Friday, December 10, 2010


I frequently check in with N each night after school to encourage him to do his homework or to find out if he has any questions. Several nights ago, after multiple queries where it was clear that he wasn't even trying to get his work done, he confessed that he had been having suicidal thoughts. I discovered that he pictured himself threatening suicide in front of me. We talked for quite a while discussing specifically what that would accomplish. His comment was, "that he would get help." More prodding revealed tears, discouragement and frustration with his school work. And that he needed help.

N is extremely behind with his school work. He started to fall behind during November. We helped him do a huge push to get his work done before we headed out of town for Thanksgiving. He did it - he got it all finished. But never turned it in.

Fast forward to this week: As of yesterday, he was missing 20 assignments, had an F in Math (where he was missing 6 or more assignments), and was thoroughly discouraged. Rather than work on his homework, he would sit down in his room and draw for hours and hours. He once told me that he would rather lie on his bed and do nothing than do any work. (Is this just his avoidance of anything uncomfortable?) N is extremely smart - so it isn't an issue of ability.

As of two days ago, after a break, I sit with N at the dinner table each afternoon. He plods through his assignments as long as I am right there. If I leave for any reason, he gets sidetracked. It really reminds me of refeeding. The frustration is pretty high. Yesterday it took 6 hours to complete a little more than a single math assignment. He hasn't been paying attention and doesn't know how to do the math. So, I teach him. For the other subjects, I stay right by his side. He suggested that we cancel his guitar lessons. I think he's right -- his mental health is more important.

I'm wondering if he has some depression issues. Perhaps we need to see his therapist again. I find myself wondering which came first (the chicken or the egg?): Is he depressed and consequently not able to get his school work done? Or is he depressed because he is so far behind in school?

No Wrestling

After all the discussion, on the day that I went to pick up N from school and take him to wrestling, he informed me that he didn't really want to wrestle. I pulled the car over and we had a long conversation about it. In the end, he said, it was about having a sport - not that he necessarily wanted to do wrestling.

I admit that I was relieved. Though I wanted to be supportive and I wanted to believe that he was well on his way to recovery from the anorexia, I still had warning bells sounding in my head. Thankfully, we didn't have to find out with such an anorexia-prone sport like wrestling. He's looking forward to possibly doing shot-put in the spring. That I think he can manage much better.

(Added 2/18/2011) - We continue to be grateful for N's decision not to do wrestling.  He sat one day after school and described the constant conversations about weight and calories by his buddies that are still in wrestling.  His friends are skipping meals in order to make weight.  Regardless of the changes that wrestling has made to combat this problem, the reality is that the obsession with weight is still there.