Feeling hopeless

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by JKF, Nov 12, 2014.

  1. JKF

    JKF Well-Known Member

    difficult child is still on the streets. Supposedly living in a makeshift tent with his "friends" behind the Walmart a few towns over. He has absolutely no plans to get help. He's hoping that the cold will kill him. He told a very good family friend of ours that that's his plan. To let nature take it's course and hopefully he'll die from the elements this winter. This friend has known difficult child from birth and she works with young adults with issues like his and she's really worried about him. She said he was very upbeat and matter of fact about his plan to die.

    I've tried and tried and tried again to help him find services and get into a shelter. There are a few options available but he refuses. Hangs up on me when I mention it. I have to admit that I'm in full freak out mode. It's cold here. Supposed to get into the low 30's tonight and stay cold for a long time to come. We've never had a winter when difficult child was actually on the streets long term. He was with my dad last winter and in a shelter program the winter before. This is new territory for me and I'm not dealing well with it.

    I have no idea what to do anymore. Home will never be an option due to safety issues. We don't have the finances to rent him a room or apartment. He refuses to go to a shelter. He can't get social services due to a sanction for non compliance. His mental illnesses continue to spiral out of control. I feel like this is truly rock bottom and it's hopeless at this point. I feel like I'm watching a train wreck in slow motion and there's absolutely nothing I can do to stop it. It's truly heartbreaking.

    Im scared. I can't sleep. I'm having daily panic attacks. None of my regular tricks are helping this week and I don't see myself being "ok" anytime in the near future. I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for the worst bc I know in my heart I need to prepare.

    Sorry for the rambling post tonight but my brain is jello right now. Just needed to vent a bit.
  2. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    JKF, I am so sorry. I understand the panic. And, sometimes our tools just don't work to quell the fear.

    It is a scary, awful thing to observe a loved one slide out of reality into their own abyss and to really understand that there is nothing you can do to help or prevent whatever will happen. It is a helpless, powerless feeling we humans don't fare well in. Powerlessness is what we feel when we feel we have no control. The truth is that we never have any control, we just think we do. Something like what you're describing brings that recognition right up front and personal. And it scares us.

    The only way I can move through the kind of fear you are feeling is to make every attempt to calm my own thoughts from going haywire with what ifs. The way I do that is to focus on this moment, not the future, which hasn't arrived yet and we can't predict, not the past with all of it's pitfalls which are now over and done with.........but right now. Practice slow, deep breathing while you try to focus on your body........try to feel your body, your hands, your feet, try to feel the energy in them............that can allow you to slip out of your fear thoughts and loosen the grip the fear has on you. If you do that, you'll feel tingling in your hands........focus on that. As you do that, the thoughts will begin to dissipate. Breathe deeply. You may have to continue doing that over and over for a little while, but eventually, it works. The fear is in your thoughts now, nothing has happened. You were given information which scared you. Now your own thoughts are scaring you. Nothing has happened. Stay focused on the moment.

    If something does happen, you will deal with it THEN. And, nothing may happen. So, do your best to stay in the present moment and breathe.........

    Saying a prayer for you........sending warm hugs for your wounded heart..............as others come along, they will send their wishes and prayers too............you're going to be fine...........
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  3. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    JKF, we are sisters in this. The sheer awfulness of watching them sink below the surface of the water. Here is my hope and experience though...I have thought many many times that this must be rock bottom, that he would overdose or freeze to death while drunk, or be beaten to death or hit by a car or lit on fire by one of those marauding gangs that lights homeless people on fire.....but it has never happened. He bubbles up again, now living under a bridge, now couch surfing, now hospitalized, now living under the bridge...and around and around and around we go. The despair, the awful moments of what appear to be self realization, the fear and regret on his part that surfaces sometimes...it goes away again, and he is back to living like robin hood the outlaw, weirdly enjoying his fringe life. Once he cut his throat (not enough to bleed to death, that would actually be quite hard, said the doctor). Once he cut his wrists. All those times were awful awful awful for all of us...and yet...here he is years later, doing the dance of where he lives and how he lives. I think it will be the same for your difficult child, JKF, I do.

    The hours are sometimes very very dark for us, JKF. But it will get lighter. Pay attention to what RE says. Breathe and remember how little you can control. What for true loss before you grieve. Don't waste your energy fearing or grieving what hasn't happened yet, and may never happen.

    Hugs from me to you, mama. It is lonely and sad and scary, but we are here.

  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    JKF, I have no experience with something this awful, but I did have a few horrible experiences that I couldn't control. The only way I dealt with it was getting therapy for myself. I was then able to cope and find strength that I didn't know I had. I hope you seek out that sort of comfort to help you through your days.

    Hugs for your hurting heart.
  5. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    Take care of yourself, JKF, this is not the time to fall apart. Permit yourself a "mini breakdown" but you must go on, you will go on! It is very, very hard, and I'm sending you compassionate hugs right now.
  6. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Hi JFK,

    I am so sorry you are dealing with this. Can you start process to have difficult child committed? Where I live, a judge will sign the order if person is a danger to himself or others.
    We started that with our difficult child years ago after I found a note saying he wanted to kill himself. He left the state the day after I turned in paperwork. I was always a little suspicious because the judge to sign it was the dad of one of difficult child's friends.

  7. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    The awful and frightening dance that is life with a difficult child. I can only offer many gentle hugs and prayers for your hurting mommy heart and for your son's safety.
  8. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    When difficult child daughter was homeless in a blizzard and called, crying, for us to pay for a room for herself and her (drug addled, street person, physically abusive) boyfriend and their cohorts in crime we initially said "no." Then we said yes ~ and difficult child daughter landed like a hawk and demanded three nights.

    So we said no to any of it.

    I did.

    I did that.

    After a truly hellish night for both husband and I, we agreed to rent somewhere cheap for her to live for the two months until we got home. (We were in another state for the winter.)

    And we learned difficult child daughter and her cohorts had been blacklisted, not only from anywhere with a smidgeon of decency, but from the nastiest, cheapest places where by reputation alone, no one we knew or knew of had ever gone.

    There is no telling what that room for three nights would have cost. Damages, street people coming in from the storm...we didn't get that piece until later.

    What I do know: Men and women are separated, at the shelters. The person must intentionally arrive before dark and remain at the shelter, locked in and with no access to booze or drugs, until the next morning.

    That is why street people don't like to go there.

    difficult child daughter also told me the shelter people are dangerous, and she did not feel safe, there.

    But just that knowledge, that there was a place she could go and had chosen not to, got me through the nights.

    The most helpful thing, to me, was to call the shelter and talk to personnel there. They will answer any questions you have.

    Here is a funny thing: So, I would call the homeless shelter people for all kinds of things, right? And my daughter was actually confronted by one of the people who ran the shelter services (mail and so on) about how she could be homeless when her mother was calling all the time to check on her mail and her ID.


    Can you say helicopter mom?


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  9. JKF

    JKF Well-Known Member

    This is one of the very first things I learned from you RE. It's been a powerful tool and I use it every single day. I remember a couple of years ago, when you first gave me this advice, I thought "yeah right like that's gonna work" but I gave it a chance and continued to practice it daily and it definitely works.

    We certainly are Echo. I can't believe how similar our stories are. Our difficult child's are the same age. They are both mentally ill and homeless. They have had services put in place time and time again and each time they chose not to comply, etc. It blows my mind.

    I think so too Echo. I truly do and the thought exhausts me.

    I agree MWM. Therapy is the way to go. I've done it in the past and will be making an appointment to go again in the very near future.

    Thank you CJ! You're 100% right. I must and will go on!

    I'm going to look into this more SS. I spoke with an attorney a while back and I was told that it's a long shot. I just pulled up some more info about our laws here in NJ regarding this and I'll be doing some research this afternoon.

    Same with my difficult child. He is blacklisted from every single place here in the county and I'm sure other counties as well. Cheap nasty motels, shelters, etc. He even got kicked out of the homeless tent city not too long ago but they apparently agreed to take him back. It's only a matter of time before he blows that again as well.

    Hahaha Cedar! The same thing happened with my difficult child! Twice at two different shelters! I called constantly with questions and concerns, etc and the director of both shelters said something to my difficult child about the fact that I called way too much. Helicopter mom indeed! lol

    As always, thank you all so much for the support and advice! I've said it before and I'll say it again - I don't know what I would do without all of you! You truly give me strength! I'm having a much better day today. I haven't heard from difficult child since he hung up on me yesterday but I'm not letting myself go to my dark place. I'm trying take each moment as it comes. It is what it is and it will be what it will be.
  10. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    JFK, my heart goes out to. Fear can be such a paralyzing force but it doesn't have to be. We have no control over the choices our adult difficult child's make. While their choices break our hearts we don't have to let them break us.
    My difficult child has broken my heart so many times you would think I would be numb to it by now. I have learned that I have to let go if I want to save my sanity. I know my difficult child is homeless in CO. It has been 7 months since I have had contact with him. I exchanged letters while he was in jail, however once he was released, I haven't heard from him. He did recently post something on FB that my sister shared with me, he was complaining about being homeless, having to beg for food so he wouldn't starve, and basically saying he is fed up with his life and that no one would miss him if he disappeared. He also lied in his post claiming that I never wrote to him while he was in jail, claiming that I didn’t care about him.
    Reading those words broke my heart and I was also angry that he lied. He unfriended me from FB 2 years ago so I had no way to call him out on his lie. I also know how he can use words to manipulate people.
    I had to let it all go as holding on to any of it only hurts me. My husband and I have tried more times than I can remember to help our difficult child and I finally realized that he really didn’t want any help. It was hard to accept that fact but with that acceptance I was able to really let go. That does not mean that I stopped loving him but it freed me. I have accepted the reality of the situation for what it is. He is homeless and doesn’t care if he lives or dies and there is nothing I can do about it. On some level I have started the grieving process. I grieve for the son I used to have.
    This does not mean that I have given up hope as I will continue to pray for him but I cannot continue to lay awake at night worrying and wondering, allowing my mind to conjure up the worst scenarios. I cannot allow the fear of the unknown and what if’s to consume me.
    I still have to get up every day and go to work. I still have a life to live.
    I completely agree with what RE said about calming yourself, focusing and breathing, these technique’s really work.
    Sending you hugs and prayers.
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  11. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    Hi JKF
    I understand the horror that the onset of Winter brings to us mothers. I just wanted to let you know that my son survived last Winter here living in a tree with no proper heating and no hot water etc. It was freezing cold with torrential rain. Winter is creeping up on us again and he's still living in his tree. I'm just saying this to let you know that, if he survived this, then it's probably quite hard to die from the weather, and if your son is living in a tent with friends then I think it's most unlikely that this could cause his death. The panic and worry and sleepless nights that we suffer as a result of our children makes us not think clearly. Worry breeds more worry until it just gets out of hand and the black thoughts of disaster take over. I don't know what else to say, just that I know where your head is at, and your son and mine will probably be fine, more fine than us. Hugs.
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  12. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    No advice to add to the great advice here, JKF. Just wanted to let you know I was reading along and sending you thoughts of peace. It is so very, very hard to hit that wall again and again of realizing we have no control, even though every fiber of our being is telling us we must do SOMETHING. I think all we can do in times like that, as the others have suggested, is to just be with what IS and try to stop our minds going to what MIGHT.
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  13. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    JKF I am here too, with you in your fear and powerlessness. Lean in if you can JKF and let it wash over you and through you. Try to stop fighting it. It is worse when we stiffen against the fear and the unknown. I believe his Higher Power is right beside him and right beside you, wanting only good things for you both and encircling you with perfect love.
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  14. Tarahas3

    Tarahas3 wife and Momma

    I'm kinda new here. I too have a son, 18, homeless on drugs. He's been gone from our home since 2 days before he graduated high school. He's been smoking weed and doing pills for years. My husband and I have been trying to keep him out of trouble one way or another for almost 4 years. My husband and and I have fought and separated over the best routes to take. I'm the enforcer and my husband the enabler... a few months ago we gave him our old van and at least he can get to work etc. He works at the same place we do so sometimes our bosses talk to us about him..which is why my husband and I are transferring to a new store so we don't have to see him high every day and hear all the stories we do...I'm broken hearted as all of you are.
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  15. TearyEyed

    TearyEyed Member

    Hi JKF,

    I just wanted to let you know that I am thinking of you. I know just what you are going through. My difficult child's story is almost identical to yours (I guess all of our difficult child's are pretty much the same). I dont have anything to add as all those that have posted have given wonderful words of wisdom but remember you are not alone and we know the pain, fear, helplessness and desperation you are feeling. Its horrible. But we have each other to help make it through. One minute at a time. Sending you lots of hugs and prayers.

  16. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    I agree the weather makes us think the worse. My difficult child would rather sleep in the woods than go to a shelter. I don't really know where my homeless difficult child is either.

    My difficult child also cuts himself and threatens suicide. The only way I can 'help' mine is to send monthly checks and/or let him sleep on my sofa and support him for the rest of his life.

    I had to distance my self from his choices and his drama, it's never ending. He wants to be the perpetual child, always taken care of, and always getting into trouble. Add girlie to the mix and it's a nightmare.

    There are so many places they can go for help. But, difficult children are stubborn, unless it's exactly what THEY want, they will not do it. I gave in to mine too many times in the past, now I just can't do it. Take care of yourself and I'm sure he will take care of him. The shelters never turn people away in bad weather and the police are on the lookout for people needing shelter.

    (((hugs and blessings)))
  17. rktman

    rktman New Member

    A friend of mine suggested buying our problem child a ticket to Florida, supposedly good shelters and the weather wont kill you. If they decide to work, then there are part time opportunities. I'm not in that position yet, but I keep it in the back of my mind as an option.
  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    From what I've read, books written by those who have been homeless, not only are there shelters, but the homeless community makes bonfires in the winter. There are also 24/7 laudromats and 24/hr. shopping places, like Walmart. But I got the feeling they liked the bonfires. If the weather becomes exceedingly cold, at least here, they open warming houses where people can stay. Thirty degrees, unless you are wearing shorts, will not kill anybody. A good blanket is usually available at a shelter for free as are coats, hats, gloves and scarves. This doesn't make it easier on Mom, I'm sure, but they, weirdly, are choosing to live outdoors rather than follow very basic rules in our house. It really was THEIR decision because they could have decided, "Well, nobody can monitor what I do outside, but I'll be polite and helpful around the house and I'll get a job so I can help with expenses." I think most of us would let a grown child like that stay inside with us.
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