hi - New Here, son just put in Residential Treatment Center (RTC), will things ever get better?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by PiscesMom, Dec 24, 2015.

  1. PiscesMom

    PiscesMom Active Member

    hi all
    I am new here. I have a long sad story, of course. My son is almost 17 and finally has been put in a pretty nice (looks like it from the website) residential treatment center by his school district. They said until he is 18. I am beyond grateful. When we have talked on the phone, he was just concerned with trying to figure out how to get out. He told me I was a bad mother. Okay…but he is almost an adult. He seems to have no sense of a future. Emotionally, he just seems to be 13.
    I know nobody can really answer this, but will he ever get better? He was not living with me, he had been placed with his father for the sake of my safety. He probably cannot live with his father, even if he was released before he is 18.
    Does this ever get better? Will he end up in prison? Will he ever go back to how he was? He seemed to change overnight at age 13 and a half.
    I also feel very alone - like who wants to hear about someone's mentally ill son?
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. I'm sorry about your son.

    When my daughter was eighteen I thought she'd end up in jail or prison, but she quit using drugs and is doing great eleven years later. I wish I could look into a crystal ball and tell you it will get better. He may. He may get better, but not live YOUR dream for him, but still find some sense of purpose. He may not get better. It is up to him, really.Each person chooses his own path and the path has many forks in the road and changes can and do happen. What kind of changes...nobody knows. I know how hard it is to live in limbo this way.

    My daughter started using drugs at twelve. Yes, twellve. We did not know nor did we know how she progressed to serious drug use. She hid it well.

    Can you give us a backstory on your son so we can maybe give more useful feedback? Is it drugs? Drugs make our dear children very different and ugly.

    I am so sorry you are sad on this Christmas Eve. Try to focus on your loved ones who are doing well and can appreciate your goodness and know that for now at least your son is in a safe place.

    Hugs for your hurting heart.
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  3. PiscesMom

    PiscesMom Active Member

    thank you! he is a very heavy marijuana user. he is paranoid, delusional, but that is a fairly recent thing. he has a flat affect, and really likes to be alone. it just seems like who he was is gone. he has gotten into fights with his dad, and his dad has called the police. he does not use fluoride, believes in all kinds of conspiracy stuff. He does have conduct disorder, but i am realizing he is totally mentally ill. he just got to the residential less than a week ago, so i haven't heard from them what they think. he did have a head injury but the neuro psychs said head injury was not a factor. i am not sure if i believe that. the transport company that brought him to the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) said it felt like a rescue.
    i am happy to hear your daughter is better! Do you mean hard drugs? Twelve is young, but that is when my son started w marijuana.
  4. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi PM, welcome to the CD forum, so sorry for your need to be here. It is tough to see our kids go down this road.

    Oh boy Pisces, I have heard this many times, from my two. It is the guilt card, and our kids know how to play this one. We are only human, and do the best jobs we can.
    Please do not let this get to you. It is not fair, or correct.
    This is a good thing, at least he will be looked after, and hopefully accept the help he needs.
    This happened to my two as well, the eldest started pot around this time, I am not sure about my #3, but possibly....so, stuck at 13....
    I think this happens to many of our young teens, especially if they dabble with pot.
    My girls are the same. I found out #3 was not only using pot, but also crack. She insisted for a long while that it was pot, but the personality changes and mood swings suggested otherwise. I am convinced that todays pot is much stronger, or even mixed with other substances. It smells stronger, and the kids who smoke, seem to be easily addicted. The change in kids who use, are enormous. My eldest is on meth. It is rampant here in the islands. Meth addicts have the symptoms you are describing. My brother lives in a small town on the East Coast. There is much in the news about heroin use there,it is an epidemic in the high schools. No one would have thought in a million years, that these small towns would be seeing such a problem with their youth. It is frightening.
    Drug use can mimic mental illness. There are drugs out there, that are not easily detected in tests. Do you think your son has used other drugs besides pot? That would explain his personality change, and his acting out at 17, more like 13, also behaving as if he is mentally ill. It is hard to pinpoint anything, until he is clean.
    There is so much more discovery on head injury now. I wonder, too if something was missed. Either way, using drugs certainly would not help matters.
    I am sorry Pisces, this is hard for a mom to hear. But, perhaps it will be a true rescue, they will rescue him from this path?
    This is so true, your son is young, hopefully he will respond to Residential Treatment Center (RTC). In the meantime, it is important for you to take very good care of yourself, strengthen and rebuild, in the face of this. It is good that your son is where he is, and has the option for treatment. Here, we understand the need for us, as parents to get help also, because we start to feel like we are going down, entangled emotionally with our d cs choices. It is very hard on our hearts. We need to feel what we feel, then take steps to work at feeling better.
    There is group support, al anon, nar anon, lots of books out there to help. Posting here helps too.
    It is not quite the subject for me either, Pisces, at coffee break. I know how you feel. You are here, and you have found us, you are not alone, there are many others here who are going through a similar journey, different stages. We help one another.
    Keep sharing and posting, it really helps.
    I echo this sentiment, too Pisces. It is hard to bare this during the Holidays. It is a good thing your son is in treatment. He is safe.
    You have great value and your life has meaning too. Work at building yourself up. Stay in touch with us, we care about you and your son.

    Wishing you peace.
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  5. PiscesMom

    PiscesMom Active Member

    thank you so much. Yes, I have two daughters, and they are so sick of hearing me talk about him. But how can I not? Honestly, I don't think he has had anything stronger, since he is so paranoid about hard drugs. It is so long ago,(3 years) but I am going to contact the hospital that he went to when he was hit by a car, and get the records. Maybe if I knew that wasn't the cause, I could detach a little bit. I guess the thing about taking care of myself…yes, ..I can try. My daughters seemed to also go downhill after what happened. The older one used to have a huge anxiety problem,it interrupted her high school career. He was hit by a car right after her first year in high school. My younger daughter developed social phobia and she has since had a autism diagnosis. It is like we were the perfect family before the accident. My self esteem really has gone down these past years. I was divorced, but we were happy, or so I thought. Until the accident. Or was it puberty? the divorce? Why did this happen? I don't know.
    I guess what is making me crazy - how can i keep my son safe if he is not mentally well??
    I really want to have a good Christmas. My younger daughter, who has autism, but high functioning, says Christmas was ruined last year because of my son. I can't remember the details, but I want her, and my older daughter, to have good times.
    Just saw my youngest daughter's new therapist. She wants me to …relax??? LOL. I am going to try. It is so good to have somewhere to say all this.
  6. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    We do, Pisces. You don't even have to listen to me about my own mentally ill son.

    Our story is similar. My son now 27 is on SSI for mental illness.

    First, you are not alone. I am so glad you found us. None of this is your fault. Your son is exactly where he should be. Your focus now should be on you. On being safe, Feeling secure. Feeling hope for yourself.

    Your son will be OK. The only way he can get better is through his own efforts and with the help of professionals and programs that are designed to work with mentally ill adults and young adults. That is not your role. You got him this far. He will do the rest.

    Depending upon what happens next, there are all kinds of options. Jobs Corps is one. My son went. There are residential programs for adults, too.

    Much of the time our kids want to blame us and put the responsibility for their situations on it. Do not accept it. I would not argue with him but I would not take seriously any of that talk.

    This is the start of his future. This is the start of a new future for you, too.

    Keep posting. Welcome. Merry Christmas. Do something really nice for yourself, now. I promise you, it will get better. I could not have imagined the peace and clarity I have found since I began here on this forum about 7 months ago.

    Take care. Again, I am glad you are here. It will get better. I promise you.

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  7. PiscesMom

    PiscesMom Active Member

    and there is anther thing - so I picked up his clothes from my ex's house, where he was "living." To sent to the home where he is at. Included was his cell phone, the screen broken and taped. He had refused a new one. The very cell phone that he had been sending threatening messages to me. If I can't say it here, where can I say it? My formerly loving son. the broken phone. Has anyone here had that? Threatened by their child that they used to be so close to? Please, has anyone been verbally abused like this by their child? I am sorry, I have just felt so isolated for all this time.
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  8. PiscesMom

    PiscesMom Active Member

    thank you so much, Copa. I wish i had found you all three years ago.
  9. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Pisces, I was alone with this for years. We had a therapist, but I was alone. I kept trying and trying.

    Only with this site did I realize, really get, that it is not about me trying. It is him.

    My son when he is here in our house calls the police on us to get us arrested. Many times. You would think I would have caught a clue. But no. It had to happen a number of times before I realized I did not have to tolerate it.

    He has given my SO a black eye and pinned him on the floor. I think years ago he may have pushed me, but I am blacking it out.

    When he was 18 he used a defensive martial arts move against me and he broke my foot. That I did remember. The worst part of it was we were living in Brazil, I was dancing. I wanted to continue. I had to leave. With a broken foot, I tried to dance but could not. It brought to an end one of the best parts of my life.

    I accept it. Now.

    Believe me. There is nothing we have not heard. We have all lived some version of what you are living, what you are feeling. You are by no means alone.

    I am going to lie down now. And turn off the computer. Others will be be here soon. I will check in with you here later or tomorrow morning. I am so glad you are here.

    You will be fine. Trust me. I know. I feel like I have gotten a brain transplant. Do something realize nice for yourself right now. I am going to finish the best mystery I am reading. In bed.

  10. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    My son has been in residential treatment several times. He is doing somewhat better. He is 27 now, I do not remember if I told you. Except for short periods he has not lived with me since he was 23. When he was 19 he went to Job Corps for 5 months. Sometimes I think it was a mistake I let him come home. But mostly I don't. We found out he had a serious illness when he was 19 or 20. Had he not come home, we would never have found out. I have learned to try to live without regret for what I cannot change. I have to accept what is.

    My son uses a lot of marijuana and he also had a serious brain injury. He also fell heavily into conspiracy theories. I have had a psychiatrist tell me that it sounded like my son is delusional. I fought that. When my son is occupied with constructive things, like having fun with a friend, or working, he acts much more normally. I have refused to listen to his theories, and when he became convinced I was serious and would not talk to him he stopped. The psychiatrist said the proclivity for conspiracy theories indicated paranoia. I said, fine, does that mean everybody that believes like Oliver Stone, that there was cover up in Kennedy's killing, is mentally ill too?

    My point is that these kids are young. They are using way too much marijuana. They are confused. Nobody says they are not troubled. They are. But they can work themselves out of it. Many do. There is a wide range of variability.

    I have worked with the mentally ill. There is hope. Your son is exactly where he needs to be.

    It is not your job, the job of a mother, to keep her mentally ill child safe. That would be detrimental to your sanity and no good for your son. There are all kinds of transitional programs where your son can go--from residential treatment. If he is seriously ill, he can apply for SSI, for mental illness. In fact, you can apply for him now, I think.

    If he is seriously mentally ill he can go to a residential program for adults. Learn living skills, get medication management, and live supervised in satellite housing as long as he needs it. He can even go to college living in satellite housing, if he is capable of doing so.

    The important thing is to realize it is not your fault and not your responsibility to deal with alone. Your son will become independent to the extent that he can, helped by adult mental health programs and professionals. But not in your house. If there is risk, you cannot care for him. It will not help him.

    First things first. You need to stabilize yourself. Rest. Be gentle with yourself. Stay in the present. All of this will work itself out.

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    Last edited: Dec 24, 2015
  11. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Merry Christmas All

    Pisces, I agree with Serenity. You have to be OK. Self-sacrifice does not do one thing to improve them.

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  12. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    I know this feeling, PM, it is hard not to speak of it, it is overwhelming, the anxiety we go through. You have found us here, so you can write and post as much as you need, to get your feelings out. I do not speak too much with my other children anymore about their sisters. They were tired of hearing it as well. On CD, the beauty of it being anonymous, is that we can share things we would not with others. Also, there is nothing shocking to us here, most of us have been through many similar experiences. This is a safe place to vent and get your heart thoughts out.
    Yes, Pisces, I have been through this with both of my girls. Once loving, they have been at times seething with venom for me, their mother.....it is hard, but typical, that our d cs will pick on one parent, pit one against the other. It is called triangulation. It is a manipulation to keep us enabling.....It is also the drugs and possibly withdrawal speaking.
    I hope this is the case, but one never knows. At least he is in treatment. This is big, treatment, it is GOOD.
    If the accident is, or is not the cause, your son still has a responsibility to act decently towards his mother. I do think the information would be of value for his treatment.
    I am sorry for this, what a nightmare for your family.
    I have heard of this happening before, tragedy can change families for sure.
    That is the big unanswerable question for a lot of us. WHY? Some kids are just prone towards drug use and addiction. It could be many things. The thing is PM, we cannot blame ourselves, people make choices. Kids make choices in their young lives. Blame, anxiety and worry does nothing to help your son, or you, for that matter. What matters now, is that he is where he needs to be. That is a plus right now, that he has a treatment option.
    This is a good thing, that he got into treatment, a good thing for you and for him, for your family.
    It is not up to you, Pisces, it is up to him. Mental illness, caused by head injury, drug use, or whatever, does not negate a person learning to take care of their needs. One of our Moms here, compares it with diabetes, there is treatment, and our d cs need to follow treatment, need to know how to properly care for themselves. We will not be here forever to pick up the pieces for our kids, they need to know how.
    This, you can have Pisces. You do not need to mention their brothers troubles with them, it is too overwhelming. I did the same with my other two girls. My 14 year old son, spent most of his life watching his difficult sisters come in and out of our house. I finally realized how unfair it was to him, to the peace in our home.
    You have found us, and that is a good start for you, to be able to share your woes here, keep posting, it really helps.
    When I started posting here four months ago, I made a silent promise not to mention my two d cs to my other children, unless they brought it up.
    It has helped me tremendously to be here, more than words can express. This is why I continue here, it takes such a load off of a heavy heart. I do not wish the pain of this on anyone, but to come here and share, and know that there are others out there who are going through similar things and understand, that is something inexplicable. When I write here, to others, I am writing to myself, also, reaffirming my intent to try my hardest to keep peace in my home. I am working now, trying to detach emotionally speaking. I am tired of riding the roller coaster. It is not that I do not love my two girls, I do.
    I do not want to be enmeshed and entangled in their life choices, it is too much.
    There is a good article on loving detachment that helps me
    This is something to put in our "toolbox" to help, when things become overwhelming.
    Yes Pisces, good for you, it is work to try to take care of ourselves, when we are so used to looking after others. It is vital, really, because we cannot function from worn out and empty. As Copa said, do something good for you now. You can start with simple things, a tub bath, a favorite perfume, listen to relaxing music, breathe. One of my favorites, slow...way....down. If you believe in a higher power, pray, meditate. Make sure you take time out for yourself everyday. Self care is not selfish.......it is vital to our health.....
    Yes, please try to relax, easier said than done, but when you make this a priority, take a walk, read, any little thing, little steps, to redirect your focus, it all helps.

    Thank you for being here, and sharing your story. As Copa wrote, there is nothing we have not heard......

    Take care dear, be good and kind to yourself, you have much worth and value, you matter.

  13. PiscesMom

    PiscesMom Active Member

    i am feeling much better. he has always been a really stubborn kid, even before everything changed. So getting better really has to come from him. He needs to make that choice. He called me this morning, no Merry Christmas, just a request for me to burn a cd off you tube, turns out to be a conspiracy type channel. I will have to tell him I won't. I will keep it simple.
    And I now think it is great our phone calls are limited to 2x a week.
    Meantime, in January, I am going to attend a NAMI class - "Basics" - so I have lots of support, and IF he wants my help I will know how to help. In a healthy way.
    Merry Christmas everyone, all the answers are so comforting and helpful. I am rereading for strength and perspective.
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  14. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    This is the kind of choice I made with my son.

    This is where I drew my line in the sand. I could not listen to him go on and on. I told him believe what you want, but I do not want to hear it.

    I felt that by listening to him I was as if supporting it. Supporting something I felt was hurtful to him and potentially to others. There can be victims to conspiracy theories. I am of an ethnic group that has suffered for centuries as victims of conspiracy theories. I told my son I would not listen. It took him a few times to realize and to accept that he could not make me listen. That I would not speak to him.

    But now? He has not for a few weeks chosen to speak of such things to me.

    I realize that he does have control. It gives me hope. I see now (which I had thought, but did not know for sure) that insisting on talking of such things was a form of dominance over me.

    I insisted to him that when we speak it must be of a topic that pertains to us both, and respects us both.

    I also complained about his ceaseless self-pity and how I did not want to hear it anymore. I would speak about solutions but not endless moaning. That has stopped too. He alludes to his preoccupations, and yesterday, with a sense of humor. He has gotten some distance which is a precursor to changing.

    So, I am seeing our conversations as positive. Because I insist upon it.

    Do not feel guilty about insisting upon control and distance from your child. It is necessary for you. And for him. Especially, him.

    I am glad you feel better. Keep posting. It helps. It really, really does.

  15. PiscesMom

    PiscesMom Active Member

    The cd was actually supposed to be for him. So he can stay crazy, I guess. He hung up with me pretty fast, like I am just a means to get him out, or to get him stuff he wants. So now maybe he will have no reason to talk to me. :(
    A bit off topic, but my thoughts on conspiracies is that humans are not really capable of keeping secrets, lol. I never thought of them as harmful, but yes, they certainly do target groups, and that certainly doesn't help matters, and could be dangerous.
    You mention self pity. Sounds just like my son! I think I will keep that in mind when I talk to him. He has much bigger problems of course, but self pity isn't healthy.
    One thing I wonder about, is since he arrived there, I had one youth worker call me and tell me is was there safe and sound, and I could call him. And I have talked to the youth workers when I have called for him. But no higher up professional has contacted me. I don't know what I can expect from them as a parent? I guess I could email the person who helped me get him in and ask. I wouldn't mind coaching from them, knowing what kind of therapy they do, etc. I am not the custodial parent, so maybe I am forgotten?
    What is normal from these places? He has been there exactly one week now.
  16. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    My son was never hospitalized before he was 18, only after. I was never contacted.

    I am not sure how they deal with parents, especially when there is a custodial and non-custodial parent. I would think that if both of you have legal custody you are entitled to be involved both of you to the same extent.

    The higher ups I think are off enjoying Christmas, and there is a holiday schedule and protocol. I would guess that until Monday next, the regular routine will be suspended where he is.

    If it were me, I would call on Monday. I would ask to speak to his case manager. I would tell her that you want to be involved, and kept apprised. I would ask what kinds of collateral involvement is available, such as groups, or any other thing.

    I would ask her or him to spell out the policy for parents' involvement. I would tell them that you see this as an opportunity for you to change in such a way to support your son's emancipation and health. I would tell them that you want to begin exploring community resources that would be the next steps for your son.

    Even next week they may be operating on a streamlined program, only to resume a full program after New Years. But that does not mean you should not call. To make yourself a part of the treatment and to request full communication.

  17. JMom

    JMom Active Member

    I had a couple of thoughts...when my Difficult Child was in rehab he told me it was K2, a synthetic Marijuana but you never know what is in it. I'm a police officer and we keep making new legislation to make it illegal, then the drug makers change the compound. That makes a drug test negative. It's very dangerous and often leads to meth because it's less expensive. I only say this not to scare you, but to say when my Difficult Child was in rehab he started out treating me the way you are being treated. I felt responsible.

    Then I had enough. The next time he called I told him I was resigning as his scapegoat and he would need to hire a new one :0).

    The best thing I learned about my son being in rehab was if you try to figure it out for him, to stay ahead of it he will never learn the skills to handle his own addiction and problems. It's like you giving him a bottle and never teaching him to drink from a cup. He's going to look silly at 21 still using a bottle. Lol. That's what the counselors said to me.

    Their brains have interrupted maturity and have to start over when they are clean. Each rehab stint helps because they have 30 days of sobriety to kick start rational thinking and growth.

    My 20 yo son did 3 tours in rehab and is now homeless. But I get to hug him, he's sober so his eyes look like him not a person I don't know. When I found out he was homeless, I was devestated. I saw him a few days later . and he had camp rules. No stealing, no lying and clean up after yourself.

    I tried 18 years to teach him that!! So my point is, don't feel pressure to figure it out for him, the next step, ect... let him do the work, the planning, the arrangements for after rehab. It will give him the tools to one day take care of himself. My 2 cents, not a professional by any means. Just care about you.

    I have a bad habit of having catastrophic thoughts of what will happen. What has happened us he just learned not to lie, steal and clean up after himself from homeless people!!

    Take care of YOU! YOU deserve it. You're a wonderful, caring parent!
  18. PiscesMom

    PiscesMom Active Member

    thank you, Jmom!
    It is hard for me to feel good about my parenting when I have such a sick child!
    I am going to work on detachment and not fixing things. Not sure how, but that is my goal.
    I read the page on detachment here, maybe I will print it out.
  19. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm coming in late to this but wanted to add my welcome. This is such a hard time of year to be dealing with all of this. You have already received very good advice. I want to second being sure to take care of you through this time. My son was never in residential but was hospitalized 6 times throughout the years. We probably visited too much at times (but he was young) but we also learned the importance of self care. For me things like exercise, reading, taking a bath, walking, and some alone time (thanks to my husband we were able to tag team). Welcome, I'm glad you found us but sorry you needed to.
  20. PiscesMom

    PiscesMom Active Member

    Thank you! Being here has already been a huge help.
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