Another New Member

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by noname, Mar 21, 2013.

  1. noname

    noname New Member

    I just hit that point where I either melt down or reach out for support, so here I am.

    I probably have a very common story to others, mental health issues in my family history that passed on to myself and children. I've done therapy to address my issues and have put my children in therapy to deal with theirs. I have 4 children, two of which have a variety of issues (Borderline, Aspergers, and Bipolar being the diagnosis both share).

    The older of the two, a male, is now 19 and living in an adult group home (that deals with mental health clients) because he can no longer be managed in house . He was a hyper, but wonderful child, until about the age of 15 when it seemed overnight a switch flipped in him. I know this happens with bipolars but it provides no comfort when you have to watch your child disappear into a fog. He is not the child I once knew. He is a compulsive liar and conversations are an effort for me. He began therapy at 15, when the symptoms first appeared and we ran the gamut of therapies and medications trying to help him to little avail until I moved him into a group home as an adult to ensure some type of care would continue for him past the age of majority. He is in his 3rd adult transitional living situation (ejected from the prior two for stealing and violence).

    Child two, a female, will be 18 this year, and is currently in the hospital after an outburst last night involving calling the police on her for her own safety. She takes and projects problems, qualities, and moods from others as her own. While not as difficult to manage as her brother, it is still impossible to trust her. She lies to deflect responsibility for her own behaviors.

    I feel like I'm hitting replay. As much as we try to keep our home a sanctuary they have my husband & I, often, feeling like our home is a battlefield. While we're hanging in there, without a doubt there has been a cost to our relationship. The fallout is PTSD (for both me and my husband) and the inability to feel long periods of peace in our home. We've read the books, done the therapy, improved ourselves, and anything/everything else one could offer. We're so wiped out by her lies and manipulation (which came on the heels of my other child) that I'm in therapy, the family is in therapy, and she's in therapy. Honestly, as much as I need that support, I'm therapied out, and as much as I know not to take their comments and behaviors personal, I do. No matter how many good memories we make with them, it seems it is never enough for them. They are bottomless pits of need and attention. I feel guilty for feeling this way. This is not the dream I dreamed for them. Or myself.

    I know it could be worse. I get that. When you have friends battling cancer or friends who have lost a child, complaining about these things seems trivial. I know they'd love to have my problems, but it doesn't make any of this easier. It doesn't make all of this cost free. It's overwhelming and many days I want to run way, ya know? :( I'm just one exhausted momma looking for a soft spot to land and find some camaraderie.

    Anyway, thanks for providing a spot where I could vent all of that out of me. :noobiesmiley:
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there and welcome to our board, although I wish you didn't have to be here.

    First of all, you may get a higher response if you post on Parent Emeritus because that is the forum we have for kids who are no longer 17 and under. I do have older kids, although not the same problems as yours. I am wondering if drugs is part of either child's issues. Also, is your son forced to take medications if he stays in his treatment center? What about your daughter? Is there someplace both of them can live in the community? Can you have them declared disabled? I do have a son on the autism spectrum who is considered disabled and he's 19. Whenever we want to allow him to move out (and it's us who want to wait until he's 21) they have apartments ready for him where somebody checks with him twice a week and he gets Section 8, plus he qualifies for both Medicare and Medicaid and he does work...they helped him get a job. The same services are available for those disabled due to mental health issues. Your kids may not be able to live in their own apartments, but they do have group homes for adults who need higher level supervision and it shouldn't cost you anything. Is there not a group home that deals with clients who maybe sometimes lose control of themselves due to mental health issues? I sure hope so. You should not have to take care of your mentally ill children for the rest of your lives. You have two other kids who need a normal life, and so do you and your husband.

    My son is going to live very close to us so we can still see him whenever we like. You can do that too. Usually the county takes care of all that. You can also apply for guardianship if you feel your children are not competent to make their own decisions yet. I take care of my son's money or he'd spend it all in one day and he's ok with that because he knows he will.

    I strongly advise getting them labeled disabled so that they can get the help they need on a permanent basis rather than your son continuously coming home to disrupt your lives and your daughter seems very disruptive too. This isn't your fault or their faults, but you CAN all live in peace, but apart.

    I don't know if this helped at all. I hope it did. You really do deserve peace and happiness in your own home with the knowledge that your ill children are getting 24/7 care. Gentle hugs to you and your family...everyone.
  3. Winnielg

    Winnielg New Member

    Welcome. I just joined a few weeks ago and have benefitted tremendously from just posting what is happening in my life and / or reading and posting support for others. The people in this forum and the parent emeritus are fabulous.

    Your statement about "it could be worse... Friends battling cancer, losing a child" struck a cord. I think that you cannot make that statement and feel bad that you are struggling. You are entitled to feel bad, helpless, stressed because what you are going thru is real, important and overwhelming. I do not know anyone who would love to have my problems so to speak. Everyone's struggle is their own and it is almost demeaning to yourself to lessen the effect it is having on you, your husband and your family.

    I am probably muddling this, but I am tired. Lol. Tired of the circular arguing of my difficult child, tired of feeling that I do not know how to help him anymore. Just like all the people on this forum - I am sure. You are not alone and you should not feel bad about feeling bad or complaining. You have to vent. Your feelings are NOT trivial. Hang in there.
  4. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Actually, I always thought it would be easier to have a child with cancer than one with violent mental illness.

    If my child had cancer, there would be fundraisers to help pay for her care; neighbors would volunteer to cook dinner or babysit; we'd have a choice of hospitals; we'd be surrounded by sympathy and support.

    Since my child is violently mentally ill, there are no fundraisers; neighbors shun us; we are stuck with the psychiatric hospital that an evaluator orders her to go; we are surrounded by fear, judgement and police officers.
  5. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome NN, I'm glad you found us, but of course, sorry you had to. Your story is a sad one, we understand the stress, angers, sadness and endless drama that dealing with mentally ill kids does to a family. You may want to post in Parent Emeritus as well since that is for older kids.

    It sure sounds as if you have done everything you can do, I commend you for finding support along the way. I understand how exhausting it all is and I agree that yes of course, it could be worse, however, it's also not easy, it's a tough road you're on and truthfully, most would really not want the problems you have, it is a landscape like no other.

    I would imagine you know all the ways to detach and accept what is, it sounds as if you are railing against what the fates have thrown in your path, so rail away, you deserve that, you've really been through the mill with your two kids. You likely already know about this, however, a great organization which has terrific parent groups is NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness Many of us here have benefited greatly from these groups, helping us to cope with a very challenging mentally ill child. You can access them online.

    I encourage you to continue venting and sharing, it really helps to get it out there and find support from others who've been in or are in similar shoes. I have a grown daughter who I am recently mostly estranged from now because her mental issues are just too much for me. Detaching from her and her life choices was the most difficult thing I've ever had to do. Make sure you and your husband find the time to care for yourselves, make you and he the focus instead of your daughter, that is, in my opinion, the only way to stay sane. Nurture yourself, find time to do fun things and laugh. I'm glad you're here, sending you many gentle cyber hugs.............
  6. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    Just wanted to add my welcome.
  7. noname

    noname New Member

    Thanks for the warm welcome all. I wasn't sure where to post, but I'll keep that in mind for future reference. :)

    I feel fairly confident that drugs are not an issue at this time outside of the normal experimentation with my son (marijuana and beer). He's a rapid cycling bipolar with lots of narcissistic tendencies so drug/alcohol addiction is "beneath him" (his words). My daughter is a bookworm so her friends tend to be more into robotics, anime, poetry, and gaming than partying.

    My son is in a transitional living facility (his 3rd), but he struggles with compliance. Because he is a difficult to manage case that poses a safety risk off his medications and the programs are county run, it is easier to kick him out and give the space to someone easier to manage. Even mental health group homes have their limits. :kickedoutsmile:

    He's lived in about 10+ housing arrangements in the past 2 years. He was with me from birth - 17, and then with his Dad in preparation to go to Job Corps at 18. He lasted about 3 months there and has spent his time, since then, bouncing from one housing situation to the next (8 to be specific). He was on SSDI as a teen but as an adult refused to comply with their requirements to prove a continuing disability so he was taken off of it. He was homeless for two weeks and it took everything in me to not rush in and save him.

    Even if I wanted to help him I cannot because my daughter made an accusation of sexual abuse by him. I must protect her as a minor child even if my disabled son needs me. Since she refused to cooperate with authorities (I reported it to police) there is no way to prove her claim and I refuse to call either of them liars. I don't know what I believe. It didn't happen in my home (her Dad's) and she said a one-time event. I'd like to believe my daughter wouldn't lie and I'd like to believe my son isn't capable of it, but both are compulsive liars! I am a rape victim, but I never talk about my rape. I want to remain as far away from it as possible and even the word is taboo. I would never throw it daily, but she throws it in response to any attempt to hold her accountable for her behaviors. The fact that she does this has traumatized me so much because every time she does it I'm reliving mine, but, as a victim I could not accuse someone of lying if there is a chance it could have happened. I just struggle believing she could be capable of lying about something this painful. Then again, at one time I would have never believed my son was capable of laying a hand on me. Time has taught me differently.

    This is the hell I'm trying to manage. All my dreams about family holidays...gone. How do I navigate this??? (Not really a question, but a vent of the overwhelming pain I feel.) I spend so much time stuffing the pain and anxiety so my other two children (21 and 6) do not pay for what their sister & brother are doing to me.

    Outside of that it is difficult to summarize the two of them since there is so much background that contributes to their current behaviors, but I appreciate the understanding. In your responses I already feel like someone finally gets it. What I have gone through for these kids, what I've sacrificed, the relationships ruined...

    I'm not the perfect parent and will never claim to be, but I love these children. These are not beaten and unwanted children, and I never thought I'd hit this point where I feel like it's either my sanity or theirs. When I'm close to them I can almost feel their sickness on my skin.

    JJJ, yes! Shunned. Embarrassed. Surrounded. A hostage in my own home. :sigh:
  8. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Welcome noname :)

    It is easy to look around and see someone worse off than we each are, but everybody seems to have their load -- not necessarily better or worse -- just a different load. I remember when difficult child was 8ish, taking him to Occupational Therapist (OT). There was a mom there with her son in a wheel chair every week, and they were trying to teach him to swallow.... That mom certainly had her hands more than full, but it didn't stop my difficult child from sucking the air out of the room.

    Glad you found us. Sometimes it helps just to vent. :)
  9. Bunny

    Bunny Active Member

    That is so true. If our kids were physically sick I think that there'd would be alot more support for them, and for us. Their illnesses are unseen and so people choose to believe that we are just bad parents who want to be our kids friends more than their parents.

    Welcome to our little corner of the Internet. You will find a tremendous amount of support and information here.
  10. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Good morning NN, gosh I am almost speechless hearing your story, you are really caught in an alternative universe of mental illness. I am so very sorry. You have it coming at you from all ends and your own rape just makes all of it so difficult to bear I'm sure.

    Yes, the painful death of our dreams for our family, that is a really hard one to let go of. And, not one of us is a perfect parent, that doesn't exist, we all just do our best, but nothing prepares us for mental illness, the lying, the manipulations, the secrets, the violence, it is crazy-making and contains so much suffering for anyone who lives within that framework. I wish there was some magic bullet I could share with you which would ease your pain for you. I too am a product of a family where mental illness reigned, mother, father, sister, brother...........and even without a diagnosis of my own, there is survivor guilt. Like you I've had decades and decades of therapy to get a grip on that and heal. Then I have one child and she inherits the issues. I've been surrounded by mental illness my whole life.

    I can't presume to know what will bring you some peace.........for me it was a long path of self love and self care. Along with therapy, I've gone to many, many healers, what's helped the most is acupuncture because it so lowers stress levels and brings the body and mind back to balance. Yoga, massage, therapy groups with other parents dealing with a mentally ill child, that was extremely helpful, just to listen to stories that so mirrored mine. Learning to let go of any guilt, understanding that there is only so much I can do and anything else is enabling, doing the very best I knew how to do for my daughter, giving her all the tools she would need and then letting go. Seems in many ways, my life has been about letting go, detaching from my family so I could stay sane.

    Writing your feelings, fears and terrible pain here on this board is also very, very helpful. The words go out to others, like yourself, living their own form of hell.............and get understood, heard, acknowledged and accepted..............with a world out there which does none of that, this becomes a safe haven to let it all go. We can't fix it, but we can offer compassion, empathy, understanding and that amazing phrase, " I know how you feel, I get it and I'm sorry."

    NN, I know how you feel, I get it and I'm sorry................
  11. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hi. So glad you found us.
    I agree with jjj and the others. At least if we were dying or had a physically sick child we'd have people supporting us.

    I do have family and friends who care for sure. But very early had to become pretty self reliant, no one can really handle this.

    I'd get jealous and hurt that my dad and stepmom would arrange time with all the other kids in the family but even when he went thru easy to care for spells I had to beg for an hour of emergency help.

    My sisters would get portraits of their kids together, esp the two boys and leave Q out. They even would buy matching outfits.

    Disabilities that affect behavior do leave us more isolated and without support. Yet we need it intensively. We have kids who actively hurt themselves or sibs or us! So many issues go along with that.

    Sorry for those you know who are ill or lost their children, truly.
    But your challenge is very intense and deserving of support.

    So sending lots of supportive juju to you. Keep posting. People here get it.
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Noname.
    Wow, you have MORE than your load of issues. Do not for one minute think that you need to compare yourself to others and that their issues are worse.
    My only advice is that, since you're in therapy, maybe an in-person support group might help, like NAMI.

    I am glad your daughter's friends are into "good" stuff. That's one less worry, anyway.

    I agree with-JJJ and others that this is tough because if your kids had cancer, there would be fundraisers. Since it's mental illness, you are shunned. Sigh. Life is not fair.
  13. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    P.S. I LOVE your avatar. Hysterical!