My 20 yr old clinically depressed son refuses help

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by WaveringFaith, Jan 30, 2014.

  1. Heff

    Heff New Member

    Thank you both for your very kind words. I live in Brisbane Australia and there doesn't seem to be a discussion forum as great as this one. I realise everything you both say is true and its not til you read everything, you are confronted with that truth. My son has now decided to go off all his medication, and as much as it scares me, I can understand it. He takes over 15 pills every day and would be happy to if he saw a glimmer of hope in the improvement of his mood. I realise the nastiness is just him, however the hopelessness never improves. I have talked to his psychiatric and all he wants to do his increase his medications and give him another treatment of Electro Shock Therapy; my son won't go through this again. If he could suggest some alternative treatments alongside his medication such as support groups and even meditation, I feel my son would agree. However, he almost scoffs at me I would even suggest such a thing, what would I know, I'm only his mother. Of course when I suggest this to my son, he also scoffs for the same reason. Ah, sometimes I feel like just running away. My other kids are great and my husband tries as much as he is able to be supportive, they're winding down now though, waiting for my son to start helping himself. I realise I need to do that too and I try to keep busy. I have good friends but not good enough to want to listen to me, they have no idea what it's like and frankly don't want to. I don't blame them though, it is a burden. This website has been a saviour and I have decided to locate a support group for me. Than k you so much for all your help, it's amazing!!
  2. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    I went back and read your first post, Heff, where you said: "So the answer is....."

    Wow, I wish we KNEW what the answer is. If we did, we all would run to it and buy a million gallons of it and douse our difficult children in it.
    Wouldn't we? :apologetic:

    That is the $64,000 question. We don't know. We don't know. We don't know.

    And living with this level of uncertainty, stopping our millions of efforts to manage, fix, control and heal (all with good intentions), and turning that energy onto our own lives, wow, that is tough stuff.

    It takes daily work.

    My son continues to go down, Heff. I have stopped, and his dad has stopped, and everybody has stopped, but he still is going down. He got a job last Wednesday, Heff. Wednesday night he got arrested for shoplifting.

    It makes no sense and it's not going to make any sense.

    I have to remind myself that the stopping is first for me. And second for him. And I can't know God's timeline. I have to remind myself of this again and again, especially in the middle of the night.

    I used to always put his welfare and his life ahead of my own. That's what mothers do right? That is mother-love. Yes, it is when they are children.

    But now, Heff, we have adult people who are still our children (always will be) who are not functional. For whatever reason.

    So what to do? I believe this with all of my heart, Heff: If I do for him what he has to learn to do for himself, he will never do it.

    I have some basic truths that guide me back when I get shaky.

    Another: His recovery from drug addiction will happen apart from me. I won't be part of the turning around.

    Another: Stay out of the way and let God work.

    Another: Give him the respect a grown man deserves, even though he is not acting like a grown man. Show him kindness and love and encouragement.

    I have never done anything this hard, Heff. It takes daily work. I turn it over multiple times every day. This has humbled me like nothing else, and that is good.

    Blessings and peace and my prayers are for you today.
  3. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I love this. What a sweet family you must have, Wavering.

    I am so sorry you are all going through this, and for how alone you feel, yourself.

    Here is my input: For whatever reason, your son isn't thinking the way he used to. That is the problem. That is the thing we need to change and medications are not an option. So, one of the best ways to change how we think is to work with animals.

    Could you require that he volunteer at a shelter or an animal rescue as part of your allowing him to continue living with you?

    I'm sorry Wandering, but I don't see a good outcome if he is without family just now. He is so young. At the same time, something needs to change. Whatever it looks like to us, he isn't willing to take the job he was offered. Volunteering would at least break the current pattern. If you could get him thinking and feeling differently about himself through helping someone else, that could be a starting point. Then he could begin, or could reapply for, the job.

  4. Heff

    Heff New Member

    I must admit, my statement "so the answer is..." was said very much tongue-in-cheek. Gosh, we'd be millionaires if we knew the answers. I think we all agree, we need to stop doing for them what they can do themselves. I suggested to my son last night that he collect some groceries today and cook himself a big pot of something (he used to) for his dinners. He told me he wasn't going to, he'd just eat what I made for the rest of the family. Ergh, I didn't have the heart then to suggest it would be good for him to get out and do something worthwhile, I'm sick of the arguments. I think volunteering is a wonderful idea. It places you with like minded people and you're doing something so worthwhile. I'm going to try and suggest if he wishes to stay at home, he finds some animal shelter volunteering. I have asked before, but not with conditions.
    Ah, Childofmine, you sound like a wonderful mum. I remember someone saying once, children chose their parents. Maybe there's some truth in that. Keep in touch please.
  5. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Heff welcome. It can feel pretty alone dealing with depression. I'm glad you found us.

    You might find the article at the bottom of my post here on Detachment interesting. Most of us here with older adult children, after we try everything else, we fall in to detachment. If you've read our stories you will see the various stages of where we all are.

    I believe the first thing we need to do is to put ourselves as the priority. To focus on ourselves. With an adult child who has so many issues and needs, over time all of our energy is going out to them, and in the meantime, we become depleted and forget to fulfill our needs. Our ability to experience joy is greatly diminished or perhaps eliminated completely. You matter as much as your son and it's pretty likely you've forgotten that. Your son is doing his life, he is making his choices, there is nothing you can do about that. What you do have power over is how you respond to this situation. You can begin by taking care of you. Figure out what it is that you want and go do it.

    Once you get your self on track, you will be in a better place to begin to make choices where your son is concerned. If he is to remain living with you and that is okay with you, you can learn to make boundaries around his behavior. Because someone is depressed does not give them the right to ruin everyone else's life. You have a right to figure out what it is you want and then to make that happen in regard to your son. Because he gives up does not mean you have to. Our kids go down many different rabbit holes and in my experience, it is NEVER a good idea to follow them there.

    You've landed in a safe place where we understand where you are, keep posting it really helps. You're not alone, we're all here for you.
  6. tryagain

    tryagain Active Member

    I have always posted here about my bipolar daughter, difficult child. But--her brother (easy child/difficult child) suffers from crippling depression. Reading your posts brings back painful memories of this genius (really) child who had a full ride scholarship to college, sitting in a crumpled heap in the doctor's office midway through his 2nd year of college, failing classes, feeling defeated and lost.

    Depression is so horrible. And I agree with everyone, the depressed individual is master of his own destiny...BUT a great p-doctor, medications, and supportive family can help your precious child. I know. Today my son is almost through with college. (8 years of it-time and again he'd drop all his courses when depression would hit) He saw his p-doctor today, sees him monthly of his own volition. Recently, he sprang to the rescue of his little sis (difficult child) when she tried to overdose.

    So I want to let you know that it CAN get better for a depressed person, but frustratingly, we don't get to be in charge. It's up to them. And it may take time. But all is not lost. Thinking of you moms tonight. Praying for a night's rest for your troubled hearts.
  7. Heff

    Heff New Member

  8. Heff

    Heff New Member

    Recoveringenable, thank you for your 'detachment' post. I have now printed it out to keep with me. It's funny, I continually tell my son about that locus of control when he tells me the things that worry him such as whales being slaughtered, too many cars on the road, our precious minerals being leached from our soils. I had never thought about how it relates to me. I am going to try so hard at this. Thank you once again.
  9. Heff

    Heff New Member

  10. Heff

    Heff New Member

    Thank you tryagain, this gives me hope that one day things will be better. I hope your son continues to follow the path he is on. Thank you for sharing.
  11. tryagain

    tryagain Active Member

    Heff, this is a wonderful support group. Keep returning and keep us informed as to your son's status. Praying he will begin turning things around very soon.
  12. A1A

    A1A New Member

    I can feel your pain and understand what you must be going through. Trust God and be strong. Your son needs you. Being in a similar situation, my family and friends have always said, things will get better and to date I have still pinned my hopes on that. One thing for sure, I am unable show tough love - because my love for my son makes me weak to be tough. I have always tried to be his shoes before I make any judgement. One thing I feel strongly about is:
    - They need help even if they are refusing to take help. This refusal stems from their depression.
    - They need lots of love and support.

    Feel free to reach out to local community, church or support groups for help. You cannot do this by yourself although there is lot you and your family can do as well. First step is to help your child get out of suicidal mode. Try to go in the past and find out what could be the cause of depression, is it a life event or is it genetic?. Try to solve/fix any triggers that cause or make him feel more depressed. If it is college work, then try to look for a change.
    Enroll him in a hospitilazation program. and continue with PHP to help him get out of suicidal mindset For the most part, my son did not want to go in the program, but after a year he was willing to go. Also, add supplements like fish oil, Calcium-Vit D and also check his B12 levels. Lower levels of B12 can cause them to be more lethargic and depressed. Cook fresh home made food. Dont use canned or processed foods, give him fresh fruits, nuts, vegetables etc. Give him green tea etc... Avoid sugary stuff... Dont underestimate power of food.

    Do not let him skip medications. This causes more depression, if current medications are not working talk to your pscych and change them. Make sure you change your doctor if you feel he is not right one for your child..... Changes Changes Changes.....

    With anti depressants psycho therapy is even more important. I have something atleast once a week for past 2 years. Choose a good psychologist who is strong and determined. I had to change several too before I found out the one that works well with my child. If your child is going to oppose to go to him them he is the one..... This is what I found.

    Severely depressed people dont speak their mind. That makes it worst, and even so they have all the wrong notions built in their mind that fuel the state. Even though it may not show short term effects, continue to praise them like 15 or more times everyday on all their strengths. My daughter who is 8 years old, loves her brother ( and vice versa). We as team work with my son to show him joys of his life. Take him out on family trips (frequent ), have him shoulder the responsibility of baby sitting her (of course with you keeping an eye). Plan out every little thing.

    Friends are very important influences. I had to help him weed out certain friends even thought he felt very strong on keeping them. But at this point I am not willing to take any chances with him. Have him go out with friends for movies, games, sport etc. Encourage your son to start running/do a sport or hit gym. I know I am saying this sounding very easy but I know how hard it is to get them to do every little thing I have talked about. I had to be very strong during the day, but stayed up at night crying, but got up in the morning feeling very stong again. The only thing I could do is always motivate and encourage him every day, spend more time with him.

    If he is rude, just gulp is down. He does not mean it. Little by little things will start to change very slowly. This will take time. The only way to combat heavy does of negativity is by heavy doses of optimisim. Look around you where he can stay busy. Volunteer, music etc. This will not be effective day one but dont lose hope, do it for years to come. I have been doing this for than 2 years but it has gotten better from 2% to 20%. You will have to look ways to outsmart him and have him come out of his room to spend more time outdoors.

    At this state, they are very vulnerable, fragile, uncertain. 'You' are an important person in their life and they need your support. Dont let their demanour or attitude fool or trick you. Dont get angry, they are simply frustated and if they are showing it to you, you are definitely close to them and can help initiate change and influence. Dont give up, keep pursuing. It will get better......

    Also, take him to a religious place every week. There is always a peace that is felt when visitng any church, temple, mosque.
    I only created this account to reply to you. I feel for you. I know how hard it is, Even I am still sturggling, but dont lose hope. Dont show your sadness to him but you can cry at nights. Keep all smiles when with him, use lots of humor to manipulate his mind to do things above. Dont let him go away from you. Looks for local colleges. I have heard of some adventure trip with red cross etc. He needs more people stimulation and interaction and plenty of LOVE. Try to take this more objectively and one day at a time, your family will be in our prayers too.....
  13. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    this is an older post.

    Secondly, you can't force a twenty year old to go for help, take medications, go to church or do anything. By that age, they are on their own...and let you know it. You can't weed out their friends. You can't make them do anything, but I am assuming you are talking about a much younger child, which is an entirely different story.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2014
  14. lauraasheville

    lauraasheville New Member

    Hello. Have just joined and found the site when googling "18 year old who refuses help for depression". Very good information and facts for me to read here. Have one child, always content alone and entertaining herself with 1-2 friends. Never a problem. Divorced her dad when she was 12. No relationship w dad altho dad tries in his way (doesn't work, never support, has lived w enabler mom since I left in 07). Married wonderful man 2010, daughter and he close, she actually opened up. He died after 18 mos marriage. Daughter has never mentioned his name but picture of two of them always in site. 2.5 years now and we have moved to new state. She spent first year of college out of state last year and seemed poster child for college. Scholarships, $30k financial aid in grants etc. Found out week we moved, 3 mos ago, she stopped attending classes last spring, failed most, lost all aid. Stays in bed most days. Will explore new city w me but nasty if I bring up any questions on what is next. I didn't plan on her with me and 24/7 lack of privacy. She said has thought of suicide. She said twice she would go to therapy then refused so I went to get advice. No family nor others who know her well enough as we have moved often. First time for me I have no idea of what to do as trading fine line w being supportive but also feel she may be manipulating me and lazy. Wants to get apt back in college town and work but I have to guarantee apt and am hesitant. Told her she has to get some kind of job here or therapy as depression runs in family and she refuses. I am so confused on whether to be patient or set rules. Yes guilt kicks in if I feel I am not sympathetic but also do not want to enable. I spent 17 yrs enabling her father and was so glad to leave and now realize my new start has me feeling dread at going home to her dark room and her in bed so I keep very busy. Have no clue what direction to turn. So not think drug problem. I think lost soul afraid of life with no passion for anything. I suggested volunteering but no interest. Will walk dog and do tasks if asked but never on own. At what point do you know best direction to take? Is all stunning to me and I can't even acknowledge my inner feelings of betrayal, waste, what I did wrong and how I screwed up. Thanks for listening.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2014
  15. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Since this is an old thread, you may want to start a new post. Otherwise, the posters may not know that a new person is here and your post won't get as much attention as if it were to stand on it's own. Welcome to our world. Sorry you had to be here.
  16. lauraasheville

    lauraasheville New Member

    Thank you. Trying to figure out how to start new one. Appreciate your note.
  17. WaveringFaith

    WaveringFaith Member

    Hi Laura- I'm the original poster and I know exactly how you feel. Same boat here. I haven't posted anything since that last post, lots has happened. I finally had enough of the behavior (what you are currently going through) and had to give him a deadline to find and keep a job, or to start doing something productive with his life instead of being a zombie in his dark room playing video games and eating all my food during the night. He wasn't able to keep his end of the deal by my deadline and I had to ask him to leave. He lived on the streets (well, actually chose to roam aimlessly through a wooded part of town), then decided to move 2 states away where all of his high school friends are (where we used to live when he was in school). That is where he has been for about 1 month now. It has been so difficult because I went from practially babysitting him day and night, dealing with deep depression, talking of not wanting to be alive, to now nothing. I text him and he never responds, however I still pay his phone bill so can check his phone activity online, so I can see he's alive and using his phone. It's the weirdest feeling that this is my only connection to my son, my little boy that I had such hopes and dreams for. Now resorting to stalking his phone account every other day just to give me peace of mind that he's still walking the earth. I'm sure he is mad at me, but it kills me that all I did for him, he lived with me for 2 years. 2 years of daily torture watching him detiorate and not able to function or find joy in life, and now I don't even know him. Very sad.

    So I know exactly what you're going through. I had to stuff it all down and go to work every day, smiling and acting so chipper. I'm an administrative assistant and my job is to be cheerful and greet and help everyone all day. But it does get easier, with the help of detachment, as everyone recommends. It has made all the difference, I have just given everything to God and pray he will watch over my boy. I have literally done all I can do for him. Offered him everything under the sun that would make him happy, he stayed in a clinic for 2 weeks, tried every anti-depressant, currently not taking anything. He just had zero motivation to do anything, at least while under my roof. perhaps because I was enabling him, feeding him, making sure he would get up and do something. Like your difficult child, mine would help out but only if I asked him to, never on his own. He developed such a social anxiety from being locked up in his dark room for so long, so that now was an issue. How do you find and keep a job if you can't even be around people?! I would ask God every day what did I do wrong, where did I fail him to make him end up like this. It does no good to try and blame yourself, although it's just a natural thing to feel as a parent. But they are young adults and need to find their way. You can say you have done everything you possibly can, and now it's their turn.

    I hope your difficult child finds their way. Although I haven't commented or posted on here in a long while, I read almost every day to bring me comfort that I am not alone and many difficult child's really do turn their life around! After years of being in their dark place. Just be kind to yourself and try to focus on you (for a change!). I know how difficult child's take over our daily lives. I try and picture my thoughts/feelings for my difficult child as a light switch. And when I get in those moods where I start thinking of him as a sweet little easy child, before high school and college and his spiraling down happened, I picture myself reaching over to a light switch on a wall and turning it off. And I say it's time to turn this off for now, to save my energy. That is just my silly way, but it helps me. I do allow myself time during the weekend when my 10 yr old easy child is not around to let myself cry and get those feelings out. Then I feel better. Time does heal, prayer, meditation, all the suggestions that other parents on here provide. They are a blessing. Keep reading and know you aren't alone. But there comes a time when it's their turn to get better. We can't be there forever to help them.

    oh and you should be able to just copy/paste your original comment into a New Thread. I'm sure you will receive more comments and advice. good luck to you and be strong! it does get a little better day by day. And when you get a setback, just start over on your journey :)
  18. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    Hi Wavering, nice to hear from you again. I like this image, I'll add it to my toolbox!

    Hugs to you,

  19. lauraasheville

    lauraasheville New Member

    Thank you so much. I was trying to start a new thread last night but kept just seeing current ones and maybe cause it was late and I am using my phone screen, I couldn't figure it out.
    I was looking at apt shares for her back in her college town as it would solve me guaranteeing a lease and she could have a base for a job. We talked last night and she has today to finish a coffee shop applic for here and we agreed she would practice driving 4 days/week. Who knows. Like you, I am an admin asst too in marketing, so act happy then also think back to this easy kid and how lucky I thought I was with a kid who entertained herself so well. Now I realize that maybe it was all signs of depression and I didn't see it. Such a smart girl and so lost. As I read your words and am writing mine, like you, tears start pouring down. I honk of my "18" and because I didn't want to be home I was socializing and with girlfriends. And here she is, content to be home because it's serene and easy, and it's the worst thing for her. I am trying to live my life and formed a meetup group for women, joined a newcomers club, and met someone who is long distance but we see each other every 3-4 wks.
    Our children have no clue how our hearts break for them and it's ironic that kids who have "bad" childhoods often end up more independent and healthier adults whereas kids who get too much of us "helping" without realizing it end up cosseted and have a much harder time. I will try to repost original in new thread. Thanks again for taking the time to respond and I wish you peace and that your son finds his way. Laura
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  20. WaveringFaith

    WaveringFaith Member

    Thank you Laura- I have always thought the same thing! I wonder how I know and hear of other children that have horrible childhoods, abuse, violence, neglect.. And they seem to be able to live and function normally with productive happy lives. Yet my son who has been adored by myself, all of our family, he was first grandchild, etc.. was given everything, formal education, all the love and support a child could receive, so many opportunities in life, yet they are severely depressed and can't even support themselves, and feel their lives arent' worth living. I will never understand it.

    I, too, was a young mother (had him when I was 19) and my whole life has been nothing but him and caring for him, every decision I made was for him. And when he turned 18 and went off to the university, I finally found a little freedom. I have my 10 yr old easy child who is so fun loving and sweet. Life was grand. I met a man, had freedoms, was hopeful for my son, then when the depression hit after his 1st year in college and he moved back in with me, all that went away. Everything has revolved around him and getting him well. 2 years of daily struggles and pain and the roller coaster ride of hoping each time it would be better. I feel for you and the more I read on here, the more I realize how important it is it to love and care for ourselves. I finally got to the point where I saw myself making all the phone call, confirming all the appts, reminding him of just simple daily things, it was so exhausting! I finally decided I would no longer do it, and that's when he moved out. I hope you find the strength to make any necessary decisions for your difficult child. Once you know you've tried everything, and nothing hs changed, it's not their turn.

    Hugs to you! Also, Child of Mine just posted a prayer about giving your child to your Higher Power. I just read it and it helped me tremendously, as lately I have really been having a hard time letting go. He's so far away, but I have no clue how his state of mind is, if he's found work, where he's staying. But I can't allow the pain and anxiety to take over. I recommend you read it!