My adult 23 year old falling apart

Discussion in 'Failure to Thrive' started by Maisy, Apr 23, 2016.

  1. Maisy

    Maisy Member

    My son at 23 was recently diagnosed with bipolar 2 even though he has had an ADHD and depression diagnoses for years which leads me to this. He has fallen apart. He is angry, especially at me for all of his earlier interventions with medications and therapists and will no longer see them. He self medicates with pot. He has fallen apart on his last 2 jobs so believes he cannot work. Expects my husband and I to support him. He is currently in an apartment which is very nice but he hates and we pay for due to my unwillingness to live with him anymore. Lesser of 2 evils. Verbally abuses us, especially me, when he is depressed or gets angry. We want to move out of state soon, but I am worried about leaving him behind . Since I dealt with his issues growing up, I am burnt out and trying to get my husband to deal with him, which he is trying to do but feels like my husband is not setting strict enough boundaries. I really want to move but my son says that we are abandoning him. I have depression myself, so am having an extremely difficult time detaching (I read the above list every day). I feel like I will never be at peace again. Any thoughts?
  2. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Maisy, I could have written much of your post.
    This happened with my son, now 27.

    Everything I had to push him to do. College, job training, getting a job. He did eventually work for 15 months or so, steadily, but abandoned the job he said because of "mood swings." He reported to me that he had made several suicide attempts and had been hospitalized when he was living temporarily with friends in a city a couple of hours from me. When he came home and would not work, or do anything constructive, I kicked him out. He was 23.

    He went to a homeless shelter, then to friends of his where he stayed 2 years (a motel), applied for and got SSI for mental illness, and learned to love pot. Over the next 4 years he was homeless in 4 counties and pretty much things stayed the same.

    I could not bear him close to me. He would come home for a night or a few, and I would kick him out. He was disrespectful, demanding. A slob. He would call the police on us to get us thrown in jail. Multiple times. I would throw him out. I tried to push him to drug treatment. He refused. He refused therapy. My only recourse was to throw him out over and over again.

    Sometime changed. When he turned 27. On a dime. Which is when they say the male brain finally begins to mature. He has been living with us much of the time. Working on a fixer upper house we bought (because I too could not bear him near me but could not turn away completely. I decided I would help him with conditions, mainly that he be constructive work, go to school, treat us with respect.)

    While he backslides it is getting better and better. Our relationship. He is changing.

    He had to first, mature. Second, he had to really get what the consequences were of the way he was choosing to live. Mentally ill people the world over work, act right, live constructively, have families, relationships, follow rules. There is not one diagnosis I can think of that exempts one from living according to norms or the consequences of choosing not to. Finally, my son had to know that while I would always love him unconditionally, my contact with him required he meet conditions. I made very very clear what I would not tolerate, and when it happened I withdrew, I cut short contact and did not seek it again.
    I would very much rethink this decision to subsidize his living arrangement. For what? For him to choose to live as he has been?

    I was living the same way. I believed it was my obligation to take care of my son until he launched successfully. I no longer believe that now. Our sons are adult men. They need to step up. While we may volunteer to be their victims, the biggest losers are them. I began to see that I was hurting my son by allowing him to hurt me, and to hurt himself under my roof or in relationship to me.

    There is an article on detachment on this website that describes the beginning steps of the road I chose to take with my son. You will find it as a link on many pages here.
    This is a manipulation and it is untrue, in my way of thinking.

    If your son and my own are so limited in their capacities or choose to be, there are provisions that they be cared for by governmental agencies. My son went down that road and is still doing so. There is SSI. There are mental health and drug treatment services all free, if your son is mentally ill to the point of being unable to work, or chooses to see himself as such.

    He is a man. An adult. There is no place here, in my way of thinking for a mother, or a father. If he decides along the way to treat you with respect, that is another thing. From reading your post, it does not sound like such is the case.

    The way I came to see our situation, my son's and my own, he needed to walk his own path for as long as he chose too. Alone. Because I would not and do not believe it was my role or obligation to go there with him.

    Welcome. I am glad you are here, but as they say, sorry that you find yourself in this hard, hard situation. Posting helps. As much as you can, on as many threads as you have time for.

    Maisy, Friday and Saturday nights are typically slow. You may get some more replies tonight but I feel certain others will check in tomorrow and for sure Monday morning. Meanwhile, I will check in with you tomorrow.
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  3. Maisy

    Maisy Member

  4. Maisy

    Maisy Member

    Dear Copabanana,

    Thanks for your reply. I am not comfortable about subsidizing him either so will discuss a course of action with my husband. I feel as you did; not wanting contact anymore. It is too painful and I really don't like my son right now. Not sure how to handle the move part. I really cannot stand where we live and am ready to move closer to the mountains. I need nature and living where we do just doesn't cut it. Not sure if moving would be a good idea due to son's issues but am withering here.... Thought about SSI for my son. My therapist thinks he would eventually qualify but maybe use an attorney.
  5. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Maisie, first of all, I was initially diagnosed many years ago as having Depression/ADHD. It wasn't until treatment for those sent me into mixed states that I was diagnosed with bipolar. Stupid as both my father and my sister were/are bipolar. It is EXTREMELY common in both children and adults for ADHD/Depression or Anxiety/Depression to be the first diagnoses bipolar folks are given.

    My suggestion is that he apply for SSI, and once that is (hopefully) granted, take advantage of whatever services are available to him. I also strongly suggest that your son use and attorney for his filing. His chances will be much better, and there is no cost to him. The attorney will take his/her fee out of whatever back pay is awarded. They pay back to "disability date", which most likely be the date when he was officially diagnosed.

    I would also like to point out that even if he's bipolar, he is still responsible for his life choices and behavior. It may take medications and therapy for him to be able to handle his life, but it is his responsibility to get those medications and therapy so that he can make good life choices.

    This is not your fault in any way. Your job at this point is to cast him loose so that he can learn to make decisions, and most importantly, to own the consequences of those decisions.
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  6. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Agree 100 percent with Going North. They will not grow up if we pay their bills like when they were ten. They can get ssi and community services. I have mental illness too. You get help for that and work. Bipolar and Depression are common. If all depressed people stayed home and accepted housing and other money from Mom, we'd have an explosion of middle age adults who will be homeless when their meal ticket passes on. And none of us can live forever.

    I agree your son is too old to live with you and if you want to it. You have one it. Your son is a man now. Men have to act like men.

    Best of luck.. fulfill your own dream. It's up to your son to build his own dreams and learn how to live as an adult. Big hugs. I know it's hard.
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  7. Maisy

    Maisy Member

    Again, thanks for the helpful replies and support. I have needed this site for so long!
  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I think it has to be your son's choice. Nothing you have said so far leads me to think he lacks the competency to decide this, and with an attorney, pursue it. My son made his decision. Actually, I would not have supported him. But it was his decision to make, and his alone, for his life.

    He is changing for the positive.
    I agree with this, too, actually everything GN wrote and SWOT reinforced.

    I agree with SWOT, too, that your son needs to come to grips with himself and his life independently of you. If he cannot do it alone, the system will support him. Your moving should not be influenced by his need of you or not. Either to get away from him or to stay close to him. He is a man who must find his way. For me, this is still hard to completely wrap my mind around. My son is taking a college class for the first time in 7 years. It was my heart's desire that he return to college. I find myself wanting to sneak and read his in progress essay so that I can vicariously take part (control?) in the outcome.

    This is very, very hard for mothers, what we are going through. Keep posting. I hope you do. It really helps. We grow when we post.

    Take care. I believe it will get better. I hope so.
  9. soapbox

    soapbox Member

    Ditto GN and SWOT.
    The most you can do is make him aware of resources out there that can help - things like SSI, NAMI, etc. If he wants help, there is help available. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.
  10. havingfaith

    havingfaith New Member

    I am new to this place, I just posted my son story. My son has paranoia, he refuse to get help. he wouldn't leave home, won't take shower, won't eat, one night he felt really sick, took him to the hospital, panicked and didn't go inside. He forgot his key and I hide it, so when he refuse to go to the hospital I told him you can't come in anymore. 2 days prior to that he hit me and I called 911 but they didn't take him. he didn't meet the criteria. tonight is the third night that he is in the street on his own. He really needs help, but how can I help an adult who doesn't want help and believes I am the one with mental problem. I just need some guidance, someone to tell me what to do?
    I am lost with so much pain in my heart. I can't sleep, my heart goes to my son. Please help.
  11. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    First of all, the had you pressed charges when the police came after he hit you, he would've been taken and at least had the chance of getting some type of mental health assistance, even if it was in jail.

    If you son is schizophrenic, there's not much that can be done without medications. He very well might not agree to medications, because his distorted thinking processes are telling him medications are poison, or lobotomizing drugs, or a way to take control of his mind.

    If he's bipolar, he needs medications and therapy, but is still responsible for his actions. That said, I'm bipolar. Without the medications and therapy, I am non-functional. My illness has led me to make some bad choices. The death of my husband caused me to make a few doozies in the 2 years after he died.

    Schizophrenic spectrum disorders are the one class of mental illnesses where the sufferer has no control of his/her actions. Their thought processes are so distorted that they cannot make choices. Sadly, the bulk of schizophrenics receive what MH care they get in jail/prison, in state or country hospitals to which they've been sent by a legal system.

    If he is over 18 there isn't much for you to do as you cannot force him into care.

    I suggest you look into NAMI in your area, and Narcanon or Alanon, assuming is using anything, and into Families Anonymous if not. Nami anyways as they have info on a lot of resources.

    Now that i've written a book, how old is you son. Has he ever been evaluated? Is he on medications? If yes, what and what dosages? Does he use street drugs, or pharms bought on the street?

    If he's violent, he can't live with you. The most important thing of all is your and any younger childrens' safety. He has to be gotten out of the house, even if it's into a shelter to start with. Call NAMI tomorrow.

    Meanwhile, hugs and best wishes to you and your son. Please, if he becomes violent or destructive again, call the police and ask them to send out a crisis team if your area has them. these are officers specially trained in dealing with the mentally ill. If not, call 911 and request transport for a mentally ill young adult to the nearest Psychiatric ER.

    Start thinking about a safety plan for you and any other residents of your home, including pets. This includes where do you go when it hits the fan, who do you call, numbers, etc, a small fridge in the (lockable) room you choose to stay in, that holds water and other beverages, snacky type food, etc.) Find somewhere in that room to stash enough medications in a labelled pill minder, and lock up the rest of your medications securely. The trunk of the car is always good. Wear the keys to the cars and the house and garage around your neck. If you have a cellphone, have it charged and ready at all times.If you don't, get one. Even if it's a Kricket or Trac phone.

    This way if son comes back and rages, or is totally psychotic, you follow your safety plan,make the phone calls. He may trash the house in the process, but you and your family will be safe, and you hopefully have homeowners or renters insurance
  12. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I want to also emphasize that everyone with mental health issuesvEXCEPT a schizophrenic is capable of making helpful decisions. Many people don't understand the thought confusion and hallucinations of this sad disorder. medications can help some schizophrenics, but if they start to get even a bit paranoid and start believing that the medications are poisin, then it can all go to pot.

    Guardianship may be helpful if the adult is incapable of making decisions. You can get SSI alone, without a lawyer. My son got it easily...he has a form of autism. It helps him a lot, although he also has a steady part time job.

    There are options. You need to assess how impaired your son is. Can he do it himself or does he require adult help, ourselves or others? I prefer others because we will not live forever and I feel they need to learn to trust non family members as well as trusting us. What then do they do when we die?

    You do have options. We are here with you holding your hand.
  13. Maisy

    Maisy Member

    Has anyone had this issue with their child? My son, who is ADHD, bipolar 2 with anxiety and possibly has a personality disorder continually sabotages his opportunities. He will get a job, a dance or acting opportunity then either oversleeps or loses track of time which causes him to lose the opportunity and creates bad impressions with friends and bosses. Then he gets upset and retreats to his room to brood and smoke pot. This happens time after time. He has become fearful of getting work so does not try. Won't take medications or see a counselor. Lives in apt but rarely wants to stay there. Trying not to enable him but really sick of his issues.
  14. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Skip the personality disorder at this point.
    The other diagnoses you list ARE enough that he may not be able to pull it all together. Especially as he chooses to refuse interventions (therapy and medications).

    Anxiety alone can cause self-sabotage. And yes, the negative feedback loop of messing up generates more anxiety with each iteration. But there is no way out of this negative loop without therapy. medications help some, but when it comes to anxiety, the key is to find the right therapist and right therapy.

    And he refuses BOTH interventions. Its at this point that he has your hands tied. He refuses to seek help.

    He has his own apartment. He should not be staying with you - period. If he can't handle staying in the apartment, then he needs help. It's possible that he may be dealing with some form of paranoia as well. That doesn't change the reality. Until HE is willing for interventions, there is nothing you can do that will actually help.

    And yes, that's a terrible position for a parent to be in. But sometimes they don't give us any other choice.
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  15. Maisy

    Maisy Member

    I definitely agree about the anxiety and I know that therapy is the only way to deal with this. I just do not know anyone who has ever dealt with this kind of a situation. This forum really helps and your responses make so much sense. I just struggle with my own anxieties about my son and feel so helpless and fearful about his future. I would probably feel less troubled if he would seek help but again, powerless to do anything about it.
  16. Maisy

    Maisy Member

    Yesterday, my son came over and we had a relatively good day until my son read about the Dallas shootings then he became unglued. He immediately internalized the situation and said that the whole world was bad, that he could never have a good day, and that he would be miserable forever. Standard response from him. Such black and white thinking and forget trying to reason with him! He finally called and set up a therapy appointment,and though I am glad, I feel hesitant to feel too optimistic since not much has helped in the past. Also he has a few really bad habits, one being chronically late for everything then he gets anxiety about being late so refuses to show up. This has been going on for years. Won't use timers etc. this has ruined jobs, classes etc. He also has insomnia with poor sleep habits so doesn't get up early. I am so tired of this but it is out of my control.
  17. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    The chronic lateness is avoidance on some level. He uses the anxiety resulting from being late as a justification for not showing up. I have severe insomnia and require medication to sleep. Otherwise I have a reversed circadian rhythm where I sleep days and am awake nights.

    I handled this during my career by working night shift. BUT, as an adult who had responsibilities and couldn't expect the whole world to accomodate my sleep schedule, if I had to be somewhere during the day, I got there.

    I use an alarm clock. Actually, I use my cellphone which has that function

    You are correct that it is beyond your control. So, stop thinking about it. HE'S the one who's got to figure this out and get it under control.

    When living the way he's living hurts worse than trying to fix the lateness and sleep issues, he'll do something.

    Now that I no longer work, and am old enough that my already compromised eyesight is further compromised by cataracts leaving me with difficulties driving at night, I have finally gotten myself on a "mostly" day shift schedule. I do get up for a couple of hours at night, but go back to sleep and get up around 9-ish.

    That's still later than a lot of folks get up, but it leaves me plenty of time for errands and appointments and the like.