Max spends 90% of his time in his bedroom, in the dark, on some kind of media: Nintendo Switch, Google Pixel 3, a giant monitor. F. and I have been panicking over this, in general, but also because now he is truly depressed—lethargic, sad, angry—and we’ve never seen him like this before.
I’ve started making him lunch again; otherwise he just doesn’t eat until dinner time, except for unhealthy snacks like granola bars and pizza. I’m helping him study for the permit test, apply for a store clerk job at our food co-op, register for classes in the fall. My counselor tells me to stop helping, let him fail on his own. But that doesn’t seem right. He’s facing staggering losses. Plus, he recognizes that he is depressed and in need of help.
I had hoped Max would bypass the teenage angst, that he would sail from high school into college, his happy self, eager to do well, excited to try something new, full of dreams. But we humans aren’t built to endure severe and chronic uncertainty and threat. These things wear us down, physically and emotionally.