Hope for adult children

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by TerryJ2, Nov 20, 2018.

  1. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi, I have not been here for 2-1/2 years. Both of my kids are married and living in apartments.
    My son married a beautiful, intelligent, hard-working woman with a foul temper. She is a name-caller and the two of them have met their matches. I occasionally wished that my son would get stuck with someone on his level, but now it breaks my heart.
    He never graduated from H.S. We kicked him out the week of his birthday 3 years ago and he spent several cold, December nights homeless. I thought I would lose my mind with worry. But he was resourceful and moved in with friends. They all slept in one room of an old house, where every room was rented. They smoked weed and slept on the floor.
    Long story short, he found better friends, I bought him a used bike and he got a job. He kept it for 9 months. He got fired, got another job and quit. Two more entry-level jobs and now, finally, full time. And his own car.
    He has had very bad anxiety attacks, where he thinks he is having a heart attack. Then mania, depression and anxiety again. Wants to run cars off the road, but does not do it. Has to take breaks at work to pace and breathe. Can't sleep at night.
    He has called me in tears several times in the past three weeks, begging for a doctor. Cannot be seen until Dec. Or Jan. He bought insurance but it won't kick in until Dec. 1.
    Today he and his wife went to the E.R. for his anxiety and wasted four -1/2 hours. The nurse told him he had depression and anxiety and sent him home. He already knew that! Our old psychologist suggested the mental health hospital but that was yet another two hours, and a nurse who said probably cyclothymia and Occupational Therapist (OT) would be a good idea to use lithium, but did not write it down. Cop-out! Gave him the standard list of doctors to call. He called the same list last week and no one will take him without insurance and not until Jan.
    He took off work today and tomorrow and us terrified of losing his job. They have a baby on the way.
    I don t understand why the staff at both hospitals neglected to send in a real doctor, to give him a bone fide diagnosis, and a scrip. How do people get through acute episodes?
    He is doing all the right things. I told him that I was proud of him for being so self-aware and taking control of the situation as much as possible. All those years of therapy have helped. He told me he loves me and appreciates my help.
    We have come a long way from his anger, denial, vile insults, hate, drugs and thievery to a good, honest, mature relationship. My heart breaks for him.
    Our mental health system sucks. If you go in for a broken arm, someone fixes it. Not so for mood disorders. You get a bunch of referrals and hope you survive until you are seen.
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  2. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    No idea how occupational therapist got in there. Have to figure out how to edit on my phone.
  3. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Well-Known Member

    I agree the mental health system does suck. I have been through the same with my son unfortunately he pretty much gave up. Hang in there if he has got insurance Dec is not far off.
  4. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    Terry I’m so sorry your son is going through this. I have had similar experiences with trying to get mental health care for my kids. Our system is terrible, especially on the mental health side. When my daughter was 16, she was released after a suicide attempt and 72 hour emergency hold with no follow up plan. There were no beds to keep her longer and we were put on a nine month waiting list to see a psychiatrist who could diagnose and prescribe medications for adolescents. It was scary and awful and we had to muddle through for months with a family counselor before she could get in with someone who could offer a higher level of care. Now that they are adults it’s even more frustrating, because I can’t MAKE them go and I have little confidence In the availability of effective care in my area if they do. So I hear you.

    The good news is your son is aware that he needs help and is seeking it. January is very close. Can appointments be made now so he sees light at the end of the tunnel? What kind of supports can be put in place to get him through until then? It sounds like he has made a lot of progress and truly wants to be better. Sending big hugs for you and for him.
  5. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi Terry!! So good to hear from you.
    Your son has made so much progress from where he was. I'm sorry he's having to deal with the lack of care that is out there. The good thing about this is he knows he needs the help and that in and of itself is huge!
    I wish our health care system was better at dealing with people who suffer from anxiety instead of just brushing them off.
    Sending good thoughts and prayers that your son will be able to get through the time he has to wait until his insurance kicks in without too much anxiety.

    Really good to hear from you.
  6. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Terry!!!!! I used to have a different name but I remember you and your son!!! I am so happy to hear from you and his progress and congrats on the grandchild to be.

    Mental health is a long road but your son is definitely on the right track. You were always such a good involved mom. Yes, therapy and YOU paid off.

    Does yoyr son self medicate,?

    Our mental health system is not good or able to be accurate and medications AND diagnoses are crapshoots. Other cracks happen too when drugs in utero were a part of thr development in utero. I forgot. Did his birthmom use drugs while pregnant?

    Mental health is sort of a long waiting game. Took me into my 30s to feel a lot better. I have mood and anxiety problems. Hang in there. I never thought Son would be doing as well as he is. He can do this with success but yes it takes time.
  7. elizabrary

    elizabrary Active Member

    We have the worst health care system. Several years back when my daughter was crashing severely and didn't have insurance she went to the ER and told them she was suicidal (even though she wasn't) so they would admit her and get medications and psychiatric care in place. I was surprised they kept her for 5 days and released her with follow up care in place and prescriptions. If he's desperate that's the route I would take. Go to the ER and tell them he's suicidal and they have to admit him. It's ridiculous, but it's the only way to get immediate care.
  8. Smithmom

    Smithmom Active Member

    I feel your frustration. Your son has come so far and it didn't happen in a matter of months. Mental illness rarely drastically improves in a matter of months. So he is in for the long haul on improving his current condition.

    Not that I want to defend our mental health system but... From what you describe, anxiety, panic attacks, depression and mania your son is likely to end up with more than one diagnosis and more than one medication. But there are no blood tests to make a mental health diagnosis nor even one defined treatment once a diagnosis is made. diagnosis takes observation over a long period of time. Sure they have to put a diagnosis code on forms the first time they see him. But that doesn't mean they think its a definitive diagnosis. You said they saw him for anxiety in the ER so the forms would have a diagnosis of anxiety. Certainly they didn't think that's all there was to it. They may or may not give him a script when he sees a real psychiatrist. They may want to try therapy rather than medication while they do more observation. That will be determined at the time by the psychiatrist who will see him long term. They are likely to start him on one medication only though the intention may be more than one medication in the long term.

    There is always a psychiatrist on call in an ER. If he didn't see one its because whoever he did see did a phone consult with the psychiatrist. The conclusion of that conversation was that your son needs to get real treatment. A one time evaluation is not going to serve any purpose. It can't diagnosis him and it can't treat him. An ER will not give a script when a diagnosis has not been made. Eg if you go to the ER with pain and they do an xray which suggests a potentially cancerous lump they give you a referral. They don't diagnosis or start you on a course of treatment. At most they might give you an overnight pain killer. In the world of anxiety, depression, panic attacks and mania there is no overnight pain killer.

    Again, I'm not defending a system just trying to explain why he is not going to get any psychiatric treatment in the ER or any urgent care clinic.

    As someone said, a psychiatric hospital admission is only if the patient is suicidal, homicidal or psychotic.

    While your son waits for an appointment you might suggest the things that have always been recommended here. Eg a log of his moods, eating habits, sleeping, etc so they can look for patterns. A log is always far more valuable than verbal recollections. Also that he read up on the symptoms of various diagnosis and the potential treatments.

    When you say they gave him referrals.. Wasn't one of those a sliding scale fee mental health clinic? They exist in almost every area. Its not free but they generally will work with him on a payment program for whatever fee they charge at his income level. Frankly that would be where I would go if I were him. They generally take most medical insur. So they would keep him as a patient when his insurance kicks in. If they give him a script they may know of a sliding scale pharmacy program.
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    Last edited: Nov 22, 2018
  9. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    Can you research OTC supplements? I bought 5-HTP for my son, and he says in about 30 minutes it calms him down and he can relax. There are other things he might try.

    Anyone with a smart phone can listen to guided meditations for free. Learn controlled breathing. Inhale the scent of calming essential oils.

    Maybe a couple of these ideas will help him thru the panic attacks. Glad that he is wanting help, that's the first big step! Ksm
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi all,
    it is nice to see familiar signatures and personalities!
    Yes, the scenarios you all suggested are happening.
    Yes, one of the places he went to saw him for free. That was the Community Services Board.
    The hospital bill is going to be outrageous. I see a big bill in my future. And slave labor on my son's part, weeding and cleaning out my office. o_O:laugh:
    He found an online doctor with 34 years of experience. My daughter is working on her PsyD dissertation and she and I looked at the doctor's credentials and it turns out he is in our state--Virginia!--so he can prescribe medications here, too.
    So Son did a live video chat this morning. He really likes the guy. The dr. said it does sound like Son is in the early stages of bipolar (Son and daughter suggested cyclothymia but dr. just cut to the chase and said possible bipolar). Also, son used his phone to check his Blood pressure during two of his anxiety attacks. He was all over the charts--72 bpm to 120 to 148 then back to 90 within 3 minutes. I can hardly imagine what that feels like. (I tried out the app and I was a consistent 72 bpm. (I didn't even know you could find things like that online. Very cool.)
    Dr.prescribed 600 mg of lithium and also Inderal. My grandmother used take that and I told my son it was for your heart. He said yes, the doctor was concerned about the heart rate spikes.
    So, Son has an appointment with his pediatrician on the 14th, who can refer him to a family doctor. And he has an appointment with another psychiatrist on Wed. and I will go to that appointment. They should have all of his old paperwork by then.
    The idea is to find a long-term family doctor and long-term psychiatrist to do medication management.
    by the way, I mentioned that I wasn't sure about doctor-hopping, and my daughter got all over my case about how this was a commodity and you should be able to find the doctor who is the right fit for you. I had to chuckle--I mean, she's right, but I thought that being a psychologist, she'd be more into loyalty.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2018
  11. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi, my son went to a psychiatric nurse practitioner last week and I went with him. She is very nice and peppy. She diagnosed him with bipolar. Finally! He has been on lithium for 2 or 3 weeks. She also prescribed lexapro, on a hunch that she knows which kind of bipolar he has ... although I think he is mixed. And she gave him Klonipin as a PRN.
    Not sure what he is going to do about the doctor online.
    He was doing better living on hope for a few days, until he got a phone call Sunday night that a HS friend had committed suicide. OMG, so tragic. He was over at our house a couple of times, helped my son with homework and loved my cooking. He got into hard drugs and lord knows what was going on in his mind when he shot himself.
    His poor mother.
    My son called in sick to work on Monday. Stayed home all day and cried.
    He texted me that he does not want to end up like that. I told him that he is already on the right track, seeking professional help.
    My stomach is in knots.
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Son has had 3 more visits. Is still titrating up on his lithium. Still takes Klonopin, Lithium and Lexapro. Never took the Inderal because he was worried about it. Got in a fight with his wife, threw a vase, cut his hand, ER visit, four stitches. o_O Then
    argued with the regional manager at work and got fired. 1-1/2 yrs down the tubes. :( Got another job--his old job--within a week. Alrighty, then. These kids are resilient! I hope he has learned his lesson about work. It was such a silly issue--he was eating in the back and all he had to do was put down the food.
    Cutting his hand at home, well, I hope he learned. He seemed embarrassed.
    He and his spouse went out to eat on Christmas Day to a Japanese restaurant. They mostly eat halal but can eat seafood pretty much anywhere. He texted me that he loved me and the restaurant was festive. Ups and downs!
  13. Misssy2

    Misssy2 New Member

    Thank God he got on medicine...it is torture when your anxiety is that high and you have to go it alone...many people self medicate with street drugs because of this reason..they make you feel better.

    Seems he is on the right track again and maybe you can step back now and get back to your life.....
    I wish my son would become some sort of stable..he does not use drugs..he is just an angry guy....

    Who refuses all medication...Guess he isn't
    "sick" of it enough..but I will tell you I AM.
  14. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I hear you, Missy! I'm sorry.
    My son's new insurance is not very good. The antidepressant he got before was $20 with-ins. Now it's $200, or $400 cash. Yikes! So he has been off of it for four days. :(
    At least he's still on the lithium.
    One day at a time.