Catatonia anyone?


a few of you may recall me talking of my son, maximillian and his difficulties. i took him to the dr a couple of days ago. here is the situation. he is 15 years old and ever since he was 18 months old he has suffered from rages and tantrums. he was extremely over sensitive as a child, terrified of crowds so we couldn’t go to funfairs or amusement parks with him until he was about 8 or 9 years and the fear seemed to fade. the rages however continued. one minute he’d fly into a rage, the next, tears, the next a big beautiful smile and laughter. things have gone on like this till recently. his dad died in 2012 and he seems to have gone down hill rapidly over a two year period. now he has acute anxiety at nights of someone, anyone breaking into the house at night and will try and stay awake if i’m asleep. i have to wake him at 6 am if he wants to get to school before 11am as he seems to be suffering from a form of catatonia if woken. he just doesn’t move. he just lays there staring at me, is monosylibic and he says, feels like he’s paralysed. this lasts for about 3 hours of a morning. if i want to get him to school on time then i have to wake him about 4 or 5am so he has time to recover his senses. he says he feels like he doesn’t have any cognition when he is woken up. if he wakes on his own of a weekend or weekday then he is fine but if you wake him, we get catatonia and cognition problems. his dr prescribed propanalol 40 mgs for the anxiety and has referred him to a psychiatrist, which he doesn’t want to go to. he is very scared that there is something seriously wrong with his brain. how the hell do i get him to see the shrink? he is taller and bigger than me and i can’t manhandle him to get him there. having seen my reactions to psychotropics he is deathly afraid of being “drugged up” but he needs help and i don’t know what to do other than take away his beloved laptop and all games consoles till he agrees to go. his personal hygiene has slumped to a shower once a week and if i don’t tell him every morning then he wouldn’t brush his teeth. anyone got any advice? it’s like having a toddler all over again and he’s only happy when he’s he’s playing on the computer or xbox 360 or with his girlfriend or in my room cuddling me or the dogs. what to do? any advice would be greatly appreciated. many thanks. x


teenage boys’ don’t wash …but maybe that was just me !!
he sounds depressed, so finding someone of his own age group someone he trusts,knows, admires…will help to change his mind towards seeing the shrink or seeking help in general.
remember he has had alot to deal with as have you.
there could be a mentor program at the school or in your area.
this could offer him guidance and motivation etc…
sorry you are having a tough time.
take care :alien:

p.s you are giving the best medicine you can ’ love ', good on you.


thanx sith, for your kind words. it means a lot to know some one cares x


It makes me very shaky to read this… That was me… when I was a kid… I was hyper happy happy … until I wasn’t. Then when the out of the blue rage passed… sadness… then disoriented and a few days later… back to hyper happy happy.

There were times my anxiety would lock me down to immobile. There have been times in my life where I can see… I can sort of hear… like everything is far away… but I can’t freaking move. I’m frozen. My brain refuses to engage the muscles no matter how much I try to wrap my head around getting up… taking… It takes so much effort to get physically move and blink and think to speak and reply.

It’s really very scary for me.

I made a google search of “teen mental health outreach UK”

Just one of the services that will come to your home… some of them look like they try to be low key. Maybe the hygiene might not be tackled yet… but something or someone to talk to help ease the deep freeze and the anxiety (or panic)

Limiting the laptop and stuff sounds like it might work… or encourage him to get out with the dogs more.

I wish I had some great ideas for you that would be “the answer” But I can only offer good wishes and all my hope. Good luck and I hope relief comes to your son soon.

I just wanted to add… he’s lucky to have such a strong person in his life as you.


thanks hunni. it was your input i was hoping for actually as you were so young when it started. it’s camhs he’s being referred to but he says he won’t go. he can’t go on like this that’s for sure. so it looks like a lil tough love is in order i guess. i hate to do it but i will take his phone, laptop, 3ds and xbox 360 to get him to participate in his care. it was his idea to go to the dr in the first place but the second the dr mentioned psychiatrists he balked. i tried to explain that it was just exploratory but he thinks it will be a waste of his time and that they can’t give him anything but psychotropics which he, maybe rightly, thinks will “drug him up”…i tried to explain that dr’s in this country are very wary of prescribing psychotropics to teens because of the risks of side effects but he’s not hearing me at all. he’s just plain scared i think and doesn’t think a shrink can help him. i’ll let you know what happens once we get the referral through. for now, the dr is writing to the school to get him a reduced time table to take the pressure off for a couple of months until his referral comes through. i think the only reasons for his petulance and obstinant stance is fear of what could be wrong with him. he’s not hearing voices though so that’s at least one bonus.
thanks for your support hunni x


I’ve been trying to think how my Mom got me to the docs when I was little… It was a pinch of tough love.

It was also a bit of bribery and a lot of reassurance that all the doc was going to do was talk to me find a way to help me calm down.

Since I was pretty young when I was getting dragged to docs… it was pretty easy to trick me.

I hope you can find a visiting nurse or a visiting outreach… then the problem of bringing him to them might be off the table… (hopefully?)

You have the school helping… that’s very lucky. I really am wishing the best for you and your family.


What’s his reason for not wanting to see a tdoc and pdoc? At 15 the faster you can persuade him to go the more likely he will not have issues in the future that will affect his life. Definitely see about getting a social worker involved as @SurprisedJ suggested. But I hope it settles down fast for you both either way.


i’m a bit worried about getting social services involved tbh. i’ve heard the horror stories first hand of people with mental illnesses having their kids taken away for the silliest of reasons. one friend of mine has her three kids taken from her and was only allowed to see them for an hour a week under supervision. i’m on my own now, no husband anymore. he died two years ago. i cannot afford to be seen as an unfit mother or they’ll take him and place him in foster care. i’m a former addict for god’s sake…i’m not going anywhere near social services in my position as i know they might well be doing what they think is best for max but it won’t be best for max or me. social services are like demi-gods in this country, unless your rich you don’t stand a chance in family court if you have mental health issues. psychiatrist yes, social worker, no ■■■■■■■ way. if they were fair then i would involve them but they’re not, not in this country. they are biased against anyone who doesn’t fit the mold of white, british, non smoking, middle class and above all, sane.


At the beginning of my diagnosis I was very treatment resistant. They wore me down. Your son is at a difficult age. Not only does he have to fight mental illness, but he also has the natural rebelliousness of a boy his age. Maybe you could explain to him that the doctor will not drug him up as badly if he cooperates with his treatment. Let him see that things will be easier if he complies. I think the carrot and the stick is the best approach.


I wonder if using LEAP could help to bring down his defenses some? - under resources are free videos on using LEAP
LEAP is a way of communicating to build trust. Listen-Empathize-Agree-Partner. - Dr. Xavier Amador is a clinical psychologist whose brother had schizophrenia. He is the founder of the LEAP Institute. Wrote the book: I’m Not Sick I Don’t Need Help! Can buy from his website.
Search Xavier Amador and LEAP on and you should find some long videos

Some tough love may help too. :wink: Maybe letting him know that you will be there with him for the appointments and have open discussions between him, you and the pdoc about the medications. Also remind him that starting a medication doesn’t always mean staying on it. He does have a voice and you will listen to his concerns if he doesn’t like it.


fortunately or unfortunately, you can’t force meds on someone in the uk. there is no court ordered treatment system unless you are already in hospital and you attack someone then they can give you an acuphase shot to calm you down. that’s the extent of the ;law in britain. i can’t force max to even go to a shrink if he says no so i have to basically make his life even more miserable until he goes. all i can do is take away all his gadgets and consoles if he refuses, not give him any money and no lifts anywhere except school and attempt to ground him. that’s all i can do. i don’t want him “drugged up” either but he needs help. it’s 10.28am here and he is just now getting dressed after staying up all night till the early hours waiting to be attacked by someone who may or may not break into the house.


he went to school…it’s a start. i phoned the school and threw a few ■■■■■ into the attendance officer who apologised for the school and agreed to let him drop one of his classes. philosophy and ethics which is just another name or religious education. all i have to do is write to the head master and state that our religious views and the schools are creating problems for us and he will be allowd to drop religious education. she is also waiting for a dr’s letter recommending that max be on a reduced time table for a while till he feels a little stronger…right, all that’s left is getting him to the shrink once we get an appointment.


I’m glad the school is cooperating. At least that’s one less fight to fight.

Good luck getting him to his appointment.

I really hope the less stress… the less anxiety and the morning freeze goes away. I sure did hate the feeling of being stuck when I was younger.


Hope he feels better Jayne.

It takes me 3 to 4 hours to “wake up” usually everyday I’ve been like that since I was a kid. There’s even Christmas video of me when I was like 7 or 8 not awake even 1 bit opening presents not looking at them and just putting them aside while staring into space lol

Maybe try getting him to drink half a coffee in the morning?


my opinion is don’t drug him up. hes naturally nervous its ok.


I think you’re doing the right thing, and I hope the doctor goes well they tend to take lads more seriously adolescent services, I was under my local camhs team and my doctor never recognised my psychosis (my mum still works along side her-she’s a school nurse and does referrals regularly, she doesn’t seem to believe in psychosis) but when I was severely depressed and anxious or presenting with PTSD they were fine, just ignored my mums begs to refer me to early intervention in psychosis. I remember being told I wasn’t such a risk because I wasn’t male, and I heard that bounced at me a few times for varying reasons. So the fact your son is a son should be in your favour.

Im not telling you this to frighten you, just don’t let them mess you or your son around, let them know you’re not ignorant! You’ve lived with one of the more severe illnesses and your sons behaviour isn’t a little anxiety. Like James, it reminds me of me in a way, I still have it in my episodes, I’m up during night fearing the worst or leaving the house, and then when woken up I’m numb physically but petrified in my head, my nurse says that’s my ruminations, more obsessive thinking, (I’m co-morbid schiz/ocd) I’ll get a fear thinking it over repeatedly building u my anxiety, then fall asleep after too much thinking, and then when awoken those thoughts come speeding back I think it through and am petrified, to the point of little movement,

I don’t know if that’s what’s happening with your son, it sounds like he needs help and you’re doing the right thing. I hope the propranolol helps him relax a bit, take the edge off.

Good luck, and take care,


Jayne, sorry to hear this but really you can use your own experience to help him understand. You are active and capable and a young mother who has dealt with one of the toughest things life can throw -widowhood - and you really can’t be described as “drugged up.” So point out that whatever is affecting him, the quicker he treats it, the milder the treatment needs to be. Start him off with fish oil and an aspirin at wake up every morning, and then see if you can get him to talk therapy. Point out that he will always have the right to choose.


Hey Jayne~
Not sure if I have any more advice that hasn`t already been given! Wondering if there is some way for him to do it all over the computer? School, psych doctor, etc…
Instead of tough love, maybe bribery? That suggestion of coffee in the morning was great—or something like that…and you can tell him that you are not going to let anything bad happen to him.
Ugh! You know him best…OOOO**


thanks a lot guys for your support. he’s been a complete ■■■■ to me today. i went in his room at 1am to find him on the computer talking to his american friends. i told him to get off the laptop and go to bed as we had a deal, 10pm bed during the week, 11pm at weekends. he just looked at me and said no. so i shouted at him and picked up the laptop and he grabbed it back. there was a little tussle for it, he won. (he’s bigger than me) and he basically just laughed in my face and carried on talking to his friends. i will not be disrespected in my own house. i’m beating myself up daily trying to help him out and he’s being a petulant spoiled brat. i’m thinking of taking the laptop away completely as a punishment for treating me like that. why should i buy him all these things when he treats me like that? i have a feeling that christmas is going to be tough with his tantrums anxieties and constant need of shoring up. i love him to bits and i hate to see him destroying himself but he has to be respectful. i won’t tolerate belligerence from him and that’s what i got tonight. he went to bed about 2am and i’ve been up all night with the raging hump and fretting about his future. he’s 15 years old and can’t see past his his own wants. he is being extremely selfish and short sighted right now but then who isn’t at 15 yrs old. i was a petulant bitch at 15 so i know where he gets it from but it’s difficult to deal with when he won’t help himself. how do you help someone who won’t listen? i have a feeling i’m going to be venting on here a lot more often…sigh. sorry and thanks for the friendly ear x


With my son I disconnect the wireless internet for not following certain rules like swearing at me, etc. Once he lost it for about 8 days. Can honestly say the amount of swearing decreased :wink: