High School Graduation

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by UpandDown, Mar 12, 2017.

  1. UpandDown

    UpandDown Active Member

    In a few short months if all goes well, my difficult child will graduate high school. Overall I am immensely relieved that he will graduate as things as these high school years have been a complete nightmare. I work very hard every day to tell myself that it is going to be ok and to be thankful for this. Yet today I am overcome with sadness for what he is not doing. I don't allow myself to go to these thoughts very often but today it just snuck out of nowhere and I feel like I have been punched in the stomach. He once was a talented athlete and a good student with lots of friends. He had plans to go to college. Then depression and anxiety crept in (honestly can't say which came first)and he started using marijuana. Smoking marijuana regularly has taken his focus and his drive. He has no desire to walk across the stage and get his diploma, won't let me take senior pictures, doesn't do anything with any of his old friends or any friends for that matter. I am supposed to be writing his senior bio for the newspaper (tradition in my town) and can't come up with a single thing.
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It


    I am so sorry that you are hurting badly right now. It really is awful when we are confronted with all of the dreams that our children have taken from us or given up on.

  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I am so sorry. But I do understand and relate.

    Your story is exactly, and I mean, exactly the same as my own with my son:
    My gorgeously handsome son has developed body dysmorphic disorder and goes around always with a hoody on so that nobody sees his head and face.

    Sometimes the pain of it (for me) is too much. Today he arrived at my house and he said somebody in a red truck stopped him in front of the house and questioned why he was going towards the house.

    You see, he looks homeless. His clothes are so ragged and washed out, in addition to the hoody. While always clean his beard is not always trimmed. He seems to WANT to give the appearance he is an outcast.

    I got angry at the man in the truck and demanded my son tell me where the truck was. But underneath the anger towards the red truck was my pain at what is, for us.

    I do understand.
  4. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    I would start with his good qualities that lie underneath. What do you love about him? Maybe he's compassionate, etc.
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  5. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Crayola what you say is so wise and compassionate and powerful.

    My son has always been the kindest and most compassionate of people. So loving. Decent and moral.

    He is 28 now and our worst troubles began when he was 18. He became hostile and lost to me.

    Later he said, he had never stopped loving me but that he could not for a long time love himself.

    He is becoming himself again more and more.

    When he went "into the wilderness" I went with him. I became lost to myself. I cut off my kindness and compassion. I became furious. I felt abandoned. I tried to deal with this loss (and still do) through over-controlling. Because I panic. Still.

    If I had one thing to say to a mother, 10 years back in the journey, that I wish I had known, the place where I wish I had had the courage to be, and to act from--it would be this: Our children are our beloveds still. Have faith. They will return. They are not lost to us. They will be found. By themselves. They will find themselves. For now, as we wait, they are to be found in our hearts. To abandon them there is to abandon ourselves.
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  6. RN0441

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

    Up and Down:

    My son barely graduated from high school and he was at an alternative school at the time because he got expelled sophomore year for having weed in the boy's bathroom. Then due to his anxiety (I didn't know he had anxiety at that time) he clammed up and was seen as uncooperative so was given the severe punishment of not being allowed to return to any Illinois high school. He later told me he was terrified.

    He did graduate by the skin of his teeth but he refused to walk on the stage or do any type of celebration at all.

    He is our only child together and our youngest and it was heartbreaking for us not to be able to share in that joy.

    My son once was very athletic and very popular and he too got hit with anxiety and depression and then started self medicating with weed and alcohol and pills when puberty hit.

    I've often felt that I was living someone else's life.

    I wish I could say it got better after graduation but it did not. In fact, it got worse. The only reason it is better now is because he is no longer living with us and we have had to set firm boundaries with him. He's slowly coming around. I still cannot believe what our family has been through. Or what he's put himself through.

    I hope that your son finds his way.
  7. mof

    mof Momdidntsignupforthis

    The anxiety and depression also destroyed our son...but hes OK.

    Unfortunately he had to clinically die fro that to happen, I can tell he is still confused as why he lived...this is for him to hash out as he wont return to Church.

    Yes, you mourn the dreams YOU had for him...eventually I think they do grow up, ours is on a slow and steady climb, can I say SLOW again. I did not think I would ever think it was a blessing that my manchild would work fulltime at fastfood and I be greateful????

    In a way a hamburger has saved his life, I no longer cry daily, we are all healing together and I dont know the future, but who really wants too!!!!

    You both will have decisions to make together for all of you, we get it, your not alone.
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  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    You know there are so many common elements to our stories, for many of us. The depression and the anxiety, and the marijuana or worse that may come as a result.

    But I am struck by the survivor's guilt. The angst of so many, who because they LIVE and could have died, that plagues them. In mof's son case it was his own near-death experience. In my son's, Lil's, and pigless' it was a parent. There are more who I can think of right now.

    Survivor's guilt has plagued me for my whole adult life. Why and how did I live, when others did not. Did I deserve it? Why? Why me? And then, to be alone. All who is left.

    Imagine what it is for our children. So unable to understand their lives or how to make a life story.
    This is it in a nutshell. All of us here, together, too.

    Thank you, mof.
  9. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    My Difficult Stepson is a slave to his anxiety and depression, but he is an adolescent and naturally hard-headed besides, so he is not open to this interpretation of why he can't cope with the basics of life. He's a junior and is now going to school online, and we're hoping that he is successful in earning a high school diploma.

    We are slowly giving up on the dream of his potential and accepting the reality of who he is.

    For him being able to persevere through ANYTHING would be a major breakthrough. We would celebrate a fast food job the way we once hoped to celebrate the scholarship offers we believed his sharp intellect would one day bring. That will never happen - I have at least accepted that. It isn't who he is. He told us a few weeks ago that he does not value education the way that we do. And it's true, though I personally believe this is more a product of his lack of confidence and desire to avoid anything that might reinforce in his own mind that he is a "loser." But it doesn't matter in the end. It's HIS life and he has to live it, not me.

    My wife is mourning that she won't see him walk a graduation stage as he now attends a for-profit online high school. That is a hard transition for her and I'm just trying to be supportive. I think it's more important that he hasn't dropped out. Online school is giving him a last shot to be semi-functional and it's important that he takes it.
  10. UpandDown

    UpandDown Active Member

    Yes, that is a great way to explain it. His struggles have changed so many things for me. I see that often I am negative, angry and withdrawn from people in my life. I just can't relate to my old life and what mattered then.

    My son is way way better than he was at 15. I try to focus on that. That he no longer rages and breaks things, he finally is working with us and not against us in his treatment, he has opened up about how much he suffers from anxiety, goes willingly to both his therapist and psychiatrist and is taking wellbutrin. All of those are HUGE. Sometimes the wave just comes and I slip back into despair.

    Writing his high school bio just hit me hard. I absolutely can think of a lot of positive things about him. He is very kind, sensitive, smart, and clever. Its just this bio is to list their high school achievements and future plans. 2-3 years ago I could list: boy scouts, travel and high school sports, active member of our church, thinking of college on the west coast. but 3 years ago he started to drop things one by one. All at the same time, he started smoking weed. So that leaves not much to say on a bragging bio.

    I realize in the big scheme of things, this bio thing is minor and I'll get over it. It just hurts a lot today. Thank you for your thoughts and care.
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  11. UpandDown

    UpandDown Active Member

    I am with both you and your wife. I am mourning that we won't see him walk the graduation stage as my son is on homebound education. Yet I am so very relieved that he hasn't dropped out. For a while, that was a very real possibility. Being able to finish at home has made that possible.
  12. pigless in VA

    pigless in VA Well-Known Member

    U&D, you could consider writing about your son's mental illness struggles in the bio. He isn't the only high school kid struggling with these issues and speaking out about them can help someone else.

    We had a young girl at Ferb's high school who abruptly died during a marathon of a heart ailment. Her parents have been vocal about her struggle with depression in the hope that it will help someone else's child.

    When I was in high school, I had a male friend who was in and out of the psychiatric unit constantly. I was his outside homework contact. He was very bright and graduated with our class in spite of his battles. He is now an anesthesiologist. The struggles that our children have today can be the catalyst for a positive change later.
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  13. I am so sorry that you are struggling up and down. I can completely relate. Like you, my perception of life have completely changed. It is so hard to think positively no matter how i try even though i used to be a very positive and hopeful person. I frequently long for the day when i felt so carefree and sometimes envy people who don't have to deal with this.

    My son's marijuana use almost derailed his finishing high school but luckily he had done well the first three and a half years of high school such that he managed to finish and get scholarships for college before his life started unraveling the first semester of college. However, even though he is still struggling with drugs, i still consider him a kind, compassionate person. Perhaps like others have said you can rely on his personal qualities when writing the bio as well as the struggles that continue to change his life.

    But hopefully, unlike my son who didn't learn that marijuana can be a gateway drug, i hope and pray that your son will learn sooner or later that there are people who can't use weed and function well in society.
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  14. UpandDown

    UpandDown Active Member

    Good idea. Thank you for the suggestion.
  15. RN0441

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

    Hoping for the Best:

    I love what you said about your son; that he is struggling with his addiction but a good person. I find it so VERY hard to separate it all out. I feel I sometimes villianize him.

    I had a dream last night that we were together and he told me "I had a nightmare during the day". I just hugged him real tight and told him everything was going to be alright. Heartbreaking dream.

    I so often question if we are doing the right thing. This weekend he told me that he needs me to come there and "take care of him" and he "misses his mother". I told him he is a grown man and that I miss him too.

    He says he is there "all alone". We told him he is not alone. He has a girlfriend and his father and I text, talk on the phone and FaceTime and do go visit. I told him that he is away from us due to his behavior that we could not have in our home. That he just couldn't do it with us around. I told him we are giving him this opportunity to get a degree, certificate or something so he can support himself. College kids are away from home. Not the real total reason he is away we all know.

    I know he's pulling at my heart strings. But knowing that doesn't help.

    I too feel like something huge has been lost with us having to deal with all this.