Dear Annie 2020

Dear Annie: My son is soon to be 23 years old. He was two courses short of earning his Bachelor of Science degree in computer science when something bad happened. He would not tell me what. He fell apart and did not graduate.

That was two years ago. We got him into counseling, and he saw several different counselors; he was in group therapy, and they tried different combinations of antidepressants. They’ve tried something called transcranial magnetic stimulation, which really seemed to work, but then it stopped working.

Now he is considering electroconvulsive therapy. He tells me nothing. He is over 18, so his counselors and doctors will tell me nothing. He asked to be taken to the psychiatric hospital emergency room recently, and he checked himself in for a week.

I decided to tidy up his room, which was an absolute mess. I was also keeping a sharp eye out for anything he may hurt himself with. I found marijuana and some kind of high-tech lung infuser. The marijuana worries me. It won’t help with depression, and he admitted using it to his psychiatric team. I do not have a clue about how to confront him on it.

I just want my son to get out of the long, dark place where he’s been for years now. He could have a fantastic life ahead. He’s very smart; he’s handsome, literate and fun. Please, where do I start with all this?

 — Mom in Need of Miracles

Dear Mom in Need of Miracles: Yes, he could, and potentially will, have a fantastic life. He is going through a rainstorm right now, but after every rainstorm, there is a rainbow, and that will be the case for your son. He is doing all the necessary things to get help. It is so challenging not to be able to go and fix all of your son’s problems right away, but with lots of love from you and with professional treatment from the doctors, your son will thrive. The key is for him to find the right therapist, one who will design a treatment program for his depression.

Depression is a disease, and like any disease, it can be either managed or cured. Marijuana may ease his depression in the moment, but it will exacerbate it in the long run. A good therapist will help him see the importance of a zero-tolerance policy for himself.

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