Another episode with my son ...

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by donna723, Jul 19, 2009.

  1. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    This will probably be long " sorry.

    Some of you who have been around for a while may remember what happened with my son four years ago … he made a very serious suicide attempt and almost didn't make it. He was 24 at the time and had just been married for three weeks when his ‘wife' decided that she didn't want to be married and left with another man. My son took at least 40 Elavils and had to be life-flighted to a trauma center where he spent five days on a ventilator in a coma before he regained consciousness. He came so very close.

    Afterwards, he came to terms with it and has seemingly been doing fine since then. He's 28 now. He has a good job, tons of friends, and a new girlfriend that he's just started seeing … a really NICE girl! He seemed to be doing so well that I was absolutely shocked late one night three weeks ago to get a call from the police officer wife of one of his friends … she said he had cut his wrist and was in the hospital ER, could I come. He lives two counties away from me but of course I got there in record time! The physical damage wasn't as bad as I was afraid it would be. He had only cut the skin, no veins or tendons, it only required stitches to close. He lost some blood but not enough to be dangerous, no transfusions required. He never lost consciousness. And almost as soon as he did it and couldn't stop the bleeding, he got scared and called his friend (husband of the police officer) who lives very close. He came right over, tried to stop the bleeding, then called an ambulance. I asked him if he had wanted to die " he said 'no'. I asked him why he had done it " he said 'I don't know'. That night he had gotten into an argument with his roommate but they had pretty well resolved the issue. And earlier in the day he had lost some money " $200 - his wallet fell out of his back pocket, he came back to find the wallet with everything intact but the money was gone.

    The ER staff would not allow him to do anything until the social worker from the mental health agency came to evaluate him. They wouldn't allow him to go outside (even with me or a member of the ER staff) to smoke a cigarette. He'd been almost four hours without one and was climbing the walls by then. They wouldn't even allow him to come out of the tiny exam room he was in except to use the bathroom and he did not handle it well at all. Finally, after a three hour wait, the social worker came and talked with him and with me. By this time he seemed like his old self again and just wanted to leave. She didn't get much more out of him than I did. They could have kept him for evaluation for three days, since it was the second time he had harmed himself. He was so afraid of losing his job, he practically begged her to let him go. She agreed, on the condition that he make an appointment to begin counseling, and that he go home with me that night, which he did. I took him home the next day.

    That was three weeks ago and since then, he's been caught up in the ‘system', just trying to get back to work! Three weeks without a paycheck! The HR lady where he works told him that he must have both a release from a mental health professional and a medical release to come back " no problem. His counseling appointment. was almost three weeks from then (last Friday) but he thought he could go in beforehand and get a release, but never could catch up with the right person and no one else would do it. Then, after a week and a half, the HR lady at work told him, no, the release had to be from a psychiatrist who had given him a complete evaluation and it must be someone on their insurance network! There were only three on their network " two don't even answer their phones and the third couldn't work him in until late September! Another one, not on their network, wanted $750 cash before he could even walk in their door! And she said that he must have this same release to be put on temporary disability, so still no paycheck! It's like they were just trying to push him over the edge! He had his counseling appointment. last Friday. He said that the counselor was an older lady, he actually liked her, and he had made another appointment. to see her.! The counselor wrote him a long, detailed letter to his employer saying that he was fine to go back to work " he took this in to work and gave it to the HR lady, said take it or leave it. She STILL said no, it had to be from a psychiatrist! But she did call their main office, out of state, and let him talk to their central HR people. Turns out she was WRONG! They agreed to accept the counselors letter and to waive the requirement for the psychiatrist since none were available. And they said he should have been put on temporary disability immediately, so he would have a paycheck coming in. So … he goes back to work on Monday and as soon as the paperwork goes through, he will be given the three weeks of disability pay retroactively. Of course, the rent is due now! I wish I could help him more financially but I just can't. His sister and brother in law did loan him some to tide him over though.

    I THINK he's OK now, but of course, I thought that before this happened too! I have to stress that my son is a great guy that everybody knows and loves. He's a decent, kind, honest, thoughtful, hardworking person that everyone respects. He's good looking, has an astronomical IQ and a wicked sense of humor. He does not drink or do drugs. But he also grew up with an abusive, alcoholic father who made it very clear to him that he was NOT the favorite child and treated him like dirt. He learned very early on to keep his mouth shut and stay out of the way. He had a horrible example set for him and he chose not to follow it, and I am extremely proud of the man he has grown up to be. But he is so closed-mouthed, you will never know what is going on in his head! He could be feeling laid back and happy or he could be going through intense turmoil inside and you'd never know. He has lots and lots of unexpressed anger in him just below the surface. And he is also the most impatient, most easily frustrated person there ever was with. He simply cannot handle frustrations or conflict of any kind. And where someone else might take it out on others or self-medicate with alcohol or drugs (like his father!), he turns it on himself. I think this time scared him enough that he knows he needs help and he needs someone he can finally open up to and not keep all that inside of him till it explodes. To me, it's a very good sign that he has agreed to keep seeing this counselor and that he's not saying that he doesn't need to go. I told him that if he didn't go, I would drag him in!

    Sorry " this got even longer than I thought it would, but I have no one else to talk to about this but you all, and I know that you will understand where perhaps others wouldn't. I thought this was all behind us and now I'm sitting here waiting for 'the other shoe to drop' again! So if you have any suggestions or a few spare prayers you could send up for my big goofy kid (who is not a kid anymore) it would really be appreciated.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2009
  2. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Oh gosh, Donna; what a worry. No forewarning at all and he doesn't have any kind of explanation for his action, it's no wonder you are so off-balance.

    I'm glad the HR issues got ironed out and that he'll be back at work. Still, shame on that person for not checking things out FIRST so the strain wouldn't have been multiplied.

    I'm sorry I don't have any suggestions at all. I can sure send lots of good thoughts and prayers to both of you, though.

    Big hugs,
  3. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I'm so sorry, Donna. My husband lived a dysfunctional childhood and is a terrific man. on the other hand, had I truly known how withdrawn he was (as opposed to just being quiet by nature) I don't think I would have married him. It is a strain living with someone you love and "not knowing" what to heck is in their head or what they really are feeling. Even with-o fears of harm it is discombobulating.

    I'll cross my fingers that your son really relates to the counselor and is able to open up. For entirely different reasons I live with the fear of the "other shoe" or "the next phone call". It is not a healthy way to live. DDD
  4. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I'm so sorry, Donna. I hope that he will get to the bottom of what is eating at him, and that he will be able to get back to work again quickly.
  5. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Thanks Suz, DDD and Witz. I still freeze up every time the phone rings and I guess I always will. It just never really ends, does it.
  6. cakewalk

    cakewalk Member

    Not an easy road, Donna, for you or your son. Keep him in counseling, even if things seem to be getting better. He obviously needs an outlet for his frustrations especially if he keeps things bottled up inside. Sorry you are going through this. Keep us updated on his progress.
  7. Star*

    Star* call 911


    Your son sounds like a very beautiful person. It's a shame that his father didn't recognize in 24 years what it took the rest of us less than 24 minutes to see in just a blurb of what you wrote of his life. He's a lucky kid to have such a caring Mom who is there for him time and again. I think that means more to him that you'll probably ever know.
    I remember when you wrote about how devastated he was over his marriage. I thought to myself 'what an awful woman to do such a hateful thing' and then thought later - what a lucky man to be shed of such a hateful and awful woman. It's odd how we don't see the luck in somethings when they are happening - much like this suicide attempt - you think to yourself out loud - HOW in the world could THIS ever be something that is lucky? And I think...maybe if you exhale just enough and have faith in this woman counselor - just maybe she is the person that is supposed to come into his life at this time, and at this place for him.

    I saw the oddest writing the other day and though - isn't that just the weirdest thing - so I'll share it with you. It said (and not getting all preachy or anything) but it said God puts people in our lives to love us, to teach us, to hate us, to hold us, for short times, for long times, and we never know why...Maybe there is some truth in that for your son? Maybe there's some truth in that for all of us. I just thought it was odd, because you just never think about the people who are in your lives that hate you teaching you a lesson - but then you think - ah...yes - I know how that feels and remember you don't want to do the same to someone else - or you have someone in your life for a short time that loves you and you think - yes....I want to make sure that I love the people around me for as long as I can as much as I can because I never know when they are not going to be there.

    I lived with someone who was suicidal a lot. Dude recently was at the hospital for saying he wanted to die also. It saddens me and whenever there is a strange number that pops up on the caller ID - I too have those OMG feelings and I try, like you to deal with them the best I can, and like you I can only come here and share it. So don't ever think - that no one understands or if it gets so bizarre that there isn't someone out there that would not understand where you are emotionally - There are a lot of us here who've been there. Sad but true - and even those that haven't? We still care and would hold you up.

    Hang in there - and the next time you get to hug that brilliant, funny, handsome, strong-silent type son of yours? Hug him once from me. I think despite all he's been through maybe he's finally found someone he can talk to and I'm very happy for him for that.

    Hugs & Love
  8. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Star. I hope you're right. At least this time I think he finally realizes that he needs help badly. He was very lucky twice now, especially the first time. He may not be so lucky if there's a next time. I so hope that this lady can get through to him and get him to open up and talk. Just to illustrate how closed off he really is about his feelings, we have not lived with his father since he was 15. He is now 28 and has just in the last few years, started to feel free to talk to me about his bad feelings toward his father and the treatment he received at his hands - not physical abuse (that I know of) but emotional. He knows now that it wasn't his fault, that he never deserved to be treated that badly, that there's nothing wrong with him. His father is just a jerk! That's why I thought he was doing so much better now. He badly needs a way to get rid of all that anger without turning it on himself. Keep your fingers crossed that his counseling will help.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Donna, I'm really sorry about everything that happened. I have a son I have to worry about too. He's 31 and, yes, I still worry. He's on medication which really helps him, and gets tired when he drives to work which is an hour up and back. He fell asleep at the wheel once, but he can't really function day-to-day without his medications. I worry about it, but try to put it in the back of my mind because there is absolutely nothing I can do. He isn't going to stop taking his medications and he claims he tried to cut back but the anxiety was so great that he couldn't sleep, and that gave him the same problem. Getting a job closer to home isn't really realistic at this time because the job market is so tight in his field. He also needs to be a good hub and father. He thinks the medications really help him, but they do make him sleepy. I hate thinking about him on the road.

    I will say prayers for your precious son and hope he follows through with the help.
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am so sorry he was in such a scary dark place. I remember how traumatic it was when the first attempt happened. Hopefully this therapist will be able to help him handle the pain he is in. He is a man a mom can be truly proud of. I just wish he could see himself in the same light we see him in.

    sending prayers and gentle hugs to both of you.
  11. goldenguru

    goldenguru New Member

    Hi Donna -

    My heart goes out to you. My heart goes out to your son.

    As you may/may not know, my husband attempted suicide for the 2nd time last November. Like your son, he ended up on life support for many days. They did not expect him to live. So, I know the disorienting effect this has on survivors. Almost 9 months later, I still have some panic attacks when I can't get a hold of my husband.

    Years ago, I had a dear friend whose daughter had a very bad battle with an eating disorder. We were out walking one day, and she told me that she had prepared her heart for her daughters death. I looked at her like she has sprouted a 3rd ear. But, I tucked her 'wisdom' away in the deepest place of my heart.

    Shortly after my husbands 2nd attempt, I saw a therapist. She encouraged me to fully consider that my husband may in fact complete his next attempt. I began to do so. It sounds terribly negative I know.

    This is the ultimate form of detachment in my opinion. I love my husband dearly. But, I must also understand that aside from loving him and encouraging him - I have no power over his decision to live or die. I enjoy every day I have with him.

    My husband was also raised by an abusive father. The damage seems irrevocable. It was after my husbands last illness that he really began to understand the extent to which parental abuse damaged his emotions and his self esteem. It has been a painful journey. A book that has really helped him in his recovery is called "Healing For Damaged Emotions' by David Seamands. It has a spiritual component to it, but it is an amazing look at how our upbringing affects the way we see ourselves as adults. Amazon carries it if you are interested.

    Hugs to your heart. Please let me know if I can be of support to you you.
  12. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    How scary!! I'm glad he realizes that he needs help with this. I hope he can stick with it and gains alot of insight from it.

    I'm glad the junk with his job was finally worked out. No sense in him having to go threw all that when he was already having problems enough.

    I have a little corner in my mind where I realize that Nichole can at some point take another plunge over the deep end and where Travis could backslide to the nth degree. I'm not sure no matter how easy child behaving our difficult children become if that ever truly goes away completely.

    Saying prayers for your son that he can work through this process. It's not easy but it can be so worth it.

    Many (((hugs)))
  13. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I'm so very sorry. I think GG has given you excellent advice.

    I recall my therapist and I having this "discussion." It is one that is a difficult topic to approach and also hard to grasp. I still struggle today.

    None of us can really change another person. People really need to want to change for themselves. They must want help and they must want change. They must want to do what they need to do to get better. We might really, really want it for them, but it must come from within them. And as mothers, it pains us because it is so very unfair and so horrible to watch. But, it is what it is. Our blood, sweat, tears, anguish, grief, hard work, will not change things. However, what our kids do for themselves...that can and will change things.

    Since your son has attempted suicide 2x, there is a nice chance that he has a very serious mental illness. Very difficult disappointments come to people, and this is not a typical way to chose to cope.

    Surely, medication and therapy can be benefical to your son. I do hope that he is getting good and helpful treatment. If he has any spiritual faith, this might be a great asset to him. See if you can find him any really good spiritual literature...also literature that might boost his self esteem. However, its his choice if he wants to read these things. Please encourage him to continue working...keep moving forward. Again...his choice.

    On your end, please re-read what GG has said. We talk a lot here about detachment. It is very freeing. You might do what you can when and where you can to provide him some assistance, but he has to do the work. You have to move forward with your life. It is hard to accept the losses here, but if there were another way, believe me, I would have found it and I would be telling you about it. I do hope that you will get the book that GG has suggested. I have found reading to be very many have gone before us. Also, please google and read the Serenity Prayer. Keep posting to us...let us know how he is doing and all the good things you are doing to take your mind off of this hardship.
    Lasted edited by : Jul 20, 2009
  14. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Donna, I'm so sorry. I hope, though, that there is a silver lining in this - that it opened his eyes and that this event brought him to the right therapist to help him.

  15. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I'm so sorry, Donna. Hugs and prayers for you both.
  16. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Donna, please check in and let us know how he's doing.

  17. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Sorry ... been a bit caught up here. I haven't talked to him since Monday but he was going back to work Monday night. After they agreed to accept the note from the mental health clinic, he still had to get another release from an MD saying he was physically able to go back to work. He went in to a clinic near him and the doctor looked at his arm and had no problem writing him a slip to go back to work.

    Almost funny though, in the exam room, he had been sitting on the exam table and when he went to get up, his knee popped (which it has done for over 10 years, ever since he played high school basketball). He said the doctors eyes just lit right up and he immediately starts going on about "torn cartlidge" and sending him right over for MRI's and several other tests! Apparently the better your insurance is, the more tests they want to do. He just grabbed his note for work and left. But if you ever wonder why medical bills are sky-high .....!

    And as for his mental state, he appears to be OK but with him, you just never know. He seems fine and it helps that he's going back to work - he didn't need all that extra stress of being out of work and no paycheck coming in. I have to resist the temptation to call him every day. NO 28 year old guy wants his mother calling him every day checking up on him! But I'm going to call him this afternoon, just to see how he is and to inquire about when his next appointment with the counselor is ... I know he's made one, which is great. With him, about all I can do is try to keep in touch with him, hope and pray and keep my fingers crossed.
  18. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    I hope he's back on track. Donna. So scary. sigh.

  19. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the update Donna. I'm glad he's back to work.
  20. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I don't really know what to say... But I am sending you and your son tons of hugs.

    One thing - this sounds like I'm trying to make a joke but I am not - this works for us - emotional, physical, any kind of pain - we grab a Popsicle. Silly, but it helps for a few moments - and sometimes that's all we need to calm down.

    ...This is relatively new but it turns out I know several people who do it too...