Wednesday, February 22, 2012

When a 13 Year Old Asks for Help

This isn’t like my usual sarcastic, humorous, or apocalyptic posts. Today’s post is real and an excerpt from my life – well my son’s life.
My son – not like the “norm” of boys his age – and he knows it. He's not into sports - at all. He like computers, books, game systems, etc.
Let me give you a little backstory here.
Just turning nineteen I moved out, became pregnant, and married the man because his father was a preacher and strongly suggested that having a baby out of wedlock was wrong. My parents, not liking my-babies-daddy, reluctantly agreed. Dad, being old fashioned, said something like “You need to make an honest woman out of my daughter.” *rolling eye* So we got married January of 1998, had my son the following June. 19 months later we had my daughter. And then 9 months after that we filed for divorce. Nothing special with that really, I mean, it’s common now. But when my ex’s new wife had their daughter 9 months later, he stopped seeing my kids. This crushed my 2 year old son. My daughter was still too young to really understand.
Moving on…
My brother who was two years younger than me, and my best friend, moved in with us, becoming the leading male role to my kids. My son idolized him. They hung out together and became best friends. In this time frame I began dating a man that I previously dated in high school. And again, found myself pregnant. We dated on and off but eventually ended it months after my brother died in a car accident. He was 22. Again, crushing my then, 4 year old son, my daughter, 2, and my new son, 5 months.
I thought my divorce was painful. Ha! Losing my brother was like ripping my heart out of my chest. And every new day is blessing but at the same time, the realization sits in and my heart gets wrenched all over again.
In 2004 I met my wonderful husband at a bar of all places and we hit it off and have been together ever since. He picked up this humpty dumpty’s pieces and put me back together again. He loves my kids like they are his own and we have a little girl of our own.
However, today, my 13 year old is struggling with life. Not with school, not with friends, but with the overwhelming power life can throw at you. He has always been an anxious kid. Always awkward. Being called names like faggot, queer, gay, loser, homo, nerd, geek, fatty, bible thumper, etc. Some of these names are nothing compared to the others. Is my son any of these? No. And trust me, I’ve asked. I’m not a parent that beats around the bush when it comes to my kids. I come right out and say what needs to be said. And, no, I’m not homophobic or a bible thumper. I will love my kids just the way God made them. But I have asked: “Are you gay?” “Do you think about drugs?” “Do you need to talk to someone besides me?” His answer: “Nope.” In return he has asks: “What’s a BJ?” “Why do woman have periods?” “Why don’t we go to church?” and other grown-up topics. Yes my stomach hits the floor but I answer honestly. (Side note: I believe in God. I just don’t believe someone preaching to me makes me a better Christian.)
I thought everything was right in the world until my 13 year old came to me this weekend and said “Mom I think I need help.”
My heart stopped.
I asked why and he proceeded to tell me that he worries all the time. While sitting in school he thinks about me getting into an accident or when he wakes up he panics, thinking I’m not there. After listening to him, I realized that talking to someone would help. It’s not just a little anxiety, it’s now starting to control his life. His first session is next week.
Then we were watching Glee last night. Out of all the shows… Glee? It was about someone trying to commit suicide. I was downstairs in the living room, my son upstairs in his room. From the bottom of the steps I call to my son. We walks over to the steep and says “No mom. It’s not that bad. I would never do anything that would have me spend eternity in hell. I would never see you guys again.” Again my heart stopped for two reasons. One - he knew what I was going to ask before I asked it. And two – he’s thought about it, however, came out on top.
My questions to you… how would you handle this situation? Would you have done anything different? Has this happened to you or your child?
Please be open and honest. No comment is right or wrong. Everyone has right to their own opinion.


  1. Thank you! I will have to check him out.

  2. Good for you for keeping the lines of communication open to with your son. I don't have kids yet, but i think knowing he can trust you is the best thing you can do for him. He obviously loves you and your family so your doing it right :)

    1. Thank you Kelley. That means a lot. You sound like someone who, whenever you do become a mother, you will be great at it.

  3. please don't think my answer is flippant or callous... its just true

    1. Oh I don't. I know you mean well. Thanks for caring enough to read my post and for having some input.

  4. Wow. That sounds rough. My heart goes out to both you and your son. Being thirteen is no walk in the park.

    Well, I think therapy is a good place to start. The good news is that anxiety is nothing new and there are tons of treatment options available. I would continue to stay as honest as possible with him. He needs to be able to trust you more than ever.

    You're such a good mom, and you've been through so much. I'll be sending both of you good thoughts.

    1. Awww, thanks McKenzie. You're too sweet. He's excited about seeing a therapist which is a good sign. Hopefully she can give him an outlet to express himself.

  5. First of all I have to say that you seem to be an incredibly good mom and that the most important thing is, that your son knows he can rely on you, that he can trust you and talk with you about his thoughts and feelings. And I'm sure he knows all of these things as he already knew what you were going to ask him.

    I still think your son might need to have someone to talk about these things outside your family. Therapy might be a good idea. But it also might not be, because, for real, there is no ultimately right solution for a problem like that. Every person is different and so every person needs different things. But trying to go to therapy could be a good first step.

    I had to deal with a lot of troubles around that age myself - and it's acutally still not that far away as I'm "only" 21 right now. I never honestly thought about commiting suicide, nothing like that, but I had troubles and what made me stronger than anything else, stronger than therapy, was that I knew I could always talk with my family. So you should, beside whatever will happen, make sure that your son knows you'll always love him and you'll always support him. But from what I read, I think he already knows that.

    1. Thanks Miri. I try to do my best.

      You make a good point about everyone being different and needing their own outlet. Hopefully after his first session, we can establish if this is the way we need to go.

      I hated middle school life too. However I used sarcasm to deal with it. My son is not like me in that reguard. He takes everything to heart.

      Your right - my kids come first and always will no matter. Your a really great person yourself Miri! Thanks for your thoughts.

  6. The book "destined to reign" by Joseph Prince
    Seriously it will you, your family... Their is a deeper root than fear and anxiety... Fear and anxiety are fruits of a deeper root... You gotta go straight to the root to fix the problem... Otherwise you spend your life coping rather than winning... Better to cope that not to cope but... Much better to win and beat the problem...


I heart me some good comments... and pumpkin spice latte's too!