He's in, he's out, he's in, he's out


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difficult child went off of his medications just before his 18th birthday, Dec. 10. We knew that he was taking some of them, but he told me he had deliberately not taken quite a few because he was 18 and could make his own decisions.
When we finally had his blood drawn, the normal titre of approx. 1.2 - 2.0 (and at one point, 3) was way down to 0.1.
That explains a lot of his behavior.
But yesterday it came to a head, and difficult child sat me down and told me he plans to leave and stay with a friend.
We talked for quite a while and both got teary eyed.
He said some things that caught my attention: "I feel like this house is depressing and de-motivating me, and it does not feel safe. No matter what I do, I get into trouble. I know that I make you and dad unhappy and it would be better if I left. And I'm not happy here." And then, "I'm always angry, and D (former girlfriend) used to be able to get me out of it, but she can't any more. It's like I am fine for a few minutes, and I go through it" (he waved his arm) "and then it's right in front of me again and it's huge and it's always there. It's like a thing."
I asked him what he was thinking about when he was not doing schoolwork-- one of his teachers said he'd do the first part of the work and then just zone out or talk to friends for the rest of the class.
He said, "I think about how much trouble I'm in and how I don't want to go home and how I'm always angry and mean."
And then, "My only solution is to leave."
I told him that sounds like depression, and that by leaving, with no money, no car, and choosing a place in another city (the only friend who could take him in) he was making a big mistake, and that it would only get worse.
He said, "Well, I'm leaving now. I'm already packed."
"Wait until I call the doctor."
Scared the cr*p out of me.
It took an hour-and-a-half to hear back from the doctor (!!!!) and he prescribed Lexapro (I could have sworn he said Celexa over the phone). And we moved the appointment up to the 2nd of March.
We're knee-deep in snow, and it was snowing again last night, and I had to go out and pick up the scrip, and then pick up difficult child at his girlfriend's house and take him to the other friend's house. I did not want him to go, but on the other hand, how many parents actually get a warning and complete info when their kids are running away? I looked upon it as a gift.
He had this complicated plan to walk with-his old girlfriend to her house (a mile in the snow), drop her off, then have his new girlfriend pick him up at a nearby park and take him to another friend's house. His old girlfriend doesn't know about the new girlfriend, so he can't have them near one another. And the friend at whose house he was going to stay does not have a car. Or job. It was like a convoluted Mission Impossible scene, where everything hinged upon something else being done at the right moment. If one thing changed, then everything else changed.
That would stress me out. In fact, it did stress me out. WTH else is going on in that mind of his?
husband was fuming. We sat down at the DR table and husband told difficult child he cannot run away from his problems, he should be feeling awful (by the way, he stole my gas card last week and used it 3X) and he just had to live through it. (I wanted to smack husband. difficult child shuts down when he's overwhelmed, and we won't know where he is or what he's doing.)
difficult child sat there and took it, and agreed, and husband thought he'd gotten through to him.
Somewhere in between difficult child told me that he was still leaving and he needed space to think, and that he just listened to husband to get on with it.
I mentioned it to husband and he called difficult child. Next thing I know, husband says that difficult child is coming home.
"I just told him that he's reacting emotionally instead of logically because his lithium is so low, and he has to come home. He said okay. You can't ask him. You have to tell him."
(Shades of Luke Skywalker.)
I picked up the new medication, picked up difficult child at his old girlfriend's house, and difficult child immediately said, "I'm not taking antidepressants. I have a friend at school who took them and she said they made her suicidal."
I had to explain that for his age group, that is a risk, but that he has the lithium to help stabilize him.
"Well, Dad says you're coming home. Where's your backpack?"
"I'm leaving it. I'm still leaving. I'll just come home tonight for you."

Do you ever just sit there while you're ready to have a meltdown because of your difficult child and hear , "Tick, tick, tick ..." waiting for everything to explode? Maybe it was my heart beating.


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Hi, Terry. Sorry you are sad and hurting.

All of my kids moved out by age 20.

Princess and Bart had no choice, although Bart lived with ex for a loooooooooooong time. GoneBoy wanted out and left at nineteen and is doing fine. Sonic wanted his own apartment. We have guardianship over him, but decided to let him do it, as long as we could guarantee the rent got paid by him allowing us to be payee. His reason? "I just want to live by myself." No biggie. He still calls all the time and we each other almost every day. Jumper went to college. She could have gone to the CC here, but she wanted to continue her sports. There was no anger there. We are regularly in touch.

I think it's normal for grown kids to want to leave and he isn't asking you for anything (yet). He just may want to get away from your rules. You can't force him to stay anymore and his reasons are common enough. Most of the adult kids on this forum want us to care for them forever, in every way, but consider it a victory that he doesn't expect you to do that for him. Princess was on medications too and she quit them when she quit drugs and will not even take an aspirin now. It's her life. Turns out she doesn't seem to need medications as much as I was sure she did. She is doing fine. Taking medications or not is a personal decision. At times it can be a very poor decision, but at least half the people with bipolar refuse medication. Go figure. As one who takes medication, if it's the wrong medication, you can feel half dead. Lithium made me feel like a walking zombie. I certainly could not act out, but I couldn't function on it either. Not saying your son is right, just saying you can't make him do anything anymore.

I hope everything works out to everyone's best interests. Each time a kid of mine left home I worried so much and they all are doing quite well on their own. But...once they leave, it is up to us if we help them in any way and we expect them to do most of it, except for Jumper. Anything else we offer is voluntary. If the kids called up asking for stuff, that would not set well with me. You need to let difficult honey know that if he leaves, you are not supporting him anymore. If he's good with that, then there's not much else you can do.



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He texted and called to get a ride to his friend in another city.
I told him no, I have a mammogram. :(
Ok. This is the sort of thing I'd refuse to do. Good for you. "If you are old enough to live on your own, it is your responsibility to find ways to get around." At least that's what I'd say


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And I really do have a mammogram.
And my little sister is in surgery for a lumpectomy (in Minn.) as we speak. :(


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Staff member
Yes, the anti medication thing is aggravating, it impacts everyone in the family. At 18 they just don't have an idea of the consequences of their behavior, that part of the brain, as you know, is not developed yet. Sigh. I'm sorry Terry. It is scary to imagine them out there in the big world, without their medications, making foolish choices........

My granddaughter is also 18, away at college in a dorm, making some odd choices too. Each step of the way, I have to take a deep breath and recognize that I have no more control over her choices.....it's the dance of detachment and it ain't easy. Especially when they are so young and you are so aware of what the consequences of their behavior may indeed be.

Today he's okay, he's coming home tonight, "for you" which is a sweet gesture on his part. It sounds as if he is torn, wanting his freedom yet at the same time, wanting be connected to you. It's gotta be hard to be in his shoes, I empathize with him. I empathize with you too. It's so hard to let go.

Hang in there Terry. We're here. Big hugs going out to you......


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Thank you.
Yes, the anti-medication thing is scary, too.
He is like two different people. And he just can't see it.
Although he has been taking the lithium lately. I hope the psychiatrist can talk him into the Lexapro. Guilting difficult child into it last night was a one-shot deal.