My son is struggling with mental illness and we have no answers!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Mommy_love2016, Dec 26, 2015.

  1. Mommy_love2016

    Mommy_love2016 New Member

    My son is eight years old and has had problems with mental illness which worsened at age five. At this time it began, it was hard for me to take him grocery shopping or completing small tasks throughout the day. It was hard to get anyone to babysit him as he would attack the other children within the first hour of me dropping him off. I thought this was just a phase. I decided just being patient with him and continuing to establish boundaries would help. Until one day I received a call from the school saying they had to call the police as his rage intensified suddenly and he started banging his head on the wall and scratching his face until it bled while saying he wanted to die and he was going to shoot himself with a gun. He was checked into a psychiatric unit that day for the first time. After he was released and on medications he was better, I set him up with a psychiatrist and a play therapist and things went well for over a year.

    A little back ground history, at the age of three I had a person I thought I could trust watch him while I went to work. After about the third time I noticed my son had a slight black eye. He told me what happened and I pressed charges. The friend I thought we could trust had told my son that if he tell anyone that he hit him he would kill him. (my son at the age of 8 remembers this quite well and is still upset about it- thus contributing to some of his anger I believe)

    At the age of 6 I got married and we ended up moving to a different state where we bought a house. Anthony has always had a hard time with changes so I knew this would be difficult. He began to get agitated with just about everything from the tongue of his shoe to the fabric of his shirt and would throw himself down kicking and screaming. He had a strange obsession with our animals. A few times I caught him sitting naked with our cat on the couch. When we walked in he would get up and run away. I've caught him jumping on and choking the cats. He would often hit our dogs. I caught him whispering to the cat that he was going to break her paws and skin her. When I confronted him he laughed about it in a very sadistic manor. We decided one day to rescue a puppy. She was barking one morning and Anthony punched her in the face so hard she bled everywhere and trembled at the sight of any human. I got rid of her for her safety. One day he was so upset with grandma after leaving the movie theatre because she didn't buy him something from the candy machine that he began threatening her by saying he was going to chop her up in little pieces with a knife, all while he was hitting her, pulling her hair kicking and biting. We checked him into the hospital again.

    Things were better but not solved in the least, my husband at the time had a job that required him gone two weeks throughout the month. This was hard for Anthony to deal with. It was a three day cycle that would take him to adjust normally when Derek would come home and when he would leave. He had a hard time in school, having to be picked up most days. He also has an IEP which helps.

    I ended up getting a divorce and Anthony and I left state with our belongings to better suit a job I had. But it required us to travel a bit. In my divorce I lost everything. We were starting out fresh. We had other incidents similar to above reasons requiring Anthony to re-visit the hospital.
    At a school Anthony attended in Texas he regularly had to be picked up because of throwing everything in sight and attacking the teacher. One day he threatened to bring a weapon in his backpack and kill everyone in the school. The school then said he could not come back until he got a psychiatric evaluation. I took him to the psychiatric unit where we sat and waited for 14 hours. When he spoke to the therapist there he said he was hearing voices and they told him to hurt people and they told him to say what he said to his grandma years ago. Something I wouldn't necessarily think he'd remember plain as day like that since there were so many different incidents between that time. As we waited for Anthony to be seen again he began to run around the room, scream and cuss at me and whoever else looked at him, claw me with his nails, hit and bite me and ran away to lock himself in the restroom. They had to sedate him and he was admitted. We never again heard him speak of hearing voices.

    Weeks later he had an interest in seeing and developing a relationship with his dad in Michigan and his dad reciprocated. I explained to Anthony it may not be as he would hope for because his dad is married with three new children. But Anthony still begged to go. He went for the summer and immediately his dad had concerns. He said Anthony would sneak around and hurt his siblings especially his year old brother. He hurt the dog and often lied a lot and his dad explained him as manipulative. Charles became increasingly scared for the safety of his other children. He sent him home to me and Anthony explained being at his house was miserable, he was always in his room, his dad yelled at him all the time and even hit him in the head once. I can imagine Anthony feeling lonely and out of place as he didn't seem to get much bonding time with dad and three new siblings involved that had an indefinite bond would have made Anthony feel lonely and unaccepted.

    He came home to me and seemed fine for the first month. I also had found out that I was pregnant and Anthony seemed excited. But things changed quickly because I realized I couldn't keep a job that had me traveling and a child that had these issues, even at the result of us having to stay in a woman's shelter I figured it would only be a few months but I could change my career path and take a different route. Now this I do believe has debilitated Anthony. He began acting out so severely that even with the simple request of brushing his teeth before bed would throw him into a fit of rage. He started attacking me, hitting, kicking, threatening to kill me before the baby is born, when I restrain him so he couldn't hit or kick he would fight for hours while cussing the foulest and meanest things I've ever heard a person say, to me and to whoever walked by, attacking anyone who walked by, biting our hands so he could get free and run out of the building at any chance he could get. Threatening to kill himself by running into traffic. Hitting me in the belly at 7 months pregnant. Punching kids in the face at school even if they have nothing to do with why he is mad in the first place. Hitting, kicking, scratching and biting police officers who have to restrain him. Punching adults in the face, there would have to be two people holding him down at once until the police showed up who would say he needed to go to the hospital. He has now been hospitalized in the last two and a half months nearly 20 times. After 4 times being admitted to a psychiatric unit and the medications doing nothing but seemingly making it worse they have all started turning him down and claiming they can't help him. Sometimes it would seem like he could turn it on and off, he would act like a complete angel to the nurses and they would tell me he seems fine. They would say I have to come pick him up or they would call Cps and report child abandonment and neglect. After a few times doing this and within only a matter of two to three days that it happened again I said I can't take him back right away. There needs to be something done. I had to be hospitalized myself for being hit so hard in the belly by him. We recently found out that he has sensory processing disorder (SPD)(sensory processing disorder) bipolar, ADHD, ODD and unspecified mood disorder. You might begin to think maybe they are just unclear of what to do exactly since it seems they just threw on a bunch of titles of illnesses, doped him up on tons of medications that have not worked for him and now claim they can't take him back. I have read up on sensory processing disorder (SPD) and have done my best to accumulate him, he has a bean bag to take five minute breaks on throughout the day which he knows are not to punish him but to help. He has a punching bag which is believed to help, a reward system that involves us doing crafts together or a fun board game, a schedule written down daily and I massage his joints on his arms which him and I call "squishing" and put pressure on his head which is also believed to help. I began telling them that I cannot take him right back and he needs to be supervised at all times where he is safe to himself and I am safe. So they decided to put him on 3 day hold to a foster family three different times which has just made him worse. He is now back in the hospital because the last lady couldn't handle it. This hospital does not have a psychiatric unit and the psychiatric units will not admit him again. He is now a person I don't even recognize. He is no longer my wonderful personality having, hilarious, fun, creative, loving, artistic little boy. He goes into a rage close to ten to fifteen times a day, punches nurses in the face, has to be sedated about three times a day, never laughs anymore, he is so mean and vicious always. It's just gotten horrid. We work with a mental health case manager who said there is nothing more we can do because long term treatment takes too long to get him into and psychiatrists and therapists are an easy two month wait.

    These are a few of my thoughts.
    Two months ago they started him on depakote three times a day at a therapeutic level along with zyprexa and a few others. But these two in particular have concerned me, one time I forgot the zyprexa and gave it to him after his other medications, he was fine until after I gave it to him, about a half hour later he went into rage about having to go to school and began his attacking. We changed him from depakote to lithium and put him on propranolol instead of strattera. A lady that recently had him in her care said he seemed to be fine until he took his medications and immediately started acting out within the hour with no trigger leading to it. While he is in the hospital I've been speaking to the doctor that agrees to trying him off zyprexa and trying risperdal. In the past risperdal has seemed to make him more irritable and more zombie like. I never liked him being on it, but figured maybe just trying it in a cocktail with the propranolol and lithium might be different.
    My mother had schizophrenia, bipolar, depression and anxiety. She also had a heavy drinking problem as long as I knew her. She committed suicide a few years back. My dad has always had extreme bipolar symptoms but refuses to be checked. I have anxiety and depression which is controlled very well by lexapro. My brother on my dads side also committed suicide decades ago.

    We are completely lost, the new baby will arrive in two months and I'm scared. We are getting our apartment in a little over a week which will most likely help him but I'm afraid of what to do if he attacks me and I have no one around to help. I'm even more afraid of what might come about after baby is here. It's hard to keep him from even running out of buildings into the street or even out of the hospital at this point. I am losing hope, I dream of a day I have my little boy back and he is himself again. He has lost interest in all of his favorite things, he's a wonderful drawer and used to love coloring and building Legos or watching movies. He now has no longer has the patience to sit still for more than five minutes. He paces around the room and throws a fit if he's bored. It's completely out of control. We need help BAD.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there and I'm sorry you are having so many problems with your dear son.

    How was his infancy and toddlerhood? Has he experienced changes in caregivers, abuse maybe from Dad or a boyfriend or girlfriend either of you had, any neglect? He almost sounds like he has attachment disorder, which is very difficult and hard to treat and is caused by early breaks with caregivers or neglect. Does not sound like you neglected him, but maybe the other parent? Did he ever go to foster care of alternative "parents" such as aunts or grandparents? Has he been to therapy for the abuse of the babysitter?Is

    Have the medications helped him or made him even worse or had no effect?

    Has he ever been evaluated by a neuropsychologist, which is way different from a neurologist. I highly recommend that. In the meantime, you sound as if you love animals, but please...rehome all your pets. We had a foster child who killed our dogs...we never dreamed he was capable of it. Do NOT leave him alone with any baby for any amount of time. This foster child we had molested our younger kids. Does your son ever act out sexually, sucsh as grabbing buttocks of others or pulling down his pants? Peeing and pooping on the floor? Does he have a fascination with fire? Any head injuries in his history?

    If you have guns, lock them up GOOD.

    Hugs and keep posting. Others will come along.
  3. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    I am sorry that you and your son are struggling so. It sounds like you are trying to do everything possible for your son. The only thing I have to suggest is to ask the doctors who are prescribing the psychiatric medications if they can do DNA testing to find out which medications his body can metabolize. We had it done for our daughter over a year ago and found that she did not have the right liver enzymes to metabolize specific medications and twice as many of another enzyme and metabolized it too fast...

    I hope you find answers soon. KSM
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Hi, and welcome.

    This leads me to believe there is more going on than mental health. There could be developmental challenges as well. His other issues will mask that now.

    It's possible that there was a lot more going on than him being hit. Sexual abuse at a young age is very damaging. And they do not have the language to even really tell what went on. But it could be the trigger to the "mental health issues". If other things happened with other people as he got older, the damage intensifies.

    psychiatric units refuse to admit him? That's legal? They are the ones that are supposed to have answers. But mental health is the bottom of the health system - few resources, not enough trained staff, not enough beds, and even when we have both of those, not enough knowledge about the mind to have all the answers. It's really hard having a kid with mental health challenges.
  5. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm sorry things are so very difficult. It definitely does not sound safe for him to be at home with you at this time and I hope the doctors recognize this. It sounds like the current medications are not helping. I'm hoping they are working on readjusting this. With my son we trialed somewhere around 20 medications and went through six hospitalizations before we found a combination that worked to end the violence (he is still very difficult but has come so very far). Sending some gentle hugs your way.
  6. Mommy_love2016

    Mommy_love2016 New Member

    Thank you so much for taking your time to read and reply. This is all very good information.
    I've read about reactive attachment disorder since you brought that up and it does show a strong resemblance to what Anthony is displaying.
    The medications have seemed to make him worse. I'm staying the night with him at the hospital and he's been up apparently since 4am and it took a firm 2 hours to get him to calm down to go to sleep at 10pm. He's always been a good sleeper until about 2 weeks ago.
    I do recall about a year and a half ago he displayed some odd sexual behavior toward a younger boy and the child's mother and I were both very shocked and frankly quite disgusted. Ashton sensed that and has never done it again.
    He has a fascination with weapons and drawing dreadful pictures of violence. I don't allow him scary movies and he knows I don't like the nasty pictures so they have decreased, but like I said he has changed so much now not a chance could I get him to sit down and draw something with me.

    He hasn't had to be restrained on the bed today which is a positive ,but still hitting, biting, kicking, foul language and trying to run out of the room. He wouldn't stop crying for hours even after I got here. His voice is hoarse, lips are chapped, he's made himself throw up twice, hits himself in the face, and at one moment turned away from everyone, jammed his finger all the way up his nose and turned around and let his nose bleed down his face. Still all very scary, he is extremely out of touch with reality and has, at times sat next to me and started screaming and cussing at the nurses to "get away from my mom" " I won't let you hurt my mom" for absolutely no reason.
    Thankfully tomorrow is Monday if only my nerves would let me sleep...
  7. Coping11

    Coping11 New Member

    I'm so sorry to hear what you and your son are going through. I would recommend having him re-assessed; it sounds to me as if the people he's been treated by so far hasn't been able to properly define the problem. Also, since the issue of attachment disorder has been brought up, and you've said it strongly resembles his behavior, maybe it would be a good idea to schedule an assessment with a professional who specializes in that field?
    I really wish you all the best, and I hope you'll see some improvement soon.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    We adopted an older child who perped on my younger kids for a long time and, yes, I feel guilty about not knowing. But those children who act out sexually do not tell us and are very astute at shutting down their victims, often by saying they will kill them and their parents if they do tell. Regardless of whether we have had "that talk about perps" with our younger children most are too scared of t he perp to tell us so you don't know if he has done it again. He hasn't been caught again. Maybe he has not, maybe he has. At any rate, I'd watch him closely around any other chidlren, especially the young and those who are vulnerable for other reasons.

    We undid the adoption and made him leave as soon as we found out, although it was a long time before we knew it was a lot more than "just a few times." My other kids remained afraid of him until he was gone for a long, long time, then it all came out and I was horrified. Under our noses. We had not guessed. He had been doing it since his first visit until his last day with us and we have not seen him again and do not feel badly about that. We were too repulsed by his behavior to be his parents. He was not attached to us anyway and said so in residential. Some things are impossible to live with in a family setting.

    Please be careful and try not to rule out all possibilities. Maybe look into residential. He may be unsafe for your baby. You don't want that. Also, they are good at acting sweet to us, then doing awful things when we are complacent and not around. Don't be like us. Don't be fooled. Be careful.

  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    It is absolutely legal. If in the opinion of the doctor, the child is not a threat to himself or others, they can refer the child to a therapist. It's sad. This is a real problem for all who suffer mental health issues here. Also, insurance doesn't cover mental health as well as other illnesses and in the U.S...we are dependent on insurance companies. Also sad.
  10. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Mommyl,
    Just wanted to let you know that I feel for you in your situation. My two exhibited problems as teens, and then drug use into adulthood, so different scenario for us.
    I just wanted to say welcome to CD, glad that you are here, but so very sorry for your need to be here. I am glad you have found us, there are folks here already reaching out to you with advice and their own heart wrenching stories.
    Stay with us dear, keep posting.
    My heart and prayers go out to you and your boy.
  11. nettycandy

    nettycandy New Member

  12. nettycandy

    nettycandy New Member

    my daughter is going on five and im totally at a loss she has yhe same issues i know how you feel
  13. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly If focused on a single leaf you won't see the tree

    I can't shake the feeling that this child received more then a black eye from trusted friend. I suspect he was molested. I would seriously look into residential living for your son. At least look at options out there in case you do not find the right medicines. He has hurt other children, himself, fascination with animals. It sounds like he has a fear of men; understandable since a male trusted friend hurt him.

    What about hypnosis to find out if more happened to your son. I had my son tested professionally at age 6. He would act out, hit himself, pull his hair, run into the road, they had to hire a worker just to watch him run around the school when his Ritalin wore off. If you told him NO, sometimes he would scream and fight you, cry, throw stuff at you, go ballistic, take all his stuff out of his room and had to you one by one and say 'here'. We also had a behavior specialist come into the home for a week and gave us direction to handle the outbursts that come out of no where.

    I am so sorry you are going through this- I am really concerned for the baby coming. I know how gut wrenching this is- not to know what is wrong and how to fix. Glad you are here if for nothing else for some support.
  14. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly If focused on a single leaf you won't see the tree

    Also, you mentioned his father lives in Michigan. There is an awesome boys home for emotionally, mentally and physically handicapped boys. Its a residential home ran by Priests from Italy (not Catholic). doctors. Lawyers, people from all walks of life have placed their boys here- has a great reputation, Knights of Columbus and other organizations do fund raisers to support this home. It's called St. Louis Center, Chelsea, Michigan. If you can't afford it- they will take him. Otherwise they do sliding scale. I am just throwing it out there as a last resort when everything else has failed and he may need 24/7 care. They live in pods inside the residential center. They learn social, living skills, have responsibilities, do Special Olympics, go on outings, for those that are able to do so. It's not one of those horror story places. When they turn 18, and if they are capable of living with some monitoring, they have another home on the hill where they have some freedom but are also monitored by House Parents.