self mutilation and suicide watch

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Shari, Dec 26, 2007.

  1. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    It was a wonderful Christmas at our house, the weather was beautiful, we planned ahead and it actually worked out, all of Santa's gifts for difficult child 2 were things to build and do, which held him over til the rest of the gang got home to open gifts, we didn't rush from one house to the next, I just really enjoyed Christmas for a change.

    Other than...

    After he went back to base from leave, he called me every day, at least once a day, sometimes more, up until 3 or 4 days ago, then he stopped, cold turkey, no calls or even text messages at all. I just assumed he'd made some new buddies and was hanging with them. Now I wonder.

    Yesterday, difficult child 1 called. He sounded great, upbeat. He'd had guard duty yesterday morning, was eating lunch, which was a huge spread brought in by some volunteers, and he said it was wonderful homemade food. We had a nice conversation. He talked to difficult child 2, asked about the family and the day's plans, etc. Then towards the end, he said some of his burns were almost healed. I said "what burns". And he said they'd had him on suicide watch because he'd been burning himself with cigarettes, apparently fairly significantly, and apparently he started while he was here on leave. He thought suicide watch was stupid and it was all a big joke, and when I suggested maybe burning himself wasn't really a great idea, either, he got snappy and made it into no big deal. I tried to salvage the conversation by joking that next time he comes home, I won't be able to let him go play with that friend. He didn't take any joke, he snapped back and said "I'd like to see you try." We managed to get back on a less hostile note, and ended the conversation on a positive after that.

    Amazingly, its all been calm in my head. I think I accepted some time back that I can not control him. I love him, I do not want him to self destruct, but I can no longer stop him. And the distance the military has given me from him helps. He's in as controlled an environment as is possible, he has a lot of direction and specific rules about conduct, but he's not here, and I am ashamed to admit, that's a relief.

    I have spent the past 15 years worrying myself sick. Half the time worrying about him and that the signs he exhibits are signs of bigger problems; the other half worrying about me, worrying that I make a mountain out of a mole hill and that there's really nothing wrong with him, its just my inability to deal with "normal" things. I guess if nothing else, this gives me a little validation that I'm not completely crazy as a parent. If the Marine's think he might kill himself, surely I wasn't too far off in worrying about his behavior.
  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Well-Known Member

    {{{Merry Christmas}}}. Though I'm sure validation from the Marines about difficult child 1's problems wasn't high on your wish list. I'm glad you have some distance and feel he is in a fairly safe and structured environment. {{{Hugs}}}
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member


    I would be a tad bit worried myself if he said all this about suicide watch and the burns. He is at MCT right now right? In Cali? What is his MOS?

    If they are already worrying about him, I would be a bit worried though they may toss it up to holiday stress for a young kid being gone from his family. However if he doesnt straighten up he will have a tough time from both his command and his fellow Marines.

    I wouldnt worry about him coming home too often for awhile because depending on where he is stationed and exactly where you you live, most of the bases are pretty far from you. If they only have a 72 or 96 hour leave, they can only go so far from the base. Our house was right on the line for Jamie to come and he would leave and only get to stay home for one day on a 72 hour leave. A 96 would give him 2 days...maybe slightly longer but he had to make sure he was back.
  4. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Considering he's not "bad" enough for any placement, I figure this is the best place he can be. If he weren't there, I have full faith he'd have drank himself out of college and into legal trouble by now (he barely didn't, anyway).

    All he wants to do is front line infantry. Just wants to kill people. I am pretty sure he could have come back home for Christmas but didn't want to. Yet so much of what he says about the corp is negative, this is stupid, that is stupid. I expected him to come home with some pride, and there's just not a lot of that. I am worried, but so far its not consuming me. I'm just releived that a) they are watching him, b) I am not having to deal with it (that sounds SOOOO cold), and c) its just a little validation that I haven't been crazy all this time (I know, you all have told me that, but I always still think "maybe its just me".)
  5. Star*

    Star* call 911


    I'm sorry you had to hear about your son doing what he's doing. But I think it's time to let go of the guilt. I know he's still your kid - always will be, but at what age do you allow them to be accountable for their own actions?

    I guess maybe I've wrestled with this same idea this past year. My son is 17, and while a part of me will always want to rush in and rescue him from his latest 'adventure' or brush with the law - I look at my 67 year old xmil. Until the day she died - she never had a day without drama from her GROWN children.

    Eventually - they killed her. Not figuratively - literally. She was killed by her own son while attempting to once again protect him from doing himself harm. At 46, and 51 you think your sons would have an idea to grow up and be self sufficient - but not if you always felt sorry for them and, never made them accountable for their own actions.

    My xmil NEVER had a day without sobbing, sadness, overwhelming guilt, and her kids used that against her to get money, a place to live, help hiding from the law, court, vehicles, clothes, rehab. You name it - she was there doing it FOR THEM. How do you ever learn to do it for yourself if your Mom always does it? In that family - you apparently didn't. Some might say she was a saint - I think she was a very unhappy, miserable martyr who was addicted to the drama she created by not making them grow up when they were younger. She could have supported them - without doing everything for them. She just never dealt with her own life enough to make anyone responsible for theirs. Maybe she didn't know how.

    I used to try to tell her not to feel guilty about her kids - they were grown, she should be able to live out what years she has without worrying every day that one of them was going to dump their problems on her. She should spend time with her grandkids and cherish them - but she never could because one of her grown kids was always making trouble somewhere and calling her to bail them out. Sad really.

    I guess - I would tell you to feel sorry for the circumstances that surround your sons behavior - but not sorry for him. Don't feel guilty for enjoying a little peace and quiet in your life without his drama. I think you've deserved that - you raised him, and now it's up to him to make good, sound decisions for himself. If he doesn't your pity won't heal him any faster. He knows you love him.

    I don't know anything about the Marines - Dammit Janet would be a wealth of information for you there. I would think they'd keep a watch on him very closely and maybe point him in the direction of some good help.

    Hugs for your Mom heart
  6. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I guess I didn't have enough distraction last night, I mulled this over and over and maybe got 3 hours of sleep.

    Sadly, my biggest fear is they'll kick him out and send him home.