Just sad today

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Echolette, Dec 14, 2013.

  1. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    I was going to post yestarday about Chrismtas past...about last year when he showed up day of, and left the same day...collected his presents, returned none, sat quiet and smiling, maybe a little disappointed over the lack of "fun" gifts, grateful though for warm clothes. His twin sister commented how sad it was that everyone gave him things to keep him warm in his life as a street person. Then he lost everything, or gave it away, or (as he says) was robbed. In retrospect...he has never held on to anything. Ipods, drumkits, clothes, books, cds, duffle bags and backpacks...they all disappear. In some cases I have given him the same gift over and over for years..in the end I can only conclude that they are a pleasure of the moment, that he does not value the money or effort behind them in the way I need him too...so it is harder to justify giving him anything but a few tokens.

    But that was yestarday I was going to post that thought piece....then I was walking to work and saw a grizzled, scraggly bearded street person huddled in front of McDonalds on a mat with a sign...had his hood up and avoided my gaze...it was my difficult child. I wanted to vomit...that he was there, that we didn't speak, that it was so cold, that my sweet chubby laughing baby had turned into this miserable cold wreck, that he must be cold and that must be making him scared...all those things. My SO drove by later and swore to me that it was not my difficult child, that he looked him straight in the face and it was not he...but I don't believe him. And even if it was not..that is where he begs, often, and surely he is out there begging in a similar state somewhere...

    for those of you who don't know us, he is 19, schizoaffective, gets $500/month SSI and $200/month foodstamps (arranged over the course of a hard year by me when he turned 18) and lives by choice on the street. Well he likes when he can stay with friends, but since he contributes nothing he inevitably gets thrown out sooner or later. And he sometimes wants to stay with me but that never lasts since he can't abide by the simplest of house rules, and I am afraid of his friends. MOstly he doesn't want to stay with me anyway, he seems to see himself as a rebel without a cause, and is sort of proud of his street survival skills.

    Again, though, that was yestarday, because today he called and told my SO that he is in jail again...picked up for panhandling, uncovered one of many bench warrants. MY SO came and told me gently. He said that difficult child did not sound upset, just wanted us to let his girlfriend know by FB message (neither of them has a phone). I wasn't upset either, this time...I feel like stone. It is very very cold out and he is off the street tonight. Last time he hated jail, was angry and frantic the 4 nights he was there. As is his pattern, this time it is not so foreign, what was scary before is familiar now...and I have to wonder if he just didn't want in tfrom the cold.

    It is all a mystery. I don't understand his choices. I don't understand his rejection. His ever cheerful smile as he falls lower and lower is heartbreaking to me. It is just a day for tears.
  2. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Echolette, I wanted you to know one of us had read your posting. I don't know how to comfort you, how to make this less hurtful. Our daughter lived on the street last winter. It was awful for us ~ and we did not have to see it. When we got home again, we would go looking up and down the streets of the town she was in. I never did see her. But I saw other street people, mean-looking people. I would get so mad, Echolette. I wanted to scream or cry or ~ I don't know. It was stunning, overwhelming, sickening. The town we are from in the North is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been, but I hate it, now. I hate it for the way it felt to search those streets, and to see what we saw, there.

    The only thing I know to do when I am horrified like that, and I have already fallen into that emotional hole in the ground, is to remind myself that with time, the feeling will pass. If there is something you can remind yourself of when you think you see him ~ a prayer for him to recover, a prayer for yourself, a promise to yourself that you will not fall into that emotional place, that you will hold steady, I think that will help. Even a recitation of the Serenity Prayer. When we are confronted with such horrible true things that we cannot change, then our emphasis needs to be on surviving. Elie Wiesel wrote about surviving the concentration camps, about how it felt to be walking around in a world so different than the one everyone else lived in. I found comfort in his writings. We are living in that kind of horror that no one else understands, too.

    I remember the taste of those experiences, Echolette. I wish I knew how to comfort you. There are times when there just aren't any words.

    I would light a white candle, when my son was addicted and there was nothing we could do. It was a way of holding steady for him, and it helped me to do that. If you can create a ritual of that kind to help you through the worst of it, I think you will be able to get on top of that shocky feeling.

    I don't think I can post links yet since the site was changed. If you google Elie Wiesel, you will find some amazing quotations having to do with suffering and surviving.

    I am so sorry for your pain, and for those feelings of hopelessness and futility and anger.

  3. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    I'm sorry that you are sad today, seems I have more sad days then I care to admit lately. I don't think anyone here has the life they envisioned when they had their baby shower or got that call from the adoption agency.

    I tend to just go thru the motions in life, acting like everything is fine when everything is far from fine. Then one day someone co-worker or lady at the gas station asks "how are you?" and instead of muttering "fine and you?" your bottom lip starts to wobble, you can't choke out words and you just lose it crying.

    I use to never have time for what I referred to as "pity parties", just didn't have time or energy to do them. But not doing them took it's toll - developed an ulcer, starting having panic attacks, people avoided me, didn't have patience with my kids (got angry with them for not being perfect and even resorted to name calling).

    I'm doing much better these days but it's taken a lot of work. I take an entire hour a day to myself - I'm closed unless someone is bleeding and needs a hospital I don't want to hear about it, don't want to talk on phone (voicemail can get this one)if notice school on caller ID I'll stop my timer to check the voicemail but that's about the only exception.

    During my hour I go thru a big box of memorabilia and put it in another box as I go. Not just shifting it from one box to another but actually reading thru this stuff or looking at that old concert ticket and thinking about that concert who I was with, what that night was like...

    Regardless of what is going on my 7th grade diary never fails to make me laugh- I can barely remember what Jim looked like back then but he is mentioned every single day. I know what he grew into and trust me when I say there isn't enough alcohol on the planet to make me want to be anywhere near him now but was ready to spend rest of my life with him when I was 12yo.

    Not all my hours end in laughter many end in tears but going back thru the years all the times I thought were totally hopeless that I survived helps me to have the strength to deal with the now. By limiting myself to these thoughts an hour a day helps me to keep from getting buried in the misery.

    My family they sweep things under the rug and try to pretend problems don't exist. My take on that is if keep sweeping things under the rug it creates a giant bulge preventing the door from opening thus imprisoning you. Anyone tells you to "suck it up" hasn't walked a mile in these moccasins.

    So if nothing else understand I get it, I feel for you and you are not alone; when you are sad allow yourself to feel sad (for a limited time) but also think of the happy and count your blessings; for tonight you know where he is, that he is warm and has food.

    Wishing you peace,
  4. freakchick39

    freakchick39 New Member

    wow. hard to follow such deep heartfelt replies youve already gotten but I also wanted to say im sorry your hurting. I am having a rough time as well on top of my issues with my son the holidays are especially rough. we moved across country 7 years ago leaving our family behind, shortly after leaving my father died unexpectedly. Soon to follow my mother went just as fast. Financially speaking we are in ruins, so this year there is no tree, there won't be any presents, and I doubt highly we will even having dinner . I've been thinking a lot lately of Christmas past , we spend every year at my aunts. We have been around the table sharing laughs , then move to the living room to sit around the tree and exchange our gifts . You never truly understand how important family is until you don't have it anymore. Then you remember each of your family members and their idiosyncrasies , and realize that those are the things that make life worth living my son is now 18 and everybody I've spoken with about his behavior is urging me to kick him out of the house. And in my heart I know that I just cannot do that. Reading your story has just confirmed my feelings on that. I am sorry for you I can't imagine how horrible you feel . And as I am new to parenting in adults with mental illness and unsure of my own path, I can offer you no guidance or advice, only the well wishes and hopes that you will find relief soon .
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I cannot imagine how difficult this is for you. I may be in your same position at some point in the not so distant future. So far my son has managed to find somewhere to live. I really dont like having him in my house anymore. It has gotten to the point that we cant trust him at all and Im not going through that anymore. Its simply been to many years of being in that position.

    One thing I have always said on this board is that I wasnt given a choice about leaving the nest. My father would have never let me live with him and it wasnt emotionally safe for me to live with my mom. I got away from her just as fast as I could. In hindsight I know it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Oh I made some horrible choices along the way but eventually I grew up. Some of our kids do grow up when we arent there to fall back on. They really have no choice because we arent going to be around forever.
  6. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member


    I do like your rituals of comfort. I need to start employing them I've dropped a lot of my own routines...fallen off of both exercise and meditation rituals. I'm making a promise to myself to do them daily over the week of Christmas.
    At least he is warm in jail. We had sloppy wet snow and freezing rain last night.
    Thank you for making me feel seen.
  7. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    Dammit Janet,

    my son also found places until he didn't anymore. He was scared to sleep outside and slept in friends cars and couches until..he wasn't scared any more. He prefers having no one to answer to, not even friends.
    When he was little he couldn't understand expectations...now he just doesn't want them in his life.
    I too did better when I was independent, which was not traumatic for me as it was for you...it was just an expectation of my parents that when I went to college I would take care of myself mostly, and when I was done with college I would take care of myself completely. And so it was. I do find that my difficult child expects little or nothing from me...that is sort of sad in and of itself, but is also a relief.
    Thank you for your honest sharing and reply.
  8. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    freakchick, thank you for your reply. I am glad you have family for the holidays, even if they are not as you remember them. We didn't throw our difficult child out...he just moved on...first he lived with the Occupy Movement, which was sort of a transitional encampment for him, and at least a place we could visit him (although eventually seeing him live in a cardboard hut got too much for me...although there was a sense of civil rights and revolution that was kind of cool.) and then he never came home, preferring couches and construction sites and other peoples cars. He seems to kind of like the work of finding shelter, more than he likes anything else. He also begs. and now he is in jail.
    Its OK to set expectations for you son, rules of the house. Just set ones that are attainable and clear, and only set ones you are willing to back up.
    Thanks for making me feel less alone.
  9. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Echolette, I am sorry you are feeling sad. I hope some of the sorrow has passed today.

    My daughter was homeless for a little while and I have a brother who was homeless in L.A. for many years, so I can empathize with those feelings. My daughter was also in jail and after the first time, it is, remarkably, easier. I know how much your heart can hurt when our kids make choices that we not only cannot understand, but frighten us and disappoint us in profound ways.

    One thing that helped me many times was to pray and put my daughter in the hands of a higher power........it gave me some comfort at times..............as others have said, sometimes you just have to cry at the sheer sorrow in your heart. At times the crying is a release.

    I'm sorry. As you can see, you are not alone........many of us have been in your shoes and know how much it can hurt. Sending you comforting thoughts and gentle hugs............
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Reading your post brought tears to my eyes. Seeing your son's diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder...I get so angry that we have let our mentally ill out in the streets. I think many of our adult kids just don't think the way we do.
    You have already gotten excellent support and I have nothing much to add other than...I'm sorry. I
  12. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Dec 15, 2013
  13. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    Recovering enabler,
    I know, it is amazing how one can become accustomed to having a kid in jail! The first few times I got phone calls that started with an automated "This is a call from the xxxxx prison system. This call is from prisoner difficult child" my heart would pound and I would break into a sweat. Now I just wait for the message to end. Mostly he calls me in the hopes that I can be a conduit to his girlfriend. That makes me kind of annoyed, but I try to help a little anyway.
    Placing him in the hands of a higher power...I think I accidently fall on that sometimes. I was not raised in a religion, but sometimes I find myself thinking "he's in God's hands" anyway...and it does help.
    And it helps to know that people like you our there hold my hand, hold each others' hands in a big circle of understanding.
    Thank you.
  14. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member


    thank you for your response. I've seen your posts on other threads and I always appreciate your kindness and sharing
  15. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member


    the hour to yourself sounds like a really good idea. In the past sometimes I have taken that in the form of exercise or meditation. Lately I have somehow not fit it in...but still, walking the dogs or folding laundry can also be an hour of reflection. I do like the idea of time to just be with yourself, and reflect onyourself...seems like it would help focus the idea that life is not now and has never been ALL about the difficult child.
    And as far as pity parties...I don't talk to friends or family (or acquaitnaces ) about this at all...I don't like the odd focus of pity and superiority or judgement, even the most loving of my friends, has. My two maids of honor both have kids about my difficult child's age...one has both her kids at the univeristy of pennsylvania, and the other has both her kids at Georgetown. difficult child did manage to get a GED, thank god. I just don't want to talk about it.
    But this forum has been a wonderful place of sharing and support.
    Thanks for both of those things.
  16. freakchick39

    freakchick39 New Member

    anything i can possibly do to help another parent in my situation.. i do feel so bad for you. and i dont have any family for the holidays.. the only family i have left is in ny, we are in az. i only have my son, and even though hes not expecting anything, when he wakes up and finds nothing on christmas hes going to have a fit..i am not looking forward to it.. but i guess i should be thankful , even though he makes me feel the size of a worm on the bottom of his shoe, that i still have him and am not completely alone. the state of az tried very hard to take him from me in 2011., but i fought like there was no tomorrow and won.. sometimes i wonder if i should have just let them. is that horrible??