Adult son with bipolar,Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), ADD

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Susieq, Apr 8, 2013.

  1. Susieq

    Susieq New Member

    Hi. I have an adult son who was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), add, and bipolar when he was 14. He went thru psychotherapy and tried a variety of medications without much success. At 15 he tried to commit suicide by walking into a busy interstate highway. He survived, but was left with a right leg amputation above the knee and mild frontal lobe brain injury. He draws social security disability, which is not enough for him to live independently. I have 2 other sons very functional And supportive, but they get very frustrated with the behavior of their disabled brother. I also get very frustrated. He is unable to maintain a job, or school, although he is very smart. He spends his time sleeping late and watching television in the evening and into the night. His Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is mainly exhibited in toileting habits. He leaves messes whenever he urinates, and he is a germophobe. He is currently on lamictal and Effexor and is currently visiting a psychiatrist regularly. He is 28, but I feel as tho I'm trapped. I give him ultimatums which does not improve his behavior. I work outside the home, but feels like I work harder when I am home cleaning up after husband left me last year because he could not tolerate his behavior. I don't know what to do?
  2. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi Susieq, welcome to our world. I am very sorry you were looking for us, but I am glad you found us. Your story is a sad one, many of us share a similar experience, it's difficult dealing with mental illness. I'm sure you're exhausted, depleted, frustrated, angry, resentful, sad and worn out. I'm very sorry your husband left you, the feeling of isolation is gripping enough, and now you must feel pretty alone. I'm truly sorry, I understand how much of a struggle it is.

    For myself and for many of us, one of the first steps in moving forward is to get ourselves some support. YOU need help too, this is too much for us and it robs you of your own life. If you haven't already, I would get myself into therapy, find a support group, NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Illness has chapters all over and can be accessed online. They have excellent parent groups which will give you the tools you need to deal with your son. In order to begin the process of detachment, you will (in my opinion) need help to do so. You may want to read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post, it is helpful.

    You may feel as if this is your lot in life, but there are alternatives, you have to distance yourself somewhat from it to be able to see it clearly and then once you get support, you can start setting boundaries. It becomes very important to figure out what it is you can and want to do, and what it is you can't do and don't want to do and then set about putting those boundaries in place WITH consequences. Your son is bright, and he is likely very manipulative. You are also likely enabling him. I am not judging you, many of us here have enabled our adult kids, we simply did not know how to do it any differently. But we've learned, and you can too. Enabling robs both of you of your lives. You can't control the choices of another but you can learn to respond differently which supports your well being and what your needs are. But, first you have to identify them and recognize you have a right to them .............and that you are not responsible for your son, he is responsible for himself. You didn't create his situation and you can't change it, only he can. But you don't have to be held hostage by his choices, you have every right to live your own life free of guilt.

    Getting support from a professional, like a therapist, or a facilitator from NAMI, will give you the necessary tools to learn how to detach from your sons choices and respond in ways that take care of YOU as well. I don't know what the best course of action is for you, there are many options, there is 'healthy dependence' which you can learn about, ...........there are group homes............a social worker from NAMI may direct you to various alternatives............I have a schizophrenic brother who cannot work and he has lived independently for decades on SS disability. I have a bi polar sister who supports herself and advocates for the disabled. There are always choices. You need to find out what they are and find someone to support you and support YOUR choices. You have a right to a life. You deserve a life of your own.

    Make a phone call to NAMI. Ask around for a therapist. Go to a 12 step codependency group. Here in No. Ca. the largest HMO offers year long courses for codependent recovery which helps parents of mentally ill adult kids as well as those dealing with substance abuse close connections. There is help out there for you, you just have to look for it. Do that for yourself first, find support for you and then the rest will work itself out as you find out what it is you want to do that cares for YOU.

    Keep posting here, there are many wise parents here who have similar stories and they can offer wonderful insight, advice and empathy. I'm very glad you found us, you aren't alone anymore, you've found a group of weary parents who are doing our level best to have some peace and joy in the chaotic world our kids have brought us in to.............welcome..........many gentle hugs coming your way Susieq, we're glad you're here...........
  3. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I'm so sorry to read of your situation. I think the post previous to mine is very good and sums up much of what I would have said. Our situation is somewhat similar. But, yours sounds even more troublesome/burdensome as your son is older, had an amputation and you are divorced. Does he have a prosthesis for his leg? Does your ex help at all/ever with the situation? Our bipolar daughter is also on SS Disability and although it was not easy, we have found an apartment for her with VERY VERY VERY minimum financial help. Does your son get food stamps? Could he live with a roommate? I would do your very best to get him an apartment. Sure, it wont be in a good neighborhood. If he can live with a roommate, you might be able to get something better. We supply our daughter with a very very limited amount of food and personal hygenic stuff. It is extremely difficult for my husband and I to be aware that she lives basically in poverty, but "it is what it is." It is way past the time for your son to figure out a way to do a little better in this world. A part time job perhaps. A roommate perhaps. Something. But, you do NOT deserve to live like you are feeling trapped. You might very well want to see a therapist yourself to help you gather the strength to give him an official move out date. Along with NAMI, another good group to visit is Families Anonymous. Best wishes.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. Again so sorry for what you have gone through and are going through, but I agree with the others. You need to detach for both your sakes and son needs to learn to live on his own. None of us can be around forever. We need to help even our sickest kids learn to live without our support.

    I'm wondering if you son receives disability payments? If so, he should also qualify for food stamps, Medicaid and Section 8 housing and there is special housing for people with disabilities. Some are apartments if he can live alone. My son is Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and that is our plan for him and he's really excited about getting his own place. He also has a job in a sheltered workshop and his caseworker is going to help him get a regular job soon. He's nineteen. I believe all these options are available to anyone who applies for and receives disability. Our Sec. 8 housing for adults with disability live in nice apartments where the caseworker visits a few times a week. They are not stuck in bad neighborhoods. It probably depends on where you live.

    Keep us posted on what happens.
  5. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    You have received such good advice Susieq, that there is nothing I can add.

    Welcome. You have come to a safe place. We are here to help ourselves and one another make it through some of the worst experiences any parent (or family) can survive.

    Things will seem a little better, now. You are not alone with it, anymore.

  6. Susieq

    Susieq New Member

    Thank you for your response. He has applied for housing in the past, and the waiting list is extraordinarily long, years. The only place for him to go would be the streets and I can't allow that to happen at this time.
  7. Susieq

    Susieq New Member

    He has applied for housing. The waiting list is a mile long. They said probably years. I would be very hard for me to make him live on the streets. Maybe for a few days only. He has no where else to go!
  8. Susieq

    Susieq New Member

    His disability is 700 dollars a month. He does receive 100 dollars in food stamps for himself at my residence. Average rent in my area exceeds that amount
  9. Susieq

    Susieq New Member

    I probably do need therapy myself. This was my 2nd marriage. I raised my children alone, without any help from the father. I think I have some leftover PTSD from my sons incident. I have a huge fear that goes along with his move. I told him that he has 30 days to improve his behavior or else he has to move. I figure if its on the streets he can manage for a few days. I'm hoping he improves his behavior. Today was a good day. I'm probably in denial, I don't know, Yesterday was a nightmare. I kind of go one day at a time.
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    SusieQ, if he isn't living in your house, his disability allows him to get Section 8 housing, and they have some that are especially for adults with disabilities, including mental illness. You don't have to pay much...just a small portion of the disability. They will also give him a caseworker who will look in on him and work on getting him stable and employed.
  11. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think there are options between your son living with you and living on the streets. As long as you continue to only see those two options, you will effectively keep yourself stuck out of fear. What you have the power to do is explore options, talk to experts, perhaps at NAMI who are well versed in options.

    I have a friend who has a suicidal, bi polar psychotic son whose been in and out of treatment. She has been looking into options for him and has found a social worker who is willing to help her. He is now at a facility part time and all kinds of avenues are opening up for her that she never even knew about before. The son has a team of people working with her to find a solution. It took her awhile but she found help. She was tenacious, determined, committed and was going to find support no matter what she had to do.

    As long as you believe that if your son is not with you he is on the streets, you will stay stuck in inertia. A therapist of mine once told me that when we see only two or three options, then we are dealing with issues that are out of our awareness. There are always more options, you may have to look, you may have to try very hard to find answers.

    You have now told him he has 30 days to improve or he has to move, but you don't really sound as if you have any real commitment to make that happen, you are already ready to cave if he has to go on the streets for a few days. He has no incentive to do anything different because he knows you are not serious.

    Here's the bottom line Susieq, you'll stay in this situation with your son as long as you are willing to put up with it. When you decide you are not, then you will change it. Your life is dictated by your sons issues, you stated that your husband left because of your son, you said you worked harder when you are cleaning up after him then when you are at work, you said you don't know what to do. If I were in your shoes, I would 1. Get in touch with NAMI. 2. Get in therapy. 3 Look into Family Anonymous 4. apply for the housing even though they said it will be years, you will at least be on the list 5. Look into Section 8 and getting a caseworker as MWM suggested. Start with those.

    You sound very stuck to me, perhaps depressed, which makes it difficult to move forward and gain any momentum. You may want to focus on getting help for yourself first, so you have the strength and the resolve to repair your life. After all of this time and with PTSD, you may indeed need some professional help to feel better and move forward. Take care of YOU Susieq, you sound afraid and immobilized, please get yourself some support, you deserve that, you deserve a healthy, joyful life. But you are the only one who can go after that for yourself. Make the choice to take care of you and I believe options for your son will emerge. I wish you peace. And send you hugs too.............