Newbie to this site and forum

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Dollhouse, Mar 11, 2009.

  1. Dollhouse

    Dollhouse Guest

    Good Afternoon Everyone!

    I was wondering if anyone has had the experience of getting conservatorship or guardianship over an 18yr old to be able to have a say in their mental health. I currently have joint custody with his dad, and my son is NOT emancipated (we live in NJ). His dad is out of the picture and I am the custodial parent. I also still recieve child support. by the way, I married about 41/2 yrs ago and my husband and son do not get along.

    Short story: My 18yr old son has ADD. Had troubles in H/S, (cutting classes, acting out and angry at home) but managed to graduate by the skin of his teeth. Was accepted to college and left in August. Picked up for underage drinking at one frat party in September -- no charges filed.

    I re'cvd a call from him at midnight in late October; he confessed to smoking pot for the past year daily and very heavily. Stated that he wanted to come home and get some help and that he was not going to classes in college. It was the first time in 17yrs that he ever opened up and just talked honestly about his life and his situation. I just listened. I told him that he could come home with the stipulation that he work and go to counseling.

    Fast forward 4 months later and he is getting worse. Sleeps all day, up at night -- angry, withdrawn and has outbursts. He did get a job at Macy's but got let go because he sleeps so heavily that he cannot get up for work. Just was offered a job at Target, but failed the drug test.

    In any case, I am looking to see if I can get some type of conservatorship over him so that I have a say in his mental health, in the event we call the crisis center (if he has an outburst). As of now, we are trying to get him to call for treatment -- or he's gotta leave. I don't know where he would go and I'm scared he will kill himself. I don't know if I'm even at that point yet of doing that, I'm not ready -- but I have a feeling it will happen at some point. This just isn't an easy road, is it? :sad-very: I'm numb and really don't know what else to do. My husband and I are going to NAMI (National Association for Mental Illness) for counseling to get a grip on this situation at home. He hasn't been diagnosed with a mental illness, but I do think that is involved; he's almost bipolar at times.

    Thank you for listening.

  2. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Welcome C-

    My son was still on probation and in a residential program when he turned 18 so we had 11 more months of having a say than most people. I wish you luck. Have you consulted an attorney?

    I also wanted to welcome you to the family here. Please put in a signature. There are so many of us that it helps us keep each other straight and you won't have to repeat your story all the time. Here's a link to directions on how to do it.

  3. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    Welcome! Sorry you had to find us, but you have found a good place. Your son sounds a lot like mine. Mine is home currently after failing out of first year college due to drug and alcohol use. He works two night shifts/week but sleeps all day/stays up all night all the other days too.

    I don't know whether a conservatorship will be possible when your son doesn't have a mental health diagnosis. However, it's worth checking into. The thing is, you won't be able to force him into treatment. He has to go voluntarily. The court can order treatment programs but if he hasn't been charged with anything you're stuck. If he's doing drugs while living at home, he needs to leave. Most users end up dealing, and if he deals out of your home, your home is at risk legally.

    I have lived with the fear of my son committing suicide; he's threatened it repeatedly, he cuts and self-harms when angry or upset, etc. It's a horrible feeling. But the longer my son lives with us, the clearer it is that he takes very good care of himself and suicide is not likely, unless as an impulsive act - and that could happen whether he's living at home or not. I've had to resolve not to be swayed by the threats.

    Since I stopped getting upset at my son's threats, whether of leaving and never speaking to us again, or of harming himself, and stayed emotionally distanced, he has stopped doing it.

    If you have any younger children at home, please protect them and devote your energy to them. The younger sibs often suffer more than we realize from the tension and drama - let alone more specific harm that can happen.

    Good luck and keep posting.
  4. Dollhouse

    Dollhouse Guest

    Thankfully, I don't have any other children at all. Just the one and he's more than enough right now. Thank you for your warm welcome; I hate that this is happening; I feel sick.

    My son is out and knows that we were going to call a treatment center together tonight. He is obviously avoiding this. My husband and I are now sitting down, discussing a game plan. It's horrible that society deems an 18yr old an 'adult' when some of the obviously still cannot take care of themselves. It's sad.

    I will be consulting an attorney tomorrow -- I will try every avenue I can at this juncture.

    My main fear is that he will kill himself. He has not threatened that at all, but at his current mental state; it may come to that.
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Welcome! It sounds like you are in a tough situation. Is there any chance your son would cooperate with an evaluation to see what is going on? Can you use something to motivate him to cooperate with one?

    It really sounds like there is more going on here than "simple" ADHD. But even if that is teh only diagnosis, he may have certain disabilities like Executive function disorder and NonVerbal Learning disorder that would make college and life outside of it very difficult. You might google those terms and see if maybe they fit your son.

    But he just might be bipolar, or even have one of the Autistic Spectrum Disorders. A thorough evaluation by a neuropsychologist would help figure that out. A neuropsychologist does a lot of testing (usually 10 or more hours) and then tells you what you are probably dealing with.

    I would use whatever incentives or negative consequences to get him to cooperate with the evaluation if you can afford it. Once you KNOW what you are dealing with then you can figure out what will be most effective to help him help himself.

    Again, Welcome to our corner of the web.

  6. Dollhouse

    Dollhouse Guest

    To SusieStar: I did take my son to a Neuropsychologist about 3yrs ago. My appointment was a waste of time -- in about 5-6 minutes it was deemed my son was fine. I drove all the way to Philly to see the specialist.

    The reason I did take him was because when he was 3, he went in to a coma after a routine Myringotamy (tubes in both ears). He had respitory distress and then lapsed in the coma for about 24hrs; he was on a breathing machine.
    By going to the Neuro-psychiatric, we were trying to determine if there was any brain impairment when he was in the coma.

    Perhaps this is an option I should explore again; my son has a very comfy life (car, cell, etc) and we live in a wonderful area. As of now, he has no incentive to get better -- why should he? That is my fault; before you flame me and tell me what I need to do, I do know what I need to do. It's a matter of being ready. I'm trying to get stronger, however it's hard.
    I also know that I'm not doing my child any favors by not setting limits or boundaries at present.

    In any case, I don't know if we should put the screws to him to try to help him seek counseling, or go the route of the Neuro-psychiatric at the same time. I'm overwhelmed at present and can barely focus as it is and can only focus on one thing at a time. All this research, etc has been done to some degree by me many years ago when he was struggling as a young child. I even came to this site a few years back and couldn't remember the name, but I found it again today.

    Thank you all again and blessings to all!
  7. catwoman

    catwoman New Member

    Welcome, you're in the right place. My son has been out of my home for a few years but he lived with me until he was 16 in NJ. I spent years fighting the authorities, who refused to believe he had a problem. They kept telling me he was "a good kid who made a mistake." He had to hurt me before they took it seriously.
    Keep coming back, you'll be amazed at the help you'll receive here.
  8. Dollhouse

    Dollhouse Guest

    Well, it's midnight here on the East Coast and we've already had strife here in the house. My husband and I sat down with my son this evening to address his issues. Of course, my son really acted like it was a joke. We kept our cool and we listened to him, even if what he was saying was irrational.

    We told him we would like to help him get treatment, however, he will no longer be able to use the car until he gets treatment -- consistent treatment with drug testing. He then became agitated. He kept asking for cigarettes and said he would call the center tomorrow if we got him cigarettes. Normally, I would give in and provide a few dollars, but this time, I refused. He kept following me around the house -- trying to bait me with negative behavior (open and closing drawers, pretending to light a piece of paper with his lighter), but I didn't budge.

    I then asked him for the car keys -- he flat out said no. And before you ask, he may have misplaced the extra set when he lost the original set a few months back. In any case, I calmly asked again and he refused -- and then left.

    We didn't know where he was, so my husband called the authorities just to guage what we could do since he wouldn't surrender the keys. They sent out 2 cops and while we were searching for my son, I called him. He was in the parked car in the driveway! The cops calmly went to talk to him and the brought him in the house and he surrendered the keys.

    After the cops left, he stormed out cursing, etc. I called him and he did answer. His main concern was that we called the cops and that we told the cops he has had experience with pot. He was mad that "when he does get his car back, they would target him". Whaat?

    We gave him about 15mins and we drove out to see if he was nearby. He was -- I'm now nervous because he really has no place to go. His friends are all at college and the two girl friends he does hang out with are not around at present. It's late and I just want him to be safe. What I should have done was called crisis when the cops were here, however, my son wasn't beligerent or acting out.

    I can't even sleep....Whomever may read this, so sorry for the long post.

    Just pray for us -- I've NEVER had to go thru any of this. It's upsetting and I feel ashamed and just want my son to get help. I know what you are going to say -- HE has to want to get help. I guess I don't see that as a positive option. I can't even pray anymore. Where is God? Why won't he help us or my son?? :(

    Good night.
    Lasted edited by : Mar 12, 2009
  9. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Welcome to the board! Sorry you had to find us but glad you did.

    Don't feel ashamed for wanting your son to get help, please don't. We all want what is best for our kids.

    I am so sorry that you have to go through this. It is very scary and NOT for the faint of heart. In any event, you are way ahead of the game by knowing that he is the one who will have to want the help. And God will be there to help him when he is ready.
  10. Rhonda

    Rhonda slightly wilted Magnolia

    Oh CJN.. I am so so sorry for you. I do know how you feel. I havae been going through the same thing for the last year. My difficult child finally took off on her own. I have not slept in months.

    I am so glad you found this board again. It has really helped me. God is right there with you. I know it doesn't feel that way sometimes but it is really hard to let him in when our pain takes up all the room. I have learned to trust that he is there and that my daughter is not alone and neither am I. You are in such a hard place.

    I feel so for you.. this time is the worst. Not knowing what to do and grasping at every option, hoping that one will work, and feeling horrible if what you do does not. It really sounds like your son needs to talk to someone. To be able to understand him. If he just sat in the drive way then he did not really want to leave. Are any intervention programs in your area? The really good people who do intervention can make head way when no one else can.

    There are no right answers. Just love him and let him know that that love does not have conditions. Living at home might but the love doesn't.

    Hugs and prayers for you.
  11. Dollhouse

    Dollhouse Guest

    Dear Rhonda,

    I am so sorry to hear of your daughter; I pray she is alright. I cannot even imagine what you are going through.

    I don't even know what else to say, but please hold on.

    Best wishes and hugs,
  12. Dollhouse

    Dollhouse Guest

    Afternoon -

    If I keep writing; it's to keep my sanity.

    Since last nights situation with the police coming to the house to help us get the car keys back; my son has been in the house, asleep all day. I came home from work just now to see if he needed anything and to ask if he would be willing to call the treatment center with me.

    His response (with-covers up over his head): "Please don't talk to me". Then silence. He won't talk to me. I don't know what to do. How much longer can we live like this? My husband has to travel out of state on business starting Sunday afternoon; so -- I am anticipating my child trying to 'coax' me in to giving the car keys back to him or giving him money, etc. I will not budge this time as I can't live like this anymore. If he acts out, I will call the crisis center. It's hard, but I am ready to do that now. I've been too enabling for too long and I just can't do it or take it anymore.


    If it's any consolation; I have to thank God that he is home, and he is safe; even though he is just laying in his bed. A few months back, he punched a huge hole in his bedroom door and took it off. It's still off. We have refused to replace it. We live in a large ranch-style home and his bedroom is off of the living room.

    I pray everyone here at this forum had a good day, as best as it can be.

  13. judi

    judi Active Member

    Hi and welcome. Like others, glad you found us. I've been here since 2001 with our son. It is embarassing to have kids that act out. Sounds like your son likes to rule the roost. All I can say is pick your battles.

    My story, briefly: our son is now almost 23 years old - we have had no contact with him since June 08. We went thru oodles of options with our son: alternative schools, hospitalizations (with no real diagnosis), jail, residential treatment facilities, many counselors, many medications, you name it, we tried it. the end...our son resents everything we did and has absolutely no contact with any of us.

    It not at all what my husband and I ever imagined, but it is our current situation. Personally, I think we can intervene so much that we don't allow natural consequences: for instance, if your son drinks/drives/smokes dope, he might get arrested and go to jail, if he wants cigarettes, he needs to get a job, if he doesn't go to school, well jobs are getting pretty tight in my get my drift.

    Good luck.
  14. Rhonda

    Rhonda slightly wilted Magnolia

    Thanks CJN,

    My daughter and I talk. She has an arrest warrant out for her and has been very heavy into drugs. But we do talk. I saw her yesterday for the first time since October.

    Maybe you could approach your son from a different angle. Like just tell him that you mean what you said. Don't give the keys back and don't do anything for him anymore period. Just take a break. Don't wash for him. Move his clothes to the side or back in his room. Don't ask him any questions. Leave him alone. Don't tell him when dinner is. Nothing. If you cook and there is enough for him fine if not fine. When you get ready to clean the kitchen dont warn him. Just put everything away and go on with what you need to do. Live like he is not in the house. If he acts out with you, ignore him. Don't tell him how to fix things. Don't tell him what you will do if he does this or that. If he ever does ask politely for something that you are willing to give then do. No fuss. If you are not then say no I can't do that. And smile!

    If he accuses you of anything at all then just smile and say "I know" or "its ok that you think that". And let him go.

    I know it is a very passive way to handle it. But love is sometimes just there. God doesn't swoop down and fix all our problems. But he is there with us through them. Sometimes that is what we have to do for our children.

  15. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Hi and welcome! I'm so sorry that you had to find this place and so sorry about the pain you are experiencing. I am well aware of that "numbness." I use to ask...where does one go after burn out?

    How wonderful that you are going to a NAMI meeting and that you are consulting an attorney!

    I've been to those meetings before. They are called an "alliance." They can be helpful. Next week I'm going to a Families Anonymous meeting and I'm really looking forward to it.

    Your question is a good one. I too think that without a diagnosis, it would be hard to get a conservatorship. It is noteworthy that he had an evaluation three years ago and it looked okay. However, perhaps another evaluation. is in order at this time. Would your son be cooperative?

    From personal experience, I can tell you that our son (out of no where) was making some really bad choices in high school for about 1.5 years and this came up. Some parents we associated with talked about a conservatorship. I never considered it and told my son so. My thought was that he needed to be responsible for his life and the sooner the better. We provided a lot of counseling. He ended up making very good choices for himself and is (knock on wood, lighting a candle, crossing myself, thank God daily) is making outsanding choices today and is a BIG success story.

    Our daughter...another situation. She does have a diagnosis and has had one for many years. When we put pressure on her, her situation escalates to the point of hospitalization. We are helping her here and there, but expecting her to help herself too. I see some tiny improvements in the last year, but have concern about the future. At least she is out of the house...big stress relief for me. We have not done a conservatorship, but have considered it. I suppose we see some benefits, but it hasn't been enough to convince us at this time to make it happen.

    I'm looking forward to going to the FA meeting to see what other parents have done in terms of conservatorship and other things. I do know that many there and here have found general comfort in detaching. I do this too and it has really helped me emotionally. We also agreed on the importance of taking time (a few moments even) for ourselves...even when things are going haywire.

    Again, I'm sorry for the pain you are experiencing...those difficult days and nights. It sounds like you are making wise choices. That situation with the car and calling the police had to of been very difficult.

    Sending prayers and good thoughts.
    Lasted edited by : Mar 13, 2009