Looking for advice

Discussion in 'Failure to Thrive' started by Elizabethm, Apr 17, 2017.

  1. Elizabethm

    Elizabethm New Member

    hi all. I just found this page. Until today I thought I was the only one in the world dealing with this issue. Apparently there are lots of us.
    My 19 year old struggles with anxiety, depression and now panic attack. He told me about this about 15 months ago. The past year has been a constant battle of me trying to force him to get help, ( take ur medications, go to therapy, practice your breathing) and him resisting help. He was hospitalized involuntarily 5 months ago because he told me he was going to kill him self which of course he said he didn't mean. I still believe he meant it at the time.
    He stopped taking medications 2 months ago, is very angry, barely goes to school ( he is a sr in hs and needs 2 classs to graduate) and doesn't work. He has gotten at least 4 jobs in the past couple months that he doesn't go to or goes 1x and says his panic is so bad he either doesn't go back or has left mid shift. This weekend he lost 2 jobs for not showing up.
    I am consumed with fear he will kill himself and guilt for whatever I do or don't do. I walk in eggshells trying not to upset him. My husband and I now go to therapy because we are such messes.
    Every time I mention getting help via , therapy, medications, tapes, exercise, visualation, etc. he insists nothing will help him and gets angry.
    In between all of this , he is a kind sweet loving kid. When he's not angry at me he is so loving and nice to me. He's suffering tremendously which is turning him into someone he's not.
    I have been giving him gas and spending money since he stopped working in November with the stipulation that he was looking for work. At this point it's clear he can't work likr this. My therapist says I'm helping him avoid getting help by giving him money. I want to stop but I feel so guilty and will pretty much will do anything to make him happy including not paying my own bills to give him spending money and pay his court fees.
    I know what we are both doing now is only making things worse.
    I feel so alone and weak that I can't make a decision and when I do I don't follow through.
    Anyone been where I am ? Should I stop giving him spending money or be more patient about him working and/or getting help.
    Thx u all
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I am sorry about this. I also have a diagnosis of depression, panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. I was in a psychiatric hospital for ten week once. I was married and my husband didn't care and my parents never did believe me.

    I think having to work anyway and going it alone helped me. I agree with your therapist 100%. Since he refuses to take his medication, he is making himself worse and, as a mental health patient myself who is doing well because of compliance and therapy and forcing myself, I don't feel badly about mentally ill people who sabatage their treatment. I had bad anxiety and panic attacks and depression since childhood and I had suicidal thoughts too, but they passed. Now...

    Court? Drugs? What did he do,?
    Your empathy is normal and loving but you can't fix him. In the end, it's up to him to get better and it requires being brave and smart and not refusing help in favor of recreational drugs, like pot or worse. He is still young, but he is a legal adult. It is up to him. I was very sick when I was 19 too. I get your love and fear. But you can't do anything. I would tell him getting money is contingent upon his taking his medications in front of you and going to therapy. And pushing himself. If he can go out with his friends, his panic attacks are not so bad he can't work. You have to pay your bills. How will it help him if you give him all your household money? It wont.

    If he possibly takes drugs, he will use your money for that.

    I hope you remember to be good to yourself. You are very important too. I send hugs for your hurting heart.
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    Last edited: Apr 17, 2017
  3. Elizabethm

    Elizabethm New Member

    Thx u.
    He definitely smokes pot. He has been arrested several times for having possession of pot. he will soon be put on probation and drug tested so he will stop or end up in jail.
    I honestly don't know if he's doing anything else. My guess is that he experiments but isn't addicted to anything. I have told him several times that addiction isn't planned and experimenting leads to addiction esp in someone seeking mental health relief.
    I appreciate ur guidance.
  4. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    Your story sounds very similar to my family's. Feel free to read my posts if you want to hear what we've been through, and are still going through.

    With all due respect and gentleness, it does sound like you are enabling your son to continue along his current path. People don't make uncomfortable changes in their lives, generally speaking, unless they are forced to do so. I understand your fear and guilt, and your deep love for your child. You want to protect him, but at a certain point, he has to choose to protect himself. You cannot protect him forever; he will have to function in society. If he isn't learning how to do that while still under your roof, he will be thrown out into the cold and forced to do so eventually; for whatever variety of reasons ranging from incapacity/illness, job loss, or your own passing years from now, you won't be around to take care of him forever.

    From what you describe it sounds like your son would allow things to continue as they are indefinitely. He needs help, but treating him like a little boy is not likely to be the help he needs. He needs to experience small daily victories to build his confidence for life's larger challenges. He needs to learn that he can handle life - the basics, like maintaining some sort of employment and contributing to a household. And hopefully, friendships and a relationship one day. If he is kept in a cocoon, he will never take those baby steps that lead to larger strides in time. I know you don't want your son to languish in an eternal adolescence, but that is what your financial enabling is doing to him.

    It sounds like this situation is taking a toll on you, personally, as well as your marriage. This has been true for me too. What worked for me was attending some self-help groups (Al-Anon, and Codependents Anonymous, worked very well to help me detach with love) and also individual therapy.

    I hope things improve. Keep us posted.
  5. Elizabethm

    Elizabethm New Member

    Thx u very much!! I know what the right thing to do is when I say it but it's so hard when I see him unhappy and feel guilty. I know I need to do this for him Even though it's hard at the time.
    I would love to read your story but don't know how to navigate this site yet. Any tips? The stories I have read have been helpful and frightening at the same time.
    Taking a toll on me is an understatement. While he refuses help we are begging for it because we are emotionally physically and financially drained.
    Thx again
  6. mof

    mof Momdidntsignupforthis

    Welcome and sorry. Our son has the same diagnosis, it is not an excuse but an issue to be dealt with. But, he has to want help for it. it is not your job to make him happy....ITS HIS JOB TO FIND HAPPINESS AND WANT TO BE BETTER.

    I say this strongly because many of us has been there. Our son now works full-time, just got a big promotion HE wanted, handles his responsibilities like an adult. Yes, he lives with us, but guess what!? He is pleasant and a help to us!

    Deep down you know he has to comply for help...media action helps our son very much, but his attitude help s more.

    I would not give him money...None. He wAnts to smoke weed, get a job. He gets arrested...it sup to him to pay the price...I would start some tough love in small doses until you are ready to draw some boundaries for yourself and your husband.

    Please take care of you, your marriage...are there other children?

    Hugs...we get it.
  7. Elizabethm

    Elizabethm New Member

    Thx you.
    My daughter is 23 and lives out of state. She has tried talking to him but he doesn't want to hear it.
    I feel like every move I make is based on fear he will hurt himself. But deep down I know my efforts to keep him safe are actually hurting him.
    I guess the first step is knowing the truth which I feel like I now know.
    I feel like him losing 2 jobs this weekends was like a line in the sand. We have to stop pretending this will get better if we just talk softly to him.
    Thx for support.
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am sorry that you are living in such fear. I know how hard it is. Please know that you are not helping him by giving him money. In fact, you are harming him. You are allowing him to manipulate you into letting him hide from the world and from the help he needs. If he isn't going to school, and cannot work, this means he cannot leave the house, right? So why does he need money? He clearly isn't using it for anything productive. You pay his living expenses. If you are giving him money instead of paying the household bills, what is he doing with the money? If all he wants is to go get high and into trouble, why on God's Green Earth would you finance that no matter how mad it makes him? If he wants to do that, let him finance it. You need to keep a roof over your head and food on the table. Take the car keys from him because you know he is driving while high, and let him figure out a way to pay for his own fun. If he wants to do it bad enough, he will go and get a J. O. B.

    You just giving him money to make him happy is just sort of nuts, if you ask me. Especially if your bills are going unpaid. That has to stop. bills before anything else.

    If you think he is going to harm himself, make him go in for a psychiatric evaluation, even if he has just gone in for one. If he says that he is going to harm himself if you don't give him money, call 911 EVERY SINGLE SOLITARY TIME and tell them that your son has just threatened to kill himself. Insist that they transport him to a psychiatric hospital for threats to harm himself. If you can, use your cell phone to record him threatening to harm himself. get him to say how he will harm himself. Play it for the officers and for the doctors.

    Do not EVER let your son use a threat to harm himself to hold you hostage or to extort money from you. My son used to try this. He learned that it was a real fast way to a real unfun time. It not only got a trip to a hospital for an assessment, it got his room tossed and anything I didn't like removed and or destroyed. If we had found drugs, they would have gone to the cops. I made sure my son learned fast that using threats of suicide as a way to control mom and dad was a losing proposition. Many of us here have had kids that use suicidal threats as a way to extort mom and dad into doing what the kid wants, and it just is a bad situation. It has to be an instant trip to the hospital, room search, and the consequences for whatever still have to happen. You have to talk to them, but suicide cannot be a 'get out of life and consequences' card the way many of our kids try to use it.

    I am sorry your son has so many problems. I think he has to face the fact that life has consequences. You have to do the unfun things and with mental illness that means taking your medications, working through the problems, working, therapy, and finishing school. It is what it is. Pot won't fix it no matter what anyone says. I will say that with depression, if the psychiatrist hasn't done a dna test to find the right antidepressant, that should be a test that is done. But you may have to ask for it or insist on it.

    Given your son's age, I want to suggest something. In my house, my kids know that I have the right to see their medical records and go to their doctor appointments. As long as they live under my roof, I have this right. Period. If they want me out of their medical records, and to not speak to their doctor, they can move out. You may want to let your son know that if he wants to continue to live with you, he needs to make sure you are on his HIPAA forms for all info. This way you have a right to speak to his doctors and have them speak to you. I strongly encourage this so that you can know what is going on, esp with you supporting your son through this mental illness as he is refusing to or unable to hold down a job. Given that he is 18, he can keep you off of these forms and out of his records, but you can make this a stipulation of living with you. I would do this.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    It helps to see your role as a Mother who is dealing with an adult, not a mommy kissing a sore to make it better. The world will treat him like a man, depression, anxiety or not. The truth is that both depression and anxiety are very common and most people with them work. Perhaps your son is trying to play the wounded little boy that maybe you see him as in order to get free money from you without growing up. The truth is scary...some men never grow up. Do you want him 30 and on your couch? 40? 50? This happens in some families. If it does, these people fail themselves and their adult children. We may always think of them as our kids, but others see them and think "adult." And treat and judge them that way. That is life.

    It sounds to me as if he doesnt want to work and is playing you big time since he isnt afraid to leave the house... so he cant be that bad. The anxiety kicks up only at work? Maybe whatever drugs he uses (something you dont know) is adding to these symptoms. I once had true agoraphobia, or a form of it, and was afraid to leave the house even for fun...i had to get over it. I had to work. I got treatment. I went back to work and if I panicked at work I ran to the bathroom to calm down alone in a stall. Not fun but it got better as I did it.

    The fact is panic attacks are not fun but they are also not dangerous and pass. Nobody ever died of a panic attack. Common human problem. Many have it. I work with a girl only 16 who has them but she obviously works and pushes forward. She goes to school.

    I hope you can see that your son may be playing games with you and may well be on more drugs than you think. They never tell us and we dont want to think they may be on hard drugs. We deny the possibility. I did with my own daughter. After she quit she told all and I was shocked at all the various hard drugs she had regularly taken. I thought pot, just pot. It was actually meth, cocsine and ADHD drugs crushrf in a pillcrusher and snorted. And downers to go to sleep. We brlieved her dtug reactions was bipolar because a tjerapist said do. She has been clean over ten years. She doesnt have bipolar. Drug use mimics mental illness sometimes.

    Also pot causes panic in some people. I tried it and it made me nervous and paranoid. Like alcohol, pot is not safe for all, even if doctors give in and prescribe it. Medsq are trial and error at this point in time. Pot also shoots down motivation. Especially daily use

    I wish your family the best. You can do this. Just be his mother, not his mommy. There is a difference! You can be strong. Most of us had to learn how to let them grow up. You are not alone.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2017
  10. Elizabethm

    Elizabethm New Member

    Thx u. He doesn't use suicide as a threat. He did once and I called 911 and he was in a psychiatric hospital for 5 days. He knows not to use that as leverage.
    His anxiety is largely based on new places and things which is why he goes out with friends but new jobs are difficult. He is not sitting around all day couped up smoking pot. But that's what I'm ultimately afraid will happen.
    When he was going to dr and therapist I went with him and at the end of the session I was called in to give my update for the week. He does sign all forms giving me permission for medical and school as well.
    We search and smell his car almost daily as well. He also has a curfew he must follow in order to keep the car.
    Thx u for advice.
  11. Elizabethm

    Elizabethm New Member

    Thx u.
    I do think he is playing games with me to some degree. But I also know it's real. I met him in the parking lot of a job once where he came outside crying and shaking. He just kept saying how afraid he was being in there.
    Thx u for ur advice. I'm listening!!
  12. marthacat

    marthacat New Member

    I see a lot of my daughter in your post. She too is not able to hold a job; smokes; uses threats; and I also give her money hoping I can keep her happy. I recently told her she has a month to find a job and see a doctor, which she says she understands but has done nothing about it. She was home for the weekend and before she left, had a major blow up that started being about her boyfriend, and ended with me being a terrible parent that never showed her love; never was a strong person; never told her about sex or drugs or set a good example for her. She ranted on and on about how her problems were all caused by her terrible childhood. And she is still controlled by me and the fact that I give her money and make her feel that she cant manage on her own. That last part was the only piece that made any sense. I am sure I wasnt the best parent but I cannot believe that she never felt any love from me or her dad. She was so happy as a child. I feel like I have been beaten to a pulp, am still shaking inside. She made threats to harm herself and went into a rage. Ultimately calmed down but I feel horrible that she is once again alone and probably laying in her bed, sleeping or crying or worse. She will not see a doctor or stay home with us. Anyway, sorry to go on about myself but: you are not alone. The advice to stop giving money makes sense when you step away from the situation but is so hard to do. Just know that I am praying for you, your son, and my daughter.
  13. Elizabethm

    Elizabethm New Member

    Thx u so much. We do seem to have similar stories and be in similar places. I'll be praying for ur family as well.
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    If your son gets that upset over going to a new job, i feel even more strongly that medications that he takes and swallows in front of you anf weekly therapy should be a condition of his getting a dime from you. Or the privledge of a car. He cant give into that and do nothing to help himself or, the longer it continues, the less chamce he has of being able to function. It does require help plus motivation to stay the course even if you have a panic attack. You can learn to control them. Panic disorder is very treatable but you have to get professional help. Some people may be able to handle it alone, bit tjat was not me and does not seem to be your son either.

    Good luck!
  15. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    You're in a better position that we are. Our troubled child does not live with us and his custodial parent WILL allow him to do whatever he wants with no responsibilities and no consequences, until the custodial parent passes away. He will be in the basement or on the living room couch until then. The wild card is his new girlfriend, who he seems to care about very much. Perhaps she will set some expectations with him that he'll be willing to meet. No young lady wants an unemployed dropout for a boyfriend and eventually, she may draw a line in the proverbial sand that will help turn him around. This happened to my brother in law. We HOPE that it will happen for our son.

    You however control the purse strings and the home environment where your son lives. If you have the strength to set boundaries and enforce them, even if it means calling the police if he gets violent and/or abusive, hospitalizing him....we did all of this with our boy.....then maybe your kid can get better. No pain, no gain.....I hope you can find the strength. We are rooting for you.
  16. Elizabethm

    Elizabethm New Member

    I just read your story and you are right....not only are our children similar but so are you and I. It seems we both are afraid of hurting our children for fear of worse. I keep telling myself that I'm being a terrible mom by giving in and giving him Money but then I feel like a terrible mom thinking he's out with his friends and has no money to even eat with them. It's an endless cycle of dysfunction and guilt. I told him yesterday no more money until he makes efforts to help himself. 2 hours later he had a job interview set up. Sounds great but I've been down this path so many times in the past month that I can't get my hopes up. He has worked at 3 places in the past month without getting paid because he is afraid to go back. He's like an intern in the restaurant business. Lol I believe until he gets medications and therapy he won't able to keep a job.