New member: Feel like I'm crumbling


Staff member
The following was sent to me by new member @crumbling. I'm posting it here for her.

Hi everyone, I am new to the forum and found it by accident.I live in England and I am having overwhelming grief about my 23 year old son. He has been in the mental health services and has been sectioned a couple of times. He has now dismissed the services and they think it is now behavioural problems more than mental health. He has been in bed and breakfasts until his benefits runs out, then he sleeps rough. His has been shown where the homeless shelters are, but they don't seem to just take you in, there seems to be a bit of form filling and then to wait and see.He doesn't go back and follow up with the help that is on offer.By giving him money it prolongs his ability to sleep in hotels and do nothing, but I find it very hard to leave him without money for a meal.But his psychiatrist has said he must sink so low that he asks for help. I think he hasn't capacity to look after himself, apart from hotels. He has had two flats but been thrown out, as he turns it into a place of squalor.Cigarette ends on the floor and blocking up the sink, not doing his washing or any cleaning, but they say it's just him making the wrong choices.I get confused about him being manipulative and lazy or mentally ill. I looked after him for 8 months and took him in but then he turned against me and I made him homeless and he was given a lovely flat and was thrown out. I just don't know what else to do to help him.


Well-Known Member
Hi there! We actually have another poster from the UK here and I hope she comes here and sees this. She would understand the uk system and we don't, but I can maybe offer a perspective as a mom of a daughter who was once a drug addict and was thrown out of the house.

You have done all you can (I'm sure) for your son. The only thing you can do is go to Al-Anon (even if you're not religious), get a private therapist if that turns you off and try to learn how to cope with living a good life even though your adult child is refusing to follow the rules that will get him help. My guess is that if he complied with his medication, he would be a lot better. Until he follows through on his appts. and accepts the shelter's house rules by doing what is required, he won't get better and you can't help him. He is 100% in control of his destiny. You only have control over your own.

If you son is actually incompetent, as in psychotic and does not know reality from fantasy because of hallucinations, is there any way to get him declared unfit and of need of guardianship in the UK/ If he is schizophrenic, especially the paranoid kind, I would agree that he probably can not live alone or understand rules. But if he is just defiant, maybe a drug user, bipolar or some other mood disorder and is not psychotic, he CAN take care of himself. He just doesn't want to do it and that causes problems for adults in every country in the world. And their broken-hearted mothers can not fix that.

In the end, the mothers on this particular forum are trying to detach with love from our dysfujnctional adult kids and try to hope they hit rock bottom and want help. So I would agree with your psychiatrist. Until he wants help, he won't get better. And there is nothing you can do to speed along his process; his journey. Don't feel badly about it. It's life. You and I only have true control over ourselves. Even our loved ones are seperate from us and on their own once they are of legal age. Even the mentally ill, unless totally psychotic, are expected to follow the rules and live a crime free and socially acceptable life. Example: You can't act up or use drugs or get violent or disruptive in a free homeless shelter around here and it sounds like it is the same in the UK. That makes sense. I volunteered for one once. Chaos would likely have evolved into dangerous fights. Only those who were there to get a night's sleep and a hot meal, nothing else, were admitted. If you got aggressive or abusive toward another client or a volunteer, you had to leave. If you wouldn't go, the police were called. In all of society, even in the homeless world, you have to follow the rules or you get rejected.

In my most heartfelt advice to you, which you can totally toss in the trash can since it is only my opinion, you should read our wonderful article on "Parent Emeritus" about detaching with love and I also recommend you read the fantastic book "Codependent No More" by Melody Beatty (maybe spelled wrong). Amazon has it in paper form or kindle. Great book. Rang so true with me that it changed my entire life. Until I read it, I didn't even matter to me. I was too busy fixing everyone else who had a problem. I didn't know it wasn't selfish to put myself first at times. There is much to learn and many ways to teach yourself to cope.

This may be too much for you to take in this soon, but I'd cut off his money for the bed and breakfasts. Are you so rich that you can afford to throw out money when he refuses to do anything to better his situations? I cut the money trail off with my daughter as soon as we found out about the drugs. Guess what? She had to get a job or have no money. I don't think (again MY opinion) that we should fund our self-destructive adult children. They need to learn that they will not be rescued and will have to learn to comply with the rules of society or be rejected by society. It isn't fair for you to go broke when he doesn't even attempt to help himself, is it?

I am sorry you are hurting so here are some hugs for your hurting mommy heart.

Get some help for YOU. YOU can control YOU and you deserve a wonderful life, even if your son continues to struggle. You are not him and he is not you. We all write our own life's story. Nobody writes it for us.
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Well-Known Member
Hi Crumbling. Where are you from? I'm in Wales. I found this site earlier this year when I was in the depths of despair about my son. He's 27 and spent a lot of his teens and early 20s suffering with depression and found dealing with a job very hard. He'd been working on minimum wage since finishing university and couldn't afford rent etc and he got in a terrible state with trying to claim housing benefit and working tax credits, which he was entitled to, but the system just beat him down. He finds it extremely hard to deal with anything official or anyone in charge telling him what to do and just despises most of society. He chucked his job last October and made himself homeless. He doesn't work or claim benefits now, he's just managing with nothing and has opted out of society. He's been squatting and sleeping in the forest with a group of eco-warriors and manages by scavenging food thrown into skips by supermarkets. He's very idealistic and very angry, although a lot less angry than when he was trying to live in a city and hold down a job. That's just a brief background - anyway, how are you? It's quite hard to find good support in the UK as you know, and this site has become my support network. It's full of people with similar stories and good advice. The main advice is to look after yourself. From your post it sounds as if you have really tried to help your son and that he has been given loads of help and chances to sort himself out. It gets to a point when you have to accept that you are not helping and that you are just making yourself ill. It gets to a point when you have to accept that your son is an adult and it is HIS life and his choices and his responsibility. You can't do any more and you can't solve his problems, because they're his problems, not yours. I know this is hard to get your head around, but it has changed my life and I now have a much better relationship with my son because I have just left him to it. I've just accepted that he is who he is and that he wants to live like this. You don't say if your son has a drug habit. Mine doesn't. If he does you could try Turning Point as they have a lot of support services, also Shelter of course to get help with housing, but maybe you've already used those organisations. It's not for you to contact them for him though, as you know the DSS and other places won't speak to you as his mother, he has to do it all himself. If he has all this information and knows what he needs to do, then you can't do anything other than look after yourself. We talk a lot on this site about detaching and accepting. That doesn't mean not having anything to do with him. If you read through other posts you will get the idea. There's loads more to say, but I have to go now. I will post again later this evening. Tell us some more about your son if you feel able to do that and about how you are coping with all this. Try and be nice to yourself today and treat yourself. Hugs x


one day at a time
Hi Crumbling, I just wanted you to know that we are reading along and we are glad you have joined us, even though I am very sorry for the reason you are here.

I just don't know what else to do to help him.

My son is 25, just a little older than your son, and his problems have been extreme since he was about 20. My ex-husband, his father, and I have done a lot to try to help him but none of it resulted in him straightening up and flying right.

We finally had to learn how to stop enabling, detach with love and accept what is, today. It's been a long, hard journey, but there has been much unexpected fruit/silver linings along the way.

Today, my son is homeless on the street in the town where I live. He doesn't appear to be taking pills, but he says he does drink. He doesn't have a job. He says he is looking for one. He doesn't have a place to sleep at night. There are places there to sleep---shelters---but obviously he doesn't want to do that.

I see him and talk to him every other day or so right now. It is not unpleasant. I have to work hard to keep my head on straight about him, and not get too involved in his life.

When I do, I go nuts.

Today, I have peace, contentment and serenity, even though he is still living this life. It is possible.

He has been in jail 8 or 9 times, has been fired from many jobs, has two felonies and multiple misdemeanors. He's always been a person who does things the hard way. He has depression and anxiety that he takes Effexor for. I wish he would go to therapy but he doesn't and there is nothing I can do about that.

There is nothing I can do about any of his decisions. He is a grown man.

I can only decide what I will do and not do. He cannot live in my house. I do not give him money, except from time to time for something specific that I decide I want to help with. Recently, I paid his $17 fine at the library so he could use their computers to look for a job. I did not buy him new tennis shoes that he asked for. I will not co-sign on an apartment lease or any other loan. I will not get him a cell phone. He has no phone at all right now, and guess what? I hear from him just fine.

Crumbling, please go to a 12-step meeting---AlAnon. It is a worldwide support group and is for people who love and have alcoholics and addicts in their lives. It is wonderful and the program provides a pathway to you regaining your own life.

Your son is an adult. He is responsible for himself. Your parenting days are over. Start claiming that, inch by inch.

Please keep posting here. We care, and we do understand. We're here for you.


New Member
Hi everybody that has replied to me, and thank you. It's great to find people that really understand and are giving me the right answers. I've been so confused for years about him, I say he is mentally ill and he has had his bad times with psychosis. But at the moment the doctor is saying he is not psychotic and knows what he is doing.He had slept rough in my home town last night and I think has slept rough for about a week. He receives government benefits, disability living allowance and when that goes in his bank he lives in bed and breakfasts.In that time he should be planning for when his money runs out, but doesn't, it's as if he goes into his own world, just looking at his laptop and smoking.He doesn't change his clothes or wash his very long hair.He has thrown away his clothes, towels, razors,soap everything even the suitcase. I asked why he has done that and he says what's the point I am homeless.That's a crazy thing to do and that's why I think he is mentally ill, but the psychiatrist says it is a personality disorder and behaviour problem more than anything else. But I feel so sorry for him and think he needs looking after and can't seem to cope without me.He was excluded from school at 13 and then there wasn't much for him to do.They thought it was a mental health problem at that time. He has been in and out of the system for so long and been given medication. I don't know if that really did any good.He is a scared young man,he is scared of his peers and has never had a friend for ten years as he finds it hard to relate to other people. He does seem to be very aspergers at times and that is yet another of his diagnosis.The only thing he does is research on the internet.I am so glad I found this forum as it all sounds so familiar. He hasn't taken drugs, but I know he has drank vodka in large amounts at a time, but it not something he usually does.Everybody that I speak to tells me I have been brilliant but my son can't see that at all and blames me that he is homeless, eve though I tell him it's because he put his fist up to me and said "you're coming closer to that".His behaviour can be quite bizarre and frightening and he does come over as strange to other people as well, that's why I say he can't help it and is ill. But I think that's me perhaps making excuses for him.Oh well I've had a good old offload tonight, but feel better for it.It really is hard to let go,but I will try.


Well-Known Member
What would they do in the UK if your son was found to be mentally ill? If he isn't using drugs, his behavior sounds so out there that I am thinking maybe he was misdiagnosed and really is mentally ill. If he is, then I share in your sadness that he can't cope. That is way different than being just mean and addicted or a criminal. If he has ever been psychotic how can they call that a personality disorder or a behavioral problem? Those things don't cause psychosis. Are there services in the UK for the adult mentally ill population? Sadly, in the US it is a trainwreck and, just like it seems in the UK, it is hard for a person to be declared mentally incompetent. In fact, it is almost unheard of for anyone in the US justice system to get off "for reasons of insanity" although obviously many offenders are out of touch with reality.

While I believe the mentally ill have to learn how to take control over their own illness, because who else will??? there are also schizophrenics who simply do not know reality and can not take care of themselves and those adults do need care, although not necessarily OUR care.

What do YOU think is wrong with your son?


New Member
Hi Midwestmum, It's only 7am in the UK but felt I would write and say, that a new pyschiatrist has just rang me and told me they are taking my son to hospital. Last night at 10pm he came to my door wet through as it had been raining. He hadn't booked into a bed and breakfast, but had just been wandering about all day. He shouted through my letterbox and said Mum how could you do this to me, I'm your son, I love you, and I need you, I wont hurt you please let me in,I am mentally ill and can't cope. I told him I think he is dangerous to me and I've been told not to let you in.He then went crazy and kicked two of my panes of glass in on my front door yet again, he was quite hysterical and my neighbours all phoned the police as well as me.They came straight away and took him to the police cell and I begged them to get him assessed under the mental health act. Which they did and I was told this morning that they found him, very grandiose, delusional, with bizarre thoughts and ideas and very hyper. So they are trying to find a bed for him, but it will probably be miles away. But at the moment, all I care about is his safety. And my safety of course as I was really frightened of my own son, which is a terrible way to feel.Now I have the day to get the insurance people to come and repair the door and clear up the rest of the glass. So now we know I was right all along, but I must say it was confusing as I could see other peoples way of thinking that he was manipulative and disrespectful, and of course there is that to his personality.Coming on here still made me do the right thing and keep him away, and I suppose that was what his doctor was meaning when he said he has to fall and ask for help himself. If I had of taken him back the story would just go on and on.Thank you all for my replies since being on the forum. I'll be back and let you know what happens.


Well-Known Member

I have been reading along and I know you've been given good advice. I wanted to let you know that many of us also share the dilemma of the "is he mentally ill or is it a personality disorder or is he manipulative no he is mentally ill but he can do better he is making choices that compound it or maybe he isn't mentally ill just immature and cracked under stress oh wait even if he is mentally ill he has to make the choice to take care of himself" stuff. My son is 20, has not ever been fully normal (carries a diagnosis of pervasive developmental delay/autism spectrum) but also now bipolar and/or schizoaffective. His psychiatrist told me when he was four we would have a particularly hard time because he is disabled but looks and can act normal..he said it would be easier if he were in a wheelchair because everyone could sympathize. We have found that professionals are all over the map and will give him a wide variety of diagnosis depending at what point and under what circumstance they come into his life.

In the end, he is 20. He left us when he was 17. He is sweet, darling, not at all hostile, and he loves me. He also kicked out a window once, used to stab knives into pillows (took me a long time to realize he what was he...denial is a strong thing...I mean, who else did I think it was?), he has stolen from everyone in the family, and tried to enlist his brother (who is 16) in selling drugs for him. But he is genuinely hurt and lost now that I refuse contact with him and he can't believe I don't want to receive calls from him telling me that he has been clean for 4 days, or that he has a sponsor, or whatever (all of which he has done over and over).

Sometimes doctors and friends and family tell me that he is manipulative. That he is lazy. Sometimes they tell me he is mentally ill. Sometimes he is clearly incompetent. Sometimes he is grandiose, delusional, frankly psychotic. Mostly he is sweet and awkward.

I guess my message is only...I get it. I get the uncertainty, the sorrow, the fear for him and the fear for yourself.

You did well getting protection for yourself and ending up with help for him.

Keep posting. I'll have more to say later, and so will others, and we want to hear from you.



one day at a time
Crumbling, I am so glad that he is somewhere where there are people who can help him right now. Please lean into that knowledge, just for today, and try to relax a little bit for yourself.

I know you are and have been living on pins and needles about your precious son.

You deserve a break.

Please keep us informed about you and about him. We are hoping for the very best for the both of you.

Warm hugs and prayers.


Well-Known Member
crumbling, that is so scary and I'm sorry. Even if he IS mentally ill (Echo said it all...I have the same questions about my difficult child), you can't ever let him near you alone again as he is dangerous. He can rely on services. You sure pay enough taxes for them! It does not sound as if your son was psychotic last night. It sounds like he knew what he was doing and did not think voices in his head were telling him to do it. In the US, he probably would have been arrested, not taken into care.

Now you can relax for now. You did the right thing. Nobody has a right to terrify us, not even our own family members. And whether or not he is mentally ill, if he gets violent, he will not b e allowed to roam in society. In the US, sadly they go to jail because of our screwed up mental health system that says even the psychotic has "rights." Since when will a paranoid schizophrenic who thinks the TV and radio is talking about killing him going to trust a healthcare professional? But it is what it is. We have to take care of ourselves and our other loved ones and protect them, even if one of our adult children is violent due to mental illness.