Adult homeless son calling several times a day

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Alaska, Jun 2, 2016.

  1. Alaska

    Alaska New Member

    My son is going to be 26 in 5 days, he has never held a job for long than a couple of months, ever. He always gets fired for stealing, smoking, goofing off, or just because he can not get along. He lived with my ex-husband, just sitting in the house waiting for the opportunity to get high. I have had him sent to the hospital for mental evaluations and he has been diagnosed bi-polar and schizophrenic. He refuses to take any medication. Says that it is all stupid. His father evicted him a few weeks ago and I got a call from the police department that he was found out of it on drugs in only his jeans and socks and that they took him to the hospital. I went to the courthouse to get a court order for mental treatment and the judge denied it. but the judge was able to track him down to the homeless shelter. He has been calling me all day everyday for the last week, and I do not answer. This is not his first time at the shelter, and it is a rough place. In the past I have done everything I can think of to help, but he will not try. He always says that I have not every tried to help him. He wants me to just give him a car and a place to stay for nothing. I feel like I am missing something, like I should be able to do something to assist him or get him help, and I feel so guilty that he is in this situation. I feel like by blocking him out of my life, I am really just waiting for him to die. The weird thing is, he seems to know this is how I feel and he confronts me with it. I don't feel safe around him, because he is so angry with me. I don't block the shelter's phone number because as long as my phone is ringing, I know he is still alive.... I am just not sure what to do.
  2. karisma

    karisma Member

    Hi Alaska. You have come to the right place. In sorry for your pain. My son is also 26 and homeless. I have found much comfort for the last month by coming to this site, even while his life spirals out of control. Others may have advice, but I'm new here also so I just mainly read what's going on in everyone's situations and feel peace knowing there are others just like me. Big hugs to you. You aren't alone.
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  3. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Hi Alaska

    Wanted to say welcome and glad you found this forum.

    My story is different but everyone here has been through a lot with their loved ones.

    I just wanted to say you are not alone and welcome.
  4. Alaska

    Alaska New Member

    Thank you Karisma, I am new to and I am so happy to have found this place, my new husband is wonderful, but just does not understand and I hate making him worry about me.
  5. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Glad you found us and sorry you had to, Alaska. I am sorry to hear you are going through this. I too have been through that long period of just wanting to know my son is all right but not wanting to talk to him.

    I think this is the idea of "help" that many of our difficult children expect. Of course, in most cases it doesn't help them at all, just like it didn't help him when he lived with your ex-husband.

    Alaska, it sounds to me like you have done a whole lot to assist him and get him help. You have nothing to feel guilty about. He rejects things that would help him. You have no control over his responses, thoughts, words, or deeds. He is a grown man.

    I have gone through this feeling, too, Alaska, that if I cut contact the worst would happen. I have found from my own experience and from the others who post here that our difficult children are much more resourceful than we think. There have been times when I have needed to cut contact with him. You are entitled to do that any time you need, and certainly when you are just going to get angry responses from him. You do not need to tolerate such ill treatment.

    Others will be along who can give you some good advice. You are among people who understand.
  6. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly Active Member

    Hi and welcome. How long was he in the hospital when he got his diagnosis? The reason I am asking is when people are on drugs it can look like they are bipolar and/or schizophrenia because the drugs damage parts of the brain.

    Call Salvation Army Rehab program. It is free if you can't afford to pay. They get no public funding and survive on donations. They have a program usually 9-12 months where you get a bed, food and you work doing various things for Salvation Army and you get paid a small sum weekly. They teach discipline, teamwork, provide counseling and you have to earn your phone calls, etc. They do allow you to smoke. When you complete the program, they have connections to get you housing, work, etc. It''s like a 2nd chance to straighten up your life, get sober, learn some work and social skills, etc.

    Another program is Teen Challenge (for adults as well). Both of the programs I mentioned are faith based.

    Give him the number and tell him here is a program to get your life straightened around if that is what you want and choose to do. Otherwise, nothing more I can do for you. If he wants to go you and your husband (don't go alone) can take him or you can get him a bus ticket. If you are afraid of him, listen to that gut feeling. Your home is your sanctuary and he can't come there. It didn't go well at ex husband's and that would be what you would be dealing with if he came to your home.

    Read the article on detachment on the forum. Print it out- it takes time to "detach" but it is what we must do with our adult children who are not willing to change their life.

    It's ok to continue to not answer calls- don't feel bad about that. It is they who have driven us to that point, and most of have been there.

    If he truly has medical/mental disability, then only he can be willing to get himself help. He could qualify for SSDI if it is determined he is disabled. United Way is a great source of information for help for folks who are homeless, drugged out, mentally ill. Provide that number as well.
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  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Is your son psychotic some or most of the time? Does he think people are out to get him? Does he thinke medication is really poison? Is he aware how sick he is?

    This sad situation is not your fault and not his fault either. If he has schizophrenia, unlike most mental illnesses he may not be able to remember how to take care of himself. Is he getting SSI?

    I blame our government of the U.S. who threw all the mentally ill, even the psychotic, in the streets to homelessness. Often, like ypu, your son is too ill to live with safely and our sickest citizens have nowhere to get forced help, even if they are so sick that they believe that they are Elvis Presley. Sadly, jails/prisons have taken over for the psychiatric hospitals. And they do a poor job.

    I feel so sad for him. AND I feel so sad for you. I have no answers but you have my wholehearted empathy. This is not just a case of failure to thrive. If he has schizophrenic he has a VERY serious mental disorder that most people still don't understand. He isn't like most of our difficult kids.

    At the same rime, you need to keep yourself safe and sane and do not have to talk to him if he calls and you can't deal with it. It may perhaps help if you get into therapy yourself to learn how to cope with this difficult situation.

    Hugs for a badly hurting heart.
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    Last edited: Jun 2, 2016
  8. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Our adult daughter was determined to be mentally ill. We knew this early on. Our situation is similar and I would imagine it could be very similar. She has seen a psychologist and psychiatrist for many years. She isn't as regular today, but still sees her doctors fairly often and always takes her medication. The disability money allows her to have a roof over her head and very little more. But, at least, for the most part, we know that she is relatively safe and not in the streets. Even on disability, a person if able, can work part time and earn something like a maximum of $800 a month. I get the impression this isn't very common, but I did know of someone who although bipolar was able to do this...collecting disability from the govt and working a small job for almost $800 a month and getting by very nicely. It can be done. In order to even be considered for disability, he will have to get a diagnosis and see a doctor regularly. I too agree that you will very likely need to detach emotionally for your own emotional sanity. You might provide him with general info. regarding shelter, mental health resources and perhaps how to apply for disability (it can be tricky), perhaps food stamps, etc. but do your best to avoid getting overly involved and falling for his accusatory and helpless attitude. Be strong.
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  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I am on SSDI and can make $1000 a month (still not rich but it helps) and nobody checks up to see if I see a doctor, although I try very hard to keep this in check, never skip my medications, go to therapy and group therapy. But I never have been asked about it. I have a rather severe mood disorder, learning issues and every anxiety disorder under the sun.

    If somebody has a mood disorder, like me, we are not psychotic and are able to be rational and get help. If we dont get help, the fault is our own. We know we are ill.
    Schizophrenia robs you of the ability to get help as much of the time you are psycotic...hallucinating and not really in our world. See "A Beautiful Mind" a movie about the brilliant John Nash who had schizophrenia and had no idea that he was sick.

    It is the Stage IV Cancer of brain disorders. The patient is too sick to even know reality from the voices and false images from his mind. It is like being on psychedelic drugs without drug.
    And we have no real help for them unless they get arrested. It is a real intense issue to me because it is so wrong.
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    Last edited: Jun 2, 2016
  10. rebelson

    rebelson Active Member

    Hi Shannon, I'm sorry you had to find us here.

    I also am VERY familiar with the guilt/fear of something horrible happening to them, and find it very hard to turn phone off, even for an hour. Even when my sanity might be screaming for a 'break'!

    When he was evaluated by hospital for mental health diagnosis, how long had he been 'clean'? I ask because my own son was prescribed Seroquel a year ago by a psychiatric MD that I sent him to. Since Seroquel is mainly for bipolar, I assumed he was diagnosed with bipolar, though son wouldn't share the specific details with me. I was skeptical of this diagnosis, didn't really agree with it, from what I know of son. Long story short, son ended up taking the medication for around 2 months, then quit.

    Son's been clean for over 60 days now and the most recent psychiatric MD who treated him in residential said he 'did not see any overt signs of any mental illness'.

    I can tell you one thing for sure though, when my son uses hard liquor or takes 'speed' pills, he acts off the charts psychotic, bipolar, hostile, you name it!
    Hugs to you and you are in the right place for support, strength. :angel2:
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  11. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Welcome Alaska! I'm glad you found us here.
    Your story is a familiar one. I'm so sorry you are having to deal with fallout from your adult son's choices.

    You are not alone, I and many others here have done all we could and then even more, only to find our adult difficult child expects us the parents to continue taking care of everything for them.

    Your feelings are valid and I completely understand how you feel. Our feelings, our emotions, our adult difficult children are very good at tuning into these and then they will use them against us. They are counting on us to feel guilty, to give into them. Understanding that this is a tactic they use helps to let it go.

    I know how hard this must be for you. Hold onto your resolve to not answer his calls. Your priority now is you and your safety.

    Sometimes our adult children just do not see that the dynamics of the parent child relationship changes. While they see themselves as adults they still behave like a child wanting mommy or daddy to swoop in and rescue them when their lives become unmanageable. There are times also that we as the parents see them as a child instead of an adult and we lose our footing and try to rescue them.

    You are being very strong and are setting important boundaries. Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing. You have already tried to help your son and he rejected it. It's not worth getting stuck in the loop of "this time will be different if I help him, he'll change"

    Hang in there Alaska and know that you are not alone.

    ((HUGS)) to you......................
  12. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi Alaska

    Welcome. I echo what everybody else said and will add these few things.

    Diagnosing is not an exact science. And provider who has contact with your son or any patient is compelled to either confirm the existing diagnosis or change it. It is very frequently a guess. A quick guess. To really know what is going on (and it can change) takes time and knowledge of your son or any other patient. Even with that, people disagree.

    Drugs confound everything. Many drugs cause symptoms that look like profound mental illness and even when stopping these drugs, the symptoms can continue for a long time.

    If you are afraid of him you must keep the boundaries you have put into place. There is really no other way to handle a situation where an adult is refusing treatment, is volatile, angry and under the influence.

    That said, some people get treatment and get better.

    My son is 27, was homeless, is mentally ill on SSI, and has not worked for 4 years. He is getting better! He has had several of the same issues as your son.

    Take care. I hope you keep posting.
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    Last edited: Jun 3, 2016
  13. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly Active Member

    My husband is on SSDI. He had two spinal fusions with rods in his back, then had the rods removed. His spine is degenerating. He also had 11 knee surgeries, Osteopenia, Osteoporosis. Nothing more surgeons could do for him. He went back to work for a few hours and then HR called him and said they are putting him on permanent disability as they couldn't find a job for him with his limited abilities. He was depressed for about 6 months. Worked all his life, never a dime from government, etc. He lives with severe back pain every day and can only do so much daily. Anyways, he got it at 55. When you get SSDI they have reviews, some are two years, 5 years and max is 7 years. He got the 7 year as he will be 62 when that comes. The closer you are to 62 the more likely you will get the 7 year review.
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  14. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly Active Member

    I agree too SWOT on government. I think we should have a million parent walk to Congress. They should be back Inpatient facilities for the millions of people who live on the street and are homeless and mentally ill.
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  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would be first in line, Iron Butterfly. I was furious when they emptied the hospitals when it happened and it never let up in my mind. It's outrageous. There is no excuse for ignoring the reality of our most severEly mentally ill.

    On SSDI I probably needed it all my life as I struggled with cognitive issues. This was far more debilitating for my work experience than the mood disorder or anxiety. I try to keep a good humor about it and say I broke Guinness World Records of getting fired from jobs such as McDonald's and file clerk. I can't process fast or multitask well and most employers do not want to wait for an employee to catch on slowly

    My second diagnosis is cognitive disability not otherwise specified. I have a normal IQ.

    I have a yearly form sent to my house and sign it. So far that's it. I'm already 62 and there has been no change in how they have handled anything. Maybe the states are different. Who knows?

    I'm sorry your husband is in pain. That is very sad.
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    Last edited: Jun 2, 2016
  16. Alaska

    Alaska New Member

    Thanks everyone. Yes I know that my son has had a meth problem. But I not sue if it is that because I am not sure how he would get the money but he has stayed at the hospital for as long as 5 days but then they let him go. He has for the last 2 years been pretty consistent in thinking he is Jesus. He believes everyone reads minds except for him and he is being tricked and kept in the dark. He does a lot of putting words together. Lowered lowered ..... Lord It's really weird. I have had issue with him since he was a toddler, he whole life he was just wreckless. I spent a lot of time saving him from himself only to get accused of sheltering him. Ugh He refuses to stay at the hospital for any treatment. Cries and screams like a child. He is tormented and I don't know why. He is very smart and good looking but has never had a girl friend. Well. I could just go on and on. ... Thanks for the support I appreciate it
  17. Childofmine

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

    Oh Alaska, I am so sorry. I truly am.

    You are getting good thinking here from all of the great people on this board. Sometimes there are just no answers for us, right now, today, to do SOMETHING to make the situation better.

    It sounds like your son really does have serious mental illness, but like others have said, it's hard to know when they are on drugs.

    If your son has serious mental illness, and he won't get help, there isn't much you can do, in my view. I know you love him so much, and it is so painful to watch someone self-destruct especially when there is help, and they won't take it. But it's true that adults have to see that there is a path forward to a better life, and they have to get on that path and work hard to comply with treatment. If they don't, and they won't, what can anybody do, and that is an awful feeling. Most of us can't stand it, so we keep on and on and on doing SOMETHING, ANYTHING, but it never works. There are many others on this board who are in the same situation as you are.

    Most of them see their kids in jail for long periods of time---because there is no long term treatment for serious mental illness in our country---but they don't stay in jail, because the jails are overcrowded, and they they are out, and the whole cycle starts again. I can think of nothing worse for any parent, or truly anybody.

    So...what CAN you do? At this point, I found it very helpful, when my son was completely out of control, and I was in total despair, to start separating myself from him physically, mentally and emotionally. In order to just survive, because I was dying right along with him. I had no other choice. I had to learn how to do this, and believe me, it did not come easy. But first I had to want to. And then I had to work for it.

    That doesn't mean you stop loving him or seeing him or talking to him...but it might mean that you set boundaries about when you accept phone calls. That is a good starting point.

    I had to realize that not one thing I had tried to do had changed anything...except making me feel like I was "doing something". I could not stand inaction. I had to learn how to stand inaction. And believe me, that is the hardest lesson I have ever learned, because if we aren't acting, then we are by ourselves in the wilderness with all of those feelings. We have to learn how to separate our feelings from our actions. Another tough tough lesson for us feelings people.

    So there are two trains of thought here. One, what can you do for him? Others have chimed in with specific ideas about that. Two, what can you do for you? That's what I'm talking about here.

    I know this is the most awful, wrenching, painful, grief-filled process in the world. Believe me, we are here with you. We do understand to the depths of our being.

    Please keep posted. We get it, and we care.
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  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Ok meth. Ugh. That can cause psychosis on its own. Very bad drug. I'm sorry.
  19. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Alaska, there is a link at the bottom of this post having to do with communicating with our sometimes so troubled adult children. It was helpful to me to have a ~ I don't know. Like a mentor for the mothering I wanted to do for my children, and for the mother I needed to be, for myself.

    One of the things that happens when our children are so troubled is that we fall short of our expectations of ourselves as mothers. We take the actions that seem to be the right ones, but we feel awful about all of it, and about what has happened to our families. Having a model for how to address what is happening sincerely and yet, with respect and compassion for both our children and ourselves helped me very much. It's like I wasn't as lost, anymore. The kids won't like it, but once we have our feet on the ground, we can do what seems like the right thing without beating ourselves up over it.

    I agree that meth is a bad one.

    Another thing that helped me was to learn how whatever drug it is that our children are using affects brain chemistry. If you google those questions, research on this subject will come up for you. It isn't that the drug creates the high. It is that the drug wrings the brain of (for instance) dopamine. Under the influence of the drug, the brain is bathed in dopamine, and that creates the high. But the brain manufactured the dopamine in the first place. (I am using dopamine as an example.) Once the drug is out of the system, the brain is out of chemical balance. The person is miserable, and depressed. If they use the drug often enough, the brain begins destroying dopamine receptors in an effort to protect itself from the dangerously euphoric high created by too much dopamine. We cannot watch for predators when we are in a state of euphoria. That is why the brain does that. It is attempting to bring itself back into balance.

    That is the circle of addiction as I understand it.

    Our addicted children truly are not themselves anymore. Literally, they are not the person they were before they began using whatever drug it is.

    Reading Darkwing Psyduck's posts here on P.E. and in S.A. forum was helpful to me in understanding how things look from our adult child's point of view. I think you would find comfort in reading his posts, too. I am so pleased for all of us that Darkwing posts here with us.

    That was for you Darkwing, if you are reading along.


    Thank you.

    For us, the question becomes how to parent our children, how to manage to love them somehow, when they are such jerks.


    The other very important piece for us is somehow managing to love and respect ourselves through this. That is very hard to do. For me, it is.

    Holding you and yours in my thoughts this morning, Alaska. Please take a minute to check out the link at the bottom of this post. It's in my signature.