22 yr. old son with Bipolar Disorder

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by RPR, Jul 28, 2015.

  1. RPR

    RPR New Member

    My husband and I have tried everything, our son tried committing suicide in 2014, he was Baker Acted and they said he was diagnosed with Bipolar. He was going to counseling n taking medications.
    Well he quit all that, he said, he didn't like meetings and found them useless, people just talking about themselves and not finding real answers on how yo deal with the issues. Then the medications make him feel like a zombie.
    He had a job, but has lost it and he has a 22 month old daughter. He did live somewhere else, but now no job he has come back home. We tried going to counseling with him, I have to say, I believe he is right and I also think he needs a group that has some people with the same disorder. We told if he doesn't get on medications. He will have to find another place to stay. He's never ever threatened U.S. Or hit us. He is just too moody to live with.
    What have any of you done to your older children to help themselves?
  2. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I have been going through the same set of circumstances. My son is now 26. He will not take medications. He has been hospitalized multiple times but not in the past year or more. He says he feels more stable, but seems very hostile. He is not generally violent but can destroy property when he is angry.

    He ended up applying for SSI for mental illness and he got it the first time he applied.

    My son is not living with us. When he does stay with us, even overnight, he becomes hostile and aggressive. He cannot anymore stay here.

    About 4 years ago, when he was your son's age, I insisted he leave. He had been working prior to that, but he abandoned the job. I could not tolerate him doing nothing in the house and not working or going to school.

    He went to live with family friends. He tried to work some. Eventually when he got the SSI he no longer looked for work at all.

    Now he pays a woman a small amount of rent to share a studio apartment. She is an older lady. He seems secure there.

    Right now, I try to put few demands on him. I care mainly about his health.

    He does not talk about working. I ask him about school, but he is still reluctant.

    In my experience, there is nothing I can do to motivate my son. It has to come from him. They have to help themselves. Any solutions have to come from him. It is very frustrating and painful for me to accept. But really, I must. Because it is his life to live. They are adults now. Everything I try to do backfires.

    In my experience putting conditions onto my son's living with us, made life really hard for everybody. They do only what they want. It leads to conflict if I try to impose what I want onto him.

    I really want to have a relationship with my son. I do not want to fight. I do not want to be his monitor. I want to love him and be connected to him. I want him to feel that I love him. That is my priority now. That and trying to make a better life for myself.

    For me, it was better that he live away from me, but in regular contact.

    I am learning to keep my mouth shut but it is very slow going for me.

    Keep posting. In the morning you will have more replies.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think Copa did the right thing.

    The only way we have a prayer of helping our adult c hildren who refuse treatment is to tell them that if they do not help themselves, they are on their own. I speak as somebody who has been diagnosed with bipolar II, which is now referred to as mood disorder, not otherwise specified. I have had a mood diisorder since childhood and really struggled and my parents were really mean to me and I had to get help on my own or I would not be better today. If I had refused medication and therapy, I would probably be alone on the streets. You can't just play around with even depression. You can't do it yourself either. You can't will yourself not to have moodswings and be erratic if you truly have this medical condition, a mood disorder which is also a chemical imbalance in the brain. Does your son get manic where he also gets psychotic? Often bipolar disorder is misdiagnosed and it is really more of a depression with anger (a mixed state of mania and depression at the same time, more specifically) that can be treated quite well with the right medications. The right medications can take time to find so it is mandatory to start looking for a combo that will work early on.

    My medications saved my life. Therapy has been a bonus in my world. I would not be where I am without it. If my parents would have loved on me and tried to protect me and felt sorry for me I am not sure I would have done the hard work I had to do to get better. In a way, their lack of help was a blessing. They were mean, but it sent a message to me that I was on my own and would never live a good life if I didn't do it myself. I married young, but my first husband was no help either.

    I think even with mental illness, tough love is the only thing you CAN do if your adult child refuses to help himself.

    He may still choose not to help himself, but then at least you are not enabling his poor choice not to get treatment. The treatment is there. Some medications do not help and do make you feel worse so you advocate for yourself and switch medications until you find some doctor who will be kind and help you find a medication combination that helps stabilize you without the side effects of feeling like a zombie. I refused to feel like a zomebie and refused to stay sick and I got what I wanted from sheer refusal to quit on myself.

    I did not like mood stabilizers. They did zombie me up, but I found I don't need them to stabilize my mood. An antidepressant has been my best friend for over twenty wonderful, depression free years. It is very individual to each person, but giving up after one bad medication experience is quitting on yourself. And refusing therapy is also quitting.

    I would make taking medication and counseling a condition to your son's ability to live in your house and also he would have to get a job. It doesn't help to sit at home and do nothing. Just makes a mood disordered person feel worse and more depressed.

    Does your son see his daughter?

    Hugs f or your hurting heart.
  4. RPR

    RPR New Member

    Thank you for your comments. This is my first time doing anything like this.
    Yes, my son has his daughter 4-5 days a week even befor he lost his job, now he just spends more time with her instead of me watching her. She has been here even when he moved out he would stay here with her because she calls this home and he doesn't want her moving around. Her mo gets her two full days a week on her days off, they have no custody just work it out among themselves, so this is another reason it is hard to make him leave. Right now it has not been too bad. But we know any day can change that.
    I have told him that if when he leaves it would be like before the child can stay here he just can't live here.
  5. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Me, too. I was desperate. Most of us usually are by the time we arrive here.
    The fact that your son takes responsibility to care for his child is major in my view. It is also a hopeful sign.

    As I stated, it is my belief and experience that you cannot motivate somebody else. If you decide that you want to let your son and grandchild live with you, realistically, you need to let go of any expectations that he will change in the ways you want. That is up to him, when, how, and how much he wants.

    If you decide that he can stay, it is recommended that you set a time limit. You can then reassess after that interval. You also need to think about conditions, limits and boundaries to make the situation clear cut and more comfortable for all.

    Are there responsibilities that he can take on to help you? Yard, house, other?

    Can the house be divided where he has his own space, and you have your own?

    What expectations do you have of him? Are they realistic? Are these goals he has for himself? Does he have any other housing alternatives that might be better for him?

    Living with people his age, or another adult, where he would not be dependent on his parent? Is Job Corps a possibility? They do accept people with mental illness.

    Is he receiving welfare (AFDC/Aid for dependent Children)for the care of his child? If he is, sooner or later they will have the expectation that he look for work, or apply for Job Training, College, the Department of Rehabilitation or SSI, if it is determined he cannot work.

    That way the expectation and mandate that he be productive will not come from you. It will come from this other agency.

    If he is not receiving AFDC I suggest he apply to defray the expenses that fall on you. I would also make a condition that he contribute the bulk of the payment to you to cover food and household costs, leaving just a very small amount for spending money. You should not support him and his child, while he receives financial benefit. That is wrong and it is risky.

    When he sees you getting the bulk of the payment, that may be a motivator itself. He might seek to establish a separate household in order to control the payment himself. That would be good for him, I think.

    I would confront directly in myself, and later with him, the fact that his child is his. As long as he is the legal and custodial parent, he is free to leave with his child whenever he wants. How will that be for you? To what extent is your willingness to have your son live with you motivated to have your grandchild with you? These are not accusations. They are important questions to ask yourself, so that you do not suffer down the road. Things made explicit are better than those that remain covert.

    What does your son want to do with his life? I understand he does not want to go to group therapy, but there area all kinds of alternatives, including 12 step groups.

    Is he doing anything socially or recreationally? Gym, biking, swimming, Church? Are there family activities he is involved in?

    I do not ask for you to tell us. The questions and answers are for you and your son.

    There needs to be an ongoing conversation happening, whether your son likes it or not, if you decide to open your home to him. If he does not want to openly talk through and plan, I would seriously think about whether you do this. Your life is impacted greatly as is his child's. This all needs to be tackled and negotiated directly, I think. For it to work and be a healthy situation for all. Especially for your son.

    Take care.
  6. RPR

    RPR New Member

    I appreciate your answers. Thanks for giving me information that I hadn't thought about. I will definitely talk to my husband then have a sit down with my son.
  7. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member


    Welcome to the forum.

    Please know that many of us (probably most) were where you are at.

    Desperately hoping to find the magic answer to 'fix' our young adult kids.

    Most of us have come to realize that we can't fix it for them, we can't change them, we can only change ourselves.

    It is all up to him.

    All you can do is let him know what you will and will not allow to happen in your home and give him the choice to accept your help on your terms, or not.

    It is all up to him.

    Be strong, keep posting.