My son is bipolar is I have to decide if he should go to the state hospital.

Discussion in 'Failure to Thrive' started by ManicMomDay, Oct 13, 2017.

  1. ManicMomDay

    ManicMomDay New Member

    The last three years have been a rollercoaster of chaos and stress. I first fostered and then adopted my son and of course, DCFS didn't tell us all his problems so we went into this pretty blind. After a year and a half of near constant events, my son has been diagnosed with ultradian bipolar, conduct disorder, Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), PTSD and a neurodevelopmental disorder due to prenatal exposure to drugs and alcohol.

    In the last two years he's been expelled from every school, day treatment and residential program we've managed to get him into. He's been to every inpatient children hospital in the area and they only ever keep him for 3-8 days max. It got so bad at once point we refused to pick him up from the hospital so CPS would get involved and help us. The problem is that he's already burned through every Medicaid resource there is and now his psychiatrist wants him moved to the state hospital.

    So here's where I'm struggling. He's been in a day treatment program for the last month and doing decently well. He has bad days and those days cause me a lot of stress but they're nothing compared to how he behaved before. So I can tell he's really trying. But he's not stable on his medications so he's still having hypomanic episodes that result in me crying until I throw up and it makes us so stressed out that we can't get our work done (we have a business out of our home). The stress of the last 2-3 years has built up and up and up until now even tiny things set me off into panic attacks so bad I had to go to urgent care because I thought I was having a heart attack. The day treatment program he's in is basically teen daycare. It doesn't challenge him or teach him much, they don't have a real DBT or CBT program, there's no psychiatrist on staff monitoring his medications and it's not a lock-down facility. The state hospital has a lot more resources and is a lock-down unit but it's about an hour away and he'd probably have to be gone for six months. He's had bad experiences in previous placements with mental hospitals and I worry that sending him away will reinforce his Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and PTSD. But on the other hand, I worry that if I don't send him, he won't learn what he needs to learn and get stable on his medications so he's safe to have at home.

    The psychiatrist says ultradian bipolar is particularly dangerous for kids because it's so erratic and deceptive. She says that he'll have periods of being more stable and it will seem like he's getting better but really he's not and a manic episode could happen at any time. She says he needs a structured environment where he can learn to manage his emotions and triggers without the distractions he has around him now. But I know if I send him he'll feel betrayed and thrown away and won't understand why he's being punished when he's worked hard for the last month to do better. I'm so conflicted. I wish I could see the future and know if he really is getting better or if he will relapse and therefore should go to the state hospital. I want him to be happy and healthy and have a bright future, no matter the cost to me. But the stress of making this choice is killing me.

    How do I make him understand that this is what's best for him? How do I get him to see that the behavior of one month doesn't undo the consequences of the last 2-3 years? How do I send him away without betraying his trust and making him feel like he's being thrown away by yet another parent? I love him so much but I just can't take the stress of walking on eggshells every day wondering when he's going to go from Dr. Jekyl to Mr. Hyde. We have so many other stressers, like finances and work and our own health that we can't focus on because everything is always about our son. So on some level I'm feeling guilt and shame that part of me would be relieved to have him safe somewhere so that I could focus on the other parts of my life.

    He'll be 18 soon so I'm running out of time to get him help and he's burned every other bridge. It's the state hospital or he stays in the day treatment he's in that's not really doing any good. What should I do?
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is brutal. We adopted a kid who had it and he molested our young kids (and got away with it because the kids were too scared of him to tell), killed two dogs (this finally outted him), and started little fires,,,we had no clue. He knew how to charm adults and terrify vulnerable children. I hope you have no younger kids or pets...Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) kids are great actors and may hug that dog all day or fuss over little kids in front of adults, then destroy them when you arent looking.

    Our family survived, but the boy had to leave. Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is serious enough that I would say that long term residential may be the only thing that can save him...and there are no guarantees. He may not be safe to you and hub. He could harm you. It could come out of nowhere. They have such rage.

    If you send him away he may feel bad. If you dont, how will he ever have a chance to heal? He is aging will hae no chance once he is eighteen.

    I dont know if the boy we had is any better. Our young kids were terrified of him and he never came back. After the molestations for three years and the pet killings, we honestly did not want to see him again...we had loved him and it hadnt worked. At all. We needed to pick up the pieces and help the vitims. Thankfully, they are adults now, doing well.

    I dont know what to say other than to do what you feel is best for him and yourselves. Dont allow the problems that he has, that happened before he met you, destroy you. Dont pretend things arent so bad if they ARE so bad. Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) kids, at worst, can not bond to us. They have little remorse. They are often only nice to us to get things.

    When asked in his residential treatment center if he missed us, the boy we'd had said,"I miss all the stuff they would buy me."

    You will not find the right words. You can only do the right thing for all of you. Often kids from foster care are already damaged so badly that by the time we get them, there is nothing we can do. Love doesnt cure them. In fact, having been rejected early on from those who are supposed to love them, love often scares Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) kids.
    I am guessing most of your sons behavior is due to Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). It is not his fault, but its not your fault either.
    Social services tends not to know or to disclose what they should.
    I did adopt three other kids, but as babies. They are doing great. Older adoptees are different...been through too much. The substance abuse in utero could have caused fetal alcohol spectrum too, something is brain damage.
    I am so so so sorry. I hope you can come up with something you can live with as we had to do.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
  4. "He'll be 18 soon so I'm running out of time. This is your window of opportunity to help him. Also, to help yourself. I don't think you can fix him or help him. I think you should officially release him back to Foster Care and then see if they can't get him some services for kids who are aging out of Foster Care. Take care of yourself. This is going to be a lifelong battle he faces. If he is committed, they can give him the tools he needs to know what he needs to do. Break Free.
  5. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    nobody here can tell you what to do. nor can they prescribe treatments. but they do.

    other people's experience and history do not necessarily generalize. they are stories of one family. not your own.or mine.

    nobody knows for a partcular life. nobody can. there are too many variables. and life is emergent. there is always an aspect of mystery. of not knowing. that is true for all of us.

    there are pros. and there are cons. your post laid them out very clearly.

    i will tell you what i read in it. (which is not necessarily what i think you should do.)

    the psychiatrist believes this is son's best shot.

    son has exhausted options readily available locally.

    he is responding to the treatment where he is. but it is insufficient.

    you worry he will feel rejected or not validated for his trying in the current situation.

    you may believe sending is the best for him. but because it would be better for you as well...a respite , less stress, business-wise , etc. you seem to feel conflicted about doing what you believe is right for him.

    he could someday (or you could someday) feel deep regret he did not have this opportunity.

    the flip side of what you write is this: he is highly motivated and working so hard--he deserves more. would depriving him of what could benefit him, so he feels better, happier short-term, be to vote against him by taking the path of least resistance? i don't know.

    the elephant in the living room is, i think, you believe he should go and want him to.
    that is not wrong.

    but you are the one who has to accept and decide if it is right. nobody else can. because the consequences will be yours. and the responsibility too.

    i hope you keep posting. i think if you re-read your post you might find you have already decided.

    take care.


    you matter too. crying until you throw up, panic attacks, and being unable to work to make a living; constant stress and fear--these are factors in deciding every bit as important as son's feelings.

    he depends on you. your well being counts. for him and you.
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    Last edited: Oct 15, 2017
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You can not, can not, can not give an ADOPTED child to foster care. It is the same as a biological child. You csn give up your rights to the state of any child, adopted or bilological...if they let you do it. Then the child is a ward of the state and you are no loger ever again the parents.
    Just for anyone's information, if he were still a foster child, at eighteen he ages out of the system and does not, i believe, receive further help. He is then considered an adult and is on his own.
  7. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    are you considering relinquishing parental rights and/or is this a condition of state hospital placement?

    if this is the case i understand better your agony. in my mind this does not alter the circumstances. how do you see your role in his life, going forward?

    this would be hard for anybody to wrestle with. take care.
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I will be very blunt. You are running out of time. For this boy's sake, send him to the hospital as soon as you can. I mean that.

    He desperately NEEDS the structure and treatment. An hour is not that far away. My son spent 3 months in a locked ward of a psychiatric hospital that was close to 1.5 hours away. I was there 2-3 days a week every week. Yes, it was brutal, but that is what I needed to do for him. I know a lot of people who live in big cities who commute an hour or more to work each day. Certainly you can manage to commute that far for your child a couple of times a week if you work on your schedule. Especially if you don't have to handle him at home every day.

    I know all about the panic attacks and PTSD. My son was in the hospital for attempting to murder my daughter while she slept. He was 12 and she was 8. It was just the latest in a long line of problems, of course. Having him out of the house gave all of us a chance to heal. You need that chance also. Make the time to see a therapist to work on the PTSD. Go to a domestic violence center if you have to. Insist that they treat you, because this IS domestic violence even if it isn't the traditional DV. If you go for a private therapist, look for one who does EMDR. It is a very effective form of therapy specifically for PTSD. I forget what EMDR stands for, but you can google it.

    You cannot fix what is wrong iwth your son. At age 18, you MIGHT be able to get guardianship and be able to force him to get treatment and be medication compliant. MAYBE. That is a total gamble though. It is really tough to get guardianship in most states. Right now you can make him get help. Take advantage of that.

    I have seen so many parents on here who had the chance to make their child get help but they seemed stable so the parent didn't force it. Then shortly after age 18 the child fell apart, but the parent couldn't do anything. The child refused help and the parent was helpless. Don't be like those parents. Don't let this chance slip away from you. Take advantage of it. It might even be what gives you the evidence you need to get guardianship of him for a while, even to get SSI for him to help support him once he is an adult. I doubt he is going to be able to work given his problems. But getting him to sign the paperwork can be tricky. Getting him to use the money for food and shelter can be even more tricky once he is an adult. If you have this evidence from the state hospital, you may be able to have financial guardianship also. This means you can protect his money so that he isn't taken advantage of and he doesn't use it for games or drugs or things other than food, shelter and necessities.

    I am begging you to please send him to the hospital. Go and visit him and participate in family therapy and talk to the doctors and therapists. Do all you can. Use the time to get some help for yourself. Please don't let this slip away.