Need your valuable opinions

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by in a daze, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    So I got a call from him today on his way home from IOP. He's been feeling still depressed for last three weeks. Saw p doctor today who added Welbutrin to his drug regieme. Now he says that his depression is related in a big way to the restrictive environment of the recovery home/treatment center where he resides.

    It is located in a cluster of old houses that are no frills but are kept clean by the clients and in good repair. There is no cable, internet access and cellphones are only allowed during business hours when client is at work or on the job hunt. Client is not allowed off the property unless he has a job. There are curfews, of course. Visiting hours restricted to Sunday afternoon. Daily group and AA meetings of course are mandatory. Excellent counseling/treatment. 500.00 a month. He's been there a total of 8 months.

    difficult child wants to be able to go out and play basketball or go out to dinner with his cousin (two examples he gave). (Never mind that he has very little spending money). SSI benefits have not started. Job search ineffectual. States he's tried a few temp agencies. Had interview two weeks ago but felt he did not do well. Feels he is hampered by the hours taken up by therapy and groups which he feels he needs. Trying for evening part time job but no luck so far. His counselor says he seems more focused on the job hunt. But maybe not enough.

    I told him to hold on till after the new year when I think the IOP will be over and he will be more available during the day. Then maybe he will be able to get some kind of job and move up to three quarters.

    So, do you think it's manipulation? Or should we look into a place with high speed internet at least?

    He's been taking two buses to intensive outpatient, participating in group and has been sober for 2 months. (to recap, he was sober from March to September until he got moved up to three quarters, lost his job, and started abusing his ADHD medication resulting in 2 more hospitalizations for medication induced psychosis which took a good 6 weeks to completely resolve itself) So he has been actively participating in his treatment, but this job thing...

    And another thing is his fractured relationship with his dad, who has been sending him encouraging and conciliatory texts which are never answered...doesn't want to see dad because dad makes him husband is a good guy whose only mistake was to try to set firm limits with our son. He has a close relationship with our daughter.

    It seems his depression is situational, or is it manipulation? He is sick of the place. He's been there 9 months, if you don't count the hospitalizations in Sept-Oct. Less inclined to fork over more money for another place since he treats dad so poorly ( or is this mental illness and we should just suck it up?)
  2. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    Sorry I've had a lot on my plate so just been lurking for a couple months is why no one has heard from me for ages, but this one I got to post. In my opinion a person who qualifies for 5 inpatient stays in one year is genuinely mentally ill and not just running a con; a loving supporting family can make the difference between life and death to a person who isn't thinking clearly. I enable I know and I do way too much for my kids but if I don't who will? and isn't that my job? I am a mom after all I can take care of them or worry myself sick, in life we have choices even if none of them are good.

    Just my 2 cents worth... wishing you peace
  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    IAD, can you talk to his therapists and pose your questions to them? I've been around mentally ill family members my whole life and in addition to usually being quite bright, they can also be quite manipulative. You are a very loving and devoted family to your son, you have done whatever is best for him.

    My first thought upon reading your post is that you are doing an excellent job giving your son everything he needs. Because he doesn't have high speed internet or what he wants doesn't seem like a good enough reason to spend more money and give him everything he needs. He is getting what he needs, perhaps not what he wants. And, when he was moved up to three quarters in Sept. he abused his medications and it took a long time to resolve it. It really sounds like he needs major supervision at this point, not more perks. The fact that he won't connect with his Dad seems to speak to his not liking boundaries at all........from his Dad or from this facility. If I were in your shoes, I think I would wait, talk to the professionals, and really recognize that you ARE doing everything possible for your son right now.

    I think sometimes when our kids are unbalanced our own parental guilt wants to take over and give them a lot more then is necessary. This may be a time for you to really understand just how much you've already given to your son and how much you really love him and want the best for him. If you really get that now, these kinds of issues may be easier for you down the road. It can be difficult for us to know when we really have done enough when our kids are needy. In my opinion, you've done enough.
  4. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    After reading the last post I want to add, you are doing a great job and he's in a safe place; on no level is high speed internet (or any internet) a necessity of life.

    Thanks for the reality check recovering enabler, Nancy
  5. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    It does sound like very restrictive program and 8 months is a long time for an adult to live like that. Then again, he does have a clear way to move to little less restrictive life (that I assume that three quarters is) in foreseeable future.

    You have done a lot for him. And while his complains and wishes are very understandable, it is time for him to take the steps to make those wishes happen.
  6. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Two months is not a long time to recover from using any medication that affects the brain. Could it be that son's depression has more to do with his rebalancing brain chemistry than the restrictive nature of his surroundings?

    His history of relapse, combined with his attitude toward his father and his lackluster job hunting history indicates someone who needs more time to stabilize. I don't think son is being manipulative, really...just probably so ready to get on with his life and tired of needing to be where he is. Think about someone who has been physically ill for awhile. (Or even, think back to when you were pregnant!) There are times when we just want to get back to our regular lives. And we can't, so we get cranky and demanding.

    It seems to me that son's placement here is working for him, so far. Before he knows it, he will have worked his way to the less restrictive environment. Does he have access to the library? Or maybe, you could order him some books? Maybe, foreign-language tapes, something like that?

  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    in my opinion if he wants more amenities then he needs to get a job and pay for a more expensive situation with them. Years ago I heard something that made real sense, and I try to use it with my own kids now, and even with husband. A son was out of high school, didn't want to go to college, was working when he wanted to at menial labor type jobs, and wanted to live the lifestyle his parents, both of whom had advanced degrees and professional jobs, could afford. He worked a job that was very dangerous and paid min wage. He was told that if he wanted to do that job, then he could go live that lifestyle because his parents were NOT going to pay for him to kill himself. His boss had zero respect for safety regulations even the ones required by law like working seatbelts in the work vehicle, and this was said after the third work accident requiring medical treatment at an ER or urgent care place. Of course there was no health ins benefit for this job, and it was under the table so there was no worker's comp either. His parents got the 'privilege' of paying for the medical treatment without which one mishap alone would likely have resulted in serious impairment of his ability to use his dominant hand.

    The son freaked when told that if he wanted to work the job then he could go live on his earnings with-o their help/$$, but in my opinion it was well said.

    If your son wants more, then he needs to earn more. You are providing his needs. You won't be around forever. At some point he MUST take responsibility for providing for himself. Mentally ill or not, he is an adult. You are being very supportive and generous, and in my opinion he needs to do more to find a job and if you provide what he wants with-o making him earn it, then he won't EVER really become independent. He NEEDS to be uncomfortable to grow. If you provide what will make him comfortable, then he will NOT ever grow to be more independent. This is not you being mean, this is LIFE. He is 26. He may need support, but you are giving him enough. I know a LOT of people who would be incredibly grateful for what you are providing, esp the therapy and medications and structured living situation. maybe your son needs to be reminded of this.

    Mental illness is NOT a reason for others to provide for your every want. It isn't an excuse to be a child forever dependent on parents. It is a challenge to be met, but it is NOT an excuse to cling to childhood or for parents to infantilize you. Yes, as Mom you probably do want him to be happy. But it won't HELP him, or even benefit him. It will make YOU feel better, but it further handicaps HIM.

    In many cases all the therapy a person iwth mental illness gets is great, but it also gives them powerful tools to manipulate people. Sadly, the most manipulative people in my life are those who are mentally ill. They use a combiination of excuses and things they learn in therapy to keep others entangled with them and to get others to provide for their desires rather than to get a job where they might work and be bored at times. This isnt universal, of course, but for those inclined to manipulate, therapy to treat MI gives real skills and tools to manipulate also.

    He can work to earn the money for his internet and entertainment, an he can work to earn the privilege to leave the premises or he can work to pay for a place where he does not have these restrictions.

    his mental health is HIS responsibillity, and it si NOT something you should "svck it up" over. You work HARD, you give him a TON physically, financially and emotionally. If he cannot at least treat his father with respect, then he sure as sugar doesn't need more money from Mommy and Daddy. That, in my opinion, is basic economic reality and if you give him more $$ while he treats his father like koi, then you are not just telling him it is okay to treat Dad like a pile of doodoo, you are asking him to pretty please treat Dad like a steaming pile of doodoo. Basic courtesy, esp when Dad is sending olive branches repeatedly, isn't optional. And lack of basic courtesy should NEVER EVER be rewarded with more privileges. NOT EVER. PERIOD.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    The others gave good advice. I will speak to whether or not you should just let him disrespect your husband because he is mentally ill.


    Depression doesn't make you treat people badly. If he were psychotic and really believed your husband had super powers to harm him, I'd excuse it. But depression isn't a good reason for treating his father like garbage.

    I think our kids need to be in THIS world to get better and in my opinion the electronics are distracting. Now I don't believe they never let them out to exercise. If that is true, I'd maybe fret a bit over that, but not the internet. Maybe he'd contact people there that are not good for his recovery. in my opinion he doesn't need the internet.
  9. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    Quote: It really sounds like he needs major supervision at this point, not more perks. The fact that he won't connect with his Dad seems to speak to his not liking boundaries at all........from his Dad or from this facility. If I were in your shoes, I think I would wait, talk to the professionals, and really recognize that you ARE doing everything possible for your son right now.

    Thanks, Recovering. Put in a call to his counselor but he hasn't been able to reach me yet.

    His history of relapse, combined with his attitude toward his father and his lackluster job hunting history indicates someone who needs more time to stabilize. I don't think son is being manipulative, really...just probably so ready to get on with his life and tired of needing to be where he is. Think about someone who has been physically ill for awhile. (Or even, think back to when you were pregnant!) There are times when we just want to get back to our regular lives. And we can't, so we get cranky and demanding.

    Good point, Cedar! I do send him books. He does his job searches in the library.

    Thank you Helpangel, Suzir, and Susie for the reality check. I must remember that what he wants is not necessarily what he needs, and his rejection of his father is something that should be refuted in every conversation I have with him, and not rewarded.

    He called me last night, again complaining of depression and loneliness. Welbutrin has been added to his medication cocktail but he does not see an effect yet. He has applied to McDonald's and Burger King. He speaks of "walking around aimlessly" during job search time. He has applied to temp agency but since he is not available during the day cannot do office work. Reminded him again that IOP will most likely end in January and he will be more available during the day. Upbraided him for not answering or acknowledging his father's texts. He replied that dad makes him anxious and that dad was belittling and critical to him (not lately, before he went in hospital first time). I reiterated that his dad loves him, and wants more than anything to have a relationship with him. I reminded him of his awful behavior at home, where he wouldn't follow the rules, manipulated us into lowering the rent, abused substances, etc. He had mentioned that he wanted to come home, and I told him that coming home was NOT an option. I let all that sink in.

    In his defense, as Suzir had mentioned, he's been at the place for a long time. It's really hard to stay at a place where you are only allowed visitors on Sunday afternoons and they are not allowed to take you off the premises until you have a job. His ineffectual job search is the real problem here. I told him (again!) to apply for Vocational Rehab.
  10. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    So now he's texting me. Mood low, extreme state of panic, gets worse each day, can't shake the depression. Asked did he need to go to ER? Says no, not in danger of hurting himself, nothing to be done, but thinks maybe he needs impatient. Going to IOP tomorrow, fortunately. He's on the bus on the way home. He'll call me later.

    God, I'm so tired of all this!
  11. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    It's so hard to know the right words to say, the right questions to ask. Sometimes, so difficult child daughter tells me, just hearing my voice and knowing that I know how things are with her is enough.

    Maybe that is how your son feels, too.

  12. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    Maybe so, Cedar. Thanks for thinking about me and posting. It's so hard to know what to do sometimes, isn't it?
  13. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    It is. I am trying to learn that maybe it is enough just to listen, just to be there. Time and attention may be the things we need, most. My husband has one of those old time moms who just listens. Whatever it is you're upset about, she is, too. When you are happy, she laughs and laughs with you. I love her very much. She is safe, a calm place in a chaotic world. Sometimes? We just talk about what we had for dinner.

    And that is enough.

    Just to know she is there, and that she loves me, gives me a kind of strength, grounds me, somehow. As we have gone through this past week or two, she has been like this constant beacon of sanity for both husband and I.

    Holding a good thought for you and for your child, IAD.

  14. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Cedar.
  15. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    In a daze,
    my heart goes out to you. It is so hard to hear them unhappy and pleading, and especially with the long duration of his current situation and nothing, at least in his eyes, to show for it. I agree with others that you need to speak to the professionals in the place. Also, what are the steps he needs to take to get out of there? I'm afraid I don't know what IOP is, so I apologize if that is self-explanatory, but if not...well, rather than get stuck in a cycle of complaining of his unhappiness to you, and hoping you will somehow fix things for him, he needs to put his feet on the path of meeting the requirements of getting out of there. It seems unlikely that he will do better somewhere else.
    And I agree with all that high speed internet is not and cannot be the main issue.
    It seems to me that a consistent issue with our difficult children is that they cannot tolerate frustration, and have little to no persistance or stick to itiveness. IF they don't like their situation or find it too difficult, must be changed for them! It seems like they are developmentally stuck in the place of needed instant gratification.
    The sad part is they don't seem to learn, or at least not quickly, that their fate is really in their own hands..that effort, persistence, patience are really what makes for a good life. That sending you unhappy txts will not actually make his life better in the long run, although it may scratch some itch in the short one.
    I do suggest that you not answer his txts immediately...that just feeds the cycle of him complaining to you whenever he is unhappy. It may even seem that he is more unhappy than he is....he knee jerk blurts it out to you whenever he has the urge. Maybe you can make a pattern of just responding to him once a will probably find that without immediate reinforcement (and of course you may already be doin this and I may be off base) he doesn't text you as often. You deserve a little space to breathe and find happiness yourself. That isn't possible if he jerks you back into his world over and over again on a given day.
    We also had a lot of residential situations for our son...military school (gah, disaster), wilderness treatment center for 3 months, therapeutic boarding school for 15 months, rehab and then halfway house. He honestly never really benefitted from any of those settings, although he was safe for the time he was there, and at least we felt that we had tried the end he hitchhiked away from his halfway house after 10 days, and we have not arranged (or paid for) housing for him since. In the end we shelled out about a college education's worth of money to support him in his struggles and illness, and way way more in time, worry, love, and effort..and I can justify that as giving each of my kids what they need within some sort of fairness parameters. We can't go financially or emotionally broke over one kid when we have three too need to preserve your emotional reserves, whether you have other kids or just other people in your life.
    Good luck to you, and hugs, and please keep us abreast.
  16. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    Hi Echolette,

    Thanks for your input! I did speak to his counselor two days ago. He feels that difficult child is depressed but quite functional. He obeys the rules, does the chores, and participates in group and meetings. He seems more animated around people. IOP stands for Intensive Outpatient, which was recommended after his two hospitalizations in Sept/Oct. He signed himself up in October and takes two buses to get there 3 days a week from 9a-12n.

    But he highly recommended the one thing that would help my son the most: he needs to get a job. Part time, full time, whatever. Then he will have more privileges. I have a feeling that he is not very focused on the job search. I took him to lunch yesterday (felt sorry for him) brought my laptop and had him apply for three appropriate jobs that I had found. Obviously I can't do this every day, nor should I. It's up to him now.
    So true!

    I think your idea about not responding to his texts right away is a good one. I can't, anyway when I'm at work.

    We too have spent thousands of dollars on his education, tutors, therapists, psychiatrists, neurofeedback,, drugs, etc. over the last ten years and still do not have a functional self sufficient 26 year old to show for it. Which reminds me of something...He was re hospitalized in October for what I thought was a too brief 3 days. We were away for a family wedding and I took comfort in the fact that he was safely tucked away in the psychiatric unit, and I was pretty mad that he was discharged so soon. Left a message for his psychiatrist who called me back and told me he was too "high functioning" to be hospitalized for a lengthy stay. I guess their definition of high functioning has a low bar!

    I will continue to encourage him, but the odds of him being able to support himself seem to grow dimmer every day. Not to worry, he's been approved for SSI, although the benefits have not started yet.
  17. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    well---I'm impressed he takes two buses each way 3 days/week! that shows some stick to it iveness (I keep making up that word).
    maybe some volunteer work so he has something regular to do in the meantime?
  18. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    You're right. Maybe he is getting better, verrrry slowly...and this in spite of the weather (19 degrees today, freezing all week)

    Mentioned volunteer work to his counselor and he is going to mention it to him next session.