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Depression/suicide with a child with Asperger's syndrome
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Babypodof4 posted:
My son Gabe was diagnosed with PDD-NOS when he was three. He now fits the Asperger's syndrome area of the spectrum. He is 10 years old and just started the 5th grade.

He has always had issues with depression - and would pop out lines like, "I wish I were dead." or "I hate my life." and we have had him in counseling in the past - but with limited success.

Well - the school year began this week. He has a great teacher this year and he really likes her - but he just hates school. He has some really good friends and he is actually in with the more popular kids in the class - but he talks a lot about worrying about being beat up or picked on. For the most part - his classmates seem to do very well for Gabe. It is a small school and they all seem to get that Gabe just really likes to talk about the things he likes - and when they get bored they will just walk away (usually with Gabe following them - talking the entire time).

Yesterday it all just went bad. He is having problems with seasonal allergies right now - so I know that didn't help. Gabe's current obsession is guns and horror movies. His friends are watching them and getting into them - so he started getting obsessed with them. To make matters worse - we really don't let him watch them. He is only 10. We have let him see Cujo and Firestarter - but we just don't really want him to see the Nightmare on Elm Streets and such yet - but he is obsessed with Freddy Kruger and Chucky.

Yesterday - when getting ready for school - he came up to me and said, "You need to have me put in an institution before I kill someone." Apparently he has been thinking a lot of killing and what it would be like to kill someone. He said it is no one in particular - he just wonders what it would be like to throw someone into an airplane engine or to break someone's neck. He said he doesn't like these thoughts and he is afraid that he will actually kill someone someday because he is having these thoughts. I tried to tell him that just because he has these thoughts it doesn't mean he is going to kill someone. I told him Stephan King probably has strange thoughts like this - but he never killed anyone.

Well - after 30 minutes of trying to talk to him and telling him I wasn't going to put him into an institution - he snapped and came out with, "If you won't put me away the only way I can keep from killing someone is if I kill myself." Then he decided that after school he was going to take a gun and "blow my head off."

Needless, after another hour or so of this we ended up in the ER. After 20 minutes there he was back to his old self and saying he wanted to eat food (food is his favorite thing right now)

Just not sure what to do here. We did get in to see someone who is just finishing their education on counseling kids like Gabe (so thankful that there is someone in the area now!) He told me this morning he doesn't want to go to school anymore - he hates waking up early. This is so strange - for his entire life up until this summer - he never ate or slept - he looked like we starved him and he would stay up for days at a time. Now he doesn't stop eating - is actually getting chunky, and will sleep 10 hours if you let him.

Is this the start of puberty causing this? I know the change from summer to school is part of it - he always has some issues when we go from summer to fall or spring to summer even.

I really don't want to put him on anti-depressants - but at the same time I don't want him to be unhappy or to hurt himself. He is such a smart and funny kids - I wish he could see that. He has friends and he gets good grades. Anyone else go through this at this age?
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Andie_WebMD_Staff responded:
You definitely need to get your son some crisis counseling, Babypod. I'm sorry I didn't see this post sooner, or I would have responded immediately.

Whether it's puberty, autism or whatever it may be...suicide threats should always be taken seriously. I'm sorry you and your son are having to go through this and hope you will seek help right away.

Here is a link to our Crisis Resource s to get you started. I would also encourage you to participate in our Depression Community where they have a health expert and a community focused on these subjects.

Stay strong! I know it's hard, but don't ever let that moment come where you take the suicide threat for granted. Help him sort through things now. And if you ever feel like you or anyone else is in danger PLEASE call 911!

Come back and update us. Good luck!
 
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Babypodof4 replied to Andie_WebMD_Staff's response:
Thanks Andie,

We have had two more major outbursts since then - not as bad as that first one - but not fun. We saw the Asperger's specialist on Tuesday - Gabe goes Friday - then we all meet next Tuesday to find a plan of action.

I am just so scared he will at some point do something to hurt himself. I have known two families with kids a lot like Gabe (no diagnosis but I am betting anything they would have fit Asperger's syndrome) and both of the boys killed themselves when they were in their teens. It probably is my biggest fear.

I will let you know what we hear next week. Thank you again.
 
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Elizabeth_WebMD_Staff replied to Babypodof4's response:
Hi Babypodof4,

Just checking in to see how the appointment went this week.

Elizabeth
 
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Babypodof4 replied to Elizabeth_WebMD_Staff's response:
It went well. He said Gabe had OCD (ya think?) as well as lots of "disorders" (I hate that word). He is going to do weekly counseling for a few months - things have gotten better - for now. He does this - he will be fine and act like there is nothing wrong - then he will just snap.
 
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treeream replied to Babypodof4's response:
Hi Babypodof4,
My 8 year old daughter was dx with PDD-NOS at 2.5 and now also falls into the AS diagnosis. Yesterday we were having a discussion about being loved and she opened up that no one loves her, she doesn't deserved to be loved, that she's the worst person in the world, & that she wants to take her dad's gun & kill herself (my husband is a police officer & the weapon is triple locked & unloaded). Then after talking for about 90 minutes, her best friend unexpectadly showed up at the door & she was perfectly fine. We're contacting her pediatrician today, but I'm truly at a loss. Any words of wisdom to share from your experience? Thank you, Theresa
 
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Tammy13w replied to Babypodof4's response:
Has anyone seen evidence of flight or fight? Enlarged or tiny pupils during these attacks? And pupils return to normal once it passes?
 
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icezam19 responded:
Can you give me any updates? My grandson is 10 and we are worried about depression. He says he doesn't know what love is and doesn't think he has ever been happy for even one day in his life.
 
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ellzeena replied to icezam19's response:
My 23 year old daughter had, I now realize, Asperger's. Signs were there from infancy, got much worse as she hit puberty and suffered bullying in middle school. I did everything, and I mean everything: lawyers, therapists, psychiatrists, and 24/7 constant love and commitment - but it just got worse. Five suicide attempts between 2008 and March 2011, when she succeeded. There is sometimes a psychosis that accompanies this syndrome. In her case, she was having tactile and auditory hallucinations and would not admit to it. She was resistant to therapy, she did not want to take the anti-psychotic she was on, I lived in a virtual lock/down ward. If a child shows severe depression, self injury, self loathing, etc., s/he needs to be watched very closely. And even then, you can't stop it if that's the choice a person makes. People commit suicide in lock down psychiatric wards. Do you have to worry? You bet. And be careful of SSRIs, my daughter's psychosis emerged because of those drugs, she could not take them. Find a very, very good psychiatrist, have the child tested extensively, and find a very good therapist. God bless you.
 
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jb438 replied to Tammy13w's response:
Please tell me what this indicates... My son, 8, ASD and now depression (have a referral from ped to psych, waiting for a call), ALWAYS has dilated pupils. His old ped in Cali pointed it out one day. I researched it and found that it's not uncommon for kids on the spectrum.

When I was a child I loathed myself. But we had a lot of family drama because my sister was bipolar. I always thought that my self-loathing was guilt because I wasn't perfect. I DO NOT want my child growing up feeling the way i did, though.

He's the sweetest of my four kids - most empathic. My heart breaks for him.
 
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Babypodof4 replied to icezam19's response:
It has been three years now - Gabe is now homeschooled and things are so much better. He only had that one full suicide attempt, but middle school was hard for him. We tried it for one year, but after that year was up we decided to give virtual school a try - it has worked wonders. The stress of school and bullying is gone. He can just be himself.

He still isn't the happiest person in the world, but this step has helped a lot.
 
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Babypodof4 replied to ellzeena's response:
I am so sorry to hear about your daughter.

Gabe is doing better now that we homeschool him. I don't trust the SSRI's. I took them for a few months when Gabe was first diagnosed (thought it would help with my sadness). I was just sad when I started them, but became obsessed with suicide while on them. So I just don't trust them.

You are right - if someone has it in their mind to take that action they will eventually find a way. I have known several people who have taken their own lives - most of them did it when they seemed to be happy. They did it when no one even suspected that the option was in their minds.

God bless you.
 
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natesse316 replied to Tammy13w's response:
Interesting, Tammy. I don't have time for full details right now, but yes, my 13 year old Aspie son, every time he flies into a rage, which is often, his pupils dilate instantly. It's kind of creepy. He balls his hands into fists, and I have to grab and hold his hands, speak to him calmly and firmly, and then the dilation goes away when he calms down.
 
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bearandbear replied to Babypodof4's response:
Hi Babypod, your story was very interesting and optimistic. We too have a 12 year old son who was diagnosed with PDD-NOS when he was 9 and more recently he has withdrawn into his own world and is very depressed. He is talking a lot about self har and wanting to die at the moment and in recent months we have tried him on an SSRI (Sertraline). He recently put up a yout tube video saying good bye to the world and announcing he was going to kill himself. This is very distressing for my wife and I and for our eldest son who is 15 now (we also have three other younger children). Yesterday he ran way in the rain and at 8pm and when I went out to find him he was sitting in the park on a bench in the rain all alone. We are very concerned about him and are not sure how to progress from here. For now we have agreed with his psychologist and school that he should stay off school as it seems to be triggering feelings of low self esteem as he sees everyone else as normal and asks 'why am I not the same' ? At this point we are considering inpatient psychiatric treatment as he seems desperate for help at this point and cannot seem to see any positive light or hope in his future despite our best efforts to encourage him. One of the other drivers we feel was too much time on XBox multiplayer games as he was meeting random people on line and this we felt was dangerous and stressful for him, bu when we cancelled his multiplayer access he feels this is the last straw and whats the point in living ? Any insights or avice on how we can move forward and out of this dark place would be much appreciated ..


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