Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by CAmom, May 1, 2007.

  1. CAmom

    CAmom Member

    Our son was doing fairly well, made his status in his group home, and had a great visit home last weekend. Because he was on status, we were also able to take him out on a day pass this weekend.

    He spent a lot of the day talking about his plans when he gets out of his program in about ten weeks, i.e., graduating from high school, learning to drive, going to a vocational college, etc. This is a first for him. He surfed the net and did research on used cars, wheels, and a sound system for the car he hopes to get for graduation (the jury is still out on that one...) and generally seemed more positive and goal oriented than we've ever seen him.

    Then, BAM! Last night, he apparently fell apart, and LEFT his house! This is not a locked facility, but he has never done this before as it's considered a major infraction of the rules. His easy child found him on a street close to the house, distraught, asking to be sent back to Juvenile Hall. Later, he called and told us that he had done "something stupid" but didn't want to talk about it.

    Thankfully, his easy child who seems to really care about helping rather than punishing the boys, told him he was NOT interested in terminating him and sending him back to JH as that wouldn't help him but rather wanted him to get back on status and complete his program.

    He told me that he feels that our son probably became anxious about the weight of the responsibility he is feeling, now that he's finally starting to think about his future, and decided to relieve the anxiety by giving up and doing something bad enough to get himself terminated and sent back to JH where there are no such expectations.

    This makes sense, I guess, but I'm baffled by the abrupt change over a few hours of time from upbeat and positive to so down in the dumps that he risked being terminated from his program.

    Any insights?
  2. Loris

    Loris New Member

    Makes a lot of sense, especially if he is bipolar. The stress of "messing up" or "letting my parents down" etc can cause a type of overload. Thank goodness his easy child is in his corner. It does sound as if he really cares about the kids he is responsible for. That happens pretty often, from evidence seen at sons previous placements. I hope he stays stable through this, but have they checked his medication levels recently, maybe. I hope he talks to you, they may help, also. Good luck.
  3. KFld

    KFld New Member

    Sounds to me like he became very overwhelmed by expectations that he pretty much put on himself. I'm glad his easy child sees it for what it is and is going to help him get back on the right track.

    Don't get yourself too down. Sit back and wait and see what happens next. Hopefully it's just a slight bump in the road and he'll get past it and get back to moving forward.

    He was probably thinking JH is easier. No real decisions to make with your life, as they are all made for you there. He's probably beginning to feel the pressure of what it will be like to avoid certain circumstances once he's home, so it may even be more of a reason to look into something beyond this program, besides him just coming back to the same old same old.
  4. CAmom

    CAmom Member

    Loris, I've never felt that our son was bipolar in the past--didn't see the highs and lows that go along with the diagnosis.

    However, what happened on Sunday seems SO typical of bipolar, and that was the first thing I thought of. I'm wondering if the only reason the bipolar symptoms weren't particularly evident in the past was because the pot he was smoking, probably partly to medicate himself against anxiety, masked them.
  5. CAmom

    CAmom Member

    Karen, I do believe it was a combination of his own expectations and his perception of being pressured by his dad and me, although we were really only trying to reinforce his own positive plans.

    He called last night, but, when I asked him what happened between afternoon and night time to cause him to feel so low and risk so much, he only said that was "a lot of things" and that he'd talk with us the next time we had private time together. He said that, in the meantime, he was talking to his therapist and working things out, and I feel that that is what is most important.

    I'm very happy that he's opened up so much to his therapist as he wouldn't buy into therapy at home. I know this has helped him very much as far as putting some of his issues (particularly related to adoption and hugely dysfunctional birth parents who bulldozed their way into his life without his or our desire or consent a year or so ago)into perspective.

    I think ongoing therapy is going to be essential for him for the forseeable future, particularly when he's back home, to help him weather the ups and downs in life.
  6. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Yes, I agree with everything that's been said before. I would also encourage you to have his medication levels checked.

    In addition, my Rob can't sustain a positive outlook or even having others think positively about him for any length of time. I haven't been able to make a big deal about anything good surrounding him- EVER- because he can't handle the pressure and absolutely will do something to lower everyone's, including his own, expectations again.

  7. CAmom

    CAmom Member

    OMG! Suz, Rob sounds EXACTLY like my son who has had the same problem for most of his life, even as young as 3, and particularly when any sort of competition was involved. The best way to guarantee he'd give up and fail was to point out how successful he was. I've never been able to understand this. I guess it's just another normal variant but VERY frustrating to deal with.

    As for the medications, he only just started taking lithium as a trial two weeks ago, so it's apparently too soon to check levels.
  8. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    I think it's pretty common for difficult children to be like that.....but wouldn't it be something if our boys were half brothers??? I know Rob's biomom didn't stop having kids after he was born... :smile:

  9. KFld

    KFld New Member


    That's a scarey thought, but the more I think about it, maybe all of our difficult child's are related somehow :rofl:
  10. CAmom

    CAmom Member

    Suz, neither did our son's bio mom...she was pretty frisky but I don't think even SHE could have spread herself (no pun intended...) so thin that she got as far as PA! :smile:
  11. CAmom

    CAmom Member

    Well, Karen, if that's true...there goes the human race!!
  12. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    We adopted Rob in Washington State, not Pennsylvania. His biomom is from Mississippi (I think) originally. She had 3 children before he was born and at least 2 more after...and she wasn't even 30 years old :slap: .

  13. CAmom

    CAmom Member

    Our son's bio mom is from CA, local actually, which turned out to be a very big mistake in an "open" adoption. She was only 15 when he was born and went on to have a couple of miscarriages and now has a 5-year-old whom she's lost custody off due to her continued abuse of drugs and alcohol, despite having been in and out of rehab numerous times. Sad...
  14. SunnyFlorida

    SunnyFlorida Active Member

    difficult child 1 felt like this for a very long time. The worthless, I can't please anyone including myself, I'm doomed, I'm cursed, I can't do anything, I'm not successful etc. At 24...he wants to go to school. He is doing things by himself. (not always great...but at least attempting).

    Try to let him make the choices and rather than gush over them or help with the the guidance counselor who assists but lets them do all the work.

    That dang 'ole pot sure has long tentacles that latch on and do so much damage.
  15. CAmom

    CAmom Member

    Sunny, I think you hit the nail right on the head...I DO and have tended to gush over every little success he has had, particularly when his problems with short attention span and lack of impulse control became evident at around age 2 or so.

    I thought I was helping to build his self-esteem, but I think what I actually did by praising when it wasn't really earned or deserved, was cause him to feel that he wasn't capable of meeting higher standards resulting in lower expectations of himself.

    I definitely need to "put a sock in it!"
  16. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    CAmom, if I can throw my $.02 in...

    As a recovering alcoholic/drug addict myself, I know how difficult it can be. The first time I got clean, I was 19. Your difficult child is even younger than that.

    If I read correctly, he didn't have an answer as to why he did what he did. If I had to guess what was going through his mind, based on experience, I would say HE didn't even really know. I would bet that when he was excited about moving forward and getting his life together, he was REALLY excited about it. The idea of it was enticing to him. But old habits are very hard to break. When he thought about it, perhaps he forgot about "one day at a time"...and became overwhelmed.

    It is very scary, espevially if you are not used to doing it. If you have no faith in yourself that you can do it, it is SO easy to revert back to what is comforatble.

    Thank God he has someone at the home who is not going to give up on him.

    Have you considered Al-Anon? Great insight into the mind of an alkie/dope fiend.

    We're an ornery bunch, we are.
  17. CAmom

    CAmom Member

    BBK, thanks for the insights. I don't think it's necessarily the pot issue that threw him for a loop--he's been home for two weekend visits and been around his friends who were smoking it. On both occasions, he said that it didn't bother or tempt him much, and he tested clean upon his return to his group home.

    I think it's more the pressures of looming adulthood that got to him--when he was last home, all his neighborhood friends were talking about graduating, preparing to go to college, the jobs they have jobs lined up, etc. Also, they all have cars.

    My son, because of his heavy pot use last year, missed a lot of school and got behind in credits so will need at least three or four more months to graduate, we would not allow him to take driver's training because of his drug use so he doesn't drive, and, obviously, we would in no way consider buying him a car at that time.

    So, basically, while his friends were moving forward with their lives (even though most of them also smoke pot but not to the extent that our son did), he stayed stagnant.

    Now, he has to play catch-up, and I believe that he realizes just how far behind he let himself get and how difficult it is going to be to catch up. He WANTS to get there ASAP, but, for probably the first time in his life, no one can do it for him--it's all on him, and I think he just became overwhelmed.
  18. KFld

    KFld New Member

    I think you are right. Hopefully his counseling will help him through this and get him back to his positive thinking.
  19. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    He will be in my prayers.
  20. CAmom

    CAmom Member

    I think so, Karen. I talked to him briefly last night, and he sounded cheerful and positive.

    I'm still DYING to know the details of what actually caused his slip, but I keep thinking of the comment he made to me about working through it with his therapist, and I'm going to try VERY hard not to ask him because I know if I do, I'm going to get involved and want to try to "fix" things. I think he needs to do this on his own...