Don’t ignore mental health, family support is critical
Reader’s commentaries regarding a “child that needs help,” in situations as described by “desperate father” (July 11):
Reader #1: “I’m a young adult who suffers from depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as a result of emotional abuse from a romantic partner.
“During my roughest times, I had zero support from my parents. When I said I was seeing a counsellor at university, they were annoyed that I hadn’t ‘gotten over’ the abuse. Luckily, with the support of the counsellor and friends, I was able to graduate and land a job.
“I imagine the son is going through an extremely difficult time, and the parents probably don’t know the full extent of it. Yet they can’t force him to disclose everything.
“I advise them to ask him what he needs to be successful, and to truly listen and provide support. Telling him which paths to take, or how he should be doing things, won’t be fruitful. He has to make those choices for himself, and be supported in his decisions.
“You can give someone a fish, or you can teach them to fish, but you should first ask if they eat fish.”
Reader #2: “I am, was and have been the child that needed help. I’ve been dealing with depression and assorted eccentricities, foibles and quirks that it’s foisted on me over years. I’m now 56.
“I’d tell Distraught Father this: Don’t do what my family did — they ignored it. Don’t pretend it’ll go away, it won’t.
“Here’s what you can tell your wife (Ellie: She won’t discuss their son’s situation with anyone) to expect: I don’t work, haven’t in years, still suffer from depression.
“Will this happen to your son? If he doesn’t get help it’s very likely he’ll end up in the same space as me.
“Ask yourselves, what’ll happen to your son after you’re both gone and he’s truly alone?” Reader #3: “Young adults may try different paths before finding their fit. Be their champion. Listen. And have patience.
“I’d suspect depression, possible focus issues (a learning disability), lack of confidence, or lack of problem-solving ability. Or, something not shared with you that’s distressing him.
“Let him know you’re in his corner. Don’t bring up past mistakes, losses, or issues. Suggest a doctor’s visit for a general checkup. Say you love him and his health’s important. Ask what he’d like, going forward. Look at your relationship at home. If you change your interactions to very positive ones, he’ll begin to change too over time.
“If you need a mental health specialist, do the research to find one he’ll accept. Suggest he decides through a phone interview. Don’t be nosy about the appointment if he goes.
“Let him know you’re not perfect. Most people have had a mental health issue, like depression, at some point. Be thankful your child is safe in your home and you can still help him.”
Q. I have a crush on an older guy, 18. He’s super witty, smart, hardworking. But I’m 12.
I definitely think he likes me. I play soccer with him and his friends. His mom works with mine. I get to see him daily.
I’m totally at ease with him. He’s my best/only friend.
Should I keep loving him or accept that I can’t date older boys?
A. You will “move on” from adolescence to being a teenager. It’s important to stay open to making other friends, to share the journey.
He may be a great guy, cool enough to let you join the soccer game. But his more grown-up interests are beyond your experience and ability to handle.
This is a starter-crush. It feels nice to think so highly of him, but unwise to count on for more.
You already know you’re not ready for that, and smart enough to ask about it.