Trying to help my 17 year old son with Asperger's deal with anxiety and depression

Hi My name is Tyler and I am the Father of my 17 year old son who has Asperger's and has been dealing with very severe anxiety and depression for about 6 months now.

He was attending High School and was halfway through his Senior year when he suddenly stopped being able to go to school anymore. About 1 month ago we caught him with a knife to his arm and were able to stop him but he spent a night in observation a the local hospital. Stress had always been challenging but we always found a way to get him into school once we figured out what the core issue was. Sometimes it was a confusing project or unclear direction, other times it was swimming class and or a difficult social situation but once we "solved the issue" he would go back to school and things would be somewhat fine.

Starting last year at the end of the year he started to complain of feeling less emotions and kind of uncaring or unfeeling about things. He had been taking Zoloft since middle school but since we read that this could have some negative affects when taken over a long time we tried to ween him off. At first everything seemed fine but then right when he got accepted to 3 of the 4 art schools he wanted to go to he hits a wall and is now having sensory and social issues that are very much like he had when he was much younger. He will say very often to me when he is curled up in a ball on the floor of his room that everything is just "too much". Its like his sensory is going haywire and everything is overstimulating him.

I want to help him and we have been taking him to see therapists, and psychiatrists as well as practicing as many healthy option as we can like meditation and breathing and exercise as well as trying to do our best to feed him a healthy diet. Of course he is incredibly picky and will only eat basic foods and this list has shrunk since his depression kicked in.

I go home everyday and talk with him about not feeling stressed and tell him we will support him no matter what he does as long we know he is healthy and safe, but it seems like he cannot get himself past feeling like he is failing or slipping behind somehow. My wife and I have always been there and told him as long as he is trying we will never be upset with him and it will be OK that are there to support him.  It all seems like it is really not getting through in anyway though and I feel like he is getting worse or at the least that he is just stuck in a negative loop. Now he is starting to develop stomach issues and he is not eating and he has major negative personality shifts when he doesn't eat. He gets so hungry he cannot think and when he cannot think he cannot tell me what he wants to eat which then keeps him hungry which then cannot allow him to think which them keeps him stuck in a crappy feeling loop. ( some of you may recognize this pattern if you have picky eaters with low blood sugar)

He has tried Prozac, Setraline, Cymbalta, and is now taking Propanolol so we are not getting much help from a medication standpoint and don't want to put him back on the Zoloft as we are afraid of making a zombie again.  So now he spend most of his time in his room and is only talking to me and his sister. For some reason he is now even afraid to talk to his Mom which is really never happened before and I really do not understand since she has always been very supportive of him too.

If anyone can help give me some insight, tips or just some hope to help me get through this I would appreciate it.

  • Hi. I'm so sorry. Sending you all hugs. Im only telling you what worked for our boy. He was having similar actions at the end of 6th grade. We home schooled. It wasn't so much academics as a safe, quiet one on one life skills and relationship building time. I took him off all meds and went herbal and natural.
    He and I had more conversation Than ever before. He relaxed, we did a fun curriculum that we both enjoyed . (MY Fathers world). And we worked on his diet. I saw so much positive change. At the end of two years he asked to go to 9th grade. Now that he is a getting older, when we mention college. He freaks and runs. I think it's too much so, after high school we will take another break. His dad is also aspie. That is hard on me as well. I've come to believe in the gut/brain connection. And I have zero faith in big pharma and medical doctors for help.
  • Hi. I'm so sorry. Sending you all hugs. Im only telling you what worked for our boy. He was having similar actions at the end of 6th grade. We home schooled. It wasn't so much academics as a safe, quiet one on one life skills and relationship building time. I took him off all meds and went herbal and natural.
    He and I had more conversation Than ever before. He relaxed, we did a fun curriculum that we both enjoyed . (MY Fathers world). And we worked on his diet. I saw so much positive change. At the end of two years he asked to go to 9th grade. Now that he is a getting older, when we mention college. He freaks and runs. I think it's too much so, after high school we will take another break. His dad is also aspie. That is hard on me as well. I've come to believe in the gut/brain connection. And I have zero faith in big pharma and medical doctors for help.
  • Hi. I'm so sorry. Sending you all hugs. Im only telling you what worked for our boy. He was having similar actions at the end of 6th grade. We home schooled. It wasn't so much academics as a safe, quiet one on one life skills and relationship building time. I took him off all meds and went herbal and natural.
    He and I had more conversation Than ever before. He relaxed, we did a fun curriculum that we both enjoyed . (MY Fathers world). And we worked on his diet. I saw so much positive change. At the end of two years he asked to go to 9th grade. Now that he is a getting older, when we mention college. He freaks and runs. I think it's too much so, after high school we will take another break. His dad is also aspie. That is hard on me as well. I've come to believe in the gut/brain connection. And I have zero faith in big pharma and medical doctors for help.
  • Hi. I'm so sorry. Sending you all hugs.  Im only telling you what worked for our boy.  He was having similar actions at the end of 6th grade. We home schooled.  It wasn't so much academics as a safe, quiet one on one life skills and relationship building time.  I took him off all meds and went herbal and natural.

    He and I had more conversation Than ever before. He relaxed, we did a fun curriculum that we both enjoyed . (MY Fathers world). And we worked on his diet.  I saw so much positive change.   At the end of two years he asked to go to 9th grade.  Now that he is a  getting older, when we mention college.  He freaks and runs.  I think it's too much so, after high school we will take another break.  His dad is also aspie.  That is hard on me as well. I've come to believe in the gut/brain connection.  And I have zero faith in big pharma and medical doctors for help.  

  • Aw, things sound like they are getting really tough in your house.....And while I can give you some advice, please remember that ALL people with mental health issues react differently to different treatment. Personally after trying every med under the sun, I believe that meds DON"T work for everyone. For Paul, just talking to him and letting him know he is loved and understood. My favorite phrase have become "Get out of your head". He sees a medical doc, therapist, and me of course.
    One of the main factors that my methods are so successful is because he trusts me implicitly. that makes a hugs difference.