I know I shouldn't feel guilty

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Exhausted and alone, Apr 23, 2017.

  1. Exhausted and alone

    Exhausted and alone New Member

    I have search through many of these threads hoping that someone, anyone, has walked a little in my shoes. I just need to know I am doing the right thing.

    41 years ago last August I had a beautiful baby boy. He was fullterm, healthy and seemed to make all of the milestones he should have in those first 18 months. When he was a little over 2, I put him to bed one night and when he woke up the next day, he was a completely different child. He had forgotten all the things he had learned......and his behaviour was completely different. He had uncontrollable rages, often for things that would bring joy to most children ( Christmas, birthday, summer vacations). Over the course of his childhood and adolescence we saw well over 20 specialists. No one could tell me what happened....but many made me feel that I had done something to cause his developmental challenges (at 42, his intellectual ability is about 10 and his emotional level is around 14) as well as his psychiatric issues. Diagnosed 15 years ago with "systemic brain disorder" I have done everything humanly possible to help him live a life that brings him happiness and fulfillment.

    But just when I think he has been "calm" and on an "even keel" for awhile.....he has a giant meltdown and we are back to square one. This past weekend was one of those meltdowns. He was frustrated by his apartment issues and instead of listening to me and going about things legally....he lost his mind and ended up in EPT at the local hospital. Unfortunately they let him go without notifying me he was even there.

    He ended up back at his apt building where he went ballistic again and did some damage to their lobby cameras. This time the police didn't take him to EPT....they brought him to the local jail. Although everyone seems to acknowledge that he is limited intellectually and is clearly disabled, he is being processed as a fully functioning adult. I know he knows right from wrong so what he did deserves to be punished but I have been struggling for years trying to get him help before something like this happened again. I have had to be his one to one worker, his counsellor and the person who was trying to maintain his independent living situation. Along the line I feel that somehow I have failed him as a mother.

    The system for adults with developmental disabilities in Canada is very much "reactive" rather than "Proactive". I have attended meeting after meeting, year in and year out and virtually every single meeting ends with...."mom you are doing a great job helping your son live in the real world but if you have a crisis we will go from there". Well the crisis is here and now the justice system wants me to give them a surety (my house) and bring him home to live with me and my husband. We have done this before and it fell apart....very quickly. He directs his anger at me and my husband was afraid he was going to hurt me.

    The courts make you feel like a horrible human being and mother for refusing to agree to posting bail. I almost caved today but I asked for another day to talk to his dad (not my present husband). He told me that I needed to let him stay in a locked setting so that the system will now step up and do what they should have done years ago. He needs to be in a supervised living environment and it can't be me doing it. I am 2 years away from retirement and I am so exhausted from doing it all. I know I am his mother but I have been his saviour and his bank of Canada much more often than not and I just can't do it anymore. My younger son, who is a successful businessman and father, tells me everyday that I have done everything possible for my troubled son but I just can't seem to shake off this feeling of utter failure.

    I have spent the better part of this weekend crying and I am so embarrassed by all of this. I am sorry for this lengthy post....I just needed to put into words how much my heart is breaking and to hopefully get a few words of encouragement that I am doing the right thing by not bailing him out this time.
  2. runawaybunny

    runawaybunny Administrator Staff Member

    @Exhausted and alone I'm so sorry your parenting journey has been so difficult. Your son has his own inherent genetic and/or medical dysfunctions. Not what you were expecting from parenting, but it is what it is.

    You can still detach and create a meaningful life for yourself. in my humble opinion it's time to stop bailing him out. What your son creates with his life is up to him.

    Please take the time and effort to take good care of yourself. Time to be kind to yourself and live your life.
  3. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    By all means, take his dad's advice. Let the court find a placement for him. He is 41-years-old even if he is mentally disabled. You admit you are afraid of having him in your home. Tell that to the judge and stick to your guns.

    They do something similar here when loved ones are released from a local mental hospital. They do everything they can to get the family to take the person in even if that is not in the best interest of the person or the family. At a NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) meeting I attended, we were told that the best thing we could do is say no. That forces the social worker to find a solution besides dumping them back on the family.

    I am sorry this is happening to you. You having been living in an awful situation for a very long time. You deserve a peaceful retirement.

  4. Exhausted and alone

    Exhausted and alone New Member

    Thank you for your kind words, I am heading to court again this morning and I needed to hear something positive.
  5. joysheph

    joysheph Member

    I am so sorry you are going through this. I understand I to am. My 28 year old kid was admitted to mental hospital where I work at and he spent two weeks and they released him to a shelter. The social worker was telling my son to beg me to let him come home. I refused. I don't work on the same unit he's was on but I am shocked they didn't get him into a transitional living home. My facility in work at FAILED. Let the court do their job and place him you can't disrupted your sanctuary or your life you have left on this earth. It's dang hard but do for you!

    Sent from my SM-N920T using Tapatalk
  6. Exhausted and alone

    Exhausted and alone New Member

    Thank you for your kindness and you are so right about the mental health community wanting the family to be the solution even when it is completely detrimental to getting a long term stable environment for the individual. I am comforted by the fact that both replies I have had have been so supportive. You have bolstered my decision to tell the court that I am not going to "be his jailor and 24 hr a day supervisor"...that is not my job and certainly not one that I, or my family could live with.
  7. Exhausted and alone

    Exhausted and alone New Member

    Omg....thank you for sharing that! I work with psychiatric adolescents during the teaching year and young offenders during the summer and there is a feeling deep down that you should be perfectly able to handle anything god gives you in regard to your own family. But that isn't always the case. Sometimes we need to say "enough" and I have reached that point....and yes, it is "dang hard". Thank you so much for your encouragement!
  8. wisernow

    wisernow wisernow

    I know how hard this is for you but don't post bail and also let the courts find him a placement. I too live in Canada and the system here to assist only kicks in when the family finally shuts down...of course they want you to post bail and of course take care of him. they need to find him placement. I refused to take him back, his father (no longer my husband) did bail him out but he went straight into transitional housing from there. Hugs to you
  9. Exhausted and alone

    Exhausted and alone New Member

    Thank you for the supportive advice, you couldn't be more right when you say "the system only kicks in when the family shuts down". This is exactly what happened yesterday! I am going to post a follow up post later this morning so everyone that sent me so much support can hear what happened at court. Suffice it to say right now, I am in a better place today, although it is a cautiously optimistic approach I am taking!
  10. pigless in VA

    pigless in VA Well-Known Member

    I'm glad you're in a better place today. Sometimes one day can make all the difference.
  11. Exhausted and alone

    Exhausted and alone New Member

  12. Exhausted and alone

    Exhausted and alone New Member

    A follow up to my post on Sunday....a bit late but I had a lot of marking!

    So with a heavy heart I went to court again on Monday to let Duty Counsel and the Judge know that I was not going to bail my son out of this trouble he got himself into. I talked to the Duty Counsel and let him know that my son was developmentally challenged with significant mental illness. He looked at me and asked why this wasn't discussed before the court on Sunday. I told him that the Duty Counsel on Sunday was told about these issues but nothing was said to the judge except the need for surety and a place for him to reside. On Monday, when the Court finally got underway, my son was the second person to be brought in. The Crown Attorney read out the charges and then told the Judge his mother couldn't allow him to live at her home. Then the Duty Counsel spoke to the judge about my son's disabilities and his "limited intellect and understanding". The judge was visibly disturbed by this information and told the court that he did want to impose a surety and he certainly did not want him in a jail any longer than was necessary to find him a treatment/crisis bed. He ordered his clerk to page a Mental Heath worker to the court so they could speak to me. I nearly cried. I was told I could wait outside in the lobby so I left the courtroom. But before I was able to leave, I felt the angry glare my son shot in my direction. I know that he was furious about his disabilities being exposed in a public forum but I know that this exposure was the beginning of real help for him and all that I had hoped for. After a 45 min wait in the lobby, the Mental Health worker arrived and spoke first to the Duty Counsel and the Crown. He then told me that my son was not a candidate for his program but he had someone who would be able to provide a better service for him. He introduced me to a woman who was both kind and understanding and spent a great deal of time asking questions and really listening to me. She told me that she was a court appointed advocate and Case Manager for dual diagnosis adults who have found themselves in trouble with the law. She promised me that she would work with the existing services I have already put into place for my son and that from this point forward, her agency and the Developmental Services would be taking over his care. She told me that I had done a great job with him but that the system had let us both down. She promised that she would make sure my son agreed to work with her and that if a crisis bed was not available for a few days, she would ensure he was placed in a special safe unit in the jail. She promised to stay in touch with me over the next week and that I would be invited to planning meetings with both agencies when Transitional and Supervised housing along with treatment programs are being discussed. She assured me that I would not be expected to be his caregiver and if I wanted to step out of the role of "Trustee", we could work on that at a later time. I am so ready to give this up!
    I left the courthouse with a sense of hope and cautious optimism. I also felt like I could breath again....the heaviness in my chest was disappearing.
    Tomorrow I will speak to the Social Worker assigned to my son's case while he is in the Specialized Unit. I sincerely hope she is on the same page as the Case Manager from the Dual Diagnosis Agency. I am resolved to insisting the system do their job without me. I am done.

    Once again, thank you to everyone who offered such kind and supportive words....it truly meant the world to me.
  13. joysheph

    joysheph Member

    It sounds like you have done all you can do. It's time to let the case workers get him court commented to a facility. If he's willing to comply he may just prosper without Mom sweeping up the pieces. He must be compliance to his addiction and mental health you can't cure that! I'm just figuring that out myself. It's dang hard and the guilt will eat at you. But at the end of the day we moms deserve to live and laugh. I've learned 9n here can't change, cure, or control. You can control you and only you! Stay strong mama!
  14. Exhausted and alone

    Exhausted and alone New Member

    Thank you! I am definitely stronger today than I was last week! There appears to be a concerted effort by the Mental Health professionals and those who work with Developmentally Challenged adults to find a much more appropriate living environment for my son. If I had any qualms about whether I was doing the right thing by backing away and letting the system do what it should have done years ago, it all disappeared on Saturday when my husband and I were finally granted permission to enter his former apartment to get his things packed and moved out. We had prepared ourselves for a messy, chaotic and slightly dirty space but the filth and disgusting situation we walked into was overwhelming to say the least. He had refused to allow anyone of us in there for the last few years although he was telling each of us (family, social workers) that the other had been there. He refused to sign a release of information consent form so any dialogue between myself and his workers was very limited. We were barely able to salvage much other than some clothes, persoanal items, electronics and a few musical instruments. We spent 8 hours sifting through the mess and in the end we just had to throw away most of it. 25 industrial bags of garbage and there is more which the landlord will finish up. They were very appreciative of all we did and assured us that they would let us know if they found anything of value in the final cleanup. As we loaded the few items we had salvaged into a storage locker, both of us looked at each other and said, " never again". We have literally cleaned up after him for the last time.
    Yesterday morning, I was informed that a private room has become available in a full service supervised home for Developmentally Challenged adults. It sounds wonderful and his one to one worker said it is clean, bright, and run by people who truly care about the clientele. All services are provided: housekeeping, laundry, meals and even some recreational activities! She said that my son has to agree to it and then he can be released from the locked psychiatric unit. I am hoping he is able to understand what a great opportunity this is for him because he has no other alternative at this point. I have waited nearly 12 years for this type of housing for him and it has taken this crisis to make it to the top of the list!
    I have not spoken to him and he has not tried to call, I want him to feel that he needs to rely on the professionals who are there to help him right now and that mom can't and won't rescue him this time. I know I could have refused to even go to the apartment but I am glad that I did. Besides saving items that will have sentimental and monetary value to him, it cemented my belief that he is entirely incapable of taking care of himself in an independent living situation.
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