14 year old son anxiety

Hi my son has always shown signs of being autistic but whenever I spoke to anyone they always dismissed it. Now at 14 I feel like I'm going through a nightmare as he has gone from a happy lad to one full of anxiety. He says it feels like his head is going round in circles and that he feels sad. He is going through changes with puberty and next year will start GCSE's . Camhs have told me this normal behaviour and are sending me some leaflets to help deal with it but he is on a waiting list which is 18 months. But I just would like some advice as I feel so alone and just want my happy son back. And any tips to deal with this would be extremely grateful. 

  • Hi I’m not sure if I’ll be able to help but didn’t want to read and run.  My son is 10 and suffers anxiety and has done since 2 years old. We are now finally after 4 years awaiting a asd assessment.  That is another story for a different time.

    The main thing I find helps is managing expectations for him, when he is displaying anxiety behaviours I lower my expectations re what is asked of him and also in his environment. By that I mean I don’t add to his stress with questions, noise, requests or anything new out of his routine. Once calmer these can be reintroduced if need be.

    I also try and eliminate any triggers I am aware off during this time.

    My son doesn’t talk about his feelings much as he doesn’t seem to have a very good understanding of them but setting aside quality time to be with him to talk with your son or  just do something of interest might open up communication channels... it’s normally bedtime for our son when he becomes chatty. Sometimes we can discuss points of concern for him in his day discussing things at his level.

    Does your son have the ability to rationalise and talk things over? 

    How does he show his anxiety, have you found any pattern to it? Is it around school or friendships? Maybe linking in with school might bring some clarification.

    Are you aware of any thing that might help during these times such as music or quiet space, drawing, reading etc. When my son becomes overwhelmed or over stimulated he has asked me to build him a forte. I’m aware that in a 14 year old this won’t be relevant but when he feels like his heads full maybe lying down in a quite place might help listening to music or just chilling. Cutting out stimuli.  

    My son also requires chill out time to decompress after school or activity.  This normally involves him stripping in to comfy cloths, receiving a snack and leaving him alone for an hour on his iPad. No activity is planned during this time. 

    Has he any sensory issues?

    Or struggle with change and transitions these are both triggers for my sons anxiety.  When remembered I make him aware if activities in advance and then give him times before each activity starts to prepare him. 

    Perhaps giving him a note  pad to use as a brain dump depending on his cognitive level   When he becomes overloaded get him to write all the stuff in his head down... don’t go over anything in the book for a couple of days. Then see if anything is still relevant for him and can  be looked in to further.

    Some or none of these may be relevant to your situation but I hope it helps knowing your not alone x

  • My son has autism and went through a rough time aged around 10. Just be there for him, listen, take time out sharing his hobby and casually drop in 'so howws things going' he may talk may not but do this everyday he may open up. We usually do this and if I'm busy and havent put that time aside he usually asks and hes a teenager now x good luck