Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by tiredmommy, Mar 25, 2011.
How are you, Leo & the girls today?
Just read your story and wanted to add my support. Hope you know you have a lot of it here.
Hugs & Love
Sorry this is so long.
I'm so emotionally wrought that I literally starting crying when I saw that you cared enough to ask about my son and the rest of my family. Thank you so much for caring.
They've decided that Leo is a threat to himself and he's on a 72 hour hold. His doctor told me that he will probably be released after that into outpatient treatment, so that's good, I guess.
Leo's being...difficult. I think he's scared to death of the place and being 'locked up' like this, and he's also furious at me for taking him to the hospital, absolutely enraged that I "embarrassed" him like that.
I know he feels like I've betrayed him. He told me that he's never going to forgive me and, when I left to go home to the girls, that he hopes I don't come back. I'm trying not to let it get to me because (I hope) he doesn't mean it, but yeah. It's extremely hard.
He's acting out in the only way he can right now by refusing to eat. The doctor said that that's his way of keeping some semblance of control, but as he's malnourished, it's presenting a problem. If he doesn't eat by the end of the 72 hour period, he'll be kept longer and sedated and force fed. Not good.
He's in intensive therapy right now and I hope to god it helps him.
My daughters are doing better than expected. Nora, my ten-year-old, told me that she's happy that Leo's going somewhere that will help him. Sophie is fourteen and she's doing really well, being really understanding. I'm at home with them today and visiting him tonight.
Jack, my twelve-year-old son, has been on a school trip since Tuesday (I'm so glad that there's at least one member of my family that didn't witness yesterday's events) and is getting home tomorrow. I made the decision not to call him and tell him because I'm scared, actually, of his reaction. Leo's the popular, athletic, handsome and charming older brother that he idolizes, and I think that Jack is going to be very unnerved at having that image totally obliterated.
As for me, I'm pretty much an emotional mess right now, but I'm trying to be strong for the kids and Leo.
My biggest fear is that nothing will be the same again. Before Leo's friend's suicide, our lives were very, very normal and very, very good; the only big bad thing that had ever happened was my husband leaving when Nora was a baby. I want my life back.
I've been suggested family therapy for all five of us once Leo is more mentally stable, and I'm going to definitely try it. I think we all need it.
So there's the current state of events. Thank you all so much again. I really do think you saved my son's life with your help and advice, and it was just so amazing to have all of your support. You all are amazing women.
I think, for Jack, that it's all in how you frame it. Leo is still the same wonderful older brother he's always been; he's just struggling greatly under the weight of caring and grief for his lost friend. I think, judging by everything you've written here, that Leo will get through this and return to his old self with the possible exception that he will have a deeper understanding of pain and loss that his peers. I imagine that Leo has always looked out for his younger siblings... this difficult time gives the other kids a chance to show Leo how much he means to them.
I was about the same age as Leo when my parents broke up and I learned quickly to be a caregiver to those around me. Is it possible that his father leaving all those years ago may be playing into this? What I mean to say is: could Leo have defined himself in part as strong, man-of-the-house who can be counted on through thick and thin? He may feel that he let he best friend down and it's shaken his self-image.
Have they mentioned getting him into grief counseling? Even if it's a youth group grief meeting, just hearing other kids his age who are also struggling with the deaths of those near and dear to them might help him feel less alone and encourage him to open up. If they have a group that's exclusively for those who have been touched by suicide, even better. Sounds like survivor's guilt is part of his suffering, too.
I'm so sorry for the loss of Leo's friend. I think that suicide is really tough for adults to process, I can't imagine being a teen and trying to process and react to that. I'm glad the hospital is keeping him for observation. ((hugs))
I was wondering about you, thanks for checking in. Hopefully if they discharge Leo soon you can get real clarity with him and the hospital about what he needs to do not to get back in the hospital and what you should do if he doesn't. (Like go to counseling, eat). Sounds like at the very least that Leo will need some help processing why you did this to him. My thought would be if that he is still singing that song to the exclusion of all else, he maybe isn't processing his feelings. Maybe he is worried about what other kids at school will think of him.
Hope the hospital counseling is making some inroads.
I think Tiredmommy put it well about how to broach it to his younger brother.
I hope that when Leo gets out you feel confident enough in his will to live that you don't feel like you have to watch him every minute.
Hugs. You're doing a great job.
Julie, I'm coming in late to this but you did the right thing. There is really no way you could have gotten around it. Some day when your son is older and has healed, he will understand. Don't worry about him understanding and forgiving you or himself or his friend right now. Just keep him alive. I am hoping that the psychiatric hospital doesn't discharge him too soon.
I agree with-TM on what to do about his brother.
And please stay in touch.
You did exactly the right thing when you had him taken to the hospital for evaluation. They did the right thing by keeping him. It is harder than ever to get a psychiatric admit to a psychiatric hospital since the economy crashed, so the hospital keeping him is very much an idicator of how ill he is.
Grief is really hard to cope with. Grief of a lost loved one due to suicide is even worse. I know how awful it is because when I was home from college that first winter break a friend killed himself. It literally sent me off the rails for a long time. I know that I was not rational at times, though I was away at school so my parents didn't have much of a clue. No matter what, he NEEDS ongoing grief counselling. Not just reg therapy - though that will be very helpful also, esp family therapy, but he also needs special therapy to help with grief. Many funeral homes offer this as a free service to the community. That sounds strange, I know, but they are usually very good. Esp group therapy for grief - it really helps to meet others outside your immediate circle of family and friends who have been there done that.
He doesn't hate you. He will eventually see that you were doing the best you can and that it took a lot of love and strength to love him enough to force him to get help. My son swore for several years that he would never forgive me for putting him into a psychiatric hospital and making him stay for four months. A couple of years later he thanked me for doing it. So don't take his words as gospel or prophecy, not any more than you did when he was a toddler and told you that you were a bad mommy for not giving him another cookie or for making him take a nap.
Lots of hugs, I really hope he accepts the help he needs.
Coming in late...but wanted to add that you did the right thing.
Hugs to you and your family.
Just adding hugs and support. You did what you needed to do for Leo, so don't feel guilty. In adolescents, depression often manifests as anger. The degree of rage you saw indicates how deeply the loss of his friend has affected him. I agree with HaoZi that some type of grief group could be helpful. Many churches offer these groups, or could at least steer you in the right direction.
I hope you can get a little rest while he's still hospitalized. I'm sure you need it.
Know that my caring support is still being transmitted. You absolutely are making the right choices.
Regarding family therapy you may be in for a surprise. I'm one of those who always preaches that easy child's need therapy simply because they are part of a family unit that includes a difficult child. It's been over thirty years ago that my total easy child suddenly threw an object at a wall as the therapist met with the four of us. My shock lead me to say "easy child why would you do that?" Her reply was "because I needed to". I can still picture the room and sudden silence. THAT was when I realized that she had stifled her own angeer and fears in order to support her Mom. It's easy to forget that a cauldron of emotions may be bubbling up inside our easy child's. A good family therapist gives everyone a chance to say what they really feel...and then changes can be implemented. Best of luck. Hugs. DDD
((((Julie))) A friend's suicide is a very, very hard thing to get through. Situational depression is a very normal reaction to what he has gone through.
You did the right thing. Your son will get through this because you got him the intensive help he needs.
Leos still furious at me and everyone else.
Now hes stopped talking altogether; the psychiatric hospital team said that he refused to participate in anything today. I just dont know why he doesnt want help.
His eyes are still empty.
I know it wasnt fair to me or him or anyone else to hope for him to magically get better overnight, but it still hurts that nothings changed.
Leo's eaten absolutely nothing since Wednesday evening. If he doesn't eat something by tonight they're going to sedate him and force feed him with a tube. I'm just so confused. I told him last night what would happen if he didn't eat--sedated and forced fed, plus he'd have to stay longer--and so he knows the consequences if he keeps refusing to eat. He may just be being completely stubborn and not wanting to submit and comply to what the doctors and I want, or he maybe deep down feels like he needs to be in the psychiatric hospital longer and this is his only way of making sure that happens. Who knows. What do you guys think?
Jack got home two hours ago and wanted to know where Leo was. I just told him that Leo was in the hospital and that theyre going to try to help him. I paraphrased what you said, tiredmommy, and Jack seemed to take it very well. Thats one load off my shoulders.
Im still dreading that our family dynamic is irreversibly damaged. I want my happy, laughing, loving son back. I want Sophie, Jack, and Nora to have their big brother back. I want my son to smile again.
Hes turning seventeen a week from today. I hope so badly he doesnt have to spend it in the psychiatric hospital.
For those of you who have had children go into the psychiatric hospital for more than a week or so, how in the world did you do it? I havent been able to sleep these past couple nights with worry.
And my ex-husband lives in England. Ive been trying to get a hold of him but cant reach him. When I finally am able to talk to him, what should I say? The kids go and see him every other year for two weeks, and he sends child support, but thats the extent of his relationship with them. Should I ask him to come here?
I've researched therapists in our area and found a highly recommended one who specializes in adolescents, family therapy, and grief counseling, so I'll make a trial appointment with him once Leo is discharged.
Thank you all so much, every one of you. Your words of encouragement and support mean so, so much to me and are helping me so much.
Not eating can also be a sign of deep depression, which would not be any surprise. Some people eat a lot when they're depressed, others simply stop wanting to eat. They're not hungry, in some cases even the smell of food makes them sick. Unless you're absolutely certain that he is willfully refusing to eat simply to be obstinate, it may just be another sign of how affected his is by all this. If he doesn't perk up in any way when he smells favorite foods (a look in the eye, a glance at the food, even a sign of anger) his brain may not be processing that it's there and his body needs it, it's too overwhelmed by everything else.
Are they medicating him for depression? Has that even been discussed?
The doctors said that he obviously wants to eat, he's just not willing to. They asked me to bring his favorite food, pizza, with me when I visited him tonight and his stomach growled and his mouth watered and he clearly wanted it, he just didn't let himself eat it. Leo's always been extremely stubborn.
They said that since he's never had a history of depression nor has anyone in our family history, and because the depression is due to a traumatic event and not a chemical imbalance in the brain , they're going to try to help him through therapy alone; I do like the idea of not medicating him. I'm going to get a second opinion once he's discharged, just in case he needs medication, though.
I've been through that situational depression. I was 16 when my mom died after from chronic illnesses. If therapy alone can get through to him, that's great. I hid my depression for months and ended up on Zoloft and Pamelor, and it really helped me not just feel better but also be able to examine my depression better to lift out of it. It may take at least short-term medication treatment just to get him to a point where he's willing to accept therapy.
I do worry that it's not just stubbornness, but maybe also what he feels is a way to join his friend and/or self-punishing since it's harder for him to be cutting while he's there.
Julie-- I wouldn't rush to antidepressant because from what I know there is a black box warning about the increased risk of suicide, paradoxically. From what I have read the risk is greatest in adolescents because it sometimes gives them the energy to follow through on a plan. So I would want to know that it is really necessary.
Sounds to me like he is carrying an incredible load of guilt.
I am sorry he is taking it out on you--we know all about that here--but at least he is feeling something. One thing I have learned is rather than trying to reason with my children in that state, is just to keep stating like a broken record, I did it because I love you. That's my job and I will always do it.
I'm sorry, it has got to be so tough. Just keep remembering that his behavior left you no choice.
Something tells me he wouldn't be very medication-compliant right now even if the docs think that would be the way to go. But it does look like he's punishing himself in the only way he can right now, not just based on his behavior but on what he said about feeling guilty about his friend. And if she or they can start to get him to open up with what he's already said, offer him some memorial (tattoo, plant a tree, a park bench, charity, whatever) in his friend's name to give him something to reach for in the future so he feels that some meaningful thing can come from all this and reignites his will to keep going forward.
Do they have someone specially trained in grief counseling on staff?
Separate names with a comma.