Desperate and running low on hope- please help

Discussion in 'Failure to Thrive' started by [email protected], Jun 12, 2016.

  1. Kat@morada

    [email protected] New Member

    we have three children. All very successful by most standards. Beautiful kids, good- no trouble or drinking issues etc., very well mannered etc. Our middle son has been a challenge. He is different- he is extremely smart, bordering brilliant. He is very mature and settled for his age. He has always felt a little out of place in his age demographic. He is striking- just beautiful. He is funny and has always been very confident. He possesses strong leadership skills. He is driven, focused and strong willed. There is no changing his mind. Just some personality traits there to help you understand. He has a girlfriend that he has dated off and on for 6+ years. It is the only girl he has ever even looked at. She is everything to him. More then a high school sweetheart- one of those childhood loves that stay with you forever. He has planned his life around her. We have not encouraged any of this. We think and have always thought he was too young for this level of seriousness. They first dated when they were 14 ish. It ended terribly. She broke up with him, he was devastated. He didn't recover and became severely depressed. Eventually he ended up in the hospital from a Tylenol overdose. I found him in his own blood and bile. His youngest sibling witnessed it all. He shouldn't be here today. He is only by Gods grace. After that he/we went through 2 years of hell. His entire personality changed, he became aggressive and was very angry. Anytime we left the house, upon returning my husband would have to go in and "check" to make sure we weren't walking in on something horrible. I was sure we would lose him. He was hospitalized 3 times, on several medications. We tried everything. Eventually after a very grueling time the fog lifted. He returned to us.
    A year or so later, much to our horror, he began to date the girl again. We were sick. There was nothing we could do. We sat helpless and watched, keeping our mouths shut and our door open so we didn't drive him away. They will find a way with or without you. They have been together since- 2 1/2 more years. He has thrived. He is on almost a full ride at a great college and plans on being a lawyer. He is carrying a 4.0 after his first year. She is a year behind and was going to attend the same school. He planned everything around it. Drove home often etc etc. She, to give you some background, is beautiful. Very smart and very wealthy. I guess a big deal to someone his age. He is a deer in headlights for lack of a better description. A few months ago they found out she didn't get in to his college. Everything came crashing down. She has decided to go far away and dropped him very abruptly. This kind of thing happens, and I must say that we thought they were too young anyways but have never expressed that. She seems to be on her merry little way, unaffected. We now are reliving the nightmare we had before. It is worse. He is consumed. Devastated. He does not like his school now. Hates his home. Cries alone in a dark room and is not eating. He is unresponsive. He won't entertain counseling or medications. He won't talk to us at all. He doesn't see (which I know is part of it all) how much he really has. He is brilliant- gorgeous, funny and driven. The world is his. He is blessed to have gotten into a great college and worked so hard to get there. He spent a lot of time with her- so he is very isolated now. Lots of acquaintances, but no really close friends. However- it would shock people to know any of this. He comes across very confident and funny- it kind of reminds me of a Robin Williams situation- where people had no idea. The first time we went through this almost killed me. I don't know how I made it. This time it's worse. Even scarier. I can't breathe. I can't work. I can't get through an hour without envisioning him hanging from the ceiling or finding him. God help him and me. I don't know what to do. I have tried everything.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2016
  2. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Kat. Welcome. If this is your real name I believe you should change it. This is an anonymous site. You will feel safer if you and your family are anonymous. My post will follow.
  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Dear Kat,

    You will find here the support and the care to get through this. I am so sorry you find yourself here in this tough, tough time.

    What to say? All of us here on this site are unified in that we have limited or no control over our children who are doing things that frighten us and otherwise cause us great pain and distress. Where your son differs from many is that in all ways (save this one) he is remarkable.

    That said, like you imply, there is an elephant in the living room. To build one's life, self-esteem, meaning around an idealized view of one person is risky business--especially with their track record. She has left once. He has been devastated as a result. Now, a second time.

    On some level your son must be unable to imagine his life and himself without her. Like Romeo and Juliette, this is an idealized and highly romantic (adolescent) view of love and life.

    We can say that it was an accident waiting to happen, or highly risky, or any number of other things that do not help at all. He was going to do what he was going to do. All of love and attachment entails risk.

    But the thing is, in your son's case, it seems as if there may be a fragility there and he has been compensating. His attachment to this girl seems almost obsessive.

    I can very much identify with your situation. My son, also highly intelligent, handsome, and gifted (but not as capable or high functioning) has approached romances the same way--highly idealizing the young woman and becoming devastated at the inevitable. (Except my son could not sustain the romances for that long--the girls would soon see his vulnerabilities and dump him. In retrospect, it was easier on him, because he had less invested. But he built a persona around this perceived failure and rejection and only now at 28 is he somewhat coming out of it.

    The girl seems healthier, really. She seems to be looking out for number one, which at this age seems both smarter and resilient. While it feels easy to judge her, I would rather be her Mom right now that you or me.
    Life is not a superhighway. It is negotiated between our dreams and actions/and events and reactions over which we have no control. Our real life and our real selves are constructed based upon how we respond to what happens, our choices and what we learn based on these roadblocks.

    Clearly your son's return to this girl, knowing what we know now, was fated. It would almost have been worse had she stayed with him. What kind of a life would he have, had building his life around this obsessive young love?

    Of course he cannot understand that now. But I believe now can be the start of his real life. There is as much reason or more for hope as for fear.

    So what to do? It is all based upon what he is willing to do, and how much influence you have.

    Do you contribute at all financially towards college? (i.e, do you have leverage?)
    Is he still there, at college? Or home for the summer?
    What will he do for the summer?
    Were college advisers informed?
    Is he using drugs or alcohol?
    How much longer does he have to get his degree?

    Do you think he is suicidal now? Do you think he needs to be evaluated immediately? Has he threatened suicide?

    I will tell you how I would approach it. I would not let him lay around in my home in a dark room. If he is home, I would insist he get psychotherapy or leave. (Really) As smart as he is I would try to find him the best psychotherapist I could find, if he is amenable.

    If he seems at risk of self-harm I would call a crisis team to evaluate him. If he threatens or makes a gesture of self harm call 911.

    I forced out of my house my son who was depressed. Subsequently he was hospitalized several times. He tells me he attempted suicide several times, something I never verified but believe. He is 27 now and getting better in many ways.

    He and you may have to let go the road map of his future that he has constructed. Much of it may have been based upon fantasy. What is known now is that he seems to have a mental illness and is highly vulnerable. That reality must be accepted by him and by you.

    You may have very limited options to intervene, because as an adult the ball is in his court. But that does not mean you do not have power. You do. With him your biggest power will be in saying No.

    No, I will not let you stay here in your room. No. I will not help you financially if you do not get treatment. No. No. I will not pretend that this is OK. It is not.

    Your other source of power will come over yourself. Detaching. (You will find an article on detachment on the website. There is a link to very helpful article on talking with your adult children is at the bottom of member scentofcedar's signature. By believing in your son's capacity to solve this himself, to grow, you can empower him. That is the greatest source of hope. What lies in him. This is how he will live and become his own true and strong self. There is no attribute more powerful than the strength within that we develop when we confront adversity.

    That is very hard to accept as a parent, that your child could be in such trouble and you cannot fix it or help him. But that is a reality that each of us here has had to deal with. Paradoxically, accepting that helps us and our children. It can be the beginning of their really seeing themselves and their lives through adult, realistic eyes.

    I am very glad you have found us. I hope you keep posting. It really really helps. Ask as many questions, specific ones, as you need to. Other parents will soon be here. Sunday evenings are a slower time. By Monday morning there will be other parents here. All of us have a somewhat different take on things, as our experiences have been different. But we are united in that we understand how hard this is.

    Please have hope. I believe your son has the capacity and the will to make a beautiful and wonderful life. He first has to start where he is. No one other person can be the solution to a life. That is truth number one. No girl could be what he needs. He is what he needs.

    Today is day one, in his building himself, his true life. I believe that.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2016
  4. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I wanted to specifically respond to this.

    You must work. You must breathe. You must live. The more you are in crisis mode, the worse for the both of you. You must show him that you are going on. This will show him that he can and must as well. The more you are in crisis, the more he will be.

    This is a matter of fact situation: if he is suicidal call 911. You cannot have him in your house if he is suicidal. You are not equipped. You are not a hospital.

    Take back your power. As long as he dominates the situation the risk is greater. He is in no position to dominate the situation. His judgment is impaired. He is ill. You tell him: to stay here you must get help now. If he will not get help, call the crisis unit.

    Either you are exaggerating the risk do to your own mental state or you are not. If it is the former, than you need to get help. If it is the latter, your son needs immediate help. He must or he cannot be with you. If he is still at college or where ever he is, and you believe he is at risk, call the authorities.
  5. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly If focused on a single leaf you won't see the tree

    My heart goes out to you and your family- that you have to go through this yet again. I have no advice for you as I have never dealt with this type of situation.

    I would try and call a crisis line for advice, support. Also contact NAMI.ORG in your area. National Alliance on Mental Illness. They have support groups for families going through crisis. Please also see about getting counseling for yourself even if your son will not at this time.
  6. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    So sorry to hear about your son. It is always scary when they are in "love" young and things don't work out. That has always been a fear for me also as the mother of boys.

    He sounds severely depressed. I would get him to see a therapist as soon as possible. I don't know what else you can really do.

  7. Kat@morada

    [email protected] New Member

    Thank you for all your replies. I truly appreciate the advice and kind words. It has been a nightmare. We have seen glimmers of hope- he has spent time with friends, taken a little trip away, and his brother came into town for a few days and spent time with him. He seems to "lift" with these things. We are smart enough to know its a minor elevation of mood and not that he's happy- just a moment where he can breathe I suppose. He openly admits that even when he is doing these things- even when he is smiling, he is dying inside and profoundly sad. The last week has taken a turn for the worst. We realized that he is trying to go places and do things where he may see her. He is "there" and always polite/nice etc but understandably she doesn't like it- she has moved on. I will say that she stirring the pot a bit- sending mixed signals, occasionally calling and then when people get around she turns on him. Anyways/ regardless- he really needed to let go and stay away along time ago. Enough has happened that they are no longer friends and last night there was a pretty humiliating public display in front of all of his peers. He is lower- if that's even possible. He will not go for help and even now can't let go. The thought of losing her is too much to bear. We have daily episodes of "I'm done" and "I can't do this anymore". I have walked out of work numerous times to rush home and can't continue. My younger child is suffering as well from years of trauma in the house. On top of all of that my husband may lose his job in the next month or two and if that happens, we will be homeless shortly after. We have no support network. I have never given up in my life, but last night I did. I wailed for 5 hours and am so weak and shakey I can hardly stand, let alone work. I have no plans of doing anything, but let's just say it's a good thing a weapon isn't at my disposal. How do you deal with several years of situations where you are talking your child down from taking his life? He is still not open to counseling or medications. Refuses adamantly. Says he's done it all before, heard it all before and nothing is going to help him or change his situation. We don't agree- I am just repeating his feelings. Forcing him to go into the hospital via police would seal the deal. We have done that three times. It is a county facility (we have no true mental health places) where they are thrown in a locked room and left for a week until they are released. There are many severely mentally ill people in there (nothing wrong with that just a very serious mix) and he doesn't relate. The last time he went defacs got called in because he was hit/beaten up by an orderly. He wont go back willingly and if he is forced I can guarantee what will happen immediately following his release. At least now he trusts us somewhat. I feel like this is a no win situation and we are just waiting.
    I know no one can help me, I just appreciate being able to talk to someone. Anyone.
  8. Kat@morada

    [email protected] New Member

    I also don't think I have mentioned that at least one therapist from years ago (I honestly think it was even two or three) and both my husband and I think he has borderline personality disorder. He hasn't been as abusive (still is though) as before and is depressed in a less "angry way" this time, but he is still very difficult to negotiate with for all the reasons that would apply. I am aware of the book out and will get it. Just thought this might add a little more insight.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    im sorry for your pain and that your son refuses help. Not that you can actually force anything one way or the other, but you can remind him gently that his attempts to run into her can lead to a restraining order or even an accusation of stalking. As one with two daughters, if either of them told me an ex boyfriend kept showing up around them and coming close/causing scenes, I'd be scared and suggest they go to the police. And I know my daughters well. They would do it. You son needs to stay away from this girl.

    He needs to stop following her...that is the only thing that will eventually get him to possibly move on, since he refuses to get help, which you know is unwise. I sm familiar with borderline If im correct, they cause drama everywhere, nothing is their faults, and they dont accept outside help. There is a book called Walking on Eggshells for people who love somebody with borderline. its in bookstores and on amazon. Maybe pick it up.

    What about you? Your sons constant suicide threats are scary and must impact you greatly. You need to remember that you are important too. Maybe you should get therapy to learn better ways to deal with this. Your son has spent years threatening to kill himself, but it sound like he hasnt tried it, like it may be his way of saying "If I can't have what I want, my life sucks and, although I'm an adult, I dont mind scaring you, Mom." It is in my opinion a form of abuse to make you suffer with him. Not saying he is not sick, but he is aware of how this will affect you. And he obviously is okay with this.

    Anytime I hear a suicide threat, I call 911. Period. I know its usually not serious, but I wont take a chance. I havent heard a suicide threat since using this method. They want attention, tears and fawning when making thus threat, not a call to 911. But the threat is scary and we are not psychiatrists.

    In the end, we cant stop them from even suicide. They have to decide on their own to get help. You can point out the pitfalls of his inaction toward his problems but its up to him to get appropriate help. Detaching with love in my opinion is best. There is a good article about that on the top of the Parent Emeritus forum.

    The suicides I've heard sbout thru the years raising four kids were surprises. The parents, friends, girlfriends had no clue. Your son is broadcasting his unhappiness. I am no mental health expert, but I do think he is mostly asking for you to make his angst go away. But he wont ask for professional help and you cant force any young woman to be his girlfriend.

    So you are powerless to make him feel better. We, all of us, can only help one I would never walk out of work again for him. He is a man. Call 911 and dont overreact. This encourages him to continue using your heart for everything and he is too old for you to be holding his hand. You can't live forever. Then what? He pulls this on his siblings? I know you don't want that.

    I wish I had a game plan for you to help your son. I dont. But you can get professional help, set an example by your actions, and learn how to go on with your own life in spite of your struggling son.If he is borderline, there are ways to handle people with thus disorder. They are very difficult. Do purchase Walking on Eggshells.

    Again, I am sorry for your pain. Do something nice fir YOU today.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2016
  10. Kat@morada

    [email protected] New Member

    Thank you for your reply. Your words are very kind. Unfortunately there is a previous suicide attempt. He ended up in ICU 4 years ago after an Over the counter medication overdose. It was very serious and he shouldn't be here today. He understands and accepts the full ramifications of what he is saying. We have to be very careful not to challenge him, call his bluff or back him into a corner in any way as he accepts the challenge readily, and at this time doesn't care enough not to do it. This is the trap- we fully think we may be on the brink, but the options available have been tried before and are very poor. He would go into a public asylum for a few days or a week and would come out even worse. Been there x 3. As a mother I know I can't give up, but by doing that I feel like I'd be pushing the button. By not doing it we are doing nothing. I feel that we are trapped with no happy ending. I am sure that's why I am shutting down. My heart and gut are weighing very heavily on this. The situation is pretty clear after recent days. Why aren't there other options? Why can't there be truly helpful solutions instead of these?
  11. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly If focused on a single leaf you won't see the tree

    I do echo the advice of SWOT and Copa- you have to set the rules in the house. Like he can't sit around in his dark room, not doing anything all day except mope around. He will do one positive thing every day to keep moving along.

    When he says he wants to give up, tell him no, you will not give up. When he says he can't do this anymore, say Yes you can. Be firm and matter of factly. Most of us have lost a love of our life, the one we thought was the ONE. Since he refuses therapy, find some books on helping him move through the loss of the love of his life. Start there.

    YOU need to find a support group for yourself. Don't give up- I know how you feel, when things pile up and just feel it would be easier to end it. You are running scared from so many things. Have faith, things will work out. I once was where you are now- a good friend saved me. I am so thankful for her to this day. Without her, I would never have known my beautiful grand-children, to have all the great memories I have today, to see the progress my difficult son has made in his life, albeit took long time. REFUSE TO GIVE UP.

    Protect your job at all costs, especially if your husband might lose his down the road. Even if he does, there is always hope he can find another job. If it comes to losing your home- others have been there, you can always find a place to rent. Not sure if you are in the US or not. If you are in the states, read your foreclosure rules. In Michigan where I am, you have 6 months before they actually foreclose. YOU can save money to find another place to live. There are ALWAYS OPTIONS and solutions. I had friends that lost their homes and they were heart broken but it all worked out for them. They moved on and restarted again.

    Do you have any 401K's or IRA's to fall back on financially?

    Keep the faith that all will work again, maybe not as you pictured it, but there will be doors opened for you.
  12. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly If focused on a single leaf you won't see the tree

    I am so sorry to read this. I can see how you are backed into a corner. But really, if someone is determined to end their life, there is nothing you can do. Do call NAMI and see if they can offer any other help or suggestions. Know that, none of this is your fault, sometimes no matter what help you offer someone, they just want to do what they want to do.

    Try here: