Just got back from visiting my son at his Residential Treatment Center (RTC)

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by PiscesMom, Apr 27, 2016.

  1. PiscesMom

    PiscesMom Active Member

    I just got back from visiting my son in his residential treatment center in another state. He is doing very well. Very well. But then when I got back I reread his psychiatric evaluations from over the years, since he was 13 and changed so drastically. I am not sure my son has a conscience anymore. But he is still a teenager and can be very sweet. I am trying to reach his therapist to talk to her. I cried all night and went to work today exhausted and my eyes all puffy. He is very introverted and guarded, but smiled and laughed with staff, which was so great to see. He is 17 and a half. He seems to have no real awareness of why he is at an Residential Treatment Center (RTC), he wants to get out, but being told he had psychosis (not anymore) didn't seem to bother him at all. Or the diagnosis "schizophreniform" (since discarded) just another annoying thing from doctors. I had two days with him. Mostly, he wanted me to drive around. So we did. I just drove him around; the first day we talked a lot, the second day we mostly listened to Pink Floyd, and he seemed to get sad. He said he was having a good time, helping him forget where he was.
    I just don't understand. On his father's side of the family, there is a lot - A LOT - of people with multiple prison terms, rap sheets, etc. He was never exposed to them. And he had a head injury. And I divorced his dad and that was a long and bitter divorce. His father regularly blames me for ruining his life, on and on. I am rambling here, but maybe it is time for me to face things. But I am not sure what i am facing? How do I proceed? I am going to go to NAMI Basics as soon as there is a class near me.
  2. Praecepta

    Praecepta Active Member

    Well some things are genetic. The thing I am concerned with is if I can do anything to help my kids. And if I can, then I want to learn all about what I can do which is helpful. But if it is something which requires residential living - not much I can do, then that is that! (The way I look at it.)

    So just do all you can do, that is all anyone could ask.
  3. PiscesMom

    PiscesMom Active Member

  4. runawaybunny

    runawaybunny Administrator Staff Member

    @PiscesMom You are in a tough situation. I don't have any wise words or easy solutions for you. You are doing the best that anyone could. You got your son professional help and are giving him support. You can only do what you can do.

    I just wanted to let you know I read your posts and offer you my support. I am so sorry you are facing such a difficult parenting journey.

    Remember to take good care of yourself too. Hang in there.
  5. Roxona

    Roxona Active Member

    I agree with genetics being a huge factor, which absolutely stinks because it makes the work so much harder! My dad was a drug and alcohol abuser for as long as I can remember. He was a good person, though. The kind that would give you the shirt off his back. He was always trying to help out a friend...usually the ones who had the same problems he had. J is exactly like his grand dad...to a T. Thing is...J's grand dad died in a car accident seven years before J was born.

    I had completely taken myself out of that world and raised J in positive, kid-centric community. J was never exposed to that type of lifestyle...but here we are!!!! My luck, J is the reincarnation of his grand dad! Now that would be a hoot!!! :ohmygod:

    I think all we can really do for our kids is to try to be that positive, guiding force in their lives. I believe all of our kids feel like they have all the cards stacked against them, and in a way they kind of do. It could be from drugs. It could be from mental illness. Maybe both. It all snowballs, and if you don't stop it in time, it just gets bigger and bigger and way more complicated. That can be extremely overwhelming to a young person who is far from having all the answers, and now things seem so impossible to fix. They get stuck...depressed...not sure how to react. I'm not saying that we need to baby or enable them. I'm from the mind set that we need to set our boundaries firmly, but to let them know that we love them and are doing out best to help them move forward in a positive manner.
  6. PiscesMom

    PiscesMom Active Member

    thank you all for responding. really. i feel so alone, like there is nobody i can talk to. my daughters are tired of hearing me ask them 'what do you think caused this? was it the accident, etc?" i can't wait to take a NAMI class. i feel so bad because what i saw was an innocent child, pretty much. but i couldn't bring him home. he just seems so much better in a structured environment. but he will be 18 soon, he can't stay there forever.
  7. Roxona

    Roxona Active Member

    Well, you're not alone here. This place has been a God send to me. No matter my mood, I can always find some comfort and enlightenment. ((((Hugs))))
  8. rebelson

    rebelson Active Member

    I feel your pain, PM.

    What is NAMI?
  9. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    National Alliance of Mental Illness
  10. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Genetics is huge. I did not have good parents, but I dont blame them for my relentless mood disorder and terrible anxiety other than passing some bad genes that are in my family tree.

    I am an adoptive mom of three and and amazed by how different they are from myself and each other, although I raised them the same. One is a creatively gifted and smart and shy young adult who loves to cook and has a real knack for knowing just the right touches. She is also my most adventurous and did do drugs once. She did NOT get any of that that from me...lol. One is calm, level headed and always had her head screwed on right and is a gifted athlete. Didnt get that from me or her dad. One is on the autism spectrum and so calm, loving, sweet and hardworking...we hear how wonderful he is all the time. He is unique.

    My bio. Son is brilliant but hampered by severe anxiety and had such bad Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) once he couldnt finush college. But his son will. There are many brilliant people un my family and very nervous ones too. He is so like his DNA family, but more prone to being unhapoy than my other kids.He is also very successful in his work life and never shuts up, like me...lol.

    It is interesting.

    I have close relationships with all my kids. They are all like me in certain ways, but I think its coincidence. I value them all for the different and wonderful people they are snd the many gifts they all have, but they are very different. I love them equally and would die for any of them.
    Environment counts too bit in my opinion not as much.

    I have been a NAMI member for years.

    Just my usual worthless .o2.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2016
  11. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    My message to you is to try not to worry. I do not think much can be known for sure yet. I would try to keep an open mind. I know how hard it is.

    UPDATE - his diagnosis is now "major depression w possible psychotic features

    Diagnoses have a lot of subjectivity. Each clinician has to put something, even after a few minutes interview.
    I would try not to worry about this, either. My own son did not show either responsibility or compassion for years, and I worried too that he had lost his conscience. Now 27, it is clear that the fears were unwarranted. My son also has serious diagnoses. As he gets older I believe he is outgrowing some of it, or maybe that is the wrong word. Maybe it is he is learning how to cope better and his motivation to act more responsibly is moderating the influence of his symptoms. He is working better with what he has.
    There is so much left to happen for your son. I know how hard this is. So much has yet to unfold. Try to ease your worry.
    My son did too, when he was 22. I was so afraid.
    What is there that you should face? It sounds to me that your son has issues that have not been nailed down. And he is very young. There is every possibility that he will overcome this. I do not see yet there is anything to accept with finality.

    Now the brain injury can be something serious, but often not. Have the doctors identified lasting effects? Are they linking his current symptoms to the brain injury?

    My son had a serious brain injury. When I told his therapist about it, she wanted to attribute his symptoms to the brain injury. (This infuriated me. Just because he had a brain injury does not mean the brain injury caused his anxiety or lability. He was this way before the brain injury.) Sure enough, now that he is maturing he is less labile. But he is still anxious. He has always been anxious.

    Personally, I do not necessarily have a great deal of confidence in psychiatry and psychology. I have more confidence in our kids, in their ability to little to mature and to learn to accept life and deal with it.

    I have had a very hard time accepting my son's limitations. I have had a very hard time accepting that my son would be so impaired that he could not have a full and complete life. It looks as if all of this was for naught.

    My son is doing better, and I realize that that is all I ever really needed and wanted. He is seeing himself change and he on his own terms is deciding what his values are and he is finding his own motivation.

    What I accepted or did not accept had no bearing on anything at all. Our children decide what and when, on their own timetable and terms.

    My son's birth parents had AIDS. They were drug users and homeless. Each had some kind of psychiatric diagnosis. When my son was diagnosed as mentally ill, became homeless, was hospitalized and went on SSI, I feared, too, that history was repeating itself. It was not.

    Sometimes our kids for a time feel the need to walk the path of a parent. In the case of my own son he is choosing another way now. I see this. Even still, when there is backsliding I fall back into fear and dread. I become as big or a bigger problem.

    You refer to acceptance. Which is different from fear and dread. But accepting something that is not yet known and confirmed, is really accepting the worst case when the jury is still out. To me, it is not the best thing for either you or for your son.

    It may become necessary down the road to accept something that has been confirmed and re-comfirmed by both multiple diagnoses, over time, and by confirmatory behavior by your son, over time, but I do not thing that time is here.
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    Last edited: Apr 28, 2016
  12. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    This is true but genetics acts in combination with environment. And more than this, there is freedom of choice. Our children do not have the same environment as did their parents.

    In my own life, I had one parent that died a drug addict and alcoholic. I have neither problem. I could have had but I did not. I chose differently. I became a highly accomplished professional, who is esteemed by some. I have self-esteem and self-respect. I could have followed my genetics. I chose not too.

    My son is choosing differently than did his birth parents. I am not saying that addiction and mental illness are trivial. But I am saying that in many cases genetic influences are not determinative, just as psychiatric diagnoses need not be. They can be one factor in a life.

    Our kids can seem to be walking that path, only to experience it, understand it and reject it.

    Each of us has different viewpoints on this site. In many cases these differing viewpoints come from the choices we have made in our own lives, not necessarily on "truths."

    This is one of the things that makes this site so worthwhile. You will find many parents dealing with similar things, who may choose to see their situations and that of their children, in differing ways. You too can choose.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2016
  13. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    SWOT'S children had an environment with a loving and caring mother who always put them first and family first. To me, this is the main reason all of her kids are thriving on their own terms.

    I knew a set of identical twins very, very well. They had the same genetic material. They were radically different, despite being raised together and being very close. Why were they different? They chose to be.
  14. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    But you cant just go by you. You are but one and inherited your genes from perhaps a different relatuve. Not everyone is hit with the bad genes. Those who are...they are the kids here. Can they change? Sure,with hard work,treatment and a commitment.

    Adoptive parents who have met their childrens birthparents are usually appalled by how much their children,who never knew them, are like them down to gestures they make that they have never seen

    Eviroment matters. Sonics hates and would never take drugs. But ill bet if I met his family, I would see a lot of him in them, including autism. But they lived in extreme poverty. Sonic didnt want for anything and had so much intervrntion.

    Ill bet sonics birthparents were sweeter than sweet, forced to do things middle class America don't ever contemplate because they dont have to. We could if we were born there.

    Yet many of our adopted kids and kids who have bad stuff in their backgounds genetically, still often follow the DNA. All it takes is marrying a bad man and making a baby with him. Child may act just like that man and little like us. So genetics are huge, but can be overcome by hard workers. Your personality and values change if you work at it constantly and decide your values are not right.
    So there is hope for those who grab that hope.
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    Last edited: Apr 28, 2016
  15. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I agree with all of this:
    Absolutely. This is the point.

    But I believe this is true for nearly everybody in life. Adopted or birth. Life takes worth if you want to get it right. And "right" is individually determined. Nothing worth getting in life, I believe, comes easy. You work at it.
    As we are like our own birth parents. Sometimes I hear myself or see myself in the mirror and there is my mother.

    But the thing is, sometimes I see my son (adopted) and right there, too, is my mother, the gestures I acquired from her, and he from me. What does it matter if our adopted or birth children resemble their parents genetically? It is life choices that matter and make a life. Not genetics. We are humans not animals. In animals genetics are determinative. It is hard for a collie to be a chihauhau. A siamese cannot decide to bark. But a human can.
    As do our birth children.

    Of course this is correct.

    And both adoptive children and birth children, too, decide upon their own lives. Either way.
  16. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I agree with SWOT. More and more genetic links to behavior are being identified. But human behavior will always have an override. Choice.
  17. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I have afopteed kids and a bio. son. The DNA factor is huge for better or for worse. I would kill anyone who tried to harm any of my beloved kids, all who were born in my heart. The love is exactly the same to me. No difference. None. Nada.

    But the weirdness of hereditary is apparent only in my biological son. Our adopted kids are comprised of other people. We can love them to the moon (I do) but we didn't create them and they can never have our genetics. I wish I had given birth to all my kids. Then again my FOO is so screwed up, that im glad thAt only Bart seems to have some of their worse traits...he was by far my most difficult and by far the most like me. I feel sorry for him :) my other kids are outwardly loving and sweet and easy to get along with. Bart has our familys harder shell and ability to say hurtful things. I feel kind of bad becsuse his siblings dont like him much, and he doesnt care. Hes my DNA for sure. The other kids would never call me names even in anger....well. He is learning I wont listen if he does that, but the others never did it in the first place. My familys nature is combative. I had to work hard to fight that icky trait.
    Enough of that! (; DNA is reallynquite powerful.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2016
  18. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Absolutely. But it can be overridden by choice and commitment.
    This is my point. Genetics, or environment, need not be determinative.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2016
  19. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    But most of our kids who bring us here do not have the motivstion or determination to do the invredibly hard work it takes to change much. It also requires a lot of insight, therapy and the acknowlegement that THEY have a problem, and it isnt us. And its a path that requires introspection and it must be done alone. Nobody can change us.

    Few people ever can do it.

    "Wherever we go, there we are." Wish I knew who said that. It is wise.
  20. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Yes. This may be true for most. Darkwing who has recently joined us, seems to me an exception. If this site had more D C kids participating and we were able to hear from them directly we might learn that more of them were like Darkwing.

    SWOT, genetics in human beings is not a superhighway. It is like a grid. There are always influences from outside, choice points--that is to say, genetics act in interaction with environment and choice points.

    When kids (and adults) begin to act badly, it is not always or in the main, genetics. To encourage parents to believe that unchanging and unchangeable genetic influences are most likely at work in their children, is to unnecessarily cut off hope for many. If I had believed that genetic influences in my child had caused his suffering and limitations, I would have suffered unnecessarily. My son is changing as he matures. I believe he is very much like me. Why do you seem to want to take that belief away from me? Why go to the worst possible case?
    This is one way to change. Of course, acknowledging one's part of things is always helpful but people change in relationships of all sorts, not just therapy. Actually, I think therapy is not necessarily the most powerful change agent.

    And of late somatic therapies have been identified that do not employ insight, hard-work or determination--or even a therapist. My son has used exercise, and supplements and diet to deal with his mood, anxiety and self-control. I would not have believed it possible but after reading about it I am finding lots of confirmation.