The 15 year old I mentor struggles with clinical depression, is on three different meds, has been suicidal in the past, been in therapy for two years, cuts himself sometimes, and has been in the adolescent psych ward twice.|
He's also a great kid who has a strong Christian faith and loves God. We have a very close friendship and he trusts me with many things that are just between us.
One area that he won't talk about is how he feels about his depression and such. We have a blast when we are together and talk about all kinds of stuff but when I try to get him to open up about his depression and his feelings he shuts down.....then I back off.
In my opinion.....it would help him to get a lot of things off his chest. I don't think it helps him to turn his emotions and feelings inward. I think it would help to improve his depression....and pehaps overcome it.....if he could talk about his depression and express himself better. So far this hasn't happened.
I realize that what I think is best for him and what he thinks is best for him are two different things....and it's his life. However, as a mature adult, I look at his life and I see so much potential in this kid and yet he has a huge problem to overcome. I don't see him trying to overcome his problem in the way I think is most effective. And that's hard for me.
So...in the end....he knows I'm there for him as a friend and someone to talk to when, and if, he needs to.
The question is.....how patient should I be with him. We are pretty close....so I don't think it would damage our relationship if I put him under some pressure to do something that I think would, in the end, benefit him, even if it hurts him at first. Or should I just be patient, as I have been, and be there for him on his terms and not force the issue, which, in the end, I think is going to prolong the improvement in his depression.