Getting thru sleepless nites?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by slsh, Oct 20, 2008.

  1. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Need some practical advice here. I'm having those jolting wake-up-at-2-a.m.-terrified-of-thank you's-future moments and I expect them to only get worse as the big 18 approaches (March). Long story short, he will end up homeless and uneducated by his choice (with a bit of a shove from us as we've decided *not* to request continued funding thru the state for his "treatment", nonexistant as it is at this point). I'm anticipating it is going to get very ugly and .... I just need some suggestions to use for those late night sessions. I'm especially terrified because he continues to see suicide as a rational alternative when life gets tough. As always, it's all or nothing with him. He won't do a darn thing to improve his lot.

    Need self-talk ideas here. How do you survive the fear? I think I've got detachment down cold and my resolve is strong but neither of those helps a bit with the absolute terror I'm feeling about his well-being.
  2. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    I think that what has helped me more than anything is positive thinking. Instead of thinking of all the negative things that could happen to difficult child because of his choices I started to visualize the end of all my hard work to save him. I pictured him at 25, happy, well-adjusted. I pictured him at 30, a husband with a wife and children. Maybe it was delusional thinking, but it hurt too bad to see him as it could be, so I saw him as I wanted it to be. And today, for the first time since he was 15, I see the possibility in his daily life. He is growing and changing and becoming the man I know he can be.
  3. Jena

    Jena New Member


    i'm sorry to hear that you are experiencing that, i cant' imagine the anxiety you must be feeling and how that looks in the midle of the night.

    I would say from experience that you have to talk you down, lower your anxiety somewhat so you can get a good nights sleep. Id' try some melatonin at bedtime, it should help keep you calm and down for the count through the night.

    In regards to difficult child, im not sure what the answer is other than lettting go in a sense and giving up control. Have you ever heard of the serenity prayer? Also just keep telling yourself it'll be ok, and it will work out however it is supposed to. I know that may sound stupid yet that's where some faith comes in i think with the letting go of the control of it all.

    i wish you luck, i'm really sorry to hear you are having a rough time of it.

    :) (((hugs)))
  4. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    I wish I had a bit of wisdom.

    But when Nichole was at her worst I did the imagining her in the far off distant future thing with a bit of delusional thinking thing thrown in like everywoman. But then my aunt Norma would pop into my head (severe mental illness) and I'd have to push those thoughts outta my head. sigh

    So I told myself over and over, while practicing my deep breathing exercises (remember labor?), that at 18 it was all up to her and there was nothing I could do about it.
  5. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Sue, I really like Everywoman's advice about allowing yourself to hold onto some delusional thoughts as a form of self preservation.

    It's hard to know what to say. I've always related so strongly to your posts about thank you because you could be describing my difficult child. He too refuses to participate in improving his lot in life, and it's incredibly frustrating, disheartening and sad.

    I wonder...if you focus on the fact that you've done everything humanly possible and then some, that there's nothing you could have done differently or better to change thank you's outcome, whatever that outcome will be, and then let go and let God...

    Sometimes, when my difficult child was facing the threat of a long jail sentence, I used to just sit in bed and mumble to myself, "there's nothing more I could have done, there's nothing more I could have done"

    I think you've made superhuman efforts over the years for thank you. As Everywoman suggested, maybe you could try just picturing him the way you'd like him to be. Energy is a mysterious thing...visualizing how you want him to turn out may help you to get through sleepless nights, but it might also have an effect on how thank you sees himself.

    I'm sorry you're facing this Sue. It's not easy, no matter which way you look at it.

  6. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Re-read the page on detachment. Journal. Meditate. Use the Serenity Prayer as your mantra. Read some Families Anonymous literature. All these things helped me. As a last resort, I got medications from my psychiatrist to help me with the sleepless nights.
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Sue....I dont know how you can realistically be expected to handle the upcoming months. What thank you is going to go through is going to be so hard on not only him but on you and husband. There is nothing harder on a parent than watching their child completely fall apart.

    I saw the grandfather on the Caycee/Caylee case after he testified at the grand jury and my heart just broke for him because he said something that I could relate so well with. He said something to the effect of "If you have never had to turn your child in to the authorities, testified against them, then you really dont know what hell on earth is." So damn very true.

    I think the only thing you can do is take it one day at a time. Maybe one hour or minute at a time. It may well be that this is the time to start some anxiety medications because this will be a time filled with anxiety for you. thank you is going to do what he wants to do. He will have to learn things the hard way. We all hear that 25 is the magic age. I keep holding out for that number myself. I happen to be praying 22 is Corys age
  8. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Ahhhhh HA I KNEW I wasn't the ONLY one......

    Dear Sister of the Night Terrors,

    I'm writing to you today through bloodshot eyes, and should even one of those eyes find it's way to the matching bottom lid I will surely fall asleep. I have my doubts on which is worse, being up all night and worrying about your child's supposed and impending future or the fact that you really can not take a 15 minute powernap in your office and get away with it. (Swear I am starting to wonder if I could do it in the potty) men seem to respect you if you can be in a bathroom with yourself for longer than 15 minutes - perhaps I'll nap there. Wonder how bad an alarm clock would echo in a restroom? Moving on.

    See last night - I sat up and worried about Dude going to restitution camp. I worried through 2 alkaseltzers, 1 axid and a Prilosec, 1 rolaids soft vanilla chew (could be candy), and pacing up and down the hall after nothing on 3 am tv would get my mind off of tomorrows events. I'm sick with fear that Dude will go to trial and end up in prison for 15 years - and so is he. And in his adolescent/depressed mind frame - despite being a smart kid? He's mentioned on a down day the "What does it matter it would be easier to just be gone." and I know what he means. If they send him to prison for 15 years - I imagine through his statements that he'll attempt to take his life shortly after. And I THINK nae - DWELL on that on occasion and then I try to push the thougth out of my head and look for some incling of maturity in the now.

    I try in an effort to stave off bad thoughts - by remembering ALL THE OTHER things that I worried about with Dude, and ALL THE OTHER sleepless nights I have had - and how that worked for me. And oddly enough I could remember a few of the really bad things - surgery with impending paralsys of his face sticks out - and broken tooth would he have to have a fake one? And the night I stayed up when he went to jail was a distant 2nd. The first night they took him to the hospital when he attempted suicide didn't register until I really started to think and then I didn't know if THAT was a good thing or a "you're a bad mom because you didn't remember that" type thing.

    But what DID make sense and help me was that ALL THOSE THINGs that I had stayed up for, and whatever will happen will happen - happened? Are past - the things I try to think about when all the black rain comes into my head are things like - him hugging the Easter Bunny at the Kmart - and saying I LOVE you to EVERYONE as we passed them in the grocery when he was about 18 months old - or how he kissed each toad that he put into my bed under the covers when he was 4 - they make me cry now to think about them - but it reminds me that he was a sweet child at one time
    I was a good Mom -

    He DOES have a life separate from mine - and it's his to do with as he pleases JUST AS MUCH as it was MY LIFe to do with as I pleased from MY Mom - whom I sure I hurt as a child in making all those IT"S MY LIFE decisions......some of which I've even come to terms with enough to tell her - I was wrong.

    I've lost so many people in my life -and with each person we loose of course we rewind the tape in our head and make ourselves nuts trying to figure out if we did the right thing, second guessing, and saying should have.....but in therapy one thing that helped was finding a therapist who helped me eliminate the words SHOULD have - from my vocabulary - and just let everyone live their life. Just like I did.....just like YOU did - just like we all have.

    I gave it to a higher powers hands - and do my best to let it stay there. And I'm not saying I dont' have nights still where I'm up - (last night) is a good example - but then today - I get a call from Dude and he sounds like since I butt out - he's actually figured someone had better do this for him - um....oh yea ME (meaning him) and I'm amazed again - and found something to be proud of him - and told him I was proud of him and that I was behind him.

    And for the rest? There's Flexeril. Non-addicting, occasional need - muscle relaxers - really really.


    I guess in closing the hardest thing we face is that once they are 18 - there are no doctors, no people left to look at what WE still perceive as OUR CHILD that is going to say - He'll be okay -

    So trying to move forward without that type of reassurance is hard - maybe KNOWING that it's not coming and preparing yourself for it can help. I realized last year sometime that there really wasn't going to be anyone telling me anymore - "Oh this will pass he'll be okay." like a doctor, nurse, psychiatrist, mentor, one - and the most unfair thing of all is that while he's physically 18 - he's mentally about 14 - and the world is saying "No Mom - he's 18 now - he's out on his own he's this, he's that." and your brain is going 'BUT HE DOESN"T ACT LIKE AN 18 year old people WAKE UP - look at him - he's about a 12 at best....on a good day 14. Would you do that throw him out thing to a 14 year old?" and I have to tell myself - yes. Because ALL that I had tried - was unsuccessful - so MAYBE - MAYBE the last refuge for him is doing it on his own - and living a hard life and seeing and KNOWING that if he just TRIED - I'll be there for him to help him with a hand up - not a hand out.

    And somehow - I'll survive this broken heart - and do JUST LIKE EVERYWOMAN said and Imagine him - at 30 with children happy and working and then I'll kick myself squarely in the @$$ for about 2 weeks straight, go on a bender until I puke and find somewhere to sit and laugh with God because after all my life did work out and I wasted time worrying.

    (I've been known to dance nude in the moonlight - so maybe I'll tape on the old chicken livers ONE MO' TIME) - and by then I'll be 60 is so that should secure my placement in a state B&B - which by my calculations will be RIGHT on time - as I will have outlived crazy and be looking for a place to get my fill....Know what I mean?? I'll have this jones for nutty people - because all the people in MY life will be sane and happy - BWAH HA HA.......
  9. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    Oh Slsh and Star, I'm sitting here crying for both of you. I don't have an immediate answer for how to deal with it; I also wake up with heart pounding and tears on my face and all I can do is shove those out of control feelings into a little room and lock the door, tell myself I'll deal with them tomorrow ... or the next day ...

    My difficult child also sees suicide as a seriously viable option and he's prone to depression. All I can do is hope - and try not to think about it. I try to think about how strong my younger sister is. She has a daughter with a heart defect so severe that, when the surgeons repaired it shortly after birth, they told her that her daughter would be in the new pediatric cardiology textbook as the worst heart malformation they've seen so far (this was at a world-class peds hospital). Then they told her that the longest a child has survived with a similar repair was to the age of eleven. Her daughter is sixteen now. All these years she's lived with the knowledge that she could get a phone call from the school any day to say that her daughter is dead, or she could go to wake her daughter in the morning and find her dead. Now she's in uncharted territory, so to speak, and the surgeons won't lay any bets on how long the repair will last. So I think about my sister and my niece and I tell myself if she can do it, I can do it ... and I go on for one more day.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2008
  10. goldenguru

    goldenguru New Member

    Many good suggestions above.

    I must be a weakling for even suggesting this but - I'll humble myself and admit it. When life was at it's worst - and calamity was a real possibility - I kept a prescription to get me through the worst of times.

    For me, sanity was closely linked to something resembling a good nights sleep. I could cope with most anything during the day - but when the "night terrors" set in I often needed some pharmacological help.

    Talk to your family doctor or psychiatrist. They can prescribe mild sedatives to help. Are the medications going to make the situation(s) any better? Nope. But, they will allow you the ability to cope. medications are not a long term fix - but they do sometimes help get us over the biggest of our mountains.

  11. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Golden Guru -

    Sometimes I think - IF (big if) IF now that the kid is gone I smoked dope -to calm my nerves......and then I think - "Sure Star - you don't even smoke cigarettes, you're anti drug, AND what limited grey matter you still have left has to last you the rest of your life."

    But then there' and I don't drink - so I tried

    Yoga - and I'm so overweight - downward facing dog to the lay person would look more like heavy chick not getting up without a back sprain.....
    So I found

    FLEXERIL (dat dah da dhaaaaa) and I dont' take it often - but when I do - I sleep like - a man in the bathroom for 15 minutes....(snort)
  12. goldenguru

    goldenguru New Member

    Thanks Star for sharing that. I'm usually pretty 'anti-medication'. Addiction runs pretty far back into my family tree - so I'm hyper vigilant.

    There were a few times when life gets so heavy - it was medications or insanity.

    I'm proud to report that most days I'm mostly sane. LOL. :0
  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hey...let me tell you...I have the combo that will completely knock you into never never land so you cannot possibly worry about your kids during the night!

    .5 mgs klonopin, 25 mgs seroquel, 300 mgs neurontin, 1 lorcet es, 2 mgs zanaflex.

    Let me tell you...I dont care if the house is on simply wont care!
  14. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    Hi Sue, I'm not completely up to speed on your situation cause I haven't kept up with the board except every 3 or 4 months, sorry. But, I was thinking that if you could possibly go to a 12 step meeting, even Al Anon, it may help. The reason I say this is because one of the things they taught me was to speak more along the lines of "maybe, possibly, could be, might be" etc. Not in as much of a controlling authority on everything. I think the idea is..." There is a G-d and I am not it"...that there is help, hope, solution beyond me and my best thinking and that if I "get out of the way" other solutions have a opportunity to take hold.

    The other thing I was thinking of is to remind your son that, generally speaking, the only people who consider suicide are those with mental illness and that there is remedy for that...with medications and counceling. My young difficult child, just released from the Army, has spoken of "if that happens I would just kill myself". So, I reminded him of the mental illness aspect...especially in hopes that he might seek out medical help.

    I understand restless nights of worry and even despair. I don't go through those nights these days...well, I go through sleepless nights but thats cause of my own mania not completely under control at the moment. But I don't despair like I used to...mostly because of what I learned in Al Anon. There is hope, there are solutions. "Surrender to win" is one lil cliche that I'm thinking of regarding your situation. Sometimes we project bad outcomes when really the "projector" might not be working well. What we imagine may not really be the outcome, and it's usually not a good idea to project the negative. We may subconsciously be telling our kids this is what we expect to happen, which of course, is Not what we want to do At All.

    Anyway I'm just thinking outloud don't know if what I said applies...
    but am thinking of you nonetheless.

    with care,
  15. Jena

    Jena New Member

    slsh - so, how are you? I read through and you haven't given an update on your nights? are they getting better? all the advice you got here........we'll have you medicated, drinking wine, in strange yoga positions as per star!!! LOL (WHO IS WAY WAY TOO FUNNY) :)

    In all seriousness, how's it going? ok another good one kava kava tea tastes a bit nasty but works good too to calm.
  16. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Thanks for the input. I was *really* hoping there'd be like a quick fix, you know? ;) Put on my ruby red slippers, turn around 3 times, and say "thank you's an independent functioning adult" and poof, it would be so. LOL, okay, who is delusional now??? :rofl:

    medications are out because I adamantly refuse to see docs. Drink... probably not a good idea on a regular basis because I do have that mood-swinger's propensity towards self-medication (or at least did, many years ago). Starbie, you make me laugh - husband (jokingly) suggested I hit thank you up for one of his (ahem) special cigarettes. Yep, that's just what I need, a little recreationally-induced paranoia to go along with my 2 a.m. weepies.

    Positive thinking... that's really hard for me on a good day. I'm one of those "expect the worst" people. In my little padded room of a world, if the worst happens, I'm prepared and not surprised, and if it doesn't? I feel like I've won the lottery. Seriously - I'm not seeing even the hint of anything positive for thank you in the near future and it's just tearing me up, you know?

    I'm trying to hold onto the fact that he's got to take responsibility for his own life, he has the resources and just because he's not using them, as usual, doesn't mean I need to obsess about the not so great possibilities. But heaven help me, I have this really annoying voice in my head (so to speak) that says "do one last thing to help him". Except it would never be one last thing, would it?

    There's a house down the street that's been foreclosed on - the previous owners trashed it completely as a parting gift so the price is ridiculously low (yes, I checked - OMG!). I told husband the other night, we could buy it (yeah well, we could win the lottery too) and thank you could live there and then I'd at least know he had a roof over his head.... until he tore it down.... and husband got a really worried look on his face. I guess that is not an option.

    I know I have to let it go. I know I have to let him figure it out. I worry that either he won't figure it out or worse, worry what he will do when he does figure it out.

    So I guess I'll stick with chanting the serenity prayer and doing my Lamaze breathing and cling to husband and just hope...

    Though I did write my first draft today of a scathing letter to TLP, basically telling them that their target audience is mentally ill teens, duh, that self-direction is pretty much not an option, duh, that they're idiots, duh, and that someone over there better rectify their craniorectal inversion and do whatever it takes to get thank you beyond the online filling out of job applications and get his little posterior to an actual interview and then a job. I'm sure there are a few revisions in this letter's future but... they will be held accountable for doing their job, doggoneit.

    thank you has a psychiatric evaluation this weekend just in case he decides maybe he actually does have a problem post 18 and needs services. I'm taking bets on whether he shows or not...

  17. Star*

    Star* call 911

    You know -

    When I went through abuse therapy they told us the #1 reason a woman stays in an abusive relationship is -not what you think. You would think that fear of retribution, or fear of death but the #1 fear is the UNKNOWN.

    In a lot of ways it was the same for me and still is to some degree with Dude. I don't KNOW what is going to happen, I know what I WANT, but another unknown is not knowing what THEY want. And a lot of times when you say or ask them what they want it is SO grandiose you being to question if they have any rationale at all. Flat out asked our therapist if Dude was maybe mildly retarded. At 17 his aspirations without an education, or being in school, and a convicted felon were - ridiculous. Not just hahah maybe he could do it if he applied himself - but just about as could happen as if I said I want to be an astronaut at 44.

    The thing I do know is that NO amount of worrying on my part will change the course of what will be history a minute from now. No amount of my acid reflux has EVER been considered in a court case. No amount of my OBVIOUS black bags under my eyes, worn to a frazzle look has EVER made the slightest difference with a group home, therapist, Residential Treatment Center (RTC) staff, judge, jailer, because everyone has their own problems and while someone could see I was walking death - it wasn't their life...and consequently not their problem. So why do we worry?

    I think, (IMVHO) that we worry because we feel that somewhere in all the upset is THE answer (heavens open up, gold coins fall from the sky, clouds become cotton candy, angels sing) and we have a V-8 moment (slap head) and say to ourselves "I knew if I just thought long and hard enough I could solve this problem." and sometimes? That could work - but it's rare that anything we upset ourselves over changes the way our children behave. I'm a living example of that - I had a stroke - and Dudes reaction while in Department of Juvenile Justice was - So did she send my stamps and envelops? Or something that was self-serving - maybe was Dad going to show up and buy vending machine snacks on Wed. night visits. Not "OH wow - my behavior adversely affected my Mother to THAT degree?" naughah...not happening.

    Too - I think about turning my back, turning a blind eye - shutting my ears, ignoring him to the point of WELL THERE YOU GO, or thinking to myself in a shoulder devil/shoulder angel conversation - HELP HIM - NO DO NOT or he'll never find his way -- HELP HIM OR HE'S GOING TO DIE, no no - if you help him you are NOT doing him any favors - FAVORS? Yeah he's ripe with your favors isn't he? Homeless, no job...goingto jail.....and that conversation goes on and one until I could scream and sometimes do to make them shut up. (voices in my head)

    What I can tell you is that you just have to follow your heart. I've even pretended that Dude was NOT MY KID - in an effort to stave off my own help. I thought "If that were NOT my kid how would I approach this?" and that helped me some, but then the shoulder conversation goes on - You're a bad mom for not helping, You SHOULD try one more time....and once again I'm stuck sitting with my fingers in my ears telling the voices to SHUT UP.

    I dont' know that shutting them out totally is the answer - we get so much information about how to parent a younger child, don't be a militant mom, don't do this, do that - but yet no one explains what happens with kids like ours.....there's no book......there is ONLY US (people on the board) who have gone before us and we HOPE that our kids Find the lighted path. We are deeply saddened (more than words could say) about those parents here who have lost children, and secretly most of us while sympathetic are saying OH MY GOD I hope that is never my kid - but it happens. And that is the fear of the unknown......

    Maybe the best thing we can do is tell them we love them constantly, support them when they are living right or trying to live right, point them in the right direction and pray they figure it out somewhere down the road and butt out of their lives and decision making. I hope so because that's where I am now. In all my born days if someone would have told me when I held him as a baby that in 17.8 years from now - he'll be on his own, uneducated, sullen, depressed, moody, angry, a felon, looking at 15 years in prison because even though he was raised well, he made STUPIT mistakes, and spent a lot of his childhood feeling sorry for himself because he couldnt' get along at home to the point that we kept him either in Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s, group homes or hospitals.......

    I would have never believed it - BUT I couldn't have worked any harder to prevent any of it than I did - and you either. We did the best we could with what we knew - and NOW it's time for our sons to do the best they can with what they know.

    I try to keep in mind that I wish I were 1/2 as bright NOW at 44 as I thought I was at 18.

    We're here - and we get it SLSH........don't bottle it up - you're not much different than a shaken Coke when you do. ;)
  18. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Sue....does thank you get SSI? If he does, transfer him to NC and he can come be Corys neighbor! You guys can come down for an extended stay to help him fix up a trailer and he can pay the 125 a month out of his SSI plus his light bill...and get a small amount of food stamps...and they can all figure out what else to do for the rest of the month! Hey...its not luxery but its a roof. Its also not the gang ridden streets of Chicago. We do have crime and drugs here but I doubt its quite as bad as inner city Chicago. Cory is a problem child but he would look out for

    Hey...Im serious.
  19. Star*

    Star* call 911

    AND DUDE?????????

    OMG THAT would be the LIVING end of Janets sanity -

    thank you.......all. in. the. same. trailer. nae. state. o.m.g.
  20. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member forget...Its not in my backyard!