About My Son

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by ForeverHopeful, Jun 3, 2015.

  1. ForeverHopeful

    ForeverHopeful New Member

    Hello everyone, I am new here and have have been reading many of your posts and can definitely relate to many of you. I had no idea something like this existed! I found it doing an internet search.
    My son will be 25 on June 15. He got in trouble when he was 19 and got a 5 year deferred sentence and one weekend in jail. He also went to an outpatient rehab for his addiction to prescription medications. He got a job and did really well for almost 5 years. His deferred sentence dropped and he was no longer a convicted felon. Then for some reason he started to act really bizzare. He had been going to church and then he stopped. He talked about God but he seemed to dwell on strange things. He told me that God was looking out for him and he was going to live his life like he wanted. He started wrapping things in the house with foil and he was always paranoid about radiation killing us. He also talked a lot about the government recording things that we said in the house. Shortly after that he had an episode where he went out of contol (preaching to traffic) and the police took him to a mental hospital for evaluation. He was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, ADHD and ADD. Apparently, he had been overtaking adderol for several months along with some sea salts he got on the internet that we were not aware of. I wondered if that is what caused his episode or if he really has a mental illness. Once he got out of the hospital he was taking Haldol and it made him seem like he was a zombie and he would sleep all day. The psychiatrist took him off that and put him on vyvance instead of adderol for his ADHD and ADD. He seemed to be doing better so I thought maybe everything would be ok. He was lucky enough that his job let him go back after he was off for 2 weeks. Within a month or so he moved out and got his own apartment. A month later he QUIT the job he had for almost 5 years! I knew something was wrong but there was nothing I could do at that point. He told me he was an adult and he was making his own decisions. I couldn't believe it but he actually got unemployment so he was able to keep his apartment, for a while. Then he went down to a car dealership and bought a new car! He said he could afford it with his unemployment but I knew he couldn't. My Mom and I helped him some hoping we could help him out and it was all for nothing. On Jan 17, he was arrested and put in jail for 3 felony charges, one being a violent crime. His case has been continued several times and his next court date is 26 Jun. We did not bail him out of jail and we did not get him an attorney. We told him if he ever got in trouble again we would not do it and we haven't. We do put money on his commissary and phone so he can call us. I sometimes wonder if that was the right thing to do. He seems more like himself when I talk to him but he still doesn't seem exactly right. I don't know if he actually has a mental illness or maybe all the medications and possible street drugs he took may have done some damage to his brain. He wants us to send him books about quantum physics, consciousness and ancient widsom. He never read much in the past. He was always going to the gym and eating healthy and took classes to be a personal trainer. His interest in those different type of things didn't start until he started taking adderol and other drugs.
    Have any of you had any similar experiences with your children? I sometimes feel like I am the only one in the world with a son like this. I know he is going to do time in prison. I love him very much but want to do the right thing. I have good days and bad days. I am going to get through this and be stronger for it. By reading your posts, I know good things can happen!
    May God Bless you all! :angel:
     
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    For the record, mental illnesses like schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder CAN strike pretty much out of the blue. The potential was always there, but it is more often triggered as a young adult.

    It is possible that the street drugs and abuse of medications could cause brain damage in addition to other issues. Either way, he currently has a mental condition.

    Just my opinion here, but mental conditions belong in a mental hospital, not in a jail. If you can, you might want to make the court aware of his diagnoses. He may not be mentally fit to stand trial. They can order him into treatment instead of jail.
     
  3. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    Hi there. My son had been on adderal on and off since middle school. He started taking it again Jr year college, and started abusing it along with alcohol and opiates. He was hospitalized 5 times in 2013, the fourth time due to psychosis from adderal abuse, which was prescribed to him. The psychiatrist told him if it happened again, the psychosis would be permanent.

    I'm amazed that your son's psychiatrist gave him vyanse after all that transpired.

    My son is going to a university psychiatrist and is doing better on his current medication regime though he still has bouts of anxiety. He's managing without the stimulants.



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  4. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi, FH. I am glad you are here with us, but sorry for the circumstances you find yourself in.

    A lot of us have the same quandary: is it substances or mental illness or both. I think you are not going to find out unless your son makes a decision to address his long-standing substance abuse problems and the best place for that, believe it or not, may be in prison.

    Of course there are drugs in prisons, but because of the 24 hour intensive observation, the controlled environment and drug testing, they are not as easily obtained and abused as in the community.

    And the disciplinary consequences are a deterrent to use of drugs, to most inmates.

    Also,typically there is readily available psychiatric care in prison.

    The diagnosis of Schizoaffective disorder, as you know, entails symptoms of both a mood disorder and psychosis.

    Given your son's history of drug use, it will be hard to know which came first, the mental illness, or the drug use. Most of us here on the board have children where the cause or etiology of their troubles is unclear, just as in your son's case.

    You are right to fear that the drugs have affected his brain. Often even stopping the drug use, does not stop the symptoms. Frequently they do clear but often after some time.

    Each of these behaviors can indicate mental illness. But they could also be a result of drug use.
    My 26 year old son is mentally ill. He had a ADHD diagnosis since before he started school. He has anxiety and a mood disorder. He uses marijuana to excess and I am not sure what else. He shares the interest in physics and higher consciousness. He is also drawn to conspiracy theories, some of which are quite bizarre. I have worried that he is delusional. The psychiatrist I speak to tells me that his interest in conspiracy theories is indicative of disordered thinking at least and potentially of psychosis but, like you, I am resistant to accepting this.

    In the morning you are likely to get many more responses.

    I think that the majority will tell you two things: First, your son's situation is his to work out or not, and the way things turn out for him will be determined largely by his choices.

    There is a wide range of possible outcomes, even if he is mentally ill, depending upon his willingness to seek treatment, to take medication and especially his willingness to abstain from drugs.

    Second, you have control over none of it. Your only area of control is over you: taking care of yourself, keeping good boundaries, seeking to be happy and do things that contribute to such.

    I know it is hard to think like this now, but your son is the person who needs to start thinking about the ifs and whys and whats of his situation, not you. And doing such, may bring maturity and increased functioning.

    What I have learned is this: By my intrusiveness into his life, I was making myself physically, emotionally and spiritually ill and I was contributing to my son's problems rather than helping him.

    So, if you can, think about using this time while your son is incarcerated for you, learning how to live a life that is separate from him and his problems, and really learning how to let him live his own life. That may be the very best way that you can love him right now.

    I know how hard it is, because I am new at this, too. But every day it gets easier. I am currently out of contact with my son. Even a couple of weeks ago, I was frantic. Now, I am not. In addition to his psychiatric issues, my son has a serious illness, that requires ongoing treatment and monitoring. Increasingly, I am able to trust that my son will find the maturity and the resources to take care of himself, if I let go.

    He is doing better since I started changing. How much better will he get? It is up to him.

    I know this is hard. But what other real good options do we have?

    I hope you keep posting. I wish you well on your journey.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2015
  5. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    Me too!

    My son doesn't have any diagnosed mental illness and he does not take drugs other than smoking pot.

    He has dropped out of society and lives rough through choice. He is obsessed with environmental issues and is an activist. He is also obsessed with government control and corruption etc and has strong anarchic political views. I just wanted to let you know that my son has this paranoia about government monitoring of everything he says and does. He buried his mobile phone in the forest because he was convinced that the government was spying on him through it. He won't use the internet because he says everything is monitored. He has also told me to be careful because he says I'm also being watched because I'm his mother. I am in contact with other mothers of activist/anarchist sons and daughters. They ALL have this obsession with government control and monitoring and are paranoid that all their thoughts and actions are being watched. (There may be some truth in this I suppose. Do we really know?).

    P.S. I would send him the books about quantum physics, consciousness and ancient wisdom. That sounds great! I would be worried if he wanted you to send him books about guns or porn, but don't see anything wrong or strange in his book choices. (?)

    You have to let him live his own life and make his own choices anyway. You have to try and accept him as he is and see where life takes him. He's not a child for you to 'fix' his problems or control how he should be living or what books he should be reading.

    You'll get loads of brilliant advice and support on this site. It helped me hugely and still does. x
     
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    Last edited: Jun 4, 2015
  6. Childofmine

    Childofmine trying to do this thing one day at a time Staff Member

    Welcome to the forum. I am so sorry. I think your story is instructive in that we never know what is going to happen. Our dcs may get better, and then they can get worse. They may be worse, and then they can get better. Just like all of life. For some reason, we put the "daily forecast" with our dcs at the top of the list but it's true about all of life. Everybody and everything.

    I can only imagine your hope when he came out of the bad times and started functioning well, and then the crash when things started to go down again.

    Your situation is a strong testament to the need to live in the here and now with every aspect of our lives. We only have right now. We only have this minute. What are we going to do with it? Are we going to "give it away" to someone else in terms of our thoughts and our focus? I know I do at times and many of us do.

    We love our kids so much yet we are powerless to do anything substantive to change their lives. We can only stand by and watch and pray and hope. So, while we are doing that, what do we do with ourselves and that anxious energy that is created?

    We use that time and that energy to focus on us. We start to read and study and work on ourselves. There is a lot of work to be done on us, everybody has the same work to do, but many don't do it. Why? They never have to.

    We have to here, on this board, in order to be happy, joyous, serene, contented, peaceful human beings.

    And it is possible to feel and behave that way, even if our precious dcs are off the rails.

    The good thing about him being in jail is that it is very likely that he will have little to no access to drugs and even if he can get drugs at all, he won't get enough to be able to abuse them. That way, you and others will be able to see, once he is free from substances, what his mental state is.

    I have been told over and over by professionals that there is no way to diagnose any kind of mental illness until the substance abuse stops (drugs, alcohol, etc.). Substance abuse is a primary mental health diagnosis, just like depression, schizophrenia, etc., are. And as we all know, abusing drugs and alcohol can cause all kinds of bizarre behavior and thinking so until that stops, there is no way to address anything else that might occur. And I have been told story after story about no matter how bizarre the thinking and behavior are, it can all correct itself after the substance abuse stops.

    I also realize that substance abuse can trigger and cause other, long-term mental health problems, and sometimes those problems will surface even if or regardless of the use of substances.

    Perhaps your son is in this category? If he is, and he is to have a mental illness that is not connected to ongoing substance abuse, the approach is the same. He will have to get treatment, and adhere to that treatment consistently in order to be able to live and function effectively in the world.

    What if he won't? Or it doesn't work? As an adult who can understand day from night, it is his responsibility to take care of his own mental health and physical health and emotional health, etc.

    You can't do it for him. You just can't.

    I am peeling away the layers here because we can go round and round and round with all of this. We can drive ourselves nuts with all of the variables, what if this, what if that, well, one time, etc.

    Ultimately, we have to accept that we and our grown children are not the same people, and we can't and don't have the same responsibility or influence we once had, when they were growing up, when we were their mothers and fathers.

    It is very hard to accept this, because we want so much for them and we love them so much. And it is so painful to watch their pain and stumbling around and dysfunction and damaging behavior.

    We can help them get evaluated and get treatment and support positive steps (not do it for them, but support and encourage them) but in the end, we cannot be them, for them.

    I'm glad you found this forum. We are here for you, no matter what. Keep posting. We get it and we care.
     
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  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    A lot of posters here have found solace in Al-Anon.

    Hugs and hope your son decides to both stop abusing drugs again and to seek out mental health services. I recently saw a documentary about how the new mental health hospitals are jails and prisons. Sad, I know, but it has become true.

    Try to find some peace and me-time today. Taking mental breaks, once you learn how, really help us stay healthy ourselves. The ways I use are meditation, exercising, or just reading a funny book. Others have other ways to de-stress...crocheting, gardening, whatever you love to do that is only about YOU...whatever relaxes you.

    I have come to really appreciate classical music and often play it in the background. I tend to agree with COM that you won't know if he has any mental illness, or if they are secondary to his drug use, until he quits and is clean for a while. Time and patience. Often our Difficult Child improve as they mature. There is hope.
     
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  8. hopeandjoy66

    hopeandjoy66 Member

    These drugs are so potent on their brains. Our Difficult Child was / is (depending the circumstances) has used meth and that can take six months to be really out of there bodies. Longer if it was a long time heavy addiction. So be kind to yourself today and don't rent out your brain space to your Difficult Child. Focus on you.
     
  9. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Onset of mental illness (schizophrenia, bipolar) can be caused by environmental factors like drugs, lack of sleep, stress, virus infection etc. for people who has genetic vulnerability for it but in the end it doesn't matter. When it happens, the reason for onset (and there do not need to be reason and drug abuse may as well be a symptom as it can be a reason) doesn't matter. And unfortunately those too illnesses are such that they can not be treated without medication. And unfortunately medication that tends to have nasty side effects. Getting sober, good lifestyle choices, regular routine etc. will not cure bipolar, schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder any more than they cure breast cancer or diabetes, though they do help in management of those. Nor can treatment of any of those wait till the patient embraces sobriety, regular routine and healthy diet and lifestyle. And like with cancer, early, aggressive treatment is a key to good prognosis. Every psychosis destroys the brains and makes situation more chronic. Those changes do not get better even after a good balance with medications has been found.

    My son had a crisis, that could had been a psychotic break last fall and during that time we spoked with psychiatrists also about that option. He too was given Haldol and that made him a total zombie too. However he didn't get better with anti-psychotics which was a big clue his symptoms were dissociation based. But before that became evident, we were also told about treatment of first psychosis and how essential the early, aggressive treatment is, if the psychosis turns into schizophrenia.

    Your son was described Haldol. To be frank, that tells you about everything you need to know if he is mentally ill. It is extremely heavy duty drug with heavy duty side effects. Extremely effective to stop psychosis and, yes, makes people more or less zombies. It is not given to people, who doctors think may have some slight mood disturbance because of drug use etc.

    I'm sorry to be so frank and negative, but in fact good treatment of your son's mental illness may give him quite a nice life quality. But you have to try to accept that he actually is very ill and no rehab or getting sober or anything like that will cure him and he will likely not become quite a person he once was ever again.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2015
  10. JulieAnn

    JulieAnn Member

    The bath salts are very prevalent here in S. Florida. It is in the news almost daily along with the repercussions. Your son's actions look familiar to what Wikipedia described. Also the health issues below are very concerning. It's a very scary chemical and I can't believe it is still legal in many places. If that's what he taking, that along with a predisposition to schizoaffective disorder, ADHD and ADD, the end result can most certainly cloud his thought process leading to the knee jerk reactions like quitting his job, buying the car, etc. He's actually lucky that he's in jail.

    Users of bath salts have reported experiencing symptoms including headache, heart palpitations, nausea, and cold fingers.[13] Hallucinations, paranoia, and panic attacks have also been reported,[13] and news media have reported associations with violent behavior,[14] heart attack, kidney failure, liver failure, suicide, an increased tolerance for pain,[3] dehydration, and breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue.[15]

    I'm so sorry for what you're going through. It's just heartbreaking to watch. Everyone here has given you good solid advice.
     
  11. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    Your son sounds a lot like mine. Mine too, carries a diagnosis first of ADD, then of bipolar, and now of schizoaffective. He lived on the street for a while (oh, jeez, four years is more than a while), used street drugs including heroin, and is now in jail trying to rob a mother and daughter as they left a movie theatre (excuse me while I puke now).

    He has been in jail since March. In jail he is not using drugs, and he is on his medications. He eats regularly. And he is much much better. Saner, easier to talk to, sweeter.

    We too did not get him a lawyer or bail him out. We too put money on his commissary and for phone calls (he calls me for 5 minutes every day).

    His public defender is trying to get his case moved from felony court to mental health court. So far it looks promising. He has a hearing on June 17 to decide that. The PD moved the hearing to that day because that put the case in front of the judge most likely to approve that change.

    The PD asked that I come to court that day. She felt that a show of family support would be helpful. My SO, my exhusband (Difficult Child's dad) and one of my sons and I will go.

    It is unfolding as it should, as it has to. I hope he gets the change to mental health court. In the best world that could include sentencing that mandates a move to transitional housing after he serves his time.

    Will that change anything? who knows.

    I do know that all of my interventions in his life have accomplished naught in terms of preventing him from derailing. Now I am comfortable with letting his life unfold, and with participating marginally, as I feel comfortable.

    You will get to that place too. It may look different than my place. We are here to help you find your place.

    Hugs today,

    Echo
     
  12. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I wanted to add, and I hope I didn't come off as too harsh, that is very human of us to very much hope, that our children's issues would be 'just' substance abuse. Of course we are hoping and looking for best case scenario, something they could have a complete recovery from. But as understandable as hoping for that is, it is not helpful to ignore more serious issue and just keep hoping it is something easier to treat, when that more serious option would require urgent treatment.
     
  13. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    AMS,

    I am so glad you found us! I really does help to know that there are others out there going through the same things and surviving.

    We are really just a support group, sharing our experiences and sharing what we have learned on the journey that most of us are still on.

    My X-husband had some of the same symptoms your son has recently experienced. He was not using drugs at all, very strait-laced engineer, so in his case it was mental illness. The paranoia, fear of government or other entities monitoring him, fear of being poisoned. Diagnosed schizo-affective. He didn't/couldn't accept that he had mental illness and had slowly deteriorated.

    My daughter was diagnosed with it at 19. (yeah, I know I have bi-polar down in my sig.) She had the unusual religious delusions and some paranoia, mostly about family/people talking about her. However, she has worked with her psy. doctor from the onset to control her illness and has done quite well. She worked he way through school, graduated with a masters degree, works full time at a high paying profession, and has a long-term boyfriend who is a great guy, business owner, successful. She also deals with life-long physical problems. It is an ongoing process, but she has accepted it and deals with it all. Mental illness is not the end of the world, nor does it have to preclude a person having a great life in spite of the disorder.

    On the other hand, my other daughter had some problems with a prescription that caused some strange thoughts and behaviors. We were scared that she was getting a mental illness, but thankfully, she did not.

    It does seem coincidental that your son was doing fine until he started taking drugs. Maybe it will come to pass that illegal drugs were the sole cause of his mental problems.

    my step-son, the one that brought me here, was diagnosed bi-polar when he was hospitalized against his will because of suicide threats. He may or may not be bi-polar. I haven't included it on my sig. because I am just not sure it is accurate, since he was on that synthetic 'bath salts' or 'spice' or whatever it is called right now. He wasn't in long enough for the drugs to get out of his system.

    Is your son taking the medications now while in jail? Does he receive any monitoring of his mental condition while there?

    Good luck, keep posting, it will help!
     
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