How do you overcome guilt ?

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Octavia, Aug 30, 2018.

  1. Octavia

    Octavia New Member

    I am new here and hoping so much for help or guidance. My son is 25, was diagnosed with bipolar 7 years ago, and has slowly slid into substance abuse. Marijuana.
    He managed to get a University degree after his diagnosis ( he’s incredibly bright) but he’s been in a steady decline. He refuses medication. It’s an ongoing battle.
    He can’t hold a job. No longer even tries to get one. He works out all day or sits and smokes dope. I don’t allow it in my house but my ex does , so he is there most of the time.
    My son has become belligerent and mean. He wasn’t like this before at all. He is paranoid,and always angry. Irrational. His thoughts seem muddled. He doesn’t make sense.
    In a condensed version - he beat up his dad three nights ago and his dad put a restraining order on him. This is the first time he has hit him and it came out of the blue We are divorced but are on good terms.
    My son came here right after and for the first time ever, I turned him away. I was scared for my safety. He has never hurt me before. He has gotten angry with me ,but for the most part is usually fairly respectful. For some reason his anger and belligerence is usually reserved for his dad.
    He has no friends left. I am afraid he’s on the street now. I feel like I made the wrong call turning him away. Honest to God I just don’t know. I am 5 ft 5. He is 6 ft 5, and fit. I was scared.

    I’m afraid my turning him away has put him on the street and the guilt I feel is horrendous. I want to help him, but I can’t. I want to shake him and get him to see what he’s doing to his life. I want that five year old blue eyed angel back who would play Thomas the trains with me.
    I have always known that he might have to hit rock bottom in order to get better. I just pray that this is rock bottom.
    I want to go out and look for him. Tell him I will take him in. I also realize that this won’t help a thing.

    I have a good job and I need to get a grip to function at it. I just feel so damn sad, worried, guilty ....and torn up. I can’t believe that this has become my life.
  2. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    Octavia your situation sounds a lot like mine. You can read the ugly details over in parent emeritus if you want (apple and the tree). But my son is also on the streets. Also just beat up his father, my ex (though I am not on friendly terms with mine). Also abusing, in C’s case alcohol, pot, and probably a few other things when he can afford it. But the alcohol and pot are problems enough on their own.

    Don’t feel guilty about protecting yourself or your peace. You did not put him wherever he is. He did. He would not be there if he were holding a job or holding his temper. He is clearly not in control of himself now, and you can’t put yourself at risk. Nor would it help to give him another soft place to land while he is abusing and out of control. It would end badly.

    Again, it is not your fault he is where he is. Do not feel guilty. Do not take on responsibility for his choices.

    I really think pot is a bigger problem for a lot of our kids than they want to admit. Mine swears it is medicinal. He ‘needs’ it to manage his anxiety or he can’t function. But the more I read and observe the more I realize that pot doesn’t mellow everyone. There is a rebound effect that causes growing paranoia and agitation. And paradoxically makes the anxiety and other problems they are trying to self treat worse over time. I think pot and bipolar is probably a bad combination.

    People here have given me excellent advice about pointing mine to sober living houses and community resources that put him in charge of his recovery, not me. Sadly, we are the WORST people to try to help, because they will always fall back on patterns of entitlement and dependence with us. Any refuge we offer will inevitably end with kicking them out, perhaps after much damage has been done and perhaps requiring police intervention. And then they would be right where they are now anyway.

    I know how much this hurts. I’ve cried a lot over the last few weeks. I feel helpless and angry and guilty and scared. I feel baffled that he would allow things to get to this. I don’t understand how a boy from a middle class home in a small town can end up homeless and desperate in the city. I worry about what other people must think, that they must think I’m some kind of monster to let my son be on the streets.

    But I am holding firm onto the refuge of peace I have built in my home. I am respecting my partner’s right, and my own right, to feel safe and comfortable in the home we are paying for and maintaining. And I am respecting my son’s right to make his own choices, and allowing him to live with the consequences on those choices. It is not our job to rescue them anymore as adults. Letting them avoid those consequences only prolongs the agony.

    I pray both of our sons will find will to change within themselves as they walk this path. Peace and hugs to you. You’re not on this road alone.
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  3. Deni D

    Deni D Member

    Hi Octavia, welcome. I’m in a similar situation as you. My son is also Bipolar. Sometimes the drug use brings on the Bipolar symptoms, but also often young Bipolar people will self-medicate with drugs/alcohol.

    I think you are right not to let him into your home. Once someone shows a lack of control in a certain area unless they really think about it and decide never to go there again the chances are it’s going to happen again. From what you say he’s not in a frame of mind for self-reflection. My son reserves his nastiest behavior for me, but I have no doubt if his father was the one who housed him the most, put up with his bad behavior the most, tried to rescue him the most his father would then become my son’s main villain. So yeah, you probably shouldn’t go there.

    For me the way I somewhat handle the guilt is by having a plan to support my son if he decides to get actual help for himself. The support I will offer him is along the lines of getting him to Psychatrist and Therapist appointments and paying any out of pocket expenses for them. Are you in the US? There are local mental health organizations that will help him with navigating Social Services, vouchers for partial rent payments and will try to steer him to outpatient programs and such. They will also help with short-term housing but I think only in the cases where someone is coming out of an inpatient stay at the hospital. Local branches of NAMI have what are called “Family to Family” courses. People who run these courses are family members of people with mental illnesses, you should be able to get information on any local resources from them. You could also check to see if there are any shelters locally.

    The guilt still doesn’t go away. I bounce back and forth from anger at what he’s done to himself and how he treats me to guilt for all of the coulda/shoulda/wouldas that I don’t know would have made one bit of difference anyway. Right now I’m trying meditation for grounding myself so I can be more present and tame down the guilt ridden over thinking. Guilt is only helpful if it helps us to figure out what to do differently in the future. Guilt over the past, especially misplaced guilt, just keeps us stuck somewhere we don’t belong.

    I’m sorry you’re in this situation. I hope he sees his way to realizing he needs to do something different and seeks real help.
  4. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    Welcome Octavia;

    You have found a great forum and here are many supportive people and resources here.

    The FOG Fear Obligarion and Guilt is very tough for all of us. Follow some of my posts. I have had a rough go with my son to be 19 year old. We have put him on the street and have also had him arrested. He is due home from a 6 month in patient rehab program tomorrow.
    Drugs can unregulated psychosis even THC in pot can do this. When you have an underlying MH issue it will make it worse.

    Enabling him won’t help him or your situation. Letting let go with love and allowing them to face the natural difficult but the right thing to do. He has a MH disorder and drugging is not how to deal with it. He is now harming others as well as himself. You have a right to protect yourself.

    I know this is not easy, right is not always easy.
  5. Octavia

    Octavia New Member

    Thank you for your support. It feels better knowing I am not alone. Yes it feels as though you are going through the same thing. I also feel your shame at what others think of me for putting him out. What kind of mom throws their kid out ? I struggle with that . I am praying that he finds his way out of this. Right now it feels like that’s really all that I can do.
  6. Octavia

    Octavia New Member

    Thank you for the guidance. I’m not in the states , and Canada is definitely behind you in mental heath care. You are right about guilt. It isn’t helpful. I like your way of dealing with it - being proactive about having a plan is a great idea and has to help somewhat. Between guilt , shame , worry and sadness , I think I need a counsellor which is somewhat ironic since we continually tried to get my son to one.
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