desparate for advice- long


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history- last year my son (about time he turned 11) started showing signs of depression (thought it was situational- there was reason having to do with feeling rejection from father and a couple of other things), so i take him to family therapist but behavior gets real bad- stole 2 cell phones from school- and he was acting erratic, then dangerous) examples-- trying to jump from moving car a couple of times, rolling around on floor with kitchen knife (big one) saying he didn't care abbout anyone or anything anymore and if anyone tried to mess with him, he's hurt them, he gave his Christmas and birthday gifts away,he took a vial of chemicals from his kid's science kit to day care, he put leaves in the bottom of his tire swing then set it on fire then stood there swinging it back and forth toward himself while it was flaming. I FINALY was able to get him into a pediat acute hospital where he stayed 9 days, was diagnosed with- major depression (rule oout bipolar) and put on prozac. we start going to 2 counselors, psychiatrist, and have psychiatric/ed testing. Got him on an IEP, which didn't really go into effect until this past school year. He was stable and like old self from last April/May until this January and excited about going to middle school. we had quit going to the tdocs because neither of us were happy with-either of them. in hind-sight, i think it was because they were approaching it all like lecturing him on appropriate behavior and me on how i disciplined him when he was younger (one acted like it was too strict, one acted like i hadn't been strict enough) Personally, i thought we were there to get help on where to go from here and i don't think they were giving us any solutions or strategies. (Mind you, he's never had any "episodes" of 2-3 mos of erratic behavior or any diagnosis before so i didn't appreciate the "spoiled kid" theory)

last year's psychiatrist test evaluation diagnosis him as depression with- disruptive conduct disorder not otherwise specified, rule out conduct and oppositional.

difficult child had been doing well and psychiatrist was going to take him off prozac in feb., but i had seen a few small signs of depression return in late jan. and school had seen an escalation in disruptive conduct (minor in nature- escalation was in frequency), so medications were continued. then, about a week later, i find out he stole somethiing from a friend (no stealing between last spring and this incident, which didn't happen at school). i contact psychiatrist who increases dosage of medications. school was coming down on him-threatening to kick him out for being habitual offender. we had iep meeting and i asked for a sp ed specialist or psychiatric to be brought in to help implement a more effective IEP and BIP. i start checking into getting a new therapist and schedule appointment to see psychiatric. but a couple of days later, sd calls to comke get difficult child, he disrupted again and they can't take it anymore. this was a thurs. or fri. They scheduled IEP meeting for following Monday, then told difficult child he would be seeing hearing officer and wouldn't be coming back to that school. at IEP meeting on that Mon., they said he was acting impulsive so they thought this was not a manifestation. i disagreed and relayed my concern that impulsiveness in my difficult child can mean he's losing control again. I came home and difficult child was no where to be found. Later that eve., I get call that he was in juvy and arrested with- 7 charges stemming from a 2 hour crime spree the day before (Sun am). This involved going into what he thought was a vacant bldg turned out to be a residence (investigator said it did appear vacant), taking matches from there, going outside and starting leaves on fire (not near a bldg). Less than $100 damage, but 6 firetrucks called. Charges include felony arson, felony breaking & entering, 2 counts tresspassing, theft (matches), vandalism.

He was released on a monitor with- gal assigned because i wanted to get him in an inpatient evaluation.- psychiatrist said it sounded manic and could have been agitated by recent increase in prozac, so medications were switched to mood stabilizer. then while home trrying to get adjusted to mood stabilizer, he starts having more mood swings and stays up 36 hours staright then crashes for 16 hrs. During the time awake, i become at wits end with- waiting on courts, gal, etc (this had been 8 weeks), so i called police and asked to have son tdo's to hospital. Son hid in closet, we found him, police say they can't tdo him. psychiatrist says this was reaction to mood stabilizer. then i find out he can't go in for inpatient evaluation because no one will pay for it. we went to court as scheduled and gal starts telling judge he broke his rules for being on monitor because i had called police, was not adequately supervised (he'd been on computer looking at porn), i was not agreeable with school (because i had appealed their decisions), psychiatrist and i kept switching medications around and blaming his behavior on medications, and i had not provided adequate health care to prevent this occurrence because i had not kept him with- therapist. so, he got put back in detention with- no medications and they have social services lined up to determine placement after they do a comp evaluation and difficult child and i were told he might never come back home. the details on that are on my last post.

what do i do? have i been an unfit parent? the attny i hired spoke with- gal but it seems the gal convinced the attny that there was reason to fear that he is a danger to society. the police didn't think so, and he didn't meet the criteria of hospital or ins co for acute care. why did gal twist things around in front of judge? she had acted like we were on the same wavelength before we walked into court. i'm supposed to sign release forms for EVERYTHING for social services. no one is telling me what to expect- do any of you know if i should expect that he'll never come back home? the attny kept confusing an inpatient evaluation with Residential Treatment Center (RTC) when talking with- me last so i don't know now if that's what gal is trying to get. i told attny that if he was determined to be a danger to self or others, i would want him in someplace appropriate, just like i did last year, but that this had not been established now and it should be determined after a re-evaluation by psychiatrist/psychiatric- it should not be determined by lawyers and i don't think gal should be punishing difficult child through the process of her learning difficult child's history and talking to psychiatrists. after what she did before, i'm afraid to talk to gal or social services because i'm afraid things will be taken out of context or twisted around again to help them achieve what they want.

I feel like dumping all the paperwork from sd, hospital, documents i've written trying to stand up for him and get him help, onto gal and social services desks. but, i am paranoid about report from pysch test last year because instead of her clarifying the tire swing incident, she wrote "sets fires". now that difficult child has a felony arson charge, what does that look like and where is that going to lead? also, in the chart of parent provided info it says he "sometimes is cruel to animals" - i don't know where that came from- i either filled in the wrong circle on one of those 500 questions or she took my statement that when he rages, even our dogs run as being cruel to animals.

has anyone ever been through anything like this? i told attny that i think i should get difficult child a better defense attny because court appointed one isn't doing anything. the attny said he can't do anything but have a comp evaluation done, which is happening on friday. i think there has to be a way to let the judge know that gal is twisting things around and that difficult child can become stable again and should not be locked away or taken away from home. also, if comp evaluation says he's not comp- does that mean Residential Treatment Center (RTC)? does the person doing comp evaluation determine if he's a danger to society?

God bless anyone who has taken the time to read all this!!!


Well-Known Member

I'm sorry about what you and difficult child are going through. It appears noone is listening to mom and everyone has an idea about what to do. Have any of these people spoken with difficult child? Has anyone asked him about what is going on.

While not having experience, I have been on this board awhile. I can tell you two things. The first is that I would be highly suspicious that difficult child's behaviors are both a combination on undx'd issues and reactions to the wrong medication. The second is that there are parents here who have been through H and back like you have. Hopefully they are around this holiday weekend to give you some wise words.

In the meantime, the rest of us will be here to support you along the way.



Well-Known Member
Big {{{hugs}}} to you. I haven't been where you are now so I can't say I've been there done that. I agree with Sharon, it sounds to this untrained mom that difficult child may have an underlying disorder or a medication reaction going on. Or both. Remember it's slow on holiday weekends, but others will be along.


Active Member
Thank you! I too, believe the diagnosis is not complete- probably another reason tdocs weren't helpful and seemed to agitate things more. difficult child recently told me there are times (phases) where he doesn't feel pain normally. When I visited him in detention on Wed., (no medications currently) his hands were shaking, he was biting nails to quick, looked pale and had "empty" eyes, looks like he's about to fall apart. he's scared to death- said he hadn't gone to bathroom since he'd been there (2 days). he's the youngest one there-the next is 2 years older than him. Since i don't feel he broke the rules of being on the monitor and this is a mental health issue, i'm wondering if this consistutes reason to ask for an emergency hearing to get him out? the only problem is, what could i do for him at home, other than psychiatrist trying another medication. i can't get him an out-patient evaluation this fast.

i'm looking now to get the re-evaluation at the place i was trying to get the inpatient, except on an out-patient basis. they have a mood disorders clinc and are supposed to specialize in distinguishing depression from bipolar and other mood disorders. they are sending me application paperwork but won't be able to do the evaluation until fall (URGG) and will not except new patients for treatment until they have done their own evaluation on them. So, assuming i keep custody/parental rights, what do i do between now and fall? if this is another reason for social services to take him, what can they achieve between now and fall that I can't- other than keep him locked up?
I wish I had some advice or wisdom to share with you. I've not gone throgh anything of this nature.

Sending prayers, hugs, and every shred of my support your way.


Active Member
I do not have any experience with the legal system in this capacity either, but I do have a thought. It would seem to me - although I am not sure I am accurate - that if you were able to prove that your son's issues and misconduct were due to a pyschiatric disorder, that this would change the nature of his punishment. Another words, sort of like the Andrea Yates situation, could your son plead "mentally incompetent", so that these charges were being handled more inline with a mentally ill patient rather than a straight juvy case. This would be something your lawyer could implement I would think, and then you would be able to demand that your son receive medications in juvy.

Just a thought.....................keep us posted, and I am so sorry you are going through this.


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I need to bite the bullet and I'd rather hear it from you guys first- do you think I failed my difficult child? Is there anything I can do about it now?


Well-Known Member
You did NOT fail your son. He was born differently, and you are trying your best to HELP him. You are an awesome mom. These kids all make us feel like failures sometimes. We have to remember how hard it is to try to deal with a child who is not your average kid. It's not easy! (((Hugs)))


New Member
You are an awesome mom. You keep on fighting for your son and trying to get help for him and trying to help others understand him. I have not faced social services issues yet. He needs a thorough re-evaluation at an in-patient hospital.He needs for his medications to be right. I can understand the alarm bells going off d/t the burning leaves incident where the fire trucks were called. Some may just be self-protective that a future incident be deterred.


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I understand their fear- I have felt it before and the LAST thing I want is for my difficult child to hurt himself or others. But no one in mental health considered him ACUTE yet- and what really gets me- the inpatient evaluation place would take him if the court ordered and paid for it- neither the GAL or the court appointed attny even brought this up. So it looks like either they determine he has no problems but me and needs to live somewhere else and be punished severly, or, he's a danger to society and needs to be locked up for years. There's not discussion about how to stabilize him, that even if he is bipolar, it is possible for bipolar people to get stabilized and live normal lives. There's no discussion aboout it taking time to find out if diagnosis should be bipolar or something else and what the treatment should be. I just feel like they are giving up too soon because they are afraid and don't have easy answers to the solution. When I know he was stabilized for 8-9 mos, i can't easily give up before letting docs re-evaluation him and reviewing diagnosis and trying new approach. What they are doing now is making things worse- not better.


Active Member
What does your lawer say about your son being declared mentall ill? It seems you already have the records to prove that he is from the psychiatrist. What about all of the hoopla in the press about Prozac causing some children to become more mentally ill. It is actually on the label of some anti-depressants as a warning now - and he was on Prozac when these crimes were committed.

I think right now your only hope is this lawyer. He needs to be in court every day, petitioning to get this boy released and in phosph due to mental illness - and if I were you, I would not take my eyes off of that goal. Do not concern yourself with what the courts should and should not do.......because evidently they are against you. The only person with you is this lawyer - and he better be there every day advocating for you and your boy. Your child is ill - and he has a legal right to get help for his illness. A legal right! Tell this lawyer you want to see some action, now, or let him go and find one who will.

As far as you being a good Mom - OMG........Of course you are!!!! Please, know that we all do only the best we can - and do not let the legal system suck you of your confidence. It is tragic what they do to our children, and right now, you are your son's only protector. In addition to the lawyer petitioning the court every day to get your son released, I would be down there too........talking to whoever will listen. This is it! The mother bear fighting to keep her cub from drowning - you need to get all your artillery on, and fight!!!
That is why we, on this board, are called warrior moms - this is what we do fight for our children and their rights, and not back down until our children are provided for, protected, and taken care of. If you lose your confidence, and become soft to the legal system, you boy will become a victim, and you cannot let that happen.

So I would talk to every mental health advocate in your city - I would call anyone who will listen and ask that they help you. Do NOT give up! You have a wonderful support group here on this board, use us, use your lawyer, use your friends to bolster yourself in order to win this battle!!!! Because it can be won!!!


Active Member
I've been typing up a timeline to show difficult child's stages, actions I've taken and mental health professionals involvement, school situations, and legal situations. It is actually quite revealing and I originally did it thinking it would be necessary for explaining history to new counselors. however, now i'm thinking about taking this to social services with signed release form for all documents and say "here's the summary, when you get all the documents in, you'll have the supporting data".

do you guys think that would be a good idea? can i trust social services to be objective or are they just going to automatically go with GAL's opinion and look for info to justify it?

this attny i hired- i think he'd be great at mediation with sd, but seems to be acting like i should be negotiating with soc services and getting on same wavelength as GAL. 1st, i'll never trust GAL again because i thought we were on same wavelength before, then in court she almost blatantly lied. i've been checking law on internet and appears to me she didn't follow proper procedures in a few areas, 2nd, i agree that i want to spend time pushing for son and i'm not so sure i want to cave to negotiations quite yet

i'm thinking i should put this attny on hold and get an aggressive defensive attny who's familiar with juvenile laws and mental health laws and parents rights

Thank all for the wonderful support!!


Well-Known Member
klmno, just lending support here... you don't need the hassle from GAL on top of it all! :eek:
Just a thought... with-the awake cycle of 36 hrs straight, then sleeping for 16, it sounds like bipolar. But the jumping out of the car biz made me think he was on drugs. No one has mentioned it here (unless I missed it) but do you think he was on something you are unaware of? Did you talk to anyone else in the car to find out what started the whole thing?
I'm so sorry you have to go through this. Peace and clarity for you and your difficult child.
And NO, you have not failed your difficult child. Don't even think it!


Trying to jump out of moving car is very consistent with a manic reaction to an SSRI (which could be an indication of a bipolar disorder).


Active Member
last year i had been concerned about drugs because the personality change had been so drastic and i had never seen it in him before, so i started trying to smell everything, checking number of medications, going through everything of his and bedroom over and over, and never found anything indicating drugs or alcohol. also, have done that this year, and checked his my space and other profiles he didn't know i had found and they all list no drugs or alcohol usage. so, i really don't think so. plus, i have no indication that any friend he's had has gotten into them yet.

i was the only person in car when the jumping out of car happened last year. i have read that this is evidence of bipolar sometimes. my guess on diagnosis would be bipolar, as well, but i'm not sure. some things i've read also include all these as major depression. then, i guess there are other mood disorders it could be. the weird thing if it's bipolar- no one in my family has even been suggested as having it. not sure about his father's side. in my family, issues are situational depression and we are high anxiety people.


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Just my 2 cents again - but yes, I would agree with you getting a new lawyer that is with you every step of the way. It sounds like these social service people are not on your side, and you need a lawyer that knows that, and knows how to navigate the system on your behalf. I think I would also give the timeline you made to both social services and your new lawyer. I would leave no stone unturned.

As far as a diagnosis of bi-polar - it is really hard to make a diagnosis when he is on a SSRI, because medications like Prozac can actually cause some children to have similar symptoms to bi-polar. Did he start the manic like symptoms when he started the Prozac? Or before? Certainly jumping out of cars, stealing, etc. are all things my son has done when manic. In fact at the height of a manic episode he will steal anything and everything that he thinks he can get away with. He has absolutely no impulse control, and it is very scary.

If a person tried to assess my son's diagnosis just based on what he does when he is manic, then they would probably assess he has conduct disorder - which is what your legal system is doing to your son. They have not seen the whole picture, all the ups and downs and nuances of your son's illness - and therefore they are ill equipped to make a life altering decision about his future. And this is the very thing a new lawyer MUST show and prove to the justice system and social services.

Hang in there - it sounds you are really making some progress on pulling everything together for the court date,,,,,,,,,


Active Member
Sequoia, bless you and I'm with you- I think you have hit the nail on the head- especially about being treated like conduct disorder, which sd and tdocs were doing too.

If you don't mind me asking, what kind of school does your difficult child go to and what kind of accommodations, if any, are effective at school?

My difficult child did the car jumping prior to taking prozac. The spree this year happened right after school kicked him out (rejection issues) and prozac had been doubled.

As bad as his actions were on his crime spree, i think good signs are that he didn't retaliate against school and commit any major crime at school, he didn't show the same type of erratic behavior like rolling around with a knife or jumping out of cars, and he was able to notice that there are times he doesn't feel pain normally- told me- and was willing to answer psychiatrists questions about it. to me, this is light years ahead of where we were. i guess as i'm thinking he's finally at a point where we can find out and treat whatever is really going on, the entire sd and county is trying to eliminate me and destroy him. so, i'm just trying to convince myself that if i give it my best to fight all of them, maybe i can salvage something for him. maybe someday one of them will look at the facts and talk to a psychiatrist instead of just backing up what another county person or sd member has already decided or assumed. (HAH)


Active Member
I know you can still salvage this situation......and turn it around for you son. There is no doubt in my mind. So fight all of them with everything you have.

The crime spree on Prozac doubled is a huge sign to me. Its sounds like classic mania brought on by improper medication. If anybody, the Dr should be held responsible for neglect rather than you!!!! Ugh!!!!
And I agree, the fact your son did not retaliate against the school is a huge sign.

As far as my son, I pulled him out of school in the 7th grade, and have been homeschooling (actually online schooling) him ever since. I guess my greatest fear has been exactly what you are going through, and out of my fear I pulled him out of the mainstream. I am not always sure it has been the right thing - but I do know that it has kept him out of juvy, and off drugs. Hopefully by the time he is immersed back in mainstream society, he will have better coping skills, and know how to manage his illness better. I don't know if homeschooling, or online school is an option for you, but I know many of us on this board do that.

Keep us posted on how things are going, and if there is anything else we can help with - and feel free to PM if you want.

hearts and roses

Mind Reader
Many many Hugs to you. It sounds like Amber has raised a lot of good points for you to consider with his DR and atty.

Best of luck to you - you're a wonderful mother for all that you've done and all you're going to do to save your son. Don't allow others to make you question that.