I'm afraid of my difficult child

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Paris, Jan 7, 2008.

  1. Paris

    Paris New Member

    I don't think I can take much more. My difficult child will not even discuss getting a job. I don't want to kick him out because he doesn't seem like he's even in his right mind.
    He's bipolar, but does that make him crazy? He goes from goofy, silly (like a five year old), impulsive, loud, (almost drunk-like) to REALLY angry, to so depressed he won't talk or do much of anything.

    He just turned 18 and does not want to go grow up. It's almost like the thought of it throws him into a state of panic.

    He is still in high school, being forced to go by the judge. I don't think he will ever graduate because we are on our 5th or 6th school. He keeps quitting and never goes anyway. He does have an IEP, but that does not matter to him. He won't work or even look for a job.
    Since he's 18 I can't send him away against his will, but what about some sort of residential living?

    I hate to say this or even think it, but I'm afraid of him. He has never hurt me or anyone else, but when he gets manic I get really scared. I feel like he's a ticking time bomb.
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am so sorry you are scared. I don't have a son this age (mine is 16) but understand being scared of your child.

    Do you have family that can help you with him? You may want to look into Assisted Living programs, and the school should be working on a transitional program with you.

    If he is a danger to you, himself or others don't wait, CALL 911!!!! Let them know he is mentally ill, but please call!

    Your daughter needs to feel safe also. She should have a strong lock on her door, and a phone in there to call 911 if you can't.

    You can refuse to provide housing and any other support if you want. He is 18. I am not saying it is the best route, not judging it at all, just saying it is an option.

    At 18 not sure you can force a program, but you do have control over the house because YOU pay the bills. You can set some rules and make him leave if he does not follow them.

    Others will be along soon with more ideas. Please keep yourself safe.

  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Unstable bipolar can cause psychosis and "crazy" behavior (I have bipolar, but not quite that bad). If he uses recreational drugs that would make it even worse. I would call social services about a plan for him when he turns 18...maybe a group home or assisted living. I'm not convinced that, in his state of mind, he is able to follow your rules, even knowing the consequences. Is he compliant with his bipolar medications and sober other than that?
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Take it back.
    If he's using pot, it means he probably using other drugs too. I'd make him leave unless he quits using recreational drugs. He won't get better as long as he dabbles with drugs and probable drinking (they go together). You can't help him unless he decides to comply with his treatment plan. Good luck.
  5. goldenguru

    goldenguru New Member

    Since your son was diagnosed BiPolar (BP),his medication regime puzzles me. When was the last time your son saw a psychiatrist and had his medications evaluated?

    Zyprexa is an anti psychotic drug - which works great in terms of sedating him - but he isn't on any mood stabilizers. And truthfully - he sounds like he is cycling.

    If you are fearful for your safety, you must be proactive. Furthermore - Having a mental illness is not a license to not work or go to school.

    If he is threatening you, I would call 911 and insist on a 72 hour psychiatric stay where they can evaluate him and try to change up his medications.
  6. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    If the Court is involved (mandating he go to school) then perhaps
    the court can force him to get a proper evaluation AND begin taking appropriate medication. It does not sound as though he
    is on the right medications to me, either. The TWO major rules have to
    be (1) no violence allowed or the police are called to take him
    away and (2) if you live in MY house you take yours medications as they
    are prescribed. Once he is under the care of a psychiatrist he will have
    routine blood tests which will, as a bonus, indicate if he is
    using inappropriate Rx's to self medicate.

    I am really sorry you have to face this degree of emotional pain.
    Keep in mind, however, that you can not allow yourself to be sucked in so far that you end up unable to function healthily
    yourself. Sending hugs. DDD
  7. Sue C

    Sue C Active Member

    When Melissa was in short-term rehab and was about to be released (she was about 14 at the time), we were told that if she hurt us or theatened to hurt us or was verbally abusive to us, we were to call 911 immediately. I hope you will do this, too.

  8. Paris

    Paris New Member

    He has never hurt me or even threatened it. It's just a feeling and 911 won't do anything based on a feeling. His psychiatrist put him on Effexor as well, but he went off of it. As far as mood stabilizers we have tried Depakote and lamictal. Are there any others that might work? Besides Lithium.

    It's the cycling that scares me. It's so unpredictable. And his unwillingness to grow up baffles me.

    And why the heck doesn't his cycling bother his friends?????

    I won't just kick him out with no where to go.
  9. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Ah - the negative projection based on current events, puke in the bucket moment.

    yeah - I remember feeling what you do. My son isn't BiPolar (BP) - but I also got the ticking time bomb feeling, I couldn't watch an episode of court tv or anything like that for fear of putting MY son in place of (name the criminal).

    And then I'd teeter from those feelings (like I was living with a potential murderer) to thoughts of having to stop driving past places like Salvation Army and seeing the men/young men walking out into the cold morning air, with backpacks on, or thinking - he'll just end up on the street,penniless begging for money for food - a hobo, he'll never get an education, he'll be cold in the winter, probably turn to drugs or drinking, he's going to fail and I'll always wonder where he is, how he's getting a meal, and he'll blame ME for it all despite all my efforts.

    When I made that statement in my tdocs office - he said "Time to learn HOW to detach and have a life." and I thought - MY GOD MAN HOW SELFISH!!!! I was furious - and he said "I know you are furious, but you have a choice - either make a decision today that this is what you are going to do for the rest of YOUR life and his, and by doing so...actually RUIN his chances to be independent OR take a stand today and say enough is enough and force him to have a life of his own - yeah, maybe NOT the life YOU pictured for him, but it will be HIS life - and you? You can get on with yours."

    I cried I swear for 3 days with all the pictures above in my head just whirling around. I couldn't even listen to music it made me so sad. I kept thinking - I've raised him for 17 years and he's not right- and now? NOW I'm being told I have to push him out or I make it worse for HIM? WHAT ABOUT ME? WHAT ABOUT MY MOM HEART? DOESN'T ANYTHING I'Ve done for the last 17 years count?

    Yes, it does- it counts towards you've done the best job you could do- and you couldn't do any better or you would have. And f you truly want what is BEST for your son - you'll put him out. He will find his way. You don't have to put him out in the street, there are alternatives - like Group homes - talk to the school guidance counselor for your DISTRICT that is in charge of the Sped programs. Go to the top - don't dink around with the teachers etc. Call the district office and ask to speak to the person/Dr. In charge of Special Education and ASK for an appointment to speak in person. Not just a phone call - get your thoughts together. Also call Mental Health, Department of Disabilities and Special Needs -

    If you tell us what area you live in - we probably have someone here that can PM you with information about places you need to be looking at.

    paris - it's okay. Really. If you don't do this now - he's going to be 50, looking to you for all his needs, money, home and food - if you push him - he'll figure it out. Really.

    I'm sorry his moods are not stable, but I kinda think it sounds like he's using drugs too. If that's the case - he needs to go NOW. And you can speak with a detective at the police station for victims assistance - sometimes they are a wealth of resources.

    Also - get a plan together that gets YOU out of the house in case he is dangerous.

    No one should ever live in a home they are afraid to live in. You may want to contact a womens shelter or 800 hot line for some advice or someone to talk to as well.

  10. Paris

    Paris New Member

    Star, you are so funny! Yes, all those thoughts are running through my head!
    Well, I just made a very big move (it was a huge step for ME), I canceled his car insurance. No more car. That is a big thing in his life, so it was really hard for me.
    I didn't want him to feel like a loser because I know that's how he feels about himself.

    I want him to believe in himself and know just how wonderful he is.

    Are there group homes that take 18 year olds? I live in the LA area (San Fernando Valley) by the way.
  11. catwoman

    catwoman New Member

    Don't take chances with your safety. I was afraid of my son but thought he would never hurt me. I was wrong. He put me in the hospital. Listen to your head not with your heart in this case. Do whatever needs to be done to keep yourself and your daughter safe.
  12. Coookie

    Coookie Active Member


    You have gotten a lot of good advice here and I really have nothing to add but I do understand all of your feelings. been there done that :frown: We each come to that place in our minds (and hearts) when what we have to do is crystal clear... at different times.

    Being afraid of your difficult child is a horrible feeling to have. I used to think that I was loosing my mind... had no concrete reason to fear him... he had never physically harmed me... but the feeling was always there. :frown:

    Make a plan, even if you are the only one who knows about it for the time being... it is a first step. I know from personal experience that we get to the place we need to be for ourselves by many baby steps... and it all begins with the first one. :smile:

    Holding good thoughts and saying prayers for you.

  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Im sorry you are going through this.

    Bipolar doesnt give him the right to be a jerk to you. It can be an explanation but it isnt an excuse and he has to be held accountable.

    Since he is mandated by a judge to go to school can you get his PO to get him mandated to get a new evaluation done and therapy in there too? There are other mood stabilizers but why are you son against lithium? It is the gold standard for bipolar. It really worked well for my son but it caused him to have hand tremors so he couldnt work on it. That is the only reason he went off it. Now I simply cannot take it but each of us is different.

    It is difficult to make the decision to put them out. It helps to research what is available in your area for services for people your sons age.
  14. Paris

    Paris New Member

    Lithium scares me. Aren't there a lot of side effects and blood testing?
  15. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Lithium does require a blood draw initially to get the dosages right, and then about every 6 - 9 months after that to make sure the thyroid is OK. In my opinion, there are no more side effects from Lithium than any other of the medications out there. In fact, for my son, it has no side effects - and it manages his mood better than any other mood stab.

    I think Lithium, for some reason, has received a bad rap over the years. However, it has been around since the 50's, has been tested the most of any mood stab medication out there, and is known to work for the highest percentage of people with bi-polar.

    I would definitely look into getting his medications looked at. I completely sympathize with fearing your son. It is the worst feeling, ever.

    Hang in there.
  16. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    You canceled his car insurance? Are you thinking that not having insurance will keep him from driving? That seems pretty unrealistic. When my son started scaring me I sold the car. I was worried that he would take it and use it as a weapon, which would have been awful with insurance to cover what it would, but without insurance we would have lost everything. Your son isn't thinking logically. You either need to reinstate his insurance, or get rid of the car. Or at least get rid of the keys and the distributor cap.
  17. Paris

    Paris New Member

    Canceling the insurance insures myself that I will not be letting him drive the car.
    I won't take that risk. I keep the keys. Besides he doesn't try and take the car anyway when he is not suppose to. He's bipolar and his moods are scary, but he doesn't do things that crazy!
  18. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I guess I'm confused. Taking the keys from mom's purse and taking the uninsured car would be pretty much expected in this group.

    What is it about him that scares you? You say he has never hurt anyone. Did he threaten someone?

    Is it the not working or going to school and impulsive behavior that you are referring to? These things are awful, to be sure. But I'm reading your post as saying you are afraid for your well being. Is that just a feeling, or is there some particular incident or situation that is frightening.

    I'm not saying that you're wrong to feel that way. Mom's know their kids. But from experience moms who live in bodily fear of child usually don't think that taking the keys to the car out of her purse is beyond what their kid is capable of. Can you elaborate on what is scaring you?
  19. Paris

    Paris New Member

    Okay, I guess I should clarify. He's terrified of growing up and refuses to look for a job. He is without a doubt bipolar, so I'm not sure if that's why he won't work. He won't share his feelings with me.

    I'm afraid he'll end up on disability, in a mental hospital, homeless, or robbing a bank! Yes, these are my worst fears. No, he has never done anything like that. He doesn't go against his consequences. If I tell him he can't take the car, then he won't.

    My son has been very sheltered throughout his life. He is NOT street smart. That is one of my fears too. If he has no skills, no education, then how will he possibly survive out there in the real world????

    Also, when he is manic he gets VERY angry. He has never hit me or threatened me. I think I'm more afraid for him. Again, how will he survive in the real world having a manic episode like that?
  20. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    That sounds like a more accurate read on the situation.

    If he's not complying with the PO and the judge, I would let that take it's natural course. Smoking pot likely accounts for a lot of the behaviors you're talking about. It would be helpful if you could get drug-testing added as a condition of his probation. He won't have any direction if he's high. He won't make it in the real world if he's high.