My Son left home to be Homeless

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Always In My Heart, Aug 16, 2019.

  1. Always In My Heart

    Always In My Heart New Member

    Hello everyone,
    I'm new here :-( I would say, I'm happy to have found this great group, but at the same time "Happy" is not how I currently feel. My son is 19, my oldest boy, my brilliant son, who skipped a grade when young, graduated HS with high honors, got 2 scholarships to a great university, had big dreams for himself, volunteered his time on many great causes, entered the Airforce with a high score after leaving college...felt he was depressed and tried to "Fix himself". Needless to say, his brain was somewhat damaged. He finally agreed to accept help with his mental health and after being discharged from hospital, did not want to pursue outpatient counseling, nor medications. Because of his symptoms and his behaviors when his new psychosis is in effect, we had to give him an ultimatum...stay home but with all the help we can give you (even found him alternative healing) or else...See (we have 4 kids) our oldest daughter, upon starting college also extremely smart, suffered from depression and anxiety and experimented with things while in school. And we also have 2 little ones (5 & 7). Our daughter moved back home to start her senior year in college, to help with the stress of living alone (she made it through 3 suicide attempts) and is now looking forward to what her future holds for her. Well, with our son's condition, staying at home without any treatment is just not an option. This has affected our family emotionally so much (especially me, Mommy). He appears as a selfish person who doesn't care how it affects us, but he chose to just live on the streets. Yesterday, he left (for the 2nd time), but at least this time I got to say Goodbye to my son. He rather live on the streets then get the help we are trying to offer him. The doctor said that in time his brain would heal, but in the meantime he would need medication - which he refuses. My heart is so broken for him, and I can't stop crying, but at the same time, I cannot let myself fall apart because I still have 3 other kids at home who I have to stay strong for. I don't know how to stay strong, I wish I knew the secret, but I certainly will try my best. My son will soon join a homeless life in LA. He wants to be on the beach, where he feels safe and will be warm during the winters on the streets. I have some doubts though, should we keep his cellphone active? Reading all your posts, puts me a little more at ease. I hope he finds good people during his journey and I pray to God for harm to stay out of his way.

    Always In My Heart!
  2. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    AIMH, welcome. I'm sorry that you have a reason to seek out this type of site, but I can tell you that you will find a great deal of compassion and wisdom here, as have I. There will be other regular posters who will chime in soon, so be sure to check back. I am sorry for the grief you are feeling right now. All of us here grieve the loss of so many things--our child's future, their lost potential, the loss of our relationship with them, the loss of their wellbeing, etc. Yes, you do have a responsibility to yourself, your spouse, and your other children. Ultimately, God is the one who is in control over our child, and we have to constantly give them up to His work in their lives. That's a hard pill to swallow, I know.

    One question: Why in the world did your doctor say that his brain would heal? Did he mean it would heal with medication?
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  3. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Welcome and I'm sorry that you have to be here.

    You will find a lot of support and knowledge on these pages. It can be quiet over the weekend. I for one am not on the forum on the weekends.

    I definitely would keep his cell phone on. Many of us here want to keep the lines of communication open so it's more for us than them.

    We all do what we feel we can bear to get by. This is not easy. There is no right or wrong answer.

    You don't say if your son is self medicating by using drugs or something else. How was his brain damaged? The more we know the better others can offer advice. Maybe they have been through the same thing.

    Many here will be along with advice and support. Take what you need and leave the rest.

    We're glad you found us!!
  4. Always In My Heart

    Always In My Heart New Member

    Hi Beta,
    Thank you for your response and your words. Yes this time I need to say and believe that because I love my son, I must let him go. I know God will watch over him as well as his guardian Angels (as I feel they did in the past). About his brain healing, they said because he is young and his condition not being so severe that in time he could resume a normal life without medication. But I also looked into conventional healing and I had found it, but he refused. I will always pray for him and will miss him forever.
  5. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hello Monica. So much of what you write resonates with me. My son has been intermittently homeless for about 8 years. He is home now living in a home that I own but not with me.
    I'm not clear either what happened. Did something happen in the military? Was he traumatized? Drug use?
    Many of us come to this place. Even without young children at home. What was your choice? I don't see where there is one, if he refuses to accept treatment.

    This exact thing happened with us. My son would not accept treatment or do anything for himself. He had a brain injury and I believe an emerging mental illness. On top of it over the years he acquired a serous marijuana habit. My bottom line was always that he get treatment and not use substances near me. Every single time when he crosses this line, or refuses to try to help himself, it has been a revolving door. I tell him to leave. The longest he was gone was a few years. The shortest was last time, 24 hours. (We're getting somewhere, I hope.) This has been extremely difficult and damaging to me and to him. At the same time, I felt (and feel) no choice.

    Finally this time he is back he is cooperating with seeking medical treatment, and hopefully *maybe, psychiatric treatment. But I don't kid myself. I am prepared for him to push the limits again and again. It's push and push and push all of the time. I push. And he pushes. It's exhausting.

    I want to say welcome to you. I have found this forum to be a great source of support and information. I have grown considerably by posting on as many people's threads as I can. It has strengthened me.

    These are things we have to do. I see it this way now. Your thread helps me, because I see myself through you. I have come to see that our sons need to do what they need to do. My son does not see me as having abandoned him. Oh. He does throw it in my face every now and then. To avoid taking responsibility for his choices. Or make himself the victim. But I can see that he feels he has lived as he has wanted to live. These are men. They have that right.

    At the same time, I see this is the underlying tension right now. I insist on having a say when he is living in a property I control. Right or wrong. And he feels the right to resist and to be self-determining. We are back and forth on this. Autonomy vs boundaries.

    What I want to say is this: This is not something you are doing to him. This is something that he is choosing. He knows this.

    I am glad you found us. Take care.
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    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
  6. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    Welcome! I am so sorry you find yourself in this very unfortunate, sad situation, and o also feel for your son. Nobody asks for a mental health condition and it is heartbreaking when we don't recognize our own child anymore whether from mental illness or substance abuse . It is so difficult to understand why they would refuse help . My daughter has a mental health issue and just asked for help, but wants mostly medications. She is just scared, afraid she will be hospitalized. We can pray for our children. Sending much love.
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  7. SunnySad

    SunnySad New Member

    Hi Monica,

    I’m very new to this group too. My daughter has chosen to be homeless over taking medications and getting off pot and alcohol. I think she uses the drug and drink to self-medicate for underlying mental illness - possibly bipolar, borderline, attachment disorder, etc. At home she rages and causes so much drama we told her she had to leave this last time, but other times she has made her own choice.

    I love some of what Copa said. In the end, they are choosing and they are adults. But it sure hurts and the worry is real.

    I find myself less worried than I was in the beginning. Actually I’m kind of impressed that my daughter is doing so well out there. I guess I have to admit it is her choice.

    I did just break down and buy her, yet another, phone and one month of service (prepaid cell). I know people advised me against it and I know I said I would never buy her another phone, but... It’s hard. But I won’t have her on my plan ever again. It does make me feel better when she has a phone. But I know she can trade it or sell it, or use it to connect into a party, or whatever, so it’s enabling her. It’s hard.

    Hang in there. Glad you found us.
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  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Gosh, Sunnysad, I sure do understand why you would buy her a phone. You do this for you. (Of course she could do this with it and she could do that. She would make her choices whether or not you buy a phone. It's on her.) I think we kid ourselves that anything we do or don't do will help them change.

    It's a fantasy we have any control.

    I set boundaries about weed on my property, not because I believe (anymore) I can control his weed. I do it because I don't want weed on my property and I don't want to subsidize his weed.

    The same thing with you and the phone. Your intention is to help her to have a way to protect herself and to stay connected. She will or will not use it constructively. You have no control over this and no responsibility for it, either.

    That's how I think now. (But I know others disagree.)
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  9. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    If paying the monthly fees for his phone gives you peace of mind, then it's a bargain.

    If he uses the phone to be verbally abusive to you, you can rethink your decision. It's hard knowing what to do. Just do what you can live with at this time. You can always change your mind, Ksm
  10. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Sometimes you do things more for your own peace of mind than for their wellbeing. Case in point--last weekend we put Josh up at a motel for three days while my sister and her husband were out of town. They had initially said he could stay in the house while they were gone but then they witnessed a few incidents where he seemed angry and unstable and they (reasonably) did not feel comfortable having him there alone.

    He told me the other day that we had thrown our money away and it could have been used to help him get a car. I knew it was a waste, but for myself I just couldn't handle his being on the street for three days. So, I bought myself some peace of mind is the way I look at it. You can't always do that, but sometimes you can, and you do.
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  11. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    Kay has lost at least ten phones. We are finally at a place to let her get an Obama Phone, even if she ends up on the streets. Any phone can get her help. She doesn't need an I Phone.

    Of late in therapy my husband and I have been able to let out our regret that we spent over $100,000 (low figure to say the least) on Kay. Now we have to be cautious in our upcoming retirement. We worked very hard to build our business and we let Kay really eat up our profits. And when we leave this world there will not be as much for our two kids who did life the right way and treat us with love always.

    We meant only the best for Kay. And a lot was for ourselves too. We were terrified for Kay to be homeless and could not have had any peace if she had been. But now, further down the path, we have much regret that we did everything we did. It didn't help. And now my heart is full of turmoil, sadness and even some anger in the place where love for Kay should be. We love her underneath all that, but it isn't that pure, clean love we once had for her. And we are tired now and have illnesses.

    My point is do anything that makes you feel better. We did. But maybe don't spend as much as we did. And one day it is possible that you could look wearily back and wonder.

    Be well.
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  12. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    I'm right with you BusynMember. Our love for our son has been distorted with anger and hurt. It's not the love we once had for him, and we too are tired and weary.
  13. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    I'm tired and weary too and our son is home and making better decisions.

    I am on pins and needles often worried that he will regress.

    Really praying for my own peace too! He doesn't understand what he put us through at all and why my nerves are shot.

    My husband does so much better than me.
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  14. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    Hi there,

    I have a mentally ill son of the same age and with many of the same characteristics. He is brilliant intellectually, but sadly, at this point it is a waste because he cannot function in society.

    He has been in and out of our lives, by his choice, since he was 15 years old. He is now closer to us than he has ever been due to factors outside his control (legal).

    He is taking very small steps in a direction we consider right - a lawful, compliant, prosocial direction. It is not a path that comes naturally or easily to him, frankly. He whines and complains about the unfairness of it all every chance he gets. How awful it is that he cannot sleep until noon every day if he chooses. How unfair it is that he has to work at a menial job because he does not have a HS diploma and isn't qualified for positions better suited to his interests and talents. How unfair it is that he has to work at all.

    His entire life he has searched for an easy way out. And he is only progressing now because his choices have narrowed to two: comply, or be jailed to await the outcome of a felony trial.

    Once his case is fully processed through the courts, we don't know whether he will drift back to his old ways. It's possible. But for now we are trying to celebrate the very small wins. He should be in college and on his way to a career of his choice, using his formidable academic and intellectual mind to build a promising future for himself. Instead he is working a minimum wage job, making very little effort to obtain his HS diploma though a path for this is open for him, and full of big talk, and lots of complaints, with very little action.

    We cannot control them. We can only take care of ourselves and set the boundaries we need to remain sane.
  15. Blindsided

    Blindsided Face the Sun

    AIMH, I love your handle.

    I am fairly new here, too. I believe this is a soft place to fall for all of us.

    It gives me peace is knowing my 40 yr old alcoholic daughter with probable untreated borderline and bi-polar (refuses help) has a phone. I choose to see it as an asset to curb feelings of isolation. It also allows me maintain a safe distance.

    My daughter has figured out a way to get food stamps, medicaid, and a free phone. As for the nasty texts, abusive verbal attacks in conversation, and blaming others for her behaviors, I have learned I control what I am willing to accept by setting boundaries.

    I told my daughter I deserve to be treated with respect and I dont care to be part of her victim mentality. I told her when she started down that road I would simply say, I am going to hang up now. I stuck to it. She is respecting that boundary now, but unfortunately, she doesn't call anymore. She started texting, instead.

    New boundaries, I told her if she couldnt be kind, not to contact me. This has transpired over the past 18 months.

    Now we stay in touch with one sentence texts every few weeks. I dont know where she is staying, how sick she is, liver failing, but I remind myself she has had many opportunities for help. She has been given many resources and one day she may act on them. And, it helps me to know she has a phone to do so. Here is a link for you.

    States Providing Free Cell Phones to Low-Income Residents

    I am so grateful to have all the resources here. Everyone has been so kind to share their stories to help each other without judgement. I hope you find answers for you.

    "Sometimes the best thing you can do is not think, not wonder, not imagine, not obsess. Just breathe and have faith that everything will work out for the best.”
    Author unknown. From Wise Sayings and Prayables
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