Living a nightmare


New Member
My husband and I are trying to cope with 22-year-old daughter with- epilepsy and Borderline (BPD) who uses drugs. The mental illness is really the worst of her problems, second to the drugs. It's been a roller coaster for the last 10 years. We've taken her to every specialist we can find to address her issues, but psychiatrist says there's no medication to fix her - it's all about her.

We co-signed for her so she could get her own apartment, but the situation quickly got out of hand when she started wandering off and finding people to bring back to party with. Neighbors complained and she was on the verge of being evicted when we pulled the plug and told he she needed to go to rehab. She wandered around homeless for about three weeks, and then decided rehab might be worth a try. After two months, though, she left. Now she has hit a new low - back on drugs and prostituting herself at a truck stop. This is definitely not reflective of the values she grew up with, and it's the last thing in the world we thought we'd ever face. It is almost surreal. I can't even believe she's my child.

She's so self destructive, but refuses to do anything to help herself. She tells me that she knows there's something wrong with her, but she continues her behavior. Sometimes it seems like she does it just to hurt us. I don't understand.

Today I watched her walk away, with only the clothes on her back, and I honestly don't know if I'll see her alive again. She has been warned by mental health professionals that she won't survive if she continues on this path. She drags our hearts behind her every step that she takes.

I've been reading a lot about detachment on this Web site, including the article. It was very compelling and really resonated with me. I don't know what to do - we have done everything we can. Police tell us she's an adult. It's like watching a train wreck and not being able to stop it. We are bracing ourselves for the worse. Thank you.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Welcome Marthina. I am so very sorry you are in this situation with your daughter, It is certainly a heart break. I have much empathy for you, I have an older daughter with some of the same traits. I'm glad you've found us, being here with us (hopefully) can provide you with some comfort. many of us have been in your shoes. It helps to write it all down and send it out to others who know this landscape well.

The powerlessness, the fear and the uncertainty of all of it is so challenging for us parents. I understand you feeling as if you are watching a train wreck and not being able to stop it. Because she is an adult, you're correct, you cannot stop it.............but that doesn't take the pain away.

The best advice I can give to you is to seek out professional help. Find support in as many ways as you can. In doing that, it doesn't change your daughter and her choices, however, it changes YOU. It was what gave me my sanity, my peace of mind and my life back. If you haven't already, contact NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. You can find them online, they have chapters everywhere. They offer parent groups which are very helpful. They offer training for parents. They can give you support, understanding and tools for YOU. I found a year and a half long codependency group lead by therapists in a program for Substance abuse in a large HMO. I ended up in a therapist run group with other parents dealing with adult kids with mental illness. It was invaluable to listen to others stories so like my own. Being in an environment where I was not alone, could find not only support but understanding and empathy shifted my suffering and gave my life back to me.

The sad reality is that you have no control over your daughter. The other reality is that you can control your responses and learn to not only detach but to accept what you cannot change. From my perspective it takes time and a lot of support (from professionals) but you can find peace of mind in spite of the choices your daughter is making. Perhaps at this point you may think that is crazy and impossible, but it is possible and in fact I believe necessary.............your suffering over your daughter's life does not help her in ANY only means that you and the rest of the family will ruin your lives too. It's so difficult, I do understand that, but choose to walk in the direction of acceptance, choose to find a way to live your life.

I'm glad you're here. Keep posting, it helps. Find support for you and your family. I wish you peace.

PS/I just saw that you are in California. Kaiser offers the Substance Abuse/codependency program which was so helpful to me, if you are a member, you might look into it.


Well-Known Member
Hi there and so sorry you have to be here. I agree 100% with Recovering and you need to stop feeling guilty and take care of yourselves...cut off the money supply and the rescue attempts. They will only make her worse. Or, at the very least, they will not help and she will probably end up blaming you for helping.

I disagree with you that her mental illness is more serious than the drug abuse, and I *have* mental illness (see my signature). I have had it all my life and first remember it at age six. It is your daughter's substance abuse, alcohol included, which is making her resistant to treatment and that is the most serious issue. She can't respond to prescribed medication for her disorder or work hard in therapy (and it IS hard work) if she is strung out. The illegal drugs will neutralize the medications that are specific for her disorder and render them useless.

The only dime I'd spend on her is for a dual diagnostic facility so that she can be treated for both of her problems. And, she will not improve unless she wants to. You can only control one person in the world...yourself. You can make a happy life for yourself in spite of your self-destructive child. It's not easy, but it's very superior to living through their horrors while being unable to help them because they have to walk their recovery on their own. You can support them, but you can't make them eager to get clean. Your daughter does not sound like she is in a good place, but don't let her drag her down with you. She is an adult making horrible choices.

This is hard for us. We parents still remember the cute little baby we held in our arms and are devestated that that baby turned out this way. But we have to learn to let go or we will go down with them and there are others who care about us and whom we care about who need us to be healthy in body and mind. We can't ignore everyone else, or our own self, for the destructive child.I recommend going to Al-Anon or Nar-Anon, even if you are not religious. The support and lessons there are invaluable, not to mention hearing others who are in the same boat as you are and can give real life support.

scent of cedar

New Member
Hi, Mathina.

Welcome to the site. I am so glad you found us. The one thing worse than watching one of our children self-destruct is going through it alone.

We are living through a situation similar to yours. Our daughter is 39. She was responsible for three children when this started, and dragged them right down the rabbit hole with her. The kids are safe, now. We have been expecting to learn that our drug and alcohol-addled, mentally ill daughter had been beat to death for most of this summer. Almost miraculously, things have taken a turn for the better, for us.

Sometimes, when we have done the accepting and the grieving, it is shamefully more painful to have hope, than not.

We are learning to believe for the best, and to remember, and be grateful for, the good things we do have. This is helping us to survive what is happening without sacrificing our own lives to worry or guilt or shame.

Or anger.

I agree that your daughter's drug/alcohol use plays a part in the path she is taking. Our daughter started using street drugs right around the time everything fell apart, too.

I am so sorry this is happening, to you, and to your daughter.



New Member
Thank you, Midwest Mom for your reply. I can understand your reasoning regarding the drugs being worse than the mental illness, and the competing forces of the drugs with her other medications. You are right. When she's clean, she's a lot different emotionally. It just seems like she pulls herself up, and then then next thing we know, she's falling to lower lows. It's very frustrating.


Active Member
You have gotten wonderful advice from all those who have posted above. I have nothing else to add other than sending positive thoughts your way.