Newbie with recently diagnosed teen, 8 months of hell

Baggy Bags

Active Member
My perfect (now 15yo) son started running away last year. We knew he'd been smoking weed and experimenting with other drugs, but it was still a huge surprise. He went to his "godfather", someone I used to think of like a brother, who gave him terrible advice and put even worse ideas in his head while he was experiencing a cannabis-induced psychotic episode from which he hasn't returned.

We got him back. He was violent. Unrecognizable. Ran away again. Repeat 4 or 5 more times. We had to get psychologists, police, lawyers and family services involved. We live in Central America and the system in our country is a nightmare. When runaways get picked up, they are taken to places where they are beaten, raped, trafficked, and even killed. So, we couldn't activate alerts or even make our searches very public.

He attempted suicide at the beginning of this year and was appointed a psychiatrist. He recently spent a week in a psychiatric hospital. I might be hated for saying this, but I have always been very anti western medicine, labels, chemicals... And here I am now, with my only child diagnosed with CD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and anxiety and medicated with an anti-psychotic.

We went from being the closest mom and son I've ever met, to being almost strangers living together. He directs all his anger and frustration at us, and has done very extreme things against us. My husband is not his biological father, but has raised him like his own since my boy was 2yo. Together, we are doing everything we can, but we are exhausted and overwhelmed.

Since having the diagnosis, at least I know that he's not entirely in control of the things he does and says. Not that it relieves me to know that my son has a mental health disorder, but in a way it makes it easier to deal with emotionally. We didn't know if it was the drugs, or if he was just genuinely decided that he wants nothing more to do with us.

We used to have a beautiful life as a homeschooling family. My son forced us to put him in "normal" school under the threat that he'd keep running away if we didn't. He was expelled two months later for stealing another kid's motorbike. He's lied, stolen, manipulated, hit, kicked, threatened to kill us, and even tried to report us for child abuse - telling family services things like we tie him up, inject him with tranquilizers, among other horrendous lies. It's never taken us long to prove that we are dedicated, loving parents who never even spanked him, but it hurts and it's been traumatizing.

We now work with two psychiatrists - one who works directly with him and one who is teaching me PMT - and a psychologist for family therapy. It's all very expensive, and life has become very different than what it was just a year ago. It's nearly impossible to make plans, start projects, or have a social life.

It's all very new. Any advice is welcome.

Baggy Bags

Active Member
Thank you, Copbanana

You sound right up my alley, actually. We live in a place with lots of alternative therapy, but my son will have none of it. Fortunately, we live in a very natural environment, lots of green and a lake. very hippie though, so lots of easy access to drugs. He does play the guitar, and tried a karate class today. I'm trying to get him to do more exercise. As a dancer's son, he danced a lot in early childhood, but now anything that has anything to do with me, is unattractive to him. He does spend time drawing, and even teaches art workshops in a community project we run, when he's stable. I don't know that there is any actual "art therapy" around though. Will look.

I've gone from wanting nothing to do with diagnoses, to spending any free time I have reading everything I can about it. It does feel like it's becoming the center of my existence. Probably some Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) there of my own. Everything is so volatile right now, it feels like learning about it is the only way I can have any "control". This does have me worried though, because I know I shouldn't let the diagnosis "become" my son. But again, it's all so new. I don't even know the right words to use, or how much to talk to my son about it, or even how much to focus on the diagnosis itself. There's also the whole stigmatization issue - I need to talk to friends about what I'm going through, but don't want them to start seeing my son as his diagnosis.... so many things to learn.

Baggy Bags

Active Member
The anti-psychotic medications, they tell me, are for controlling impulsiveness and helping with intolerance to frustration.
PMT is parent management training, which sounds like a way of managing parents (lol), but has been explained to me as the skill set me need to be able to manage our son.

Baggy Bags

Active Member
I don't think the medications have kicked in yet, it's been just over 2 weeks, and they say 5 weeks is usually when they start showing effects.

I'm still very wary of letting him out of my sight, but he does have a job once a week under someone I trust. So many adults have let me down during this crisis.

When he was younger and "different" I just thought he was exactly what you say, a sensitive child.

Baggy Bags

Active Member
Not scoffing at all.

It's hard to know what he's thinking. We know he trusts the doctor. He says the medications make him dizzy and sleep better. He has no problem in taking them though, so he must, at some level, be understanding something. But he gets anxious and walks away when I start talking about it.

I do have hope that he'll open up to alternative therapies. Right now he's refusing to do school, but we made a plan with the doctors that we "put his formal education on pause" but that he has to be productive and occupied, and one of his options is to take the courses in town. (lol, now I'm wondering if we know each other)


Roll With It
Is there anyone you trust that could handle him? I ask because I raised a very difficult son. My son basically hated me by the time he turned 14. It destroyed me in many ways because he was, and is, so loved by me. But he kept trying to murder and otherwise destroy his little sister and I could not allow that. He decided he would do anything to hurt her and destroy anything that got in his way. I was that "anything" because I was the person at home while my husband worked very long days in a city 90 minutes away. By age 14, my son was so big that I could not keep him off of his sister. I kept having to call the cops when he would rage and lose control.

I had more resources in that I felt I could call the cops, and I also had family that I could rely on. I ended up having my son go live with my parents. It wasn't my first choice, but it ended up being a very good thing for all of us. My father ended up keeping my son from hurting anyone and my mother ended up making my son see the need for the social rules that just don't make sense to my son.

Is there anyone that your son might listen to, who might be able to help with your son? Someone you could trust to help you? Sometimes it truly does take a village.

My son needed medication from the time he was a very young man. Given the psychosis, your son may need medications for quite some time. I know how hard that is. I hope, in time, that the medications help and that your son is able to work through his problems.

The other thing that came to mind as I read your post really was quite scary. I am sorry if you find it offensive. I don't mean to upset you.

How do you know what all happened to your son that caused such a change in him? You say this change happened very suddenly. Sadly, often our children are taken advantage of sexually while they are experimenting with drugs. It can cause them to change very suddenly, to act very much out of character, or to pull away from us. They can even act as though we somehow betrayed them. This last is especially likely to happen if the person who abused them is someone that we trusted and taught them to trust. It can be hard to figure out if this has happened or not, especially if drug use is also happening. Wrap that up with a culture that makes sexual abuse (especially of males) something that is NOT talked about, and you have a real problem.

I am not saying that your son was sexually abused. I am just saying that you might want to consider that it is a possibility. I don't know that he would or could be honest with you about this at this time. I do know that when things change this suddenly, this is something that parents should be suspicious of. Especially when the change is this drastic. Sadly, sexual abuse of children, even of teen children (even of male teen children) just is not uncommon. It does not mean that your son is gay, just that he is a victim. It means that someone is evil, and it means he needs help. Sadly it means that he needs to talk or reach out before he will get help, and that is just hard to do. Especially in the area of the world you seem to be in.

I am sorry to bring up a touchy subject, and I don't mean to say for sure that he was abused. Or that he wasn't. Just that it is a possibility that you should think about and consider. Again, I am sorry to have suggested it. If it did happen to him, he will need help, but I don't know what resources are available in your area of the world. I also don't know what his abusers (if they exist) might have threatened him with. All of that plays a role in what might need to happen next.

Regardless of what the cause of his problems is, to get real help for him, you might want to write a Parent Report. It is a report that is all about your son. To learn more about it, and how to write it, follow the link in my signature.

Baggy Bags

Active Member
Thanks, Susie.
I read your story last night and wanted to write to you today, so I was pleased to see that you saw my story too.

I have worried that he was sexually abused when he was on the run. He was a very beautiful little boy and often got bullied for it. Kids would say he was gay or that he looked like a girl. He's a big guy now, and even though he's still got the eyelashes and beautiful features, he definitely can't be confused with a girl anymore. I have wondered about his sexual orientation, although he says he only likes girls (and they like him very much, a little too much). We're very open about sexuality and have told him since he was little that we are cool either way, and have been very inclusive about sexual diversity in the way we talk to him. So I'd like to think that he'd tell us, but that might just be wishful thinking. The psychiatrists haven't gotten to anything like that, but they are very worried that if he runs again, that he could get into prostitution. There's also the possibility that a friend he was hanging out with, and smoking weed with, who is gay, may have convinced him to experiment sexually with him a little. One psychologist started getting something like that out of him, but it was very unclear, and when asked, he denies it. I do wonder if something happened that made him reconsider his sexuality, and that because of all the bullying, he doesn't want to look at it.

It was so sudden. I've read that cannabis can do that to some people.

Why do they direct it all onto us, the people who love them the most?


Well-Known Member
Who else can they target except us? It is not fair or just, but they are dealing with things they cannot handle. Think of it another way. We always protected them before. To them that is the baseline. This targeting us is not a conscious decision. It is predetermined by all that has gone before. He is too young cognitively I think to not act towards you how he is.


Well-Known Member
I am so sorry for what you are going through. From what you have written it sounds like your son had a psychotic reaction to marijuana. Some do respond this way. I am very sorry that it had to happen to your child.

My stepson survived a near-fatal suicide attempt in September. Make sure your son gets the help he needs. Our son was hospitalized until Thanksgiving dealing with just the physical injuries he sustained from the attempt. Thankfully his body healed miraculously. Then he did intensive psychiatric rehabilitation. He is now enrolled in a special school for children with similar issues and he seems to be doing well there.

Compliance with his medications will be key if he is mentally ill. It all starts with the medications. I know from my own experience with depression that the illness literally hijacks the brain and prevents the sufferer from being able to act in their own best interest. Without my medication I would probably have done some very impulsive and very tragic be sure he is compliant with these medications, even if you don't personally agree with them. That is simply my opinion as the stepparent of a suicide attempt survivor.

Hopefully as the marijuana makes its way out of his system he will return to normal. He may not need this medication forever.

As much as you can I'd probably ensure he does not continue experimenting with any recreational drugs, since he has already had such a bad reaction.

Keep us posted and best of luck.