Need support...

MissLulu

Well-Known Member
I'm not in a great headspace right now.

Despite having done a lot of work to detach myself from my son's dramas, every so often I find myself triggered by something he says or does and then I spiral back down into depression.

Just a brief catch up for those who are new (or need a reminder): my 24 year old son has moved out of our house (3 months ago now). We have had multiple problems with him over the years, mainly stemming from mental health problems (medically diagnosed depression and anxiety). I strongly believe he has further mental health/personality issues (possible bi-polar or Borderline (BPD)) but because he is an adult I'm not privy to his current diagnosis. He also has substance abuse issues (marijuana). He often has "meltdowns" which are not physically violent but he can be verbally abusive and he threatens self harm. He is aware of his issues and periodically has therapy and takes medication, but often decides he no longer needs it and stops all treatment. Sigh.

In any case, after finding this board I decided to put some boundaries in place and eventually we mutually decided it would best for him to move out. He now lives with three housemates in a house my husband and I own. They pay rent (market price) to a property manager and so far that is working out okay. He has a job that he's doing really well at, a new girlfriend, and he's paying rent.

Things all seemed to be going fine. He's been coming for dinner occasionally (sometimes with the girlfriend) and is polite and respectful when we see him. We have no complaints.

So what's the problem?

Me. I'm the problem. I've tried really hard not to think about what he might be doing (good or bad) but it seems I just can't stop it. I worry that he may be doing drugs, that he might not cope with being in a relationship or (heaven forbid) that he won't cope if they break up. I worry that he will lose his job etc etc etc. Most of the time these worries are just small niggles in the back of my head and I can ignore them, but sometimes his behaviour will trigger me. Tiny things.

For instance, ten days ago I took delivery of a parcel for him from a video game store. He said he forgot to change his address on his store card so they've sent it here. He hasn't yet been to pick up the package despite knowing it's here. At first I didn't worry but then I started to wonder if he was avoiding us, as he would usually come to collect any package quite promptly. Then, today he sent a text telling me his phone had died and he wouldn't be getting a new one until the end of the month. Again, I wonder if this is an attempt to avoid contact with us. I started to panic about self-harm/suicide or some other sort of trouble - job loss maybe? Because avoidance is his go to strategy when there is trouble.

I texted back asking if his phone had died, then how was he texting me? And also, when is he coming for the parcel? He replied that the phone has a problem with the screen "bleeding" and he doesn't know how long it will last but that he will get a new one by the end of the month. He said he'll pick up the parcel when he is free. No estimate of when that would be. So I let it go and said OK.

I know my hyper vigilance is over the top. I just feel in my gut that something is going on. I've been right (and wrong!) about this before - LOL! I also know that if there is a problem then there is nothing I can do. It's not my place to interfere. I resisted the urge to ask if anything was wrong, which was hard, but I know from experience that if there is a problem, asking him about it will only drive him further away.

Anyway, I guess I'm posting here because I needed to get this out of my system. There's really no one else I can tell who will understand. He's gone from my house and I have physical peace but I'm still mentally waiting for the other shoe to drop. I'm not sure how I can get past this.
 

JMom

Well-Known Member
Hi MisLuLu,
I am sorry to hear that the mean girl in your head is misbehaving. Continue to ask yourself "what evidence is there of this or that". If his avoidance is concerning to you, perhaps take into account his new job and girlfriend, which is no doubt occupying his time. If something is wrong, you will know soon enough. Immerse yourself into activities and perhaps try to focus on living in the present. The past is over and the future uncertain. All we have for sure is the present. I think you are trying to stay positive, as your self talk is backing up negative thoughts with the buts- but he's coming to dinner, but he's paying his rent on time, but he is being respectful, but it might drive him away. Try to hold on to his wins for now. Perhaps he doesn't need the video game right away, he may be prioritizing the job and girlfriend and being responsible to pay his bills-rent.

As I said before, focus on YOU. He seems to be holding down the fort and if not, you will probably be the first to know. What if he is using? There isn't anything you can control. What if he skips his medication? You can't control. What if the girlfriend is too much? You can not control. You can control you. You can work on self care. You can be less harder on yourself. Kick the mean girl out of your thoughts and make space for the real you. The real you that is kind-hearted, sweet, caring, responsible person that you are.
Love,
JMOM
 

newstart

Well-Known Member
I'm not in a great headspace right now.

Despite having done a lot of work to detach myself from my son's dramas, every so often I find myself triggered by something he says or does and then I spiral back down into depression.

Just a brief catch up for those who are new (or need a reminder): my 24 year old son has moved out of our house (3 months ago now). We have had multiple problems with him over the years, mainly stemming from mental health problems (medically diagnosed depression and anxiety). I strongly believe he has further mental health/personality issues (possible bi-polar or Borderline (Borderline (BPD))) but because he is an adult I'm not privy to his current diagnosis. He also has substance abuse issues (marijuana). He often has "meltdowns" which are not physically violent but he can be verbally abusive and he threatens self harm. He is aware of his issues and periodically has therapy and takes medication, but often decides he no longer needs it and stops all treatment. Sigh.

In any case, after finding this board I decided to put some boundaries in place and eventually we mutually decided it would best for him to move out. He now lives with three housemates in a house my husband and I own. They pay rent (market price) to a property manager and so far that is working out okay. He has a job that he's doing really well at, a new girlfriend, and he's paying rent.

Things all seemed to be going fine. He's been coming for dinner occasionally (sometimes with the girlfriend) and is polite and respectful when we see him. We have no complaints.

So what's the problem?

Me. I'm the problem. I've tried really hard not to think about what he might be doing (good or bad) but it seems I just can't stop it. I worry that he may be doing drugs, that he might not cope with being in a relationship or (heaven forbid) that he won't cope if they break up. I worry that he will lose his job etc etc etc. Most of the time these worries are just small niggles in the back of my head and I can ignore them, but sometimes his behaviour will trigger me. Tiny things.

For instance, ten days ago I took delivery of a parcel for him from a video game store. He said he forgot to change his address on his store card so they've sent it here. He hasn't yet been to pick up the package despite knowing it's here. At first I didn't worry but then I started to wonder if he was avoiding us, as he would usually come to collect any package quite promptly. Then, today he sent a text telling me his phone had died and he wouldn't be getting a new one until the end of the month. Again, I wonder if this is an attempt to avoid contact with us. I started to panic about self-harm/suicide or some other sort of trouble - job loss maybe? Because avoidance is his go to strategy when there is trouble.

I texted back asking if his phone had died, then how was he texting me? And also, when is he coming for the parcel? He replied that the phone has a problem with the screen "bleeding" and he doesn't know how long it will last but that he will get a new one by the end of the month. He said he'll pick up the parcel when he is free. No estimate of when that would be. So I let it go and said OK.

I know my hyper vigilance is over the top. I just feel in my gut that something is going on. I've been right (and wrong!) about this before - LOL! I also know that if there is a problem then there is nothing I can do. It's not my place to interfere. I resisted the urge to ask if anything was wrong, which was hard, but I know from experience that if there is a problem, asking him about it will only drive him further away.

Anyway, I guess I'm posting here because I needed to get this out of my system. There's really no one else I can tell who will understand. He's gone from my house and I have physical peace but I'm still mentally waiting for the other shoe to drop. I'm not sure how I can get past this.
Hi MissLuLu I am glad to hear your update, I was wondering how your son was doing living in your rent home and happy to hear he is paying rent.
I too have my mind go where your mind is right now, the wondering and the worry. I go through what you wrote on a regular basis. I did notice when my daughter is in a relationship she acts very odd even if she had been with the guy for a long time. I think my worry comes from having to be a detective or shift through the BS to get to the truth. I always have to be fully awake and fully listening to hear bits a pieces of the truth and then I have to put the entire story together by pieces, and God know how exhausting that can be. The fact that my daughter can go off the rails easily and whenever keeps me off balance and in a constant state of concern for her. I think bipolar/borderline is a very selfish illness and keeps everyone around them is suspense/turmoil/confusion. I try to make sense of stuff but with my daughter being bipolar most things just don't make normal sense.
 

MissLulu

Well-Known Member
Thanks JMom and Newstart for your support. (I haven't worked out the quote function on this new look board yet, so will respond to you both below!)

JMom, I know you are right about needing to focus on ME not hime and this morning I feel a little bit better. I know there will be people reading this thinking that this seems like a small issue compared to what others are going through - and they are right! I'd much rather be where I am right now than how things were when Difficult Child lived with me. I think the "what ifs" are a mild form of PTSD. I always come back to the same thing - I need to talk about this stuff. I really should be seeing a therapist but the pandemic restrictions have made that hard. So, in the meantime I pour my heart out here, which does help. Thanks so much for your kind response. You are so generous with your time and wisdom. I truly appreciate it.

NewStart, you know exactly how I feel. I'm sorry you find yourself in this place too, but I am so glad we have each other. It helps to make me feel less "crazy" when I know there are others in my situation who feel the same way. I see from your signature your daughter is showing some improvement. I pray that this continues. xxx
 

Nomad

Well-Known Member
Oh my goodness. I do something similar to this. Perhaps we are prone to this as mother’s with these “special” kids. Our daughter has a mental illness diagnosis and fortunately I have learned not to do it unless we are talking about something truly serious and even then, I am not sure it’s wise. Fir very serious things....it’s still a maybe. Still best not to. Our son has lessor cincerns and manages to function very well. Lately, I’ve been doing these types of things with him and it makes things worse. It might make him think he is not capable, I don’t trust him or I’m simply meddling. It’s best they make their own mistakes and suffer their own consequences. And don’t see you as someone who interferes. Plus, absences usually makes the heart grow fonder. You don’t have a lot of choice in this part of it. It kind of stinks given your generosity. I see that. I hear other parents if adult kids talking about this. But , little to nothing you can do about it. Don’t put up with any actual straight out disrespect ..but try not to worry about these things especially since they may or may not be accurate or completely accurate. I know it’s hard. I was very close to my mother. I’m seeing less if that ...it’s just strange.
 

AnotherMom58

New Member
I'm sorry you're going through difficulties. I think a lot of that "what-if" and waiting for the other shoe to drop is a kind of parents' PTSD... we all had many, many experiences where we thought things were going well only for that illusion to be smashed by the newest crisis/drama.
What I did recently, which I found helpful, is to give this issue over to God. When I started obsessing again about where my son is, his continued drug use, what if he's had an overdose, etc. etc., I take a deep breath and ask God to watch over him for me. Because I can't. Because he's an adult and I can't make his decisions for him. I can only pray for him to make better ones.
 

Nomad

Well-Known Member
Thank you AM58. I actually did this with my daughter, but never with my son. I did it with my daughter out of desperation. I could not carry the burden anymore and knew it. I will follow your advice with reference to my son.
 

MissLulu

Well-Known Member
Quick update. Spoke to Difficult Child on phone (he initiated contact). He has bought a new phone. He seemed totally fine. His girlfriend was there and they both sounded happy. Apparently he has been working weekends. I feel very relieved, and also foolish for my obsessive worry. Intellectually I kept telling myself that there was no real evidence of an issue and that worry wouldn't change anything even if there was, but emotionally I couldn't stop the nagging feeling that something was wrong.

I really do need to let go. I have improved a little in that once upon a time I would have been texting him or driving to his house to check on him. I didn't do either of those things but I did feel quite miserable for a day or so.

I'm so grateful to have all of you to vent my feelings to. It really does help to have somewhere to come to talk about all of this. Even my husband, who has suffered all of this along with me, doesn't really worry the same way I do. Or if he does he doesn't want to talk about it.
 

runawaybunny

Administrator
Staff member
Quick update. Spoke to Difficult Child on phone (he initiated contact). He has bought a new phone. He seemed totally fine. His girlfriend was there and they both sounded happy. Apparently he has been working weekends. I feel very relieved, and also foolish for my obsessive worry. Intellectually I kept telling myself that there was no real evidence of an issue and that worry wouldn't change anything even if there was, but emotionally I couldn't stop the nagging feeling that something was wrong.

I really do need to let go. I have improved a little in that once upon a time I would have been texting him or driving to his house to check on him. I didn't do either of those things but I did feel quite miserable for a day or so.

I'm so grateful to have all of you to vent my feelings to. It really does help to have somewhere to come to talk about all of this. Even my husband, who has suffered all of this along with me, doesn't really worry the same way I do. Or if he does he doesn't want to talk about it.
Hang in there. You are doing better than you think. I understand the feelings of dread and worrying about the worst outcomes. Been there done that. Take time and good care of yourself. You deserve it.
 

startingfresh

Active Member
MissLulu, I am right there with you. My son moved out when he was 19 only to move back several months later after checking himself into the hospital as he knew he was spiraling out of control. The time he was on his own had some good spots but was filled with spurts of reckless behavior and ups and downs. It was terrifying and although living with him again was stressful, I was ever vigilant in keeping him safe which of course was a fools errand and I had to stop my obsessing over him. If he overslept for work, I was aware. If he drank too much, I was aware. On and on. Fast forward almost 2 years and he just moved out into his own apartment. He has made tremendous progress in the past few years and I can honestly say if he was going to continue to grow up and be independent, he had to be on his own. He got his own apartment and moved in a week ago. My home is peaceful once again and I notice all the time the difference. I hear a thump in the night and I am not worried it is him falling. I hear the door open or creeks on the steps in the middle of the night and I am not worried about what it might be. I feel myself letting go a tiny bit of the ever present anxiety I feel . Yet, sometimes he will text something that sets me off worrying and I flashback and can't seem to get control over the gut churning fear of what it might mean. I do think it is ptsd. I hate that you are in a similar spot but there is comfort in knowing I am not alone. I try to fall asleep by repeating the Serenity prayer over and over.
 

MissLulu

Well-Known Member
Thanks everyone for your lovely replies. I'm working right now so will have to come back later to write proper replies to you all but just wanted to say thanks for all your support!
 
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