I don’t know how to help.

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Lynn34, Oct 30, 2017.

  1. Lynn34

    Lynn34 New Member

    i have a 18 year old daughter with a mood disorder. Anxiety, depression, suicide ideation, possible rapid cycle bipolar. The short history is that she had horrible results on medications, hates taking about it, and blames me for everything. I had to move out of my home in August with her because she was being too physical with sister.
    The problem is that she doesn’t want help yet can’t get to the next step. She feels stuck. She got a job but then got sick and never showed up. She has no passions. Doesn’t want to go to school and doesn’t feel motivated to work. We have no family. Her dad is checked out. She wants me to have answers yet my bad energy is the source of her problems. She can tell I really don’t love and I am not authentic. Give me a break. I do everything for this kid
    She calls me constantly at work. She is afraid to be alone. Her thoughts are going darker and darker.
    I feel alone in this. She refused a case worker. She is scared to death of being hospitalized. She doesn’t she any of her actions having a consequence.
    She makes me feel so quilty. She is stuck and I don’t know how to help her. Please, any advice. Thank you
  2. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Call NAMI, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, to get assistance and options. If daughter is a danger to your other daughter, she is probably a danger to you too. She isnt getting better or getting help under your roof. She will probably need to be forced to go to a hospital or shelter to get the wake up call she needs to accept help. That non stop verbal abuse has got to hurt you. You dont have to listen to that. Listening to her abuse does not help her. If she lays a hand on anyone call the police. She has to learn that her illness does not absolve her of societal norms and decency.

    Obviously something is wrong with her, but you cant do anything for her. She is the only one who can help herself. But if nothing changes, nothing changes. You can change YOUR behavior toward her, which will maybe force her to deal with her illness rather than just being sick. At a last resort you can give her two weeks or months to get help (and say she has to sign her consent for you to talk to her psychiatrist) in order for her to live under your roof. You can make it mandatory that she leave if she refuses help. Many of us do this hard step.

    I wish you love and luck!
  3. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    Hi Lynn34

    Welcome to the forum. I know you will receive excellent support and advice here. Many people are going through the exact same issues you are with your daughter.

    I am not. My son is addicted to drugs and may have an underlying MG disorder.

    I understand the not having family supports as we have none. My husband and I have each other. We have no other children.

    Do try to reach out for support. SWOT has recommended NAMI that is a great place to start.

    you daughter is an adult and she has to chose to get well or improve. You can not sacrifice your life for hers if she isn't willing to do some work to get well. This will eliminate the only support system she had and that is you. You need to learn how to stay well and healthy for yourself and be able to support but not enable your daughter.

    You are not alone.
  4. Lila256

    Lila256 Member

    Hi Lynn! I agree with the other posters, boundaries will have to be re-examined and set in ways that you can back them up. She is 18, so legally she is responsible for her own care. You can't force her to take advantage of resources to help herself at this point, but you can protect yourself and help set your daughter up the best you can for the rest of her adulthood. You cannot be there for her for the rest of her life, as much as we may want to be at times, but she will always need you in some way when you find your balance. (My stepson has a severe mental illness and we recently had to force him out of the home at 14 years of age to protect ourselves. Believe me, I know it's not easy to prioritize your own well-being!) A trusted counselor for you or the resources at NAMI should be able to help you navigate the process of setting boundaries and reinforcing them.

    Welcome to this community, by the way! I am new myself, but the folks here seem amazing and completely understanding.
  5. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly If focused on a single leaf you won't see the tree

    Hi- and welcome

    You said you had to move out of your home in August with her. Are you back home or still out of your own home? You shouldn't have to leave your own home. She is 18 and legally an adult. I know it is painful to think about having to put her out, but it may come to that if she refuses any help or things get to a dangerous stage.

    I noticed you mentioned suicidal ideology. Sometimes families have to tell little white lies to get a family member the help they need if they refuse help (ie: may have to lie and say they are threat to you or others, themselves).

    Also become familiar with Baker Act, each state has their own laws so be sure to check your state on how they handle a Baker Act call. Below is how to Baker Act someone.

    How to Baker Act Someone

    Keep us posted.
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  6. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    there are similarities in our situations. son. similar diagnoses.. when my son was 19 there began to be a battle between us about productive activity. i was able to push him until he was 23 to do some college, job corps, a nurses aid program and 16 mos of that work in a psychiatric unit, until he quit that job due to depression.

    he was impossible to live with, hostile and would not seek treatment. i kicked him out. almost 7 years ago.

    he had been back. living near or with us for 15 mos or so before he left about 4 mos ago. it was way better after 4 years or more away. but still a battle.

    while he has been homeless, the majority of time not. he got himself ssi and he has been working a few days a week.

    more and more he is happy. he makes suicidal statements when he is stressed and does not know how to solve a problem. because i do not know where to send the police i will not talk to him if he makes inferences or threats of self harm to me. he knows what to do. go to the hospital.

    this is the learning for me.

    no adult child should be indolent in my house.

    if you are here in my space, you treat me with respect.

    nobody has the right to bargain with me or hold me hostage threatenning their life. least of all my child.

    there are always options.

    things change for the better and sometimes the worst. but there is no control.

    there is a limit to how much i can take and should. (ie being sick for years from stress is way beond sane.)

    i deserve a peaceful home and have the responsibility to defend it.

    they have resources and capacities and will possibly use them but not if we accept their bad behavior, their self-indulgence, or their rule.

    oh yes. my house. my rules. no marijuana. no under the influence. no dirty test. no discussion.

    now. i panic when he is vulnerable and i get back to the place where i find all of this unbearable.

    but the thing is: he is better and better. self-aware. sometimes wise. accepting. funny and light hearted. mellower. he is getting to know himself. has better and deeper friendships than do i. in many ways i can see he is stronger and healthier than am i.

    there was a gift that came from not being able to function well. he has to live and accept his real life. i could hide by achievement. and faking it to myself.
    but there is no hiding forever.

    please keep posting. you will gain strength, support and come to know and decide upon your course. this is a process. for us and them.

    ps we cannot help them. they help themselves.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2017
  7. Lynn34

    Lynn34 New Member

    Thank you. I moved out with her to get her away from younger sister who was a trigger and had exhusband move back into the house.
    She is 18 but no where near an adult. I have asked every state agency for help but no luck. She refuses help and blames me for not supporting her. Honestly, I don’t know how to help her. She feels well do something fun but never well enough to work or go to school. I don’t have friends anymore. I am not strong enough to kick her out. I could not live with myself. She would die on the street. I am in therapy. I pray and meditate daily. I can’t take care of myself because I can barely breathe. All of her anger at the situation is directed at me. I know I didn’t cause or create this but my guilt is off the chart. Her father, probably also with a mood disorder and anger issues, was very verbally abusive. She wants a loving, positive support group. I can’t give her that.
    I did go to a Nami meeting. It was a two hour :censored2: session of no hope. Not productive. I do go to al—anon. That has been helpful. But there is a difference. I know I can’t enable her. I finally turned my phone off at work but I am afraid to go home. She needs to get help. But she is not well enough to find the help. So I feel I am just waiting for her to snap and I have to call the police. (And risk being evicted). I need more support. I need help. I can’t take much more! I feel so helpless. I don’t even know who else I can call for help. I have tried every agency.
    I wish there was somewhere she could live.
    Sorry for the rank. Ugggh
  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    did she finish school? oh. i see she has not.

    the thing is right now you are being triggered and traumatized by her. you have become her victim. this is horrible for her.

    and you. she cannot be allowed to have that kind of power or responsibility.

    i believe you need to set some limits and establish some expectations of her. why not use this thread to explore some options.

    nobody can live with no out.

    why not set one expectation that she go to alateen or something comparable? if she is okay to have fun why is she not okay for responsibility? are there drugs involved?

    does she have interests like art or sports?
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2017
  9. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I suffered from severe suicidal depression before her age and after and I did not have the energy to go out and party and have fun and i did feel badly enough at 18 to start getting help. My parents fid not help me, but I still did it.

    Everything you said makes me seriously wonder if your daughter is really that depressed or is acting badly and manipulating you to get her way. I dont know if she is that sick.

    Depression and anxiety do NOT cause violence. Drugs can, if she does drugs. I never did.

    I think your daughter is partly abusing you and fooling you without it having anything to do with depression. Depressed people have trouble having fun. Something about the story sounds off.

    Do not allow your daughter to abuse you or have so much power over you that you take care if her and not yourself. You cant help her. She has to do it. I made my drug using daughter leave at 19 and cried for a long time, but she pulled herself together, quit drugs, and did life. I dont know if she would have done this in the comfort of home. And she was immature too. They all are. Twelve years later she is doing great.

    I hope you can learn to set boundaries and impose conditions on your daughter. Nobody should ever have to leave her own home for any reason. Does your daughter assault you?
  10. Lynn34

    Lynn34 New Member

    No. She doesn’t assault me. She did when she was on medications. But not now. She doesn’t use drugs either. There are these waves. High days, or at least days were she can get out of bed, and low low days. She does make me feel horrible quilty. And there is some truth in her words. She has no other family or friends or support system. She doesn’t know how to help herself.
    She hasn’t been on medications for over 8 months. Tried so many and each her body rejected horribly. She has no hope to keep trying. Feels like a lab rat and nothing ever works.
    I feel like I am just waiting for the floor to fall away. I am stuck. She really isn’t stable for work or school but doesnt want to work hard at getting stable. She is so frustrated.
    I try to model heathy thoughts, meditation, long walks but I have no answers. I wish I had someone holding me up. It is so easy to second guess yourself. Thank you. I admire your strength and confliction.
  11. Lynn34

    Lynn34 New Member

    No outside interest except surfing. On her good days, I try to get her in the water. That is her comfort zone. She did finish high school. Barely but graduated. There are no drugs involved. But she does talk about wanting to numb the he pain. She knows she can’t live here on drugs or bring any here.
    I know she has to want to fix this but she isn’t willing to experiment. Ironically, she was just gifted an amazing trip to the South Pacific. She did fine without me. It is when she is here with nothing to do that her thoughts get the best of her. And I can’t entertain her around the clock nor should I.
    Hard to fix what you can’t define. I wish there was a place she could live and work. I suggested communal organic farms but no bite. She is best when connected with her spiritual side

    I really feel like I am just waiting for the fall to drop. I am going crazy as much as I am trying to take care of myself.
    Thank you so much for your willingness to engage with me. The loneliness is the worst part
  12. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    you are not alone. know that.

    these are great things: surfing and spirituality. yes. she does have passions. surfing.

    you are the one who makes you feel guilty. not her.

    i am going to throw something at you: how would it be to make you the center of your attention and life? you be the one you are devoted to. you the recipient of your protection and concern.


    i have an idea. what anout getting a roomate, a college student, so that how she acts is public. if you cannot easily get her out...get somebody in. make it less comfortable for her.
  13. Lynn34

    Lynn34 New Member

    Thank you. I love the creative idea of a roommate but I am locked into a year lease on a very small one bedroom.
    I am trying to focus on me. One thing for me each day. No matter how small.

    Please keep creative ideas coming. Clearly the conventional route didn’t work.
  14. Sam3

    Sam3 Active Member

    It doesn't seem like either of you know her abilities. Your assumption that she can't make it, doesn't excuse her lack of effort in finding out.

    If she lacks internal motivation, then she has to have external motivation.

    I would come up with a few alternatives for her to get involved with and start conditioning your support on her spending X hours per day or week being productive out of the house. Therapy, church or youth groups, part time job or volunteer work (heal the bay?).

    I would start planting the seed that you are temporarily supporting her as an adult while she considers what she wants her future to look like. I would be very clear that it won't be spent in your proverbial basement.

    Spend enough time here to regain your moral authority.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List
  15. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You're in a tough spot. I'm sorry for the struggle you're involved with with your daughter. You're not alone, there is an entire team of warrior parents on this site who are going thru every level of the detachment, devastation and depletion that you speak of.

    Unfortunately, we are the ones who usually have to make the change.....I hear that you've tried certain options and they haven't worked for you. That's unfortunate. Clearly you need support and nurturing now. The hardest place to be is when we feel stuck with no options, it makes everything worse.

    You might read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post here. I know you had an unfortunate experience with NAMI, but it might be worth a second try to get into a parent course which may provide options, support, information and guidance.Don't give up on them yet. I think the important factor here is that YOU need support. To that end, keep looking, don't stop, there is no one else whose going to show up and lead you out of this, you're going to have to do it yourself. That's hard, I know, but you can't help your daughter until you help yourself. Do whatever you have to do to gain support of some kind, whether it's NAMI, a new therapist, a support group, a 12 step group, a religious leader, it doesn't matter what or where, as long as it's for YOU.

    Focus attention on yourself and what YOU need and want. You've been at this a long time.....it's time to put your attention on your needs now. If you can do that, even just a little bit, you'll begin to see shifts and changes....

    It's hard to figure out what to do when we feel backed into a corner, with no options.....feeling exhausted, depleted and worn out is the result. As is stated around here all the time, "nothing changes until something changes." You'll need to make one small change and then follow it with another small change until you are removed from this stuck place. One small step at a time.

    Keep posting, it's remarkable how important it is to be seen and heard, to have our troubles acknowledged by others experiencing the same stuff. It restores our sense of self and our power.

    You are not alone, all of us here understand the pain, the sorrow, the anger, the exhaustion. We get it. We'll circle the wagons around you as you work yourself thru this. It's hard, but you can do it......... Hang in there.
  16. Sam3

    Sam3 Active Member

    I read REs post and feel bad about how abrupt mine was in comparison.

    Stories of similar mistreatment over and over posted by aching parents feel like fighting words to me right now. I must be in the anger phase of grief.

    It didn't help that my son rolled out the FOG again today. The gist of
    it was that I'm dead to him unless I'm going to replace his phone and otherwise support him.

    I know one thing. I'm emotionally dead to manipulation at this juncture
    I think in part because of all the tales I've read here.

    That sounds dreary but it's a good place to get to.

    I didn't start there though. I started in disbelief and anguish too. I'm sorry my comment seemed to suggest a fast track to the process.
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    • List
  17. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    i agree with sam.

    the external motivation part.
    the clarity about independence, eventually.

    but most of all: regaining your moral authority.

    this has two parts: your moral authority to her. and respect for your own moral authority.

    right now your respect for yourself as a mother and even a person seems unwarrentedly and unfairly low.

    i was there too. even other people outside the family judged me and put me down.

    i put myself last. my needs. my interests. my importance. my value. with respect to my life as a mother.

    only when this latter dynamic changes can one begin to own the authority in oneself as a moral actor.

    i had a substantial job. lots of esteem and moral authority at work. but i came to see i felt like an imposter. i had no deep respect or care for who i was--independent of the role.

    i had lived a false life in a sense. as long as these deep feelings of despair, self-blame, impotence and insignificance...were so much of my core.

    i came to see i had to quit being two people. that's why i and others say--you are the person who will change.

    your daughter is okay. she has friends, a social life, surfing and a spritual life. she has also grown up seeing you abused. it sounds like she is piling one.

    you have gotten some good ideas on how to start with her. i am saying it is more important to start with you. not because something is wrong with you but because each of us requires our own devotion, care, protection, respect.

    especially when we are alone, in the weeds, bereft, lost and doubting.

    there are practices that can serve to guide us back to ourselves. at this point in my own life i am open to them. before? everything in me was oriented as far away from my real needs and the reality of my life as possible.

    i hurt my son by this and i hurt myself. i did my best at the time but it is hard to forgive myself. which is to say: you are essentially valuable.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2017
  18. Lynn34

    Lynn34 New Member

  19. Lynn34

    Lynn34 New Member

    Thank you all for sharing your wisdom. I may be dense, but I really don’t know the next step. I am laying here in bed and afraid of what the day will bring since she slept almost all of yesterday.
    I understand, I need to take care of my self. That will mean I will have to leave her alone. She is afraid to be alone with her thoughts but maybe the more that happens the more she will be open to finding help.
    I did call Nami again. There is nothing available if she doesn’t want to engage and besides the support groups nothing for me. I can try another group. The one I did go to was horrible. Al-Anon has been a help

    Are there therapist to walk you through the steps? I tried 4. The one I am with now is kind and wise but not tuned in to what resources ar eavailable. Helps with mindset but I really need specific steps. I do believe my daughter would be better without me. I don’t know how to remove my self. At home, I read or watch tv on my phone with earplugs just not to be available.

    Some things for sure that I can do:
    I will not let her borrow money. She has no way of paying it back

    Keep clothes in the car, if she starts to go sideways, I will leave. Let someone else call the police.

    I will continue to pray and meditate each day

    I will turn my phone off at work

    Besides that, I really don’t know how to motivate her to get help or just move on. She is drowning and is pulling me down. I don’t want this. I need to rebuild my life after the breakup of my marriage.

    Thank you all~
  20. Lynn34

    Lynn34 New Member

    Going sideways- a full blown, fit of hysteria. Crying, pacing, often throwing things.

    She has been in residential treatments. Mostly acute with one time for two months. Cost me $80,000 and all that came from it is an acute fear of hospitals because she is afraid I will “put her away”
    Doesn’t see that her actions left me no choice to call the police.
    We had 3 psychiatrists. All the small story. She doesn’t want to talk about it, Too painful, and refuses all medications.
    She can think spiritually at times but won’t go to church with me.
    I want to be proactive and not hid in my own home or walk on eggshells. I have spent years seeking help, buying supplements, even going to an energy healer. I guess the only thing left is to let her hit bottom and decide to live with or die.
    I can’t fix this. I don’t know how to be any more supportive and I am sure I enable her to be lazy.
    Some times I think my only hope is to run away. I went from one abusive relationship (Husband) to another. Her

    Deep down I know she can do this. I just don’t know how much more I can handle