychiatric hospital near Birmingham. I can only say that I found many of the Psychiatrists to be aloof & out of touch with their patients. They were only to quick to prescribe drugs for a quick fix. That is their job, after all they are not Psychologists. Times may have changed but I suspect not.

    Have you looked into St John’s Wort at all? I know on the continent it is used as a first choice for minor depression/anxiety over prescription drugs. I’m not sure how it would work with Marc’s existing medication you would have to check. I used it myself briefly many years ago during a traumatic period in my life. It did help ease things. It used to be for sale in Superdrug!

    All I know is that you understand Marc’s day to day needs best & you must believe in your own judgement. The “experts” are not always right.

    Sending my very best wishes to you, Margaret & especially Marc xx

    1. Your very kind Julie, and I appreciate all your comforting words. Knowing some of the high’s we have had through just getting outdoors along the shoreline or a country lane has made me question if we should give up this approach and your message has reinforced this belief. I had not given any thought to St. John’s Wort, though I do know of it and will speak to our Neurologist when we see him next. You have been so supportive and I know you follow our journey which has its ups and downs. Today we had the sunshine and everything seemed so much brighter emotionally and given me some ideas to build on a suggestion by Dougie too. Thank you Julie, very much xx

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