heartbroken over son's worsening state

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by karisma, May 21, 2016.

  1. karisma

    karisma Member

    I am new here and not too sure how to post. I have been reading all these threads for weeks and it has provided much comfort just knowing there are others.
    My son is 26. He was diagnosed bipolar at age 3 so I have been going through this with him his entire life. I didn't think he would live to be an adult. His behavior was extremely severe.
    He is homeless. He rarely showers. He talks to himself a lot but is capable of having a lucid conversation. He quit taking medications at age 18 and truly belives he is not mentally ill. There is no amount of talking that will change this.
    He is also by far my favorite person in the world. The light and joy of my life.
    He basically gets worse and worse as time goes by. He is not a danger to self or others in the immediate sense. He is peaceful and loving. He retreats more and more into his own world. He is a truly brilliant man where math and science concerned. He keeps his head up and tries his best to survive every day. He could get so much help but he refuses all help. Even housing and its so hot here.
    Right now in this moment he is in jail for not appearing in court on a trespass ticket. It's the first time he did more than one night. It's been ten days. I am doing a video visit tomorrow.
    I love and accept my son for who he is. Every moment I spend with him is gold to me. Watching him suffer is absolutely killing me. I've been depressed about him his whole life but lately it's a whole new level. I'm so devastated that it takes all I have to fight back tears and I often burst out sobbing in public. I quit my job because I am too depressed to work. I think I finally saw the reality of his future and I finally let go of hope that had been sustaining me for years. Its not realistic that he will get better at least not unless he does something to cause a court to order him on medication. But he keeps it together in public enough that will probably not happen.
    I literally think about him every second of every day.
    I am heartbroken
  2. karisma

    karisma Member

    I accidentally posted this twice. Can someone tell me how to delete one of them?
  3. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome karisma,
    I'm glad you found us but sorry you needed to. My son also has bipolar and his younger years were so hard. They still are but right now he is doing well because he is medication compliant (he doesn't think he needs them but knows to live in our house he has to take them).

    I'm so sorry for the situation your son is in. I'm also so sorry for your depression. Do you do nice things for yourself? Have you ever sought therapy? During my son's younger years I had to do both to survive-that and come here a lot where people get it.

    I'm going to move this to the PE forum (it for our adult children). Sending some gentle hugs your way.
  4. ShesMakingMeCrazy

    ShesMakingMeCrazy New Member

    Welcome to the forum,
    So sorry to hear about your situation. It's really bad when they're at home, and then they leave, and it's somehow even worse. I totally understand how you have done everything humanly possible to help him and allow him to be able to live independently, but now he is outside of your reach. You worry and wonder all the time. At least when he is in jail he is relatively safe and fed. As Wiped out said, you have got to spend some time on yourself now. You may benefit from an antidepressant and a counselor. Anyway, know that you have lots of support here.
  5. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Hi. I'm so sad for your son and sorry he won't accept help. Sounds like you get along well with him. Has he shared why he won't accept help? He sounds like a kind and sweet young man.

    About yourself.

    It doesn't help your son one bit to stay depressed about him and it is harmful to you and probably saddens other people who love you. Do YOU get treatment for your depression? Therapy at least to teach you how to better cope with your feelings about your son? If you go for help and get better, this would be an example for your son. If you don't get help, you are doing what he is doing and neither of you are moving ahead.
    Situational depression, caused by trauma such as your sons mental illness, can turn into clinical depression after you get used to feeling depressed...you stay depressed. It helps neither of you. I am concerned about you as I know the awful hopeless feeling of the black hole of depression that is so bad you can't work. I have been there. I am sorry you also know this type of depression.
    I am angry that the most severely mentally ill often end up in jail. I'm sorry. It is so unjust.
    I hope you stay. We care very much about both of you.
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  6. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Welcome Karisma,

    I'm so sorry the heartache you are going through. I'm glad you shared with us.

    This is a good thing.

    I know how hard this must be for you and I appreciate how deeply you love your son. While it's wonderful that you love your son, you also need to love yourself and be good to yourself.

    Please don't allow your son's life to cause yours to fall apart. Work is probably a very good thing for you to do in that you need to focus on something other than your son.

    I think you know this in your head but your heart hasn't been convinced yet.

    Are you seeing a therapist? If not I highly suggest that you do.

    Your son's life has become unmanageable because he chooses to not take his medications. Your life is becoming unmanageable because you are too focused on your son.

    I do not mean to come across as harsh, that is certainly not my intent. I am just worried about you. Yes, your sons life matters but so does yours.

    ((HUGS)) to you..............
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  7. Jacquelina2

    Jacquelina2 New Member


    I was just about to post about my 23 yr old son who is schizophrenic and has bipolar disorder. After reading your post, I didn't have to because your discription of your son is also mine. My son is homeless too, refuses to take medications and will not accept that he's ill. I feel emotionally bankrupt at times because he is the light in my eyes. I've been praying for him everyday. I'm trying to slowly detach by loving him at a distance and not allowing his refusal of resources and support affect my anxiety. All I can do is simply continue loving my son and feeding him occasionally whenever I see him. You have to continue to shower your son with love. I'm afraid to turn my phone off cuz I always want to be available but in reality, my son isn't going to change until he's tired of being tired It's almost like he's content being homeless. Just don't enable him and what I mean is ... giving him money, taking him to and from appts, etc.
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  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Welcome Karisma and Jacquelina. I just posted a new thread in the last few minutes. Something like my son is back. I'm sad.

    I struggle with some of the same things. My son is 27, on SSI for mental illness, Mood Disorder. He has been mostly homeless the past 2 years. He refuses medication. There were always challenges for us, too.

    I kicked my son out at age 23. I did not realize he was mentally ill. Or perhaps, I did not recognize or want to accept the extent. Or perhaps, I would not accept his living here and not seeking and accepting help. I am not sure, which it was, anymore. But he would not accept our authority then. He was hostile and aggressive.

    I had pushed him to complete job training and he had worked over a year. He could not handle it.
    OMG. How I love my son. Adore, does not capture even a part of it. I enjoy him. I respect him. I admire him.

    But he had come to live in a way contrary to any of those things.

    I reacted with fury. For four years I shut away my love. It is not that I no longer loved him. But I did not live from that love. I could not. I had to make myself cold to him so that I could tolerate living. Eventually, when I came to this board, I realized that detaching would help us both.
    You see, I feel like that now, and I did until maybe 9 years ago, but there came I point when he had pushed me away. It was a dark dark time, for me, let alone him.

    I am asking myself why I concentrate on my own story, and not on yours. There is a reason, I just can't come up with it right now.

    You cannot live like you are living. You cannot die for somebody else. Even if it is your own child. You must sustain yourself. You must. The love that is in you, that emanates from you is the life force, the source of greatest good. There is more than you, your son, me, my own son, at stake. There is life itself. We are part of something bigger than us. And yet it cannot live on without us. Each of us is vital.
    I believe that on an unconscious level you came to feel that if you suffered, you could make him better. It is like bargaining with g-d. Oh please g-d. Pass me by with blessings and happiness, and please give my share to my boy. I promise I will ask nothing of you if you please let my boy be well and safe.

    I believe your son can be helped, will be helped, by your living, and living well. He is not saved by our destruction. I believed that once, actually for a long time, I believed if I destroyed myself, that my son would benefit. I was willing, wanting even, to destroy myself, so that he could prosper.

    This was lunacy. Because first of all they do better when we thrive and live fully. They are better. We must live from hope.

    I am going back to work in a couple of weeks after 3 and a half years off. I am afraid, but I want to live!

    When I quit after 6 months, approximately, I will never ever make myself work again if I do not want to. I will live for only what I love.

    Now. I know what I love. I love to dance. Tango. Even though I am old I will live to dance. And I will dance to live.

    I want you to think about what it is you love, or could love. Our sons, are a given. What else is there?

    You deserve to live a life you love, and to love the life you live.

    Dying little by little, will not help him. My son is getting better. Little by little. Yours may too.

    Hope is a funny thing. Because you know what, all of us die. For all of us, at the end of it, there is no hope. Hope is an illusion. Everybody has to come to grips sooner or later with what William james called, The Worm at the Core.

    The dirty little secret about life: it ends. We are dying right now. There is no hope for us.

    So what, you lost your hope. Your son's life was never, ever dependent upon or tied to your hope. We have no control. None. We all do and must give up hope, sooner or later.

    As long as there is life left, we can get up and go on, in a different and better way. Living for joy. For love. Not for stupid hope.. Hope lies outside of us. It is dependent on one thing or another happening over which we have no control what so ever.

    Let us get up and live. Live for your son. Not for his dependency but for your love for him and your joy. Imagine what power is in that love. Tell yourself the truth. You are a triumph.
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    Last edited: May 21, 2016
  9. TheWalrus

    TheWalrus I Am The Walrus

    If you cannot go back to work, you need to find SOMETHING to distract you, your thoughts and your emotions so that you are not just living in your sorrow for your son. Going back to work while my daughter was in rehab was the hardest thing I have ever done - but the best. I was nervous and sad and distracted, but it kept me busy. And soon, I looked forward to work bc that was 8 hours a day I did not focus on my child and her situation.

    I also agree that seeking help for yourself is so vitally important. You need help just like your son does. I had never been on an antidepressant in my life, but the enormity of my daughter's accident, discovery of her drug use, and her psychiatric diagnosis (all at the same time) was more than I could handle on my own. You, too, should be tired of feeling depressed. Seek help. Get therapy. Talk to your doctor.
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  10. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Your son is making decisions not to help himself. That will change when he changes his mind.

    Are you making the same decision? Are you willing (no, not are you willing, because I know you are already willing...) but are you going to? Yes, that's is, are you really going to give up your own life for someone, even someone you love so very very much, who is choosing himself, not to claim a wonderful life. He is not choosing his highest and best life, and it is grieving you to almost death.

    Are you going to do the same thing?

    Don't do it. Don't make the same choice he is making. You know that is not the answer because he is the example to you, the most painful example possible. Can you see that?

    We do what they do. I saw that finally. Then I worked to change myself.

    Please, work to change. That is our only hope. And then, when something changes, something changes. They have a new chance to change when...and often because...we change.

    Gentle, warm hugs.
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  11. RN0441

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


    So sorry for your pain and despair. I could read it in every word of your post.

    What wonderful and great advice you were given here! I also learned from it.

    Don't give up on yourself. You are worth it!

  12. karisma

    karisma Member

    Thank you all so very much for all your wonderful words. I have been reading this site non-stop and find everyone's stories and advice very very helpful.
    I have my appointment with psychiatric nurse today. I quit taking a drug that makes me very heavy to try to lose some of the weight I had gained. So it's time to try something new and see what kind of therapy I can get through them. I am completely open to trying anything.
    He has been living this way for two years. I ought to be used to it. The thing that pushes me into worrying again is the heat. It hurts me to see him so sunburned. I do not have a clue where he sleeps. He will tell me nothing. he always tells me he is fine and not to worry. I do my best to hide my feelings around him, acting quite nonchalant about his self iimposed situation. He says he refuses help because if he is labeled mentally ill then his work on quantum physics stuff that he is always doing will never be taken seriously. But the real reason is that he has no idea he is even ill. For the longest time I felt it was my duty to make him see this. He knew he was bipolar all his life then turned 18 and no more medications and he started saying he was never bipolar and it was all misdiagnosed. Eventually I stopped trying to make him see it because it just caused him to become so upset. We had a violent relationship for years and now we are good so I've pretty much accepted that he wants to live this way and he might die from it. The heat kills these poor souls out here. He says the last two years have been the most peaceful of his life. He also lies to me so I won't worry. He's very sweet like that at times. Mostly the time we are together is spent in silence. This is fine. I just enjoy seeing him alive and feeding him. Sometimes he's talkative about what hes working on. Sometimes he is high on drugs. Mostly not though. He would use all the time if he could.
    I know there is nothing I can do except try to do right for us both which involves me taking care of myself so I can be there for him later. They have me a drug called Latuda. It involves things like leaving him in jail this time so he can suffer and learn by his suffering. He has told me before that he only changes if he suffers. So hopefully he will learn to go to court or not break any laws.
    And yes somewhere inside that part of me that says oh please g_d let me take his pain of only he could be ok and I will suffer forever in his place. That is the last thing he would ever want.
    Anyhow I am happy to meet everyone and my experience here with all of you helps me tremendously. Many hugs and warm thoughts to you all.
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  13. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Karisma, thanks for the update.

    My son has been a homeless/drifter for a good solid 6 years now. I'll tell you, I will never "get used to it" but I do accept it. My son for reasons only he knows has chosen this life. I don't like it but it was only through accepting it that I was able to really move on with my life.
    I have learned that the homeless population networks and they help each other, they learn from each other where safe places are to stay, places to eat, places to get warm or places to cool off. It is a harsh life being homeless but for many, my son included, that is the choice they have made and somehow they manage.
    I found with my son that I was better off not knowing everything. He has shared some things with me in the past that I could have gone the rest of my life now knowing. Also, they are adults now and even with mental illness it is not our place to know everything that goes on in their life.
    Again, it is with acceptance that we can free ourselves to reclaim our lives. Once I truly accepted that my son could die and that I may never know it allowed me to really let go. The thought of him dying used to consume my thoughts. I would think of every possible scenario. It was torture. I realized it served no purpose and was a waste of my time and energy.
    The most important thing you can do is to take care of yourself. I'm glad to hear you realize this.

    Hang in there Karisma. Know that you are not alone in this.
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  14. PonyGirl65

    PonyGirl65 Active Member

    Hi Karisma,

    I just wanted to add my hello and welcome. I also have a son who I consider to be my most favorite person in the whole world. He was also homeless. His issues are all drug-addiction related. He is now in prison and will serve a 5 year sentence for crimes he committed as a result of his drug use. He was never violent with me, not once. My heart breaks for him every single day. For the man he could have been. For the years of fatherhood that he has lost with his son. For the pain and suffering he has gone thru, and that he knows he has caused other people to go through.

    I am grateful he is imprisoned. Strange as that sounds, but I believe this is the only way to guarantee he will stay alive for the next 5 years. I am afraid to hope that while he is in prison, he will finally latch on to a program of recovery. I am afraid to hope that this time he will "stay" recovered. I guess, I'm also grateful for the respite that this prison sentence gives me. I don't have to worry about him, finding his next meal, having a safe place to sleep, not overdosing, not killing himself or anyone else.

    My heart goes out to you. I am glad you found us!

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  15. karisma

    karisma Member

    I want to thank everyone for their replies. It means so much to me to communicate with other parents hurting in the same way. He was a very difficult child and I received a ton of unsolicited and unwelcome advice. Mostly people thought I was just a bad mother who didn't know how to discipline my child. He was diagnosed at age 3 by a panel of child psychologists at the university I was then attending. I was fortunate to have so many understanding professionals there to help, but mostly people just glared at me while I was trying to employ the bear hug technique in the cereal isle of the grocery store. Friends from college stopped talking to me, convinced it was my fault that he was so violent. Heck to this day I have friends that tell me he is just lazy. I don't discuss his issues with those people any longer and it is an enormous relief to have somewhere to be understood.
    Yesterday I went to his court hearing but was told he was at superior court and that his justice court hearing had to be reset for tomorrow. I asked them what on earth they are talking about. Come to find out he was arrested a couple months ago for four drug felonies and never told me about it. I would never have known if that court date was not reset. He would have blown it all off and gone to prison and I wouldn't even have known. He will probably still go to prison because he won't comply with probation. Very upset at his avoidance
  16. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi Karisma,

    I too had plenty of people tell me what I should do, what I shouldn't do, what I should feed him, when he should sleep, etc..........
    Sometimes I just wanted to scream at them saying "you think you have all the answers then you take him, he'll have you broken in a week!"
    Unless they have walked this journey they are clueless.

    Strangers staring are easier to ignore than friends who stop talking to you but in all honesty, you are better off without them.

    There are probably many things that your son has never told you. Personally, I don't want to know all the details of my sons life.

    Your son is 26 years old and he will have to face the consequences of his actions. I know you want to help him but there is nothing you can do for him, you can't fix this. All you can and should offer him is love. Let him know he is loved.

    Thanks for the update. Let us know how things are going.

    Big ((HUGS)) to you.............
  17. Nature

    Nature Active Member

    Welcome Karisma and Jacquelina,

    It hurts us to the core over what has happened to our children. We often feel shame on top of the pain as to what is happening to our child. As mothers when they hurt we hurt. Yet, I have come to realize very slowly that my love isn't enough to stop or to change them. Enabling only allowed my son to prolong helping himself. I get the sense that you both probably felt the same way I did earlier on when I asked myself this, "how can I feel joy when my own child is suffering so much?".

    I realize that for the sake of my own well being and sanity I have to continue to take care of myself, find joy again and extend my circle of friends whom I had long neglected due to my son's issues. You've got us here - we're all here for each other and understand what you are going through. I'm sorry you are experiencing this pain and glad you are here with us to share it. You're in a safe place where you can bare your soul and have others understand and offer comfort and support.
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  18. savior no more

    savior no more Active Member

    I still think people believe this today about my son. It used to be teachers and principals, now it's jailers. lawyers, and judges.

    Hi Karisma - so glad you found us. I'm sorry you need to be here but I have found comfort among the people here like no where else. Not even the psychiatrists and psychologists have been seasoned by fire like parents of children like ours. My son is a lot like yours and we've struggled since he was three. He turns 20 tomorrow in county jail - he has been in jail the last two years on his birthday and two more years before that he was in a Residential Treatment Center (RTC). He has numerous diagnoses including Asperger's, bipolar, tourette's, and ODD and substance abuse. He too will end up in prison but he was getting beat up and kidnapped on the outside so I'm not sure which is worse. I don't think the level of functioning is low enough for a state school. I tell you this not to switch to my story, but to share this path that I trudge with you as a concerned parent.

    I too get depressed at times and sometimes my default emotion is I want to not exist when the pain for his life and struggles gets too deep. I tend to overeat to deal with this pain. I am slowly crawling out of this pain and deciding that my life is separate and that no matter what, I can somehow find peace and joy amidst life's seeming trials and tribulations. The grieving process of slowly giving up the illusion of hope and change is necessary to come to some level of acceptance of what is ... not what we wish could be. I've learned to let go of a lot of the judgement of his life and just say that he is a soul on a journey. That's about the best I can do today. I still advocate for him in the judicial system and I can do so and function, however, I don't do it with the desperation of years past.

    Sometimes I think we as a society view homelessness as the worst thing possible. It might be, but then again people that can live this way must do so on a tremendous amount of faith and trust from the universe - a level that I don't think I could muster. Slowly my perception is changing from gloom and doom to one of questioning my perception. I find it here. I hope you can find some way to find happiness and meaning whether your son is doing well or not.
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  19. savior no more

    savior no more Active Member

    One time a principal told me that she felt she should call CPS on me. I looked at her and said, "Please do. I would be glad for someone to take over." Of course she didn't.
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  20. karisma

    karisma Member

    Savior, thank you for your reply. I can't quote from my phone but I love what you said about perception and faith in the universe.
    He was released friday. He expressed interest in getting his SSI and said He would let me come with him to next court date and tell them he's mentally ill. This is progress somewhat. Its also just words. I have found out that he is going to have 8 felony drug charges. He is on pretrial services and going to be on an ankle monitor. He is as sad and disturbed as he has ever been. It hurts me so much because I don't think he can comply with the conditions, so he will very likely be going back. I would rather him be homeless in this heat than see him locked up in the worst county jail in the country. He will go to prison because he won't be able to comply with probation. Drugs are a high priority for him and he is not going to stay clean and pass his UA s. I know im being quite fatalistic and thinking that the worst will happen, but I find with my son that usually what happens is worse than I had even imagined. I am constantly blindsided and then shocked by how I failed to see it coming. I was obsessed by worry about him dying for so many years and never stopped to think that there are worse outcomes than death such as lifelong mental torment and suffering. His life is so hard and he's so sweet and so ill.
    It would be easier to detach if he were meaner or something. I don't know.
    He keeps saying he has to do this on his own. Ok well I will try to advocate for him without his knowledge so he doesn't feel whatever he feels that upsets him so much about my involvement. He knows nothing about the court system and gets so upset when I try to explain. I am as close to petitioning him as I have ever been but I he would just convince them he is the victim of a hysterical mother and then he would lose his trust in me
    On a very positive note though. Right now I got to feed him healthy food and soak him up through my eyes and my heart. It is enough for now to be at peace