Reply To: No Passion No Energy No Care

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MadBadADD ,
First…thank you so much for responding! I really appreciate you taking time to do this.

So here is what I had written at first and deleted – this may answer some of your questions

My almost 17 yo son has had school avoidance / refusal problems for years- this year is the worst (junior in HS). When I ask him why his responses are: because he would rather be home, I’m a homebody, School is boring. (I am kind of a homebody myself but I do love my work and enjoy when I’m there as well as enjoy vacations and being with friends- just not an on the go person or always want/need to be around people person)

At times this year he has mentioned couple classes in particular he hates. One will be over in January thankfully. But the bottom line I guess is how do I get him to go deeper To figure out if there is more to this.

Diagnoses FYI : adhd, pretty poor exec functioning skills, mood d/o -including anxiety and depression, expressive language disorder, sensory processing disorder, low muscle tone , probable connective tissue disorder (causes general fatigue, hypermobile joints, chronic intermittent joint pain), and very mild sleep impairment dxd several years ago (no apnea but did have some respiratory related arousals)

Meds: vyvanse for adhd, lamictal mood stabilizer, Zoloft depression/anxiety (just increased it yesterday at direction of psychiatrist bc of school refusal)

Psych: sees pediatric psychiatrist every 4-6 weeks since age of 7

School: 504 plan – can have one mental health day per month, not much else in it besides that. Grades are pretty good considering. Is actually pretty smart, is in couple advanced classes even. Wants to be astrophysicist. School has recently talked about PINS petition – I think more to scare him – I don’t know they would actually go through with it. I know we as parents can do it but my therapist and I were trying to avoid it. I see her next week to discuss more ideas.

Home/Social life: has few core friends thankfully, never into sports , computers and video games are his thing. Overweight, lots of acne, very poor personal and bedroom hygiene/cleanliness. (he still blames Abilify for causing him to gain weight 5 years ago – which it did 20 lbs in 6 wks so we stopped it) he was always tall and thin but since then he has always kept an extra 20 lbs or so on him.

Family Life: 2 younger sisters , his Dad and myself – all live together. Dad and I have adhd and dep/anxiety , both sisters have conn tissue dz also (12 yo has it the worst- always breaking bones or dislocating joints, lots of GI issues, headaches and probable adhd more inattentive type). I see a therapist (my husband and i go together when needed). He hates going on our annual family vacations – always has.

Now for the kicker – the part I am embarrassed and ashamed to say – all he does is play video games or watch tv. And several years ago I basically gave up on trying to figure out how to limit it bc his responses were so extreme – from death threats to his own suicidal ideations and worsening depression. I ended up couple years ago needing to leave work for awhile and receive intensive outpatient therapy for about a month. Since then I have had many medical issues as well as just fighting daily my own depression and adhd (yes I’m medicated). Yes this is me justifying why it has gotten this bad. When he takes his one mental health day a month he is allowed electronics. All the other days he stays home we treat as sick days and so deal is no electronics. But If he doesn’t argue about giving them up he can get them from 5-9pm that day.

After my own mental breakdown or whatever you want to call it – I have been even more emphatic about focusing on his happiness and mental health first, physical health next and then school grades and stuff. He knows his dad and I are most concerned with his overall well being rather than grades. Grades can be dealt with at a comm college when he is ready. His dad almost failed out of college the first couple of years but he grew up and ulitmately went on to get his MBA – with a 4.0 GPA and our son was an infant at the time. So that part he can do when he is ready. And I have mentioned different trade jobs to him but he is dead set on this astrophysicist thing at the moment. And as I mentioned before just Last week I told him if he hates school this much that we would be ok with him withdrawing and getting GED on his own and then starting college or trade school or just work for a little while if he wants to.

Anyway I want to know if there are other parents who have had similar experiences as well as tips on what else you think I can ask to help figure out why he doesnt want to go to school.