At wit's end over my college age son

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Heart Heavy, Feb 20, 2015.

  1. Heart Heavy

    Heart Heavy New Member

    My 20 year old son was unhappy last year when he was a freshman in college. He was miserable while his twin brother thrived at a school not far away. He decided to transfer colleges, got into 3 other schools but decided to stay. We assumed things got better. His first semester sophomore year
  2. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Heart Heavy. You haven't finished your post, but you did post it, so I am going to respond just a little.

    Is this son using any kinds of mind-altering substances? Anything at all?

  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would like to hear the rest too and am wondering about substance abuse and if he's still at college or if he came home. Welcome.
  4. Heart Heavy

    Heart Heavy New Member

    Thank you for your reply. I messed up the first post and my full story is at "please help with my college age despondent son"
  5. Heart Heavy

    Heart Heavy New Member

    Thank you for your reply. I messed up the first post and my full story is at "please help with my college age despondent son"

    Read more:
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I can't open it, but could just be MY dumb computer. Can you copy and paste it here for us so we can try to support you?
  7. Heart Heavy

    Heart Heavy New Member

    Here it is. Sorry it's so long!

    I have 20 year old fraternal twin sons and a 24 year old daughter. We’ve been lucky up until the past 2 months. After reading so many heart wrenching stories on this site, I feel funny even posting but we are in the middle of a very difficult time with one of our sons and I don’t know where to turn.

    One of the twins (son 1) had a rough time freshman year while his brother (son 2) thrived at a different college a few towns away. Son 1 did great academically but had a very hard time socially at school. He didn’t feel that he fit in. He applied to transfer to 4 other schools, got into 3 of them, but ultimately decided to stay since things seemed to get better by the end of freshmen year. His first semester sophomore year (last fall) seemed to go pretty well. His goal was a 4.0 (his goal – not ours) and he seemed to have friends. He did very well academically (3.8) but still hadn’t found a niche for extracurricular activities or a tight social circle. When he was home for the holiday season, he seemed okay but very bored. When he went back to school last month, things began on a fast downward spiral.

    After being back for a week and a half, he called me crying one morning. He said he didn’t fit in and he didn’t know what to do. I said it wasn’t too late to transfer. He said that wouldn’t help. He was “socially retarded” and it would be the same sh** someplace else. I encouraged him to talk to someone at the school’s counseling center like his sister did when she was having a rough time in school. He said okay. The next day, he called again sobbing. This is a kid who never cries and who barely called us his first year and a half of college. He said people don’t like him. I encouraged him to try a new activity to meet different people and he said “I know I’m going to fail so why even try.” I asked him what he’s been doing and he said he’s been smoking weed and playing video games which is the first time he ever told me about the pot use. I again encouraged him to go to the counseling center and to call me anytime. That night at 1:30 am, he called the house. He was walking around campus alone and was now sitting in some building by himself. He said he was having a really hard time. We asked if we should have his sister (who lives about 30 minutes away) come get him and he said yes. Of course, we couldn’t reach her at 2 am so he finally said he would go back to his dorm and call us in the morning.

    The next day (Friday) he finally went to the counseling center and they gave him an appointment in a week and a half. To make a long story short, the next day, on Saturday night, we saw a major withdrawal from his bank account and found out he bought a one way train ticket to Florida (from New England). We tried to call him even though we saw this at 9 pm and knew the train was leaving at 9:30 pm. He wouldn’t answer his phone but texted us “that he needed to do this to see if he could.” Finally at 10 pm he answered his phone when he was on the train. I tried to be calm and asked him what he packed. We chatted for a moment and then he burst into tears sobbing so that he couldn’t even talk. I told him we would meet the train at the layover in Difficult Child to get him. We left the house in the middle of the night to drive 5 hours to get him. About 12:45 am, he called us and said he was getting off at a train station in our state and could we come get him. We turned around and picked him up at 1:30 am. He didn’t say a word – went right to bed when he got home. The next morning I was panicking about what we should do and trying to call for professional help. In the meantime, he took the car keys even though my husband tried to stop him and he said he just needed to drive around for awhile. Within 15 minutes, he called sobbing that he had crashed the car. Physically he was okay but the car had to be towed. A local hospital told me to try to get him to come to the emergency room for a psychiatric evaluation which he begrudgingly agreed to. He was in the emergency room for 24 hours. During that time, the therapist got him to admit that during a party at Christmas, a couple of his friends said “do you know it’s a scientific fact that the younger fraternal twin is always gay?” Apparently a guy at school had said the same thing to him at some point. When he admitted this, he seemed to have a weight lifted off his shoulders. We told him that was not a scientific fact, but if he is gay, that’s fine. We love and support him no matter what. He really wanted to return to college and the psychiatrist agreed as long as he went for therapy at school to be treated for depression. He agreed and the first appointment was set up before he was discharged.

    Well, that was 3 weeks ago and things have not gotten better. He basically cut off all communication with us for the last week and a half until last night. I asked him to please get in touch with us – we were confused and scared. He texted back “I don’t want to hurt you anymore. I’m just alone and scared and trying to figure out what to do now that I realize everything I thought I knew about myself was wrong.” Of course, this terrified us. Thank God he answered his phone when I called. He was again alone in some building on campus and in tears. He said he doesn’t go to his room anymore since his roommates don’t want him there. He said he just didn’t know what to do. I asked him if he wanted to leave school, come home and sort things out. He said NO…what would I do but sit around all f***ing day. I asked about finding a different room or even living with his sister. He was paralyzed. At that point, the phone went dead and he texted me he would call me back. I waited about 45 minutes (11:15 pm) and asked if was going to call back. When he finally called around midnight, he said he figured it out. He’s retarded. I said we needed to find him a doctor off campus. At that point he said, I’m not staying here. There’s nothing for me here. He wants to leave school and come home.

    I’m writing this as my husband is going to pick him up and bring him home. I’m terrified of what will happen next. I spent hours on the phone today trying to find a psychiatrist who will see him next week with no luck so far. I can’t fathom that my high achieving son who prided himself on his academic achievement for the past 2 years is voluntarily leaving college. If his health and safety is at stake (which I feel it would be if he stayed), it’s the right thing to do. I’m just terrified of him being home all day like a caged animal with no friends home, no job and no activities or schoolwork. He gets bored so easily and I know he is just going to ruminate even more. I feel like I need to take a leave of absence from my job to keep an eye on him and be his advocate for treatment. He’s just so hard to deal with right now and I’m afraid of the fighting and/or silent treatment that will ensue. I have no idea where he gets his pot and that’s a whole other issue of not wanting him doing drugs in our house and probably needing addiction help for that. Is “tough love” the right thing right now? My own therapist said it sounds like he had some kind of psychotic break and maybe he is bipolar. I just don’t understand how we got here in the last 2 months or if I have been blind to signs all along. I feel like he needs therapy and psychiatric help before we can push him about finding a job or anything.

    His twin brother and older sister can’t even fathom what is going on and have no clue what to say or do to help. I feel bad for them too since I know they are scared.

    I would appreciate hearing from anyone who has advice or insight or experience in dealing with a situation like this. I’m so scared. Thank you.