Child with mental illness

Tracy Heaton

New Member
My sons condition is making me physically sick. I am vomiting and shaking and do not know what else to do. My son started showing signs of mental illness at 23 years of age. I did everything i felt i should do. I called the police and told them he was bipolar and instead of taking him to the hospital they arrested him. I am now afraid to call for an ambulance because i dont want him going to jail. My son was in such a bad mental statenhe got in the car to back out and he didnt put the car in reverse and he hit my car and he got out of the car and just had a break down and couldnt stoo crying so i called for and ambulance and instead the police came. I made it very clear he had mental illness and it still did not help. I really dont know how to get him help if i am afraid he is going to get arreated. I finally got him into a mental facility and they kept him a week and got him on proper medications. I am now seeing him get worse again. I dont know how to have balance with him. I completely cut him off and will not allow him near the house but i feel terrible about it. I want to visit with mu son but unless he takes hid medications regularly i refuse to be around him. Am i being a bad mother?

New Leaf

Well-Known Member
I completely cut him off and will not allow him near the house but i feel terrible about it. I want to visit with mu son but unless he takes hid medications regularly i refuse to be around him. Am i being a bad mother?
No, no no you are not being a bad mother. Stop feeling guilty. For whatever the probably thousands of reasons you have, you made a decision to be safe in your own home.
There is help and medication for people with mental illness, but they have to decide to get better, to try to work with doctors to find the right medications.
You did not cause this, can't control it, or cure it. He is legally of age, an adult and you cannot make him do anything.
You are his mother, not his keeper. You have to make choices regarding your health and well being. Period.
Protecting yourself is not selfish, it is self care. We all need to pay attention to our health, go to the doctor when we are ill, whether it be physical illness or mental illness. Our adult children need to understand their responsibility to practice self care and to get help when they need it. Relying on parents and taking advantage of us at the same time is unacceptable.
I am sorry for your need to be here, but glad that you found us. It is a safe place to come and try to find solutions and gain peace of mind. One thing dear, if this is your real name, you will want to change it. This is a public site, anonymity is important.
Please take care of yourself and be very kind to YOU. You have worth and you matter.
Weekends can be a bit slow on CD. Hang in there, more will come along and offer their support.
You are not alone.


Roll With It
No, you are COMPLETELY NOT a bad mother!!! He is still an adult and he still has to take responsibility for his actions. You have the right to have your home be a place you feel safe from his drama and problems. It is actually a very good thing to do, to draw this boundary.

Your son knows there is help available. He knows you love him and will help him if he will accept it. You cannot force it on him. Unless he is a danger to himself or others, even the police cannot force him to go get help. Maybe they arrested him because he refused to go to the hospital. Or maybe they were not trained in how to handle mental illness.

Why not go and talk to the Chief of Police or Sheriff in charge where you live. Ask what training the officers have in handling the mentally ill. Ask what why they took your son to jail instead of the hospital. Sadly, there may not be a facility to take him, or maybe there was not an empty bed when your son had a breakdown. Or there may have been some other reason. Did you know that the largest provider of mental healthcare in the US is the jail/prison system? It is NOT the hospital system! Why? They closed many if not most of the psychiatric hospitals years ago and then they took what little funding they had left and cut it to nothing. The mentally ill often end up in jail.

Some cities and counties have specially trained officers who handle the mentally ill. I am very lucky because all of the officers in my city are trained to deal with the typical mental illnesses. We also have officers who specialize in handling those people who are severely mentally ill and having a crisis. There is usually an officer on duty and another on call of these highly trained specialists. Ask your Chief of Police what training your officers have in dealing with the mentally ill. Call NAMI (the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) and get information from them about how to handle a situation like the one with your son. They may have information that could help.

You cannot force anything on your son. All you can do is to keep yourself healthy and sane. You didn't cause his illness, you cannot cure it and you cannot control how he handles it. And that is super frustrating. NAMI runs support groups all over the country for the families of people with bipolar. You might consider going to one or more of these meetings. You can probably find a local meeting by looking up NAMI online.


Well-Known Member
My son is also bipolar and does not take medications . we are trying to change that. Where we are there are crisis lines that are run by each county. You might be able to look into that as someone to call if he needs help. They may send police but send someone with them.

You are not being a bad parent , you have to have a sanctuary or you will not be of help to anyone. You have to be safe. It took me way to long to realize that i could not allow my son at my home. He may be very reasonable or pleasant but i never know if that will change and i will have trouble getting him to go. If your son does not take medications you probably don't know when he might act out. I don't know who else is living in your home but you also need to consider what is best for them.
If no one has suggested it there is a book called codependent no more you might like to read. Wishing you peace.


New Member

I do feel better now that I found this forum. I was feeling really bad too about kicking my 30 year old daughter out. I know you have to draw the line somewhere. She has suffered from mental illness since 16 years old. Went to jail from getting in a bar fight at 25 yrs old. Finally got into a program with the mental health courts and they worked wonders along with my help. Very intense program. Daughter went back to school and got her degree. Her grandfather passed a year ago and she has spiraled down ever since. I have been trying to help her pull all her resources. She has been hospitalized twice this year. She was doing drugs and that is when I had to draw the line. She just refused anymore help and became very angry. I kicked her out and changed the locks on the house. She has all the resources/tools she needs, but does not seem to want to use them at this point. But, yes I do understand that when you say you need an ambulance for someone in a mental health crisis they send the police with an ambulance or just the police, but usually won't arrest them unless they are being violent. I also have used NAMI support groups over the years. Another great resource.


Long road but the path ahead holds hope.
Welcome PJean

Yes it’s the song that never ends and we are all singing the same tune here.

Your post is so heart breaking to see them soar and then fall is a terrible thing to bear.

You are doing the right thing. Not easy but right.

Welcome and know you are not alone.