Daughter homeless with Bipolar depression

Chloesmom

New Member
This is my first time posting a thread. My 21 yr old daughter has bipolar disorder and it’s been such a struggle.
She moved out last December, was depressed then manic, was hospitalized, got the mania under control but she still made bad choices that got her evicted.
We haven’t allowed her to move back home and she hasn’t wanted to because she was been in more of an up swing (mood wise) until now.
Now she’s finally in a low mood and is like a different person. It’s breaking my heart not to let her come back home. She is now scared and anxious.
We live rurally and she is in a nearby town with mental health services . I know if she comes back home the cycle will begin again. She’ll be depressed and unmotivated until her mood lifts , then if/when she becomes manic she takes the house hostage basically and is unbearable to be around.
It’s very hard on my relationship with her dad (my husband) I’m more emotionally attached and do more enabling.
I need her to take control of her own life and take responsibility for her mental health. I know I can’t live her life for her or make her behave the way I think will lead to health and balance but man is it hard to maintain these boundaries.
It’s especially hard when she’s depressed because I know it’s not her fault that she has this mood disorder but me trying to rescue her and make her take ownership hasn't been working. I just end up feeling like I’ve jumped in the water to save a drowning person who is now drowning me.
Feeling overwhelmed and sad.
 

Nomad

Well-Known Member
Im so sorry.
We’ve been through something very similar.
Helped her get housing and it was a huge mistake.
Our daughter was able to get social security disability. Her mental illness is so extreme, there is no way she is employable.
Perhaps disability is something appropriate for your daughter. Hard to say.
We couldn’t possibly allow her to live with us.
We have found the Families Anonymous meetings helpful. We like their literature.
There are various 12 step programs that offer strong support especially with reference to how to set up and keep boundaries.
 

Chloesmom

New Member
Im so sorry.
We’ve been through something very similar.
Helped her get housing and it was a huge mistake.
Our daughter was able to get social security disability. Her mental illness is so extreme, there is no way she is employable.
Perhaps disability is something appropriate for your daughter. Hard to say.
We couldn’t possibly allow her to live with us.
We have found the Families Anonymous meetings helpful. We like their literature.
There are various 12 step programs that offer strong support especially with reference to how to set up and keep boundaries.
Thank you .
It helps to know there are others who have gone and are going through similar experiences.
She has been working with a case worker and outreach worker to get income/disability assistance and housing. It’s slow going.
She was staying with different friends until now that she’s depressed. She came home to our house to visit while her brother was here. We told her she has to leave Wednesday. When she goes back she’ll have to stay at the shelter and this has me feeling shattered.
I know I need to find myself some support. It is almost unbearable this pain.
 

Mirabelle

Member
I'm so sorry to hear about your situation. Reaching out to NAMI, which offers online support groups for families of people suffering from mental illness, could help. I have also heard good things about Families Anonymous. My husband and I see a therapist to help us deal with our 21 year old son (my stepson) whose situation sounds very similar to your daughter's. I was able to get a referral from my GP just by asking.

The behavior you describe in your daughter sounds familiar. Whether our son was unmotivated and not taking care of himself, or up all night bouncing off the walls, he was impossible to live with. He was so far into his own head, we were no more than in house wait staff. We were expected to meet all his needs instantly......food, cigarettes, money, clean clothes. If he needed to stay up all night rapping in the next room, we weren't being supportive of his recovery if we explained that we needed to go to work in the morning. All the while he wasn't taking his medicine, but was self medicating with drugs, and with alcohol stolen from us. It was a CONSTANT cause of anxiety and misery.

What finally got us over the hump in not allowing him to live with us was realizing that we weren't helping him at all. He was in his own world, living in a comfortable home with food and amenities, with no need to work on his recovery or to take steps toward independence. He was 'yupping' us to death....yup I'm looking for a job, yup I'm taking my medicine, yup I'll do better.

Since leaving around six months ago, he has stayed in various places and is currently at a shelter. Ironically enough, when he is not enabled to live like a 15 year old on summer vacation, his mental health seems to improve. He is focused on getting by rather than navel gazing. We hate having him out there with his condition, but if he were still here he would be behaving in exactly the same way, and my husband would have had a heart attack by now.

What has helped us through some to this point is pinning down what meaningful 'help' in this situation actually is. In fantasy land he would come have a few beers and watch a football game with my husband on a Sunday, before I made him his favorite dinner in the whole world and we had a great visit around the dining room table. We love him like that, but right now we would be kidding ourselves if we thought he would get out of that what we would get out of that. It would fill our hearts but it would not help or inspire him to do anything different.

I do hope it is of some comfort to hear from others with similar experiences. Please keep posting, even if just to vent. We are hear to listen and support!

Mirabelle xx
 

Acacia

Well-Known Member
I agree with what others have said to you about keeping your boundary of your daughter not returning to live with you. Yes, it hurts to see them hurting, and that's when our defenses come down, but my experience over many years is that it never helped in the end. The hopes I had that allowing my borderline adult daughter (41) to live with us never materialized except for momentarily. Things always fell apart and her bad treatment of us started again. I also have a difficult adult son (36) who is verbally abusive and manipulative. I have never considered allowing him to live with me again.

Like others, I finally had to say no more. As a result, my daughter cut contact with me and has kept my grandchildren from me. That breaks my heart; however, I have chosen to focus on the only person I can change and that is me. I attend online meetings of copependents anonymous as well as naranon. There are many good books out there as well as videos on youtube. I volunteer to help those who want to be helped, I have a strong support network, I actually try to have fun, and I take care of myself.

I will never stop loving my adult children, but I refuse to tolerate being kept in the FOG of fear, obligation, and guilt. Keep posting.
 

Deni D

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass.
Chloesmom ~ I'm so sorry to hear of your situation. I also have a lot of experience as a mom of a son with Bipolar disorder.

She has been working with a case worker and outreach worker to get income/disability assistance and housing. It’s slow going.
Yes it is slow, and probably a lot slower than you could imagine right now. My son has had a diagnosis and lots of support since he was very young. Then when he hit 16/17ish he started down a bad path, trying to fit in and be accepted, socially he just didn't make it so he tried to make up for it. Anyway by the time he was your daughters age things were totally out of control. He had proven to me in many ways that he couldn't live in my house. Not that I got the memo, I paid for him to be in half way houses (drinking and any kind of drugs he could get his hands on gave him a dual diagnosis), a very expensive failure to launch program, disastrous short stints back home, and friends houses. Then for years after I continued with the half way houses and friends houses, even short stays at motels. In the middle of all of this he had multiple hospitalizations, both voluntary and involuntary. Along the line, when he was maybe 23/24 the hospital social worker connected him with a non-profit mental health organization. For a couple of years they offered services at their location with a social worker and a voucher for him to find a place to live and they would pay. He never found a place to live because in his hypo-manic, non-medicated state during those years he thought he was providing a landlord with money that should give him some sort of special privileges. So the voucher date ran out. He had found a friends house who's father, for some reason I can only guess at, put up with him for a couple of years, and then they were done. Finally the mental health organization got him an apartment two years ago. Along with that apartment comes a social worker who meets with him every week. It has not been without major problems, two involuntary hospitalizations including full on psychosis. But "he listens to them", as he hasn't to me since he was in his late teens. He doesn't have the past reminders with them, the shame I think he carries with him from his past actions with me, and on their part they have concern for him but know whatever he does is solely in his control. And so since they put him in that apartment he decided that he does have a mental illness instead of PTST from his fictional abuse situation he worked out as an excuse for himself in his early 20's. He now takes medication, took a year for him to get somewhat stable, probably the best he's going to get to considering the severity of his mental illness, hard for me to say but it is what it is. Now though, I get to be his cheerleader and his advisor for the most part as long as I am able to keep emotions out of it. His life is not what I would want for him but much better than he had for 10 years prior.
So that was my long-winded way of saying things most likely will not work out with the urgency you feel, the urgency I felt, but they can still work out. I think in hindsight I got in the way, for years, trying to help, when my help was not really helpful. I think your daughter needs to know you love her and you are there for her in a heartfelt emotional way but as an adult who's making her own decisions those decisions are hers as are the consequences.

Which leads me to:
know I need to find myself some support. It is almost unbearable this pain.
Yes you do. I did, as someone who prided myself on getting through anything in the past, I totally lost myself trying to save my son from himself. I was so resourceful, could handle anything with my house, could handle anything with stressful family situations, could handle anything in my successful business, could handle anything as my son was growing up. I was the $hit, until I wasn't. I was brought to my knees by my son's situation once he had control of it. I was humbled to the point where I felt like a total failure and inadequate to the extent I questioned my every move. A therapist who specializes in troubled adult children, NAMI, families anonymous wherever you feel you belong is probably the most important for you right now. Put that oxygen mask on, you won't be helpful to your daughter until you get the help for yourself first. I wish my confusion and pride had not stopped me from getting the help I needed back then. I thought for private therapists, what can they say, what do they know, don't want to hear more lame advice from people who don't know how different it is in my circumstances as I had when my son was growing up from people with "normal" lives. And for support groups I thought I don't want to hear other people's problems and say "thanks for sharing" with no answers. But it's different in the right setting, if you don't hit on something that feels like you are getting what you need, keep looking, the right support is out there.

finally:
It’s especially hard when she’s depressed because I know it’s not her fault that she has this mood disorder but me trying to rescue her and make her take ownership hasn't been working.
In my son's case, during this hardest time for him, this time when his typical bravado, nasty, hypo-manic state was gone and he was facing the reality of his life was the worst time, for him, and for me. But during these times, after many attempts, I learned not to rescue him. I didn't think the support my son had from the social worker was enough, and sometimes realistically it wasn't at first. But eventually it was the combination of my son's worst times and support from others in the mental health realm that was what made him finally take responsibility for himself. These times are very hard for us to tell them how much we love them, how much we are in their corner, but not jump in and cave to their desperate pleas, hellish, heart wrenching crap that no one should have to experience, not our adult children, not us. But they do, and we do. I am under no illusion that this will not continue sometime in the future with my son, but at least I have a pretty good road map now. Love them, no matter what, tell them so they don't forget, and let them do what they do with their lives.

Chloesmom, keep posting, we are with you, we get it. I'm praying for you, your daughter, and your family. This truly is a soft place to land, realistic, but soft in the long run as we are all so deeply understanding of our unique situations .
 

Copabanana

Well-Known Member
I need her to take control of her own life and take responsibility for her mental health. I know I can’t live her life for her or make her behave the way I think will lead to health and balance but man is it hard to maintain these boundaries.
Well. As I see you've already got a Ph.D. in getting through this and this small paragraph above is your dissertation with honors.

I say to you welcome to this group. The only way to get through this is to begin to see that this is about you transforming, just as much as it is about your child.

Our children in a way are our teachers. We cannot change them. We can't get them to do what we feel we need them to do. All of this, really, is we believe our own sense of wholeness and well-being depends upon them and their welfare. That's not true. Our children force us back to ourselves.

But we can restore ourselves to wholeness, and recognize that when we feel broken, and it has their name on it, it's really us. We can learn to do this. And we only have the potential to restore a sense of wholeness in ourselves when the playing field is us. We have zero control over them.

Nothing we do, say, buy, or arrange helps-unless they are full partners. By allowing your daughter responsibility for and agency in her life, you help set the stage for recovery, for both of you. You said it better yourself. It is very hard. But it's worth it. It was always an illusion that we could protect them 100 percent. Even more so now.
 

Chloesmom

New Member
Thank you everyone for your words of empathy and encouragement. Wow. I’m so glad I found this group.
Small update. My daughter is still at the shelter (an hr including a ferry away from us) but she finally got government financial assistance and a room in a supportive housing building. I am so relieved. I know it’s still a long road ahead, of me continuing with firm boundaries and her learning to take responsibility for her life going forward but for now there is respite and a sense of hope.
I appreciate all the feedback and encouragement. I will look for a support group for myself and I’ll keep reading and posting here 🙏
 
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