New here. Depressed 24 year old refusing help.

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Canuck, Mar 4, 2016.

  1. Canuck

    Canuck New Member

    First off, just want to say how pleased I was to find this support group. I have already read some similar postings and read the detachment posting. This I have found very helpful.

    My son is 24. Up until around December had a very good job coaching, made good money, he and his girlfriend lived here and paid rent. He was under an awful lot of stress at work, working 70 hour weeks, some time, generally about 50.

    Just after Christmas, we had a falling out. He moved into his girlfriend's parent's house, they are fine with this and now never leaves their basement. He stopped going to work, plays, playstation and basically has cut off contact with his friends and family and does not answer his phone, it is turned off. In the past he has suffered from anxiety and self medicates with pot.

    I am at my wit's end. Up until today, I was trying to keep contact, going up there is see him, but yesterday, he only popped up from the basement to say what are you doing here, I am sleeping and then went back down, did say hello but wanted nothing to do with us really. His girlfriend's mom said he is getting worse.

    I asked my older son who is 42 to go and speak to him, my younger son refused to see him. I did give him a letter yesterday, telling him I love him, we are here for him if he wants to get help.

    I now realize I have to detach. As I said I read postings here and to be honest have had dealings with my brother's drug addiction in the past so am aware of enabling. Just didn't know this also pertained to depression as well. It is the hardest thing. Added to this is my husband has early onset Alzheimer's so basically I have no support. I am 60, he is 65 diagnosed 5 years ago. My son told my husband yesterday, he didn't want to see me, and appears to be angry at me, for what I don't know. We were extremely close in the past. Anyway, there it is in a nutshell. I am so thankful I have found this site. As I said will continue to read but would love to hear from people with similar experiences. Thank you.
  2. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    You have done all you can do. He is an adult and it is up to him to get the help he needs. Detaching is a good thing. It is difficult when it is your child that you have loved since before you ever laid eyes on them.
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  3. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Canuck,welcome to the forum, and so sorry for your sons troubles that have brought you here. It is hard when our adult children have challenges, and there is not much we can do for them. I am sorry for the heartache of it.
    My experience is a bit different from yours, but I have had to lovingly detach from my two daughters. It is mostly due to addiction and substance abuse, I am pretty sure by now, that there are some mental challenges that come along with the drug use.

    Yes, detaching does pertain to depressed adult children as well as those with other challenges. We will not be around forever to rescue our adult children. They have got to find a way to live their lives without our rescuing them. It is out of kindness and concern, to step back and allow our adult children to figure life out. We run a great risk of creating such a dependency on us that when we pass, our kids won't know what to do. Depression is a treatable illness. If his girlfriends family are fine with him isolating in their basement, this is not healthy. He is an adult, so he needs to recognize the need for help. What can you do?

    You have so much on your plate with your husbands illness. I am sorry Canuck, that is hard enough to deal with.

    You have done everything you can for your son. It is up to him to want something different for himself.

    More folks will come along and share. Weekends can be a bit slow. I am so sorry for your troubles Canuck, you have landed at a very good place to receive advice and understanding. Keep posting, it really helps to be able to write things out and have responses from the kind folks here.

    You are not alone.

  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think you got good advice. I am wondering though if it is depression alone or also some sort of subdtance abuse, even too much pot which kills motivation. Could be other drugs too? Our kids, especially those with underlying problrms of low self esteem and, yes, depression, often self medicate.
    I have been hospitalized a few times for severe, suicidal depression. I have fought it all my life. It is highly treatable with the right medication and therapy. Pot makes it worse. Any recreational drug is bad for depression. I dont even drink because i dont want to override my good medication with bad self medication.
    In the end your son is too old for your help. He has to be the one to get help as he is a legal adult.
    I hope your son figures things out soon and gets any sort of help he needs. Now...since you cant help him maybe you can take care of yourself and do something nice just for yourself. You earned it!
  5. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Canuck.

    Your story is a hard one, especially in light of your husband's illness.

    I agree with PASA. Your son has set his terms and there is no opening I see for you right now. I know how hard this is.

    My son also struggled with depression and anxiety and body image issues. And marijuana use, which he uses to medicate. When he was 23, because he wanted to lay around, not work, not get treatment, etc., I asked him to leave here. After 4 years the main result is that he applied for and got SSI 2 years ago, for mental illness. He will not think about working because he does not want to lose the free pay.

    The important learning for us is to understand and to accept that their lives are their own now. Any goal, or value or motivation will come from them. I was a very proactive mother and a highly motivated person. It has been very hard for me to accept the situation.

    I get very sad, still. I get bursts of hope, and they are dashed.

    Little by little, I am learning to focus upon myself and future. It is harder when my son is in my own town, as he is now. I am very sad. But little, by little, I am learning to hope.

    The key here is deciding upon your purpose. I am reading a very good book now by somebody named Rabbi Kushner. It is called When Everything you Ever wanted isn't enough.

    He talks about the space where we are as an age-old challenge and begins the book talking about Ecclesiastes in the bible. I am enjoying the book and finding it helpful. He specifically talks about hope.

    More and more I believe that the key for me is in the spiritual realm and faith. This is a personal challenge for me, because of my history, I have always had trouble with faith and with hope. But I have hope for me. For both of us.

    So, from this way of looking at things, where we are, you and I, can be seen as a blessing, or at least an opportunity.

    I am glad you are here with us. Posting, as much as you can, on as many threads as possible, helps. You will find you have a great deal to offer. We are all in this together.


    PS What happened with your son's job? I just read Serenity's post. Of course harder drugs might be a factor. But depression and pot to me could completely account for your son's condition, in my view.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2016
  6. Canuck

    Canuck New Member

    COPA my son just stopped going to his job. To be honest he was under a lot of stress with his job. He was expected to work the hours he did, not only coaching, but maintenance, snow removal etc., he was basically being bullied. He would actually vomit before going to work. I think it just finally took its toll. He worked under contract so as a result not protected under the normal working laws. He would smoke pot before he went to work just so he could cope with the stress. I think he finally had a breakdown.He worked there for 3 years, and as an aside his boss does have a reputation and my son is the longest lasting, other people did not last more than a year.
  7. TheWalrus

    TheWalrus I Am The Walrus

    Coping skills aren't something you can give to someone. And it sounds like he already had underlying issues dealing with stress, pressure, etc. Right now he is "coping" by running away from his life. He is choosing to ignore problems instead of dealing with them. Hopefully he will realize he cannot escape life's stresses, disappointments, and pressure and will seek help to learn how to manage those things. He has made it clear he doesn't want your help and it sounds like you have more than enough on your plate. Give him the distance he wants and let him make the next move. It is all you can do.
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  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Walrus make some good points. That there were issues before the job, which made them worse.

    When my son left here, after a few weeks he went to a Big City a few hours away where friends own a hotel. They kept him there rent free for 2 years!! I could do nothing. I still cannot.

    My son wants one hundred percent control, yet, when he is without money he wants me to be responsible.

    I am very sad. I am really not the person to give you counsel. Without my support, my son has lost a great deal. Or I feel he has. He has not done well without structure, support, pushing. But he is no longer 15. He is 27.

    The learning and changing here must come from us. That is the only thing I know.

  9. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    It angers me that a boss would treat a young man badly. But I guess that is the world.

  10. Kalahou

    Kalahou Active Member

    Welcome to this site Canuck. You are not alone and the folks here understand and have learned great wisdom in these situations. It is a safe place here. I do not have much time now, but I wanted to acknowledge your post and share a few basic thoughts.
    What led up to the falling out specifically? Some of the behaviors you described about his stress with the work? Relationship issues? Difficulties in the living situations?
    Your son is likely depressed and likely fearful of putting forth any effort to get back into life or being responsible. If he is doing pot, that likely contributes to it. But I can see how the situation he is currently in (living free? at the girlfriend’s folks’ home) is certainly enabling his behavior to hibernate, sleep, not get a job, continue depression and avoid life. His current living arrangement relieves him of having to support himself. He is not hungry and he is safe and warm and comfortable. Apparently he has free room and board. That’s all one needs if you want to escape life. If there is any kind of depression or fear and hesitancy to move on with life, the current situation is not conducive to improving it. There is no motive to seek work or be disciplined, or get up and get outside during the day or help others or plan for the future. He doesn’t have to interact with anyone if he doesn’t want to.

    I don’t mean to sound harsh by saying these things. I am actually speaking these truths as much to myself as to you. I am saying these things because I learned them over several years’ time the hard way with my own son. You can read my story in my 2 threads “Losing Adult Child” - One back in September and another in November. I had to ask my son to leave our home because what I sincerely thought were supportive efforts to assist him made no difference and enabled him to continue in self-destructive behaviors, while he lived with us. It got to the point it was making myself and my husband ill and resentful.

    While you son is an adult, he is still young at 24 and no doubt finding it hard to manage life in the adult world. My son did OK early on for awhile, but slowing went down more as the years went by. He is 36. I only have hope that he can get back on track at some point, but many years of enabling delayed a lot of progress. I am learning to lovingly detach.

    Read the article at the top of this forum on detachment to get a basic understanding of the need for detachment and release of enabling. It is helpful. Here is the link.

    I will be following along with your post. Also keep reading different threads on this site. Stay with us as many here have been through such similar paths as where you are now. Also know that you can come through these difficult times. You are going to be alright. Kalahou
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2016
  11. Canuck

    Canuck New Member

    Kalahou the Falling out was due to the condition of their apartment in my house. It was absolutely disgusting. We just were generally not getting along. Actually in retrospect I think he knew I would not put up with him lying around all day as he did leave work after he left. I agree with you with regards to the enabling by the parents. I have been up to speak to them and they are of the belief he will just find his way, this was before I realized the problem was deeper than I had originally thought. i will not go again and am in the process of renting out his apartment.
  12. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    I am gonna give a different perspective your son went trough 3 years of hell from his perspective he is burned out maybe he just needs to chill a while to recover. About the falling out I will say again for grown children and parents to live toghether there has to be a lot of compromise and the best option is living separate.
  13. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi Canuck,

    I am glad you found us here. Your son is a grown man and he will have to decide for himself what to do with his life. It sounds like he is burnt out from the job he had and it may time for him to "reboot". The positive thing is has shown that he can hold a job.

    I'm glad that you have an understanding of what enabling is. I think it's good that he's not living with you as that can make it very difficult to maintain clear boundaries.

    I would think at some point his girlfriends parents will grow tired of him just hanging out in their basement. This can also put stress on you. I was in similar situation when my son was married. My daughter in law parents, mainly the mom was always giving money to my son, paying their rent, buying groceries, etc.... I remember having feelings of guilt, I'm his mother, I should be the one helping him. The problem was, I had helped (enabled) him, and nothing ever got better.
    One day my daughter in law's mother called me to tell me that her husband had told her she needed to stop giving money to my son and she didn't know what to do. I told her all that I had been through with my son and that she needed to listen to her husband and stop. I told her how disappointed I was in my son that he was not manning up to take care of his wife and child. My poor daughter in law had a job but couldn't afford day care so she would leave my granddaughter with my son. She would come home from her waitress job to find my son playing video games and the baby was still in the same diaper as when she left.

    Bottom line, your son will have people come in and out of his life who will want to help him, but until he is ready and willing to help himself nothing will change for him. People will grow tired of "helping" him. Hopefully he will come to realize that he needs to get his life back on track.

    ((HUGS)) to you............................
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  14. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    Did he at least feed the baby?
  15. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Well, he fed her banana's. He told my daughter in law it was because they were easy. Of course he had no problem fixing himself something to eat. :mad:
  16. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    Well that is good that he feed his baby he at least did the minimum for his child. Should have been better but it could have been worse at least he was not totally useless.
  17. Childofmine

    Childofmine trying to do this thing one day at a time Staff Member

    Hi Canuck and welcome to the forum. We're glad you found us.

    It sounds like you are making good decisions about what you will and won't allow in your home. In my opinion, that's a good thing because for me, for a long long time, I was very confused about what I "should" put up with from my son. I thought because I was his mother, I had to put up with basically anything and everything. I did that for a while, until he started stealing from me. That proved to be a deal-breaker.

    Who knows what is going on with your son? It could be just a need to recoup from three years of abuse from his employer, it could be depression and anxiety and it could be more than that. Time will tell the story. You don't have to know everything right now. (I used to think I did and I would drive myself crazy trying to figure it all out...another method of trying to control the uncontrollable!)

    The good news is he isn't at your house, bugging you to death right now. He is somewhere safe. Rest in that knowledge, just for today, if you can.

    The odds are, like Tanya said, this will happen. Most people don't like someone (especially not their own children) living in their home for any length of time, not contributing and playing video games all day. There is something not right about that, for most of us.

    Once they do get tired of his behavior---if he doesn't get back to reality before that---he likely will be coming back to you for a place to stay.

    In time, give that some thought. What would your response be? What would be tolerable for you? Good for him? What boundaries could you set if you did agree for him to come back? Could you stick with them?

    Most of us overstate our boundaries at first, and then we cave in when we realize we can't support or draw the line at all that we said.

    Keep it simple if he does ask to move back to your house. If you do agree to give him another chance, determine what that needs to look like for you.

    If not, be simple, kind and clear about that as well.

    Evidently, many young men in our country and elsewhere, take an extra long time to grow up today. I've read a lot about this over the years. Even those without addiction or severe mental illness seem to have a delayed ability to launch. So...maybe this is just a phase...and maybe he will return to his good, proven work ethic soon.

    Enabling doesn't work, I can tell you that. It doesn't motivate different behavior in other people. It just delays the inevitable.

    In the meantime, we are here for you. We're glad you're here. We know how hard it is to watch someone we love take a destructive course. We empathize and we understand. Warm hugs today.
  18. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly Active Member

    Welcome, you have lot on your plate with your husband and now your son. Please try and not take it personally that he doesn't want to see you- it's not about you. He is ill, depressed, influence of drugs. This is his walk and has to be willing to get help. You and your other son have tried to help and let him know you are there when he is ready. Nothing more you can do at this point. I know it's hard. Again, it's not about you- it's him. Hugs.
  19. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I think the anger is a defense, a way to feel mastery in themselves. I know it does not make sense, but because of how much he loves you, he feels weak in relation to you. So he has to dominate and make distance.

    My son did the same. He has this extreme interest in conspiracy theories now. I will not hear it. He can curb himself around me if he wants, but every time I soften my stance towards him, he starts trying to dominate the situation with these themes I cannot stand.

    By dominating and controlling the situation he finds control within himself in relation to me.

    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016