Hello friends. It has been about 6 months since I posted last about my difficult child. I haven't posted or commented, but I assure you I have been logging on each day and taking comfort in the various comments and advice I read. It still makes me sadly surprised just how many of us there are out there, mothers trying to help, support and love our difficult child's. Mine turned 21 since my last post. I see that it must be birthday season for other difficult child's too. I've gone through the same emotions that I've been reading. I can't believe on this milestone birthday, which should be celebrated and welcome, is spent in a horrible place. Realizing our hopes and dreams of that little child we raised, will never be. Today is a tough day, as he has chosen homelessness than to live in my home and get a job and try to work at being better. He has refused all help. It's been a long road. Some of you may or may not remember my story. My son seemed to be the poster child of a easy child until about his junior or senior year of high school. I later found out through therapy that he had experimented with mild-altering drugs, which we feel permanently damaged him, as no doctor has ever been able to figure out what is wrong with him. Two years ago he went off to college, took off without warming, there were missing posters of him, he had left all important belongings behind. He showed up 3 days later and to this day has never shared what he did or who he was with. Just showed up dirty and this was the first sign that something was very wrong with him. He eventually came back to his home state to live with me. Fast forward two years. He has lived with me, lived with my parents, seen so many therapists, been on a bunch of different medications-all of which he refused to continue past a month each time, turned 21 and that brought on a new problem of drinking alcohol. My poor mom would find empty bottles of rum in his room when he was living with her, eventually got arrested for public intoxication, has started a fist fight at a local bar, then hit and run as he drove away from that bar and hit a parked car. Thank the Lord it wasn't a person. But this was a couple of months ago, then we admitted him in a psychiatric clinic, he went willingly. While in the clinic, he was given 4 ECT (electroshock) therapy sessions. He did this voluntarily, his recent therapist recommended it since he would not respond to traditional treatments. They seemed to help him and he was released 2 weeks later into my care. For a little while there, we felt we had finally found our miracle. He was continuing to take the low-dose antidepressant that he had started in the clinic and he was out looking for jobs and being the child I remember him being. My heart was so full of hope, as was my whole family. I did everything I could to encourage this. But slowly, bit by bit the difficult child behaviors began again. He had met a cute girl while in the clinic. No, not the best place to find romance, but he really liked her a lot and I hadn't seen him interact with anyone his age in 2 years, let alone a girl. He had an extra spring in his step. They agreed they would hang out when they got out. They did. But only one time. She picked him up and they shopped around town. When I asked him later how it went, apparently he came on too strong by telling her how much he liked her, etc.. So he was rejected and that was really the beginning of his downward spiral. Since then, he has reverted back to the zombie living in my home. Playing video games loudly all night as me and his younger brother try and sleep, sleeping all day, not doing any chores, eating our food, basically mooching in every possible way. He would go pick up job applications occasionally, and actually get called for interviews, but would show up looking dirty and messy hair. It was like he was self-sabotaging. I finally decided, after much thought and my hurt heart and also encouragement from family and friends (and reading similar stories on here), that I needed to let him go. He has refused all treatments, is being disrespectful to myself and my home, not wanting to even be a part of this family. So I gave him information to the local homeless shelter and told him he had one week. This must have scared him straight, because he went straight out the door and came back announcing he had gotten a job. I was proud of him, but I could tell he was NOT happy about it. Like I made him do it. Um yes I did! He lasted one shift at that restaurant. 4 hours of work. He came back saying he wouldn't be going back, even though they asked him to show up this morning. I reminded him that if he didn't show up for work, then I will enable him no more and he would have to be on his own. Well, this morning came and went and he was still in his bedroom. I decided that was it. I knocked on his door and told him he had until noon. He was mad, throwing things around in there and later a taxi showed up and he was out the door, slamming it so loudly behind him. Here is the part that got me questioning it all. After he left, I felt a sense that I was doing the right thing. He had been given chance after chance, opportunity after opportunity. He was using profanity against me recently, so angry, leaving food and trash laying around in spite. And now couldn't muster up the strength to show up at this entry level restaurant job making appetizers. But when I walked into his room all the panic hit me. I noticed he had left everything behind. His wallet, with his drivers license and ss card in it, the bus pass I had recently got him that had $30 on it still, his atm card, his laptop, his headphones that he would always have on, his phone charger. HIS PHONE CHARGER. That is when it hit me that I would not be hearing from him. Nor would I be able to reach him. His phone would die within a few hours (it had a crappy battery), and how would he be able to call me for help? As I snooped around even more to see what clues I could find, or just anything, I noticed a crumpled up piece of paper stuffed into a small compartment of his music amplifier. It said "I can't take this anymore. Please don't come looking for me. I don't want to be found. I love you all. I can't put any of you through anymore". I dropped to my knees and cried thinking the absolute worst. I did not know if this was written today, or one of the previous other times I had almost kicked him out. I didn't see a pen in his room, unless he took it with him. He only left with a duffel bag. I guess he only took some clothes, because he absolutely left all other items of importance behind, including toothbrush, etc.. I am trying not to think the worst. I am hoping he has just chosen to be homeless, rather than to work and follow the rules of living in my home. He has burned the bridge of living at my parent's house. He has no friends or anyone else in this big city since he moved back from college 2 years ago. But I must remember: He did this exact same thing 2 years ago while at college. Taking off, leaving all items of importance behind. Like he wanted to worry the world, no cell phone, no ID. I want to believe that he will be okay. He is 21, he can obviously put on the charm and get a job or help as he needs it, yet there is truly something wrong with him. The depression, the anti-social behavior that has overcome him the past couple of years. He is ALWAYS saying things like "I just don't want to be alive anymore, it's too much of a struggle". I just don't know how to handle this new type of torture. It was one thing to deal with seeing him deteriorate in my house, right before my eyes, to have to be onto him about cleaning or telling him to shower and brush his teeth, but at least he was right here, where I could see that he was alive and well and eating, etc.. Now he is out there, in the big city, no way of communicating with anyone, no money, no vehicle, not even any forms of identification. And that note. I wish I hadn't even been snooping around to find it. I wish I hadn't read those words because then I could still just be thinking he is off living the homeless life, like he always seemed to want to do. And now, as I type this, thunder and lightning have begun. The weather report said we were expecting a bad thunderstorm tonight. Oh great, now I have to worry about that too. I don't know how to act or feel right now! My 10 yr old easy child is here, asking me if I'm okay. I tell him yes honey, I'm fine, as I try to wipe the tears before he sees me. Even my dog keeps jumping at every sound and running to the door. I can only say to her "I know, Lily.."