My depressed, bipolar 20 year old son

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Frustratedmom, Aug 11, 2016.

  1. Frustratedmom

    Frustratedmom New Member

    I am new and grateful to have found this. My 20 year old son just stays in his room. He has never had a job longer than 2 weeks and was taking 1 class at the local community college. He is angry and speaks rudely to us. He is my youngest. He had hobbies, but no more. He has no friends and blames us for everything. We try to do things with him occasionally, but he must control every aspect and still seems miserable. When he was younger, we tried many health professionals, and medications, but he was against them all and still is. He is so thin and he and his room smell badly. He seemed to improve a little last year, but this summer he is really in a bad place and won't talk to me because I didn't get a chair for him. I have asked him to move out but he ignored it and has no where to go. Sometimes he is decent to me , sometimes to my husband. We are both frustrated , as is his older siblings. Thanks for your support.
  2. karisma

    karisma Member

    Hi Frustratedmom,
    I am glad you found us, but very sorry that you needed to. Everyone here understands completely what you are going through.

    If you don't mind, I would like to ask a few questions to better understand your situation.

    Did your son ever receive a diagnosis? What were the medications prescribed to treat?

    Was your son always thin or did he lose weight? Is it possible that he is using drugs?

    My own 26 year old son was diagnosed bipolar at age 3. Most medications we tried in his younger years did not work well or at all. I finally found one that I thought would work, but his psychiatrist (a highly respected, private child psychiatrist) was adamant against putting him on this drug. I fought her for 2 years and finally fired her as his Dr. I got my Difficult Child on it (it was Abilify) and he had some very decent years before stopping it at age 18.

    My son's room often smelled badly because he would not bring dirty dishes out, hiding them so I wouldn't see them upon a casual inspection. Difficult Child is also of a naturally thin build but lost weight very noticeably when he started to use meth.

    My Difficult Child was like this for as long as I can remember (prior to his psychosis of last 3 years). It is extremely disheartening. It seems like every outing was a disaster. For many years, I could not take him to a single grocery store even (at least not without regretting it)

    I'm sorry for what you are going through. He is clearly depressed. That is such a hard thing to watch our children go through. Hugs to you.

    Other people will come along with advice and wise words. This site has helped me tremendously. Words can't express.
    I just wanted to say hi and let you know you are not alone.

    Peace and be well.
  3. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I wonder if he has a high functioning form of autism. I also wonder about drugs or maybe an eating disorder.
  4. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Frustrated, and sorry for the need.

    You say he was doing better last year. What was different in his life last year? Are there ways to get more of whatever that was back into his life?

    My son also did not like any of the psychiatric medications his doctor and psychiatrist tried. He is pretty much a purist on pharmaceuticals and thinks they are all dangerous, but has no problem with alcohol or street drugs.

    My first step would be to rule out a medical cause, given his weight loss. Then I would make sure there is no substance abuse. There are many other things that could be at the root, of course, but I think if they are using substances, no remedies are really going to be effective.

    The next time he is feeling more approachable, do you think it would be worthwhile to discuss your concerns and insist he see a physician? Perhaps the physician can encourage him to see a therapist too, something he might not consider if it came from you. His isolating isn't good, obviously.
  5. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Our daughter was diagnosis'd as bipolar at a very young age as well. I personally believe these cases can be more difficult.

    I too think you should be aware of any possibly drug use. At this point, perhaps just keep your eyes open to it.

    One trick we found most helpful with our daughter was working with any "healthy" friends. If your son has at least one person in the world who he admires (a friend or relative) you can on occasion work with that person to get through a tight spot. Our daughter. has a healthy childhood friend and I rarely will call her, but have lets say every two years or so to have this person check in on my daughter. And lead her into a better decision. If my daughter. hears a concept from me and then basically the same one coming from someone she admires, she is more likely to do it.

    More than likely your son needs medication. I hate to do it, but you might consider making an exception and (if you are sure he is not doing drugs) offer to pay him if he showers and gets to a psychiatrist. You could drive him and wait. Tell him you would only be willing to pay him to attend the first two appointments.

    Does he have any skills? You might check into the local community college or tech schools to see if he would be interested in a program. I have a friend whose Difficult Child learned that plumbers are in high demand in her area and the pay is very decent. He took a short course and got a job in an instant. He messed up at the first few jobs and to my shock kept getting new jobs within 48 hours. He seems happy now.

    Don't forget to take care of yourself. Having a child with these types of issues can be draining.
  6. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    Since he goes nowere and has no friends not talking coming to your house from my experience with my difficult child and using logic drugs are not a issue. He can not procure them he can not get them he can not conaume them. He is depressed and as it seems suffera from some for of disease with one of the symptoms being powerful anxiety. So yeah I sugest you sugest to him to go to tje doctor for a diagnosis. Also why can't difficult children like this one stop being abusive towards their parents considering they live rent and expense free.
  7. Frustratedmom

    Frustratedmom New Member

    Thank you all for your responses!
    When he is willing to talk, he makes it clear that he is against doctors and big pharma-he has a lot of conspiracy theories. He Is adament that he knows it all and we don't. Because he never participated in the many therapies we tried as a preteen and teen, the diagnosis wasn't sure. He smokes pot, but that's it, and now with no allowance, he has none. I only let him buy food on credit card-the little bit he eats. He has always been a thin and picky eater.
    He only has a few classes to get his AA, but he says he only goes to school to get allowance. He won't go chores, so no summer allowance. He did drop off resumes this week, but without showering, he has no chance. Again, anything we say he gets furious.
  8. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Frustrated, sometimes I read a new post and think, "I could have written that one."

    It seems like most 20-year-olds know it all, even the less "difficult."

    I was certainly surprised at how my son could get his hands on pot or alcohol with no money and no friends.

    Has he stopped going to classes completely? Is he keeping his grades up?

    Well, yeah! You're threatening his lifestyle and pushing him out of his comfort zone and he doesn't like that.

    He shouldn't disrespect the people who give him food, shelter, tuition, and loving concern. Sorry to be blunt, but I don't think you need to put up with that.

    Some might disagree with me, but I believe that if they aren't going to participate in therapy, there's no point in insisting they go. And you can't play "train in the tunnel" anymore to get him to take his medicine. So if he won't do either of those things to treat what sounds like might be depression and anger issues, what are you willing to accept, under your roof, in terms of his behavior? What are you willing to do, if he won't abide by those limits?
  9. savior no more

    savior no more Active Member

    Sometimes I think their dependence on parents clashes with their desire to be independent and thus might lead to the anger issues, just thinking about reasons for his behavior. As long as the allowance is his only reason for going to school that would be good enough for me as I am a strong believer in education even if it is at a snail's pace and even if it isn't a pretty picture. At least he has plodded toward that associates degree. And God forbid he act excited about anything with you all. If he is against medication and as long as he is acting within the bounds of law, there's not much that can be done but accept his wishes. How and what you want to see and witness is what we all deal with here. :/
  10. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    I think think the above poster makes a good point. If he is going to school for an allowance and is behaving within the law, I might push forward at least through his AA degree for his sake. As long as he is not abusive to you...cussing at you etc. maybe offer him a little bit ofa bonus to get his actual degree, otherwise perhaps he won't actually get it! Quietly think about changes to come later. Maybe when he he gets his degree or at least by age 25 or some hallmark like that, but, definately consider keeping that to yourself. If he gets his degree it might build his self esteem and help with future employment opportunities. Of course, this odd situation will have to change down the road, but again, maybe now is not the right time to rock the boat. A degree is a plus. So, for now, maybe lay low as long as he is not breaking the law and attending classes and moving forward toward a degree. Definately think this can't go one forever, but ....
  11. agingrapidly

    agingrapidly New Member

    I agree...I think maybe getting a degree can help. It must be very hard on our kids when they see their friends doing well and they are just stuck for all sorts of reasons. I know that with depression there is a big drop in self esteem. I also think my son feels a lot of shame and guilt for lying and "screwing" up, but then he does it again and again. I know that I will have to detach if things continue, but I am hoping that if he can get through and finish his degree things will change (I posted on our journey).
  12. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    There a number of jobs that require no skill when I mean no skill I mean knowing nothing besides reading, writing and doing basic math. There way fewer if you do not know those.
    You know like most jobs in the service and manufacturing industry meaning waiter or working in a plant.
  13. Frustratedmom

    Frustratedmom New Member

    He is talking some to my husband, so I will let him ignore me. It's so ridiculous, but at least he's talking -or asking for's hard to not sat anything because you know it will start an argument that you can't win-even if you only speak kindly and softly. He did mention he needs to eat better, so we will see...
  14. Frustratedmom

    Frustratedmom New Member

    Job wise, anything he did would be great -he just needs to keep it !
  15. Robert44

    Robert44 Member

    Until he quits smoking it's going to be hard for him to get better. My son just quit. He was not able to smoke and function . All his friends were able to smoke and go to school and work. What made him quit was the fear of being arrested. Best to you
  16. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I'm so sorry your son and your family are going through this. He sounds a lot like my oldest.

    If he's unwilling to see a therapist or try medication, it might be worth it for you and your husband to see either a psychiatrist or a psychologist who can help you determine approaches to try at home with your son. So you are basically taking the therapy to him. And it doesn't have to be something he even realizes you're doing, but having a different plan for working with him at home may help nudge him towards a different course.

    Depression is such a painful and destructive disorder. I hope your son eventually accepts help for his suffering.
  17. Frustratedmom

    Frustratedmom New Member

    Thank you. We did see someone years ago when he stopped, we continued-even though he was furious. It helped some, but didn't really change anything. We are just accepting it at this point and praying he finds his way. I just let him ignore me and talk to my husband. He did see a Dr on the sly (they accidently called us) and he is eating a bit better-I think they scared him and told him to see a heart dr, but he won't tell us anything. I'm hoping he starts back to school next month. I heard from my other son he did give out a few resumes, but without showering, no one will hire him, and heaven forbid we should say anything.
  18. Rebecca098

    Rebecca098 New Member

    I feel sorry to hear about your son, he really needs treatment. Bipolar is a kind of thing which can be cured only by regular medications, therapies, and complete care for a long time. Did your son ever consult a doctor for his strange behavior? What is his treatment history? Is he taking any medications right now? If no, then better to consult an expert psychologist for help. CBT treatments and other individual therapies are the common treatment methods which are commonly used to treat bipolar disorder. Take care of your son.
  19. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Our child is not cured and has been on medications since she was a young child. However, there are extenuating circumstances...brain aneurysm. She takes her medications regularly largely because she wants her regular sleep. Otherwise, she would get very little sleep. The medications helps to keep things from quiet honestly, being completely out of control. I think they are imperative. She does a little better when she sees a therapist regularly, BUT, she often doesn't get along with them and/or forgets appointments so often it becomes too frustrating and expensive. I can say with maturity and taking her medications regularly, she is a teeny tiny bit better in terms of her volatility and tends to be a teeny tiny bit more aware of her behaviors and how they might influence herself and those around her. It takes multiple horrible experiences for her to "get" something. Cause and effect reasoning is extraordinarily week.

    As a side note: I know one professional person with this illness. She does take her medications regularly and she does go to therapy regularly. She is brilliant...has a very high IQ. She makes a good living. Very good. Interestingly, she has been married five times and her employees quit relatively often and she has to rehire a new group relatively often. It is bizarre, but she is making it fairly well in the world and is independent financially. She is likely a millionaire. But, as many of us are very familiar, when there is this much turmoil around a person (five marriages etc.) there is often a lot of pain associated with their personal lives.
  20. Yona

    Yona New Member

    Thank you to all who have shared their experience here- it's something of a relief to know that there are other families coping with children and young adults with depressive mental health issues My son is 21 and has coped with a lot of trauma and loss in his life which he has dealt with by becoming isolated and feeling like he is a failure. Lately he has stopped speaking to me and spends days alone in the house while I am at work. I don't know how to help him- in fact I think I am part of the problem. I can't persuade him to seek help or treatment and know that I am becoming depressed and isolated as well. I feel guilty about the decisions I have made that have led to his present situation but don't know how to continue to sustain us both in the face of such overpowering negative emotions.