How do I sleep at night?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by tamarann, Aug 11, 2019.

  1. tamarann

    tamarann New Member

    Hi - I'm new here. My heart aches for all of you as I read your stories and relate to so many of you in so many ways. I joined this site because both my sons are struggling with depression and making awful choices. My older son (see signature) has stopped taking his medications and has stopped communicating with us on what used to be a very regular basis. As far as I know, he's still employed and still in school, but I'm not sure how long this will last. He's angry at me for giving birth to him: it was irresponsible of me to have children since depression is hereditary. (I know this is crazy, but it still hurts.)

    My younger son is killing me with his world view: life is an unfair game, he shouldn't have to work (animals don't have to work) and he doesn't need money. (Well, of course he doesn't, we have paid his rent up until now, his girlfriend keeps him in food, and his friends keep him in weed.) He hasn't held a job for more than a couple of months at a time in the past three years. Now he refuses to even look for work.) At the end of this month his lease is up and he will be homeless. We've already made the decision to let this happen (and know it is the right decision) but the worry and fear is causing extreme insomnia and anxiety for me.

    I have never had both boys off the rails at the same time. It was easier to cope with one of them when the other was doing well. My husband and I retired last year and now live full time in our Airstream, traveling the country for a few years, so we are not near them, and they are not close to each other. Their relationship is deeply love/hate so they rarely speak. I feel like they could save each other if they would give it a shot.

    Interestingly, neither of them really want or ask for anything from us. In fact, my younger one has been telling us for years to just let him figure it out. Finally, we are listening. They are both loving and kind people; we have a loving family and they have lived a pretty privileged life.

    I am working on detaching from my boys, and my husband and I are in counseling to keep our relationship strong. We love our life but I am so tired and scared for them all the time.

    Thanks for listening. Any thoughts on detaching/letting go/stopping the worry and fear would be so appreciated. <3
  2. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    I am in a similar boat in that both of my adult children struggle. Al-Anon has helped me a lot. Since your boys do weed, you qualify for Al-Anon or Nar-anon. There may be more cases of alcoholism in your family tree as it is closely related to depression.

    I am learning to "let go and let God". Keep the focus on me. Take care of me: physically, emotionally, and spiritually. This has helped me a lot to be able to sleep much better, get calmer, and trust that God will keep my kids safe.

    Meditation and prayers are a big part of my program. This has helped my anxiety more than anything. Being away from your boys is also helpful. It was much easier for me when the kids were both away at school.
  3. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    Oh, and we were blamed for them being alive as well and for everything else. I have heard "I didn't ask to be born" , and I have been pushed away .I have been told horrible thibgs and that I shouldn't have had kids since alcoholism runs in our family. These are just excuses for them not to take responsibility for their own choices. I finally stopped that by not accepting blame anymore .I walk away as soon as it starts which has put a stop to it.
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  4. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    Something runs in every family. So what?

    My daughter is adopted. I am at fault for not letting her stay in her impoverished birth country where she would have been probably a street kid or at best in a crummy orphanage.i have analyzed how crazy that is and just tell her she can go visit and even stay there if she thinks it would be best. We have visited there with her and this priveleged girl was repelled at the world there but she still uses this mostly to hurt us. It works but not like it did in the past. She is married to a lazy man and has my poor grandson and is on tje verge of bring homeless as they are unwilling to work much or pay bills. And our money is mostly gone due to her.

    That's our backstory. The future looks bright. We are retiring soon and will buy a new house without possibly giving her our address. She is 33. She reached our personal age limit for being able to depend on us. We cant live forever and we have both been.practicing Radical Acceptance and Mindfulness and especially Radical Acceptance resonates so strongly that our lives changed. We also go to Al Anon as Kay chronically smokes pot.

    I don't know your sons ages but at some point there is no option except commiting yourself to terminal misery or to let go. These kids are OUR addictions so nobody is healthy, us or them.

    We bought Kay a house, mobile home, paid rent, bought cars, etc
    It just made her entitled, ungrateful and mean to us. I have two nice kids and other family. And a great husband plus myself. They are now my focus.

    I cant tell you how to stop being addicted to your sons so I wont try, but there are ways to stop any obsession. You can't change them. You know it. So make your own life good. Yes you will think about them, but not as much or as intensely.

    Your lifestyle sounds so much fun! Pray to God if He is in it and stay well. Maybe look.up Radical Acceptance and Mindfulness. Both changes us.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
  5. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    One therapist told me, when I said I wanted to stop worrying so much, "Well, that's not going to happen. You're going to worry. You're his mother." It helped a lot, once I could let myself worry about Son...without worrying about the fact that I WAS worrying.

    I still worry, quite a bit, even though I haven't been in contact with Son for months. When I do, I tell myself, "Of course I worry. I'm his mother." Then I say a quick prayer for Son and try to let it go.
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  6. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    I love this. I do similar.

    "i have been uncomfortable about Kay before and i survived. I can do it again. Let me watch a show I enjoy/listen to music/call my sister to goof off/read my book on Radical Acceptance." The bad feelings are like a wave. The wave gets high then settles down to calm.

    So does our fear. We just need to ride it out.

    I am learning to shut my eyes and picture my old self surfing on waves/feelings as I surf high then watch and feel the feeling waves calm. It helps me a lot. Bad feelings get worse then better, like ocean waves. They wont kill us. Our kids might!
  7. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    On this forum, Parent Emeritus, near the top of the forum, is a wonderful article about detachment. Once I read that, I had better insight on how to let go... There will be difficult times, and I will worry sometimes, but I don't have to let it paralyze me. I don't have to stop living my life because of how they are living theirs.

  8. ChickPea

    ChickPea Active Member

    Gosh, this is why I love this place. Thank you so, so much for posting! All of you!

    First off, you are living the DREAM! One way I keep my mind off my Difficult Child is to fantasize about camping in all its forms (tent, camper, hammock, car, van... boondocking, whatever). How wonderful that you are doing that. Fantastic.

    Second, you're getting it from two sides? So sorry to hear. My goodness, my daughter is just enough, Lawd. I say this with a little chuckle, but in all seriously, I feel for you.

    I am a worrier by design. It's been my job for as long as I've known. It has been a real struggle not to play all kinds of scenarios over and over in my head. I, too, have to look back at some of the things/times I worried the most and ended up wasting my time doing so. It changes NOTHING, and so many of the scenarios were nothing but a puff of smoke that never materialized. I'm not saying that there aren't consequences that could happen and they can't be bad, but I could literally be non-functional if I let myself go there to worry as much as I possibly could.

    Recently I've been setting reading challenges for myself. I love to read, but find myself doing mindless things (internet surfing, etc.) instead of more constructive things. My reading challenges help remind me to make time for things I enjoy.

    I pray as well. I try to release myself from the burden of worrying. It can be all encompassing. I wake up thinking about my daughter and the problems that surround her, and I go to bed with the thoughts too. I hope I can change that.
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  9. tamarann

    tamarann New Member

    Thank you! I will definitely research radical acceptance. And i love your thought that our kids are our addiction. I have never heard that and it makes so much sense.
  10. tamarann

    tamarann New Member

    Thank you! I am sorry you are here too. I have been to a few AlAnon meetings. Alcoholism definitely runs in our family (both my parents and my grandmother) so yes, depression is a thing. But I was not diagnosed until I was in my 40s so the thought that I intentionally passed it on is ridiculous. I know this, but it sure pulls at the guilt strings.
  11. tamarann

    tamarann New Member

    Thank you for your thoughts, and I'm so sorry you are going through this too. I am trying to "feel my feelings" instead of willing them away. It is so comforting to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, regardless of what the kids are doing.
  12. tamarann

    tamarann New Member

    Thank you! I did read the article and it has already helped immensely. I love this: I don't have to stop living my life because of how they are living theirs. <3
  13. tamarann

    tamarann New Member

    Thank you for sharing. I love the idea of a reading challenge. I do the same thing - internet surf, read stuff that just makes it worse. And yes, we are living the dream and I appreciate it every day!
  14. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    I suppose one can survive without working if they are a good hunter and willing to live in a tent and bathe in the river.
  15. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Welcome @tamarann .

    I have been here many years and rarely post anymore, because things have been much better. They GOT better when my son was homeless, two states away, and his driver's license expired when he turned 22, so I couldn't send him any money because he had no ID. I couldn't rescue him. I couldn't support him. We could only speak over Facebook, because WiFi on a smart phone still works when there are no more minutes.

    He figured it out. Sure, part of that was bumming off people. He still, 3 years later, is jumping from job to job, but is now married to a wonderful young woman and they're talking about moving back here. We're not sure how to feel about that and that brought me back to these boards. There is both empathy and wisdom here.

    Like you, we plan to sell our home and simply RV full time when we retire. We thought, when he was living in Colorado, we'd actually see more of him then! Now, well, I guess we'll see him the same amount or less than if he stayed there since we'll be back home a couple times a year for doctors and such. LOL We do NOT plan to let him ruin our plans.

    Don't let yours ruin yours.
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  16. ckay87

    ckay87 Member

    I have my own version of the same thing everyone else here is going through. Just this weekend, I sent my son out into the world on his own. He has a place (for now) but no income. His brother lives elsewhere and is agoraphobic and depressed. Anyway, I also have it coming from 2 directions.

    I have a BLAST with my boyfriend of 2.5 years and we move in together in 2 weeks. But every time I get happy and excited about this new chapter, I think of those boys and it brings me way down. That's just going to be the way it is and I know that. I had a moment this weekend at a wonderful outdoor party. Listening to music, laughing and dancing, then I had a moment of... panic kind of ... about the boys and their futures and I was almost paralyzed for a while there (I know that sounds dramatic, sorry). And it was actually then that it occurred to me that I'll never stop those moments from happening. Everyone has struggles, things that weigh heavy on their minds, and this is ours. We have to learn to manage ourselves, that's the best we can do, right?

    Sounds about like where you are as well. Talking here has helped me, keep visiting.
  17. tamarann

    tamarann New Member

    Thank you. I'm so glad to hear that you are able to find peaceful moments these days. And you don't sound dramatic, I feel like I'm drowning most days so I totally get it. <3
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  18. tamarann

    tamarann New Member

    It is comforting to know that your son has improved so much. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
  19. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    Get him a fishing pole for Christmas. He can learn to catch his dinner since he doesn't think humans should have to work.
  20. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    Crayola, that was uncalled for. I dont know if you have any adult kids who won't adult. You may think, like I once did in another life, that MY kid would NEVER be this way, that I would never allow it. It is common and sad for us to hear these things and it is unintentionally unkind. If you have not dealt with a child 18 or over who refuses to work or thrive at all, it is soul killing to us. We need understanding. I know that is why i come here.

    If you do have an adult child who would not thrive, but you did certain steps that worked, do share. And it isn't about how WE were at 18, you and me. Most of us were very functional. We know our kids are failing to live well. It kills us inside. We do not need sarcastic reminders of their dysfunctional thinking. Thank you. I am sure you didn't mean anything by your comment. It just rubbed me wrong. Bad day here.

    God bless you and be well.
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    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019