The nice lady Stephanie wants me to participate in family meetings....

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Echolette, Jun 24, 2014.

  1. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    That is me being a little cynical.

    But I would like some opinions/advice.

    difficult child has continued to thrash around since I cut off all contact 2 weeks ago (due to his ongoing heroin use, choice to live under a bridge/homeless for two years, and generally persistent downward slide).

    He told his dad that he was going to sign into rehab just so I would talk to him again. Remember he has Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) in addition to schizoaffective disorder, so he is quite "different" socially. And he loves me.

    So he did get admitted to a psychiatric hospital just outside town. I would say conservatively this is his 12th such admission, 4 of which were last summer.

    The social worker so many she is female, young, earnest, and believes it is possible to help difficult child.

    He told her we are rarely in contact. I clarified that he called me several times a day and saw me at least once a week until two weeks ago. She was disappointed to hear that his self-described closest intimate friend has only known him for a week. I gave her the usual history (wilderness treatemtn, therapeutic boarding school, homelessness, drug abuse, rehab, repeated hosptiatlizations, etc etc) .

    We talked about his various diagnoses, and what medications have helped (although nothing "fixes") him in the past.

    She said he is willing to take medications.

    She said he is not ready to commit to inpatient rehab.

    He is willing to consider outpatient (at this point my eyes are rolling in my head because we have been ehre so many times before).

    She said he was eager to have me and his dad come to a planning meeting, and she wanted to know if I would come.

    The smartest thing I did today was say..."let me think about that a bit".

    so now I ask you, my friends in I go?

    I don't think I want to.

    It was hard to say that to her. Its hard to think of her telling him. Its hard to say it to myself.

    But I don't think I will go.

    I've been to so many of these meetings, and they are meaningless. He won't follow up. He isn't ready to commit to stopping using, to structure. He'll leave with a scrip for litium and a list of referrals. Why would I put myself through that frustration?

    I guess I answered my own question.

    If he wants to get better he will do it on his own.


    Echo--AKA David's mom.
  2. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    Darn, I was sandbagged...I got a call from an unknown number and picked up...and it was difficult child calling from hospital. It was a short call...I'm not actually sure what he wanted. I was flat and a little cold (I often react that way when he reaches me unexpectedly...I feel very guarded). He seemed to want congratulations, or suggestions/recommendations for how to proceed. I said it was good he checked in, that it is a first step and I was glad he took a first step. I said "one day at a time". And I said "good luck". And that was kind of it.


    I can feel the sad aching drain on my heart.
  3. Childofmine

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

    Echo! What progress (I know it's happened before, but this is what has to happen---these steps---if he is ever to get treatment and stay with treatment, right?)!!!

    I think the best of all worlds has happened, right now. He is doing something different.

    What if you don't go right now, at the beginning of this step for him, but you reserve the right to go later, if it continues?

    That seems reasonable to me.

    That way, you can wait (waiting is ALWAYS good) and see and give him a chance to truly do something different this time.

    You have started something different with him, and now he is doing something different. Let's see if it sticks.

    If it does, you can cautiously support it, all the while treading lightly, seeing if THIS time is THE time.

    Oh, I so hope so!

    Big hugs, let's celebrate this, even if it doesn't take. It is a good step. And, let's keep our wits about us.
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  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    right now he is safe. Whether or not he will continue afterward, he is safe NOW and I am learning to live day-to-day, heck, moment-to-moment. Enjoy this reprieve where you don't have to worry about where he's at.

    Hugs and you remember to take great care of YOU too.
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  5. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree with CoM.. I think giving the answer of "wait and see" is reasonable. You can be blunt with the social worker rand tell her you've been down this road before, and don't want to waste anyone's time - hers or yours - until you see what difficult child does with this "opportunity."

    by the way, I went to one of those "well-intentioned" meetings once, with Oldest, back when she was at her worst. It was a joke. She too had had multiple hospitalizations with little follow through, and I was frustrated, didn't see the point in another "family meeting." I remember feeling distinctly "guilted" into going by the social worker, and regretting it later (in the session she attempted to heap more guilt on me, for not allowing my poor helpless mentally unstable adult daughter to move back in with me - I set her straight really fast). So I am 100% behind you NOT going right now.
  6. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    I cheered for you when I read this, wise warrior I have much to learn from you!

    I totally understand your hesitation to jump onto the bandwagon when he is not willing to commit to inpatient rehab. I would (on the phone) approve of his seeking treatment, but if he insists on going the outpatient route... would want to see proof (like a few months of clean tox screens) before I attended any in person sessions.

    I haven't been posting much myself lately, still struggling to pull myself back onto a good path. I got physically broken back in March, the mentally broken didn't hit until a few weeks ago; slowly but surely I'm coming back... just going to take a lot of time and work.

    I so want you to know how much your wisdom and strength has helped me on my journey, I totally appreciate you and your words. sending hugs and positive energy your way

  7. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    To be honest I would not go either. This is his twelth stint in the hospital for this and none of your previous visits have done any good. It is time for him to do this for himself not just so he can get you to talk to him. Maybe this is time for a change. Take that step away and let the lovely social worker do the work. You might even agree to telephonic communications or meetings with her without difficult child there. This way she knows you are supportive and can let difficult child know you are being supportive but that you dont want to see him until he has made positive changes above and beyond the changes he made the other 11 times. When and if he acheives levels above where he has been previously you should see them as positive and give them amount of support you feel he deserves.

    Do this for yourself. You can't change difficult child and neither can this social worker. UNLESS difficult child wants the change.
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  8. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I agree. You handled both calls well, Echo. This is a different time, you are responding differently, and so, nothing about this is going to feel right. I am happy for difficult child that, whatever his reason, he is in contact now with someone who can help him stabilize. If you are in the picture now Echo, the social worker will be looking for ways to reconcile difficult child and family because that is what difficult child wants. If you make it clear that you are not there for your son at this point, then the social worker will be more likely to steer difficult child in an independent direction.

    I thought Dist 99's idea to suggest to the social worker that she is welcome to phone or email, but that you are encouraging difficult child to take responsibility for his life himself was a good one.

    How hard this conversation must have been for you, Echo.

    You handled it well.

  9. JKF

    JKF Well-Known Member

    My difficult child does the same Echo. He seems to want congratulations for doing the littlest things. And I, too, am often guarded and cold because it IS an intrusion into my safe place. I don't like the unexpected calls. They often catch me totally off guard and hit me the hardest. And like your son, my difficult child loves me. He wants to tell me things that he thinks will please me and he wants positive feedback for every single thing he does which is why I can't talk to him often. It's so very draining......

    That is a feeling I feel more often than not lately. It's a horrible feeling. It's exhausting. Like just before, I was looking at his FB page. We're not friends on FB but I often look through easy child's page to see what he's up to and see that he's still alive. He had posted a "selfie" of him sitting at the train station. I don't know if you realize, but I haven't seen my difficult child in almost 9 months since he went to live in Idaho. In the picture he looks like my real son. The one that I love so much with all of my heart. He's lost a lot of weight (which he needed to) and his hair is short and he looks great. When I saw that picture I felt like I was literally punched in the gut because when I look at the picture I see the good in him and all he has to offer. I see the potential and all that "could be" if only he wanted that for himself as well. As soon as I saw that picture I had to get up and go upstairs so I could sob in private. I cried my eyes out for a good while. I know when I go to close my eyes tonight I'll see that face and those eyes and my dear son sitting against a chain link fence at his new "home" - the train station. This whole thing is enough to kill a person....

    Anyway, I wanted to let you know, I'm right here with you. I know you know what you have to do just like I know what I have to do. We need to stay strong and let our difficult child's figure it out for themselves. It sure as h*ll isn't easy but it's the only option at this point......

    Big hugs to you Echo!
  10. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    Everyone said something helpful...I took a piece of each of your responses in these last two days.

    Yes, that helped me to not go. I actually waited until today (two days later) to call and say I would not participate. I said that I was not closing the door, and that if he was persistent I might join in...later. It helped me to be strong to verbalize that other option.

    Yes, MWM, there is always that to be thankful for. In jail and in the hospital we know they are safe. Who would have thought we would get to this day, right? but I am truly thankful for the small things. COM said the same about her difficult child being in jail...she was glad for the reprieve. Me too. I could walk through the park today without being on alert for his presence.

    This made me laugh, and also strengthened my waivering resolve.

    Thank you, help. Your posts help me, help us all as well. Your faith in me helped keep me moving forward to make the right choice.

    Yes, dstc, I did decide to do that. I talked to Stephanie and told her that I would talk to her, but not to him, and why.

    Cedar, I didn't see it this way isn't that it is WRONG that is making me feel bad, it is that it is different and therefore uncomfortable (well really it is worse than uncomfortable...). Even right things can be uncomfortable. Thank you for helping me to see that.

    So effing smart!!!!! I did NOT think of this, but you are exactly right. That is what has happened the last several times. We kind of hold his hand and support him, leaning on us and looking frail (metaphorically), out of the hospital --and right back into the same dance. Never occured to me that if I withdrew they would have to look for other services....I emailed with his dad too, and told him this...he too, said he wouldn't participate, for all the reasons I did. Good for him. Good for difficult child.

    This made me feel better. I hate when I am cold with him. I'm glad some one else struggles with that reaction. Child, Cedar, Recovering and I have had a lot of series about trying above all to be kind, to detach without judgement, with love...its great when I think I'm getting there...and then...I'm cold. Not what I was aiming at or thought I was attaining. Thank you for recognizing the humanity of that reaction.

    Its hard to think of him feeling abandoned, scared because he thought that by complying and checking himself in we would all come embrace him again. It must be very scary. I don't know what he'll do. My guess is he will pack up and leave...not because of us, but because of him.

    Pray for my boy and for me today, please.

  11. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Echo, I am praying....and putting it in my phone as a reminder to pray several times a day.

    This isn't mountains and valleys....more like valley, canyon, molehill, abyss, valley, abyss, anthill, quicksand....

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  12. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm praying for you and for your boy ECHO, fervent prayers...........and putting you in the middle of the circle of wagons with COM..........we're all here ECHO, we're all here for you.........every single one of us.............right here.........
  13. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Echo? It is okay to be cold. Just for this minute, just for this time when everything you know to do has not worked. It doesn't feel much like the loving mother we celebrate being, the loving mother we have always been. But maybe Echo, just maybe, just for this one time...that colder mother will turn out to be the mother this child of ours needed to turn himself around. It could be that our children, cherished and mothered and loved to within an inch of their lives, need to learn they are stronger, more competent, than they thought.

    Maybe this is what they have been trying to tell us, all along?

    I think about that alot, as I have learned the skill of detaching from the emotional component of what happens with my children. Maybe part of this is that we have been there for the kids too much. Maybe, they are afraid they cannot make it without us and so, they make sure they will not make it without us...and they make sure we will see them not making it.

    This convoluted explanation of what detachment looks like to me is how I finally understood detaching as the one tool I had not tried to help my son claim his own manhood.

    He truly hates me for it, Echo. But I think this is the right thing to do. I know that I love my son. That he claims I don't...I don't actually know what to do about that, yet.

    (difficult child daughter has an illness. difficult child son does not. I have employed tactics of detachment with both my kids. But the way I needed to approach detaching was different, was individual to each child.)

    Maybe Echo, you can see that emotional state you call cold as a time of clarity. I think, for me anyway, that is what that feeling is. I am thinking, assessing. I have chosen not to revert to my old behaviors and responses (and guilts).

    Cold is good.

    A new decision will come from it.

    We need to be out of the FOG before we can see where we are.

    You will not always be cold, Echo. And, as I tell myself, the other way has not helped any of us.

    It takes courage to try a new, unknown path, Echo.

    You are courageous.

    It doesn't feel good, to be that person. But that, until you learn differently, is who your son needs you to be, right now.

    He has all the help he needs Echo. There will never be a better, safer time to deconstruct that nest so he can fly.

    With so much at risk, it is hard to choose bravery. But you did it, Echo.

    You are brave, you are courageous. You are loving your son in the way that is best for him. If it doesn't work, then you will learn a different way. That is the problem, here. Nothing we do or say seems to help our kids.

    This is something different. It doesn't feel right Echo, but give it a chance.

    You can always go back to the old days, the old ways.

    I think you are doing the right thing for your son, Echo.

  14. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I was thinking about you this morning ECHO, as I pondered my own rather new feelings for my daughter. I have been "cold" to her as well. For me, when I look back on that, the chill was a result of my not liking her very much, of my being angry and resentful about her choices and the impact those choices had on me, of my weariness in the face of yet another was as if the love I always have receded behind the reality of the situation I was in and my coping mechanism was to shut down my loving self and since I really don't know how to do that successfully, I would respond in the opposite fashion, I would be shut down and cold.

    As that chill has melted recently due to some 'apparent' changes that my daughter is making, I am more in touch with my loving and warm feelings towards her. I think resentment has a lot to do with it too. There is an exercise I learned years ago where you state your resentments to the other, without them having a chance to defend, justify or in any way just continue stating your resentments. Once those are expressed, remarkably, all of this appreciation and love shows up..................I would be once again in touch with those positive feelings which had been buried under unexpressed resentments.

    I think the response of 'cold' is likely a very normal and natural response to the devastation that our kids create in our lives. As much as I want to approach all of life with a loving and accepting attitude, I am merely a human being, doing the best I can under extraordinary conditions, as you are, as we all are, and I believe, all of us, are ALWAYS doing the very best we can with the knowledge we have.

    Hang in there ECHO, I'm still praying for you.........and your boy........
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  15. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    Been there, done that. Once on family day when my son was in a program several of the older men were talking about how their loved ones were invited that day, but the loved ones had stopped coming to the events.

    I waited until I was alone with my son and I explained to him that it gets old when your life revolves around 'family day' and they get out and start right back in to their old routine.

    The counselors do try to guilt you into being there. I had a 3 hour trip there and home and if I missed a weekend someone would be asking what happened to me. Twice, once for 9 months and once for a little over a year, my life was work and weekends to 'support' my son's treatment. I think the big things the programs taught my difficult child was exactly the right thing to say to get everyone off his back.

    in my opinion, you are absolutely correct, if he is serious you can join later.
  16. Annie2007

    Annie2007 Member

    The only time my son has checked himself into a hospital was when the police was looking for him or he could get the medications HE thinks he needs. His attitude is the doctors know nothing and are just paid by the government to keep him in the psyc ward as long as they can. i have gone to those meetings also, begged them to keep him and they ignore me. As he is an adult, the only reason he would allow me to come is because he thought I would demand they release him. As I have said many times, the mental health system is broken. i watched 20-20 last night where Barbara Walters interviewed the father of Elliott Rodger. I really felt sorry for him. He tried to get help for him and now his son has killed all those kids and himself and now Dad has to live with what Elliott did for the rest of his life. So sad..

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  17. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    Hi Echo
    How are you doing?
    Have you had any more contact with that young social worker?
    I hope your son is ok.
  18. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    I didn't go to any family meetings.

    I went up to a house on a lake for the week instead, Saturday to Saturday. On Tuesday his caseworker called (not Stephanie...hand off). To let me know he was being discharged, had medications for 5 days and a referral to a shelter as well as a program called "rehab after work."

    His dad was leaving town the next day.

    He called me from a public phone (actually a hospital) I picked up , not knowing it was he. He didn't ask me for help or to come home. He said he went to the shelter but it was full of crackheads. He said he was going to follow up with the rehab, try to get into a halfway house, stay clean, etc. He said he had been scared when he admitted himself, that it is hard to stay clean on the streets, a few other things.

    I did some soul searching, feeling strongly that he was doomed if he had no resources.

    And I thought about RE's frequent comment that we should do what we can do without resentment.

    So I invited him to the lake (it is always easier to be with him when he is away from home). His dad gave him bus fare, and he came up.

    He did fine. He was polite, respectful, helpful, and socialbe with our guests (he often withdraws into his room, but didn't). He didn't ask for money or help, but did ask about chores and helping out. SO mentioned a friend of his with 10 years in AA, who still goes 9 x/week. difficult child asked on our last night if he could call the friend..he said he felt anxious about returning home. He called, they talked, and somehow I ended up at an AA barbecue with SO and difficult child and best friend the next night.

    I told him he could stay a few days.

    Today he went to two AA meetings with the friend (this required getting up at 5 AM to take public transportation to a 7 AM meeting out of town). He walked the dogs for me. He visited a friend in rehab. Who knows what else he did.

    He has change in his pocket from his dad but nothing else.

    Tomorrow he has an interview at a half way house, and is looking at another, and calling another. He is going to a meeting, and also to rehab after work.

    We'll see.

    I don't feel happy having him here, but I have to live with myself, and this time felt a little different.

    I'm not blind...I doubt this will be the magic turn around But a few days more, a few days clean, a little more effort...who knows.

    I didn't want to preside over his failure.

    I don't really ahve an exit strategy if he fails to get into transitional housing.

    We haven't talked about who will pay for that.

    Now you know it all!

  19. Childofmine

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

    I think this is very healthy behavior on your part---going about your life even when there are so many ???? about difficult child. You changed, he started doing something different, and then you went about your life. That is what we have to do---when they start to change or make noises that are change-like, we have to keep on focusing on us, so that space for them is created. You did that, Echo.

    Yes, I think again, here you are at another crossroads, and you have some decisions to make. What to do? What not to do? I think you do the soul searching and you proceed cautiously. I hear the caution in your words.

    Echo, read the Beverly Conyers book I mentioned on a couple of other threads. She talks about how to help our difficult children. It is helpful.

    Even if nothing else happens from this, you had this time with your son and it was good times. Living in the moment, and the moment was good. That is a gift and a blessing. I am glad you asked him up to the lake house because it was good for YOU.

    This is great. If he is to change, it's very likely not going to be through us. It's going to be via other people coming alongside them to help them. I so hope he keeps going. He will hear all kinds of good stuff there, and no matter what he does next, he will not forget much of what he hears there. This is very good, no matter what.

    Great! You never know, but there are good plans.

    Absolutely. Our difficult children need encouragement. They need to have a chance to change.

    Ecbo, a few thoughts here. difficult child lived in a halfway house for several weeks. I paid for a couple of weeks and his dad paid for a couple of weeks to give him some time to get a job, get established, etc. The experience was not good---he stole from people in the halfway house and got kicked out---obviously he was not serious at all then about change, but that is something you could consider.

    You could also pay for the first week, and then do a sliding scale so he immediately has some skin in the game. Just some thoughts.

    I do think giving them a hand when they are making true progress (not bs, but TRUE Progress, even if it's just a few things at first) is a good thing.

    Echo, you are doing good. Just go slow, like I know you are doing. I am sure you are hopeful and these are good signs. I just don't want you to be crushed if he falls back again. Every time he takes a step forward, it is good. Stepping back (if he does, and I hope he doesn't so badly, of course) does not mean the progress is negated.

    So, hang in there. Take it one day at a time. That is all we have. That is all your difficult child and my difficult child has.

    Just see what happens. Try not to do something for him he can do for himself. That is a good litmus test to keep in your mind---top of mind.

    Doing for himself will build his self esteem. That is what he needs right now, to know he CAN do it. And he can.

    Fierce prayers going up and out tonight for you and difficult child. I so hope his progress continues, and even if he takes a step back, just wait, and see, Echo. Don't hang everything on each little thing he does. Give yourself and him, a little time and space.

    Keep us posted! Progress not perfection, that is all we can hope for.
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  20. tryagain

    tryagain Active Member

    Echo, glad to hear the positive news. Praying.