This just in....21 yr old who may have mental challenges but refusses to seek help.

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Kelepani, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. Kelepani

    Kelepani New Member

    I have a 21 yr old son who will not get a job and will not seek help. Let me give you some history.
    When he was born he had the cord around his neck, was blue. (Don’t know if that means anything but I'm not leaving nothing out)
    He was a thriving baby and met all stages of growing.
    When he was in kindergarten he started acting different. He would hold on to furniture, stare off at nothing, would answer a question that was asked 5 questions ago. The teachers thought he was just shy and not paying attention.
    In the first grade he started doing eye movements, throat noises.
    In second grade he would get up out of his chair and pace back in forth waving his arms and making throat noises. During the time from kindergarten to second grade he was in and out of Dr's and specialist, finally a Neurologist diagnosed him with Torretts Syndrom, and said that he would most likely grow out of it. He prescribed a medication that caused him to be very tired and Monte (my son) said he didn't like how he felt on it, so we took him off. As Monte got older he managed to control his ticks at school but that became a problem for him as well because he was so occupied in controlling his ticks at school that he missed allot of what the teachers were teaching. He would come home and just let loose for about two hours, walking around the table, waving his arms, blinking and making throat notices.
    He had an IEP all throughout school and did okay, barely graduated from High School but he did!
    Growing up he had his younger brother who is 15 months younger than him to play with and the neighborhood friends, he interacted well with them, in High School he only had two friends that he talked to, for the most part he came straight home after school, never hung out with friends and never really cared to make new ones. His brother had his own life with his own friends and they didn't hang out in High School. Right after graduation Monte enrolled in a technical college for audio and broadcasting. He caught 6 busses to get to school and three to get back; he never missed a day of school in almost two years. Two months before he was to graduate he dropped out, just like that. He said that this is not what he wants to do. He stayed in his room, only coming out to eat and shower. YES he is BIG into video games. I gave him some time to figure it out as far as what next...a couple weeks later, nothing, then a month, nothing. Had a good talk with him...a couple more weeks, nothing. Had another talk with some goals. Still nothing, I asked him if he would like to talk to someone about this, he said no, he's not depressed, he fine. We had an appointment with SSI and the day before the appointment he tells me to cancel it. That he is not going to get help for the Torretts he "had". So we lay out new goals and things I want him to do to help out around the house. Still nothing. He is now 21 and will be 22 in October. I have tried to help him find a job, even offered to get him a job where I work. I took away his room and he is now living in my living room. Thought it would be a motivation to get out and get a job to get your own place but oh no! He can adapt to any environment. I don't want to kick him out because
    A: He has no friends or family to turn to but me
    B: He has no job or money to survive
    C: He would end up on the streets
    D: He is not on drugs or alcohol and is not in a gang
    F: My "mother’s guilt" is enabling me from doing anything about it. I want to but, I feel my resources are slim to none. And the "what if" he has a mental disability, do I want him on the streets? NO. I have talk to my Psychologist and explained every detail to him and HE thinks he has Aspergers or high functioning Autism. I have read up on those and Monte dose fit the profile almost to a T. So what can I do to help my adult son who may or may not have a mental disability??
    Thanks soooooo much for reading my rant. I'm desperate.
  2. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time Staff Member

    Welcome Kelepani, to this site. Wow, I read your post twice, and I hear your desperation. I get that.

    I know that others on this site will come along and give you some good words of wisdom. I don't have a lot of experience with Aspergers or high functioning Autism but I do have experience with a person who has capabilities but doesn't use them.

    It sounds like your son has a lot of capabilities---he graduated from high school, he took buses every single day and back to a post-high school program. Sounds like he was moving forward in that program, learning a skill, when he quit suddenly.

    Is his Tourette's still a big factor or is it controlled? I have a good friend whose daughter has Tourette's and is fully functional.

    Here is what I do know:

    *People will let you do "it" for them as long as you will do "it." Our adult children, and others as well.
    *Unless you want to be doing "this" 40 years from now, you need to make changes.
    *There needs to be a plan that you make and you keep (changing as necessary) to move him from here to there---from sitting and playing video games all day (they are a cancer, I believe, I can't stand video games as my son did the same thing) to working and contributing to his own upkeep and life.
    *A mental illness or disability is not an excuse to live off parents for the rest of your life. A diagnosis or a suspicion is a signal. It's a signal to get more professional help, get treatment, and then do the treatment. For the rest of your life if necessary.

    It sounds like you have had some indepth conversations with him but nothing has changed. I would stop talking so much and start taking more action, like you did moving him out of his bedroom.

    For starters, take the video games away. Give him some warning and then take all of the systems, pack them up and store them out of your house at a friend's house, indefinitely. Video games are entertainment. They are not a person's life. And if they become that, something needs to change.

    Start setting more boundaries like that one. Kele---it will likely get very contentious between you and your son as you start setting boundaries, sticking to them, and not budging. He won't like that because he will have to do something different.

    A wise person (my SO) always reminds me of this maxim: Do one thing different.

    You don't have to completely change everything at once. Just start out by doing one thing different, and over time, more and more things differently. As you change, others will have to change---in some way.

    You will likely need a lot of help and support along the way, through sites like this one, posting often and reading often and perhaps professional help yourself. This is hard, hard stuff to do, Kele.

    Your son is going to have to do something different with his life. Sending you strength, courage and hope to help you do the hard work of helping him do that.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Have you contacted social services to test him and to get him labeled disabled so that he can get adult services that will aid him in living on his own? My son has autistic spectrum disorder and seems less disabled than your child, but he is ready to live in his own apartment with his caseworker checking in on him. I am his payee because he can not handle money at all. I am also his legal guardian, but he is allowed to do most anything he likes because he is a really well behaved young man who has made many strides. He works at a sheltered workshop that is trying to get him a community job. He had one last year, but got laid off.Autism can be debilitating and they think differently than others. My son is the hardest worker in the world, but he clearly doesn't have a clue about living in our world, although he is getting better at it. This is different from being lazy or manipulative.

    We can not be there for our disabled adult children forever. One day they will be without us. in my opinion it's best to prepare for that day and to get adult services so that they can live as independently as possible and learn to ask outsiders questions that they need answered. But you have to have him tested for disability first and it can take maybe three times before he is labeled as such.

    Your only other option is to take care of him forever (not a good one for you or him) or to put him out, which in his case is probably cruel since he is mentally disabled and probably can't figure out how the survival skills that most of our adult children learn. My son bowls and plays softball in the adult Special Olympics and has made many friends by working at the sheltered workshop. Since he is higher functioning, most of his friends are too. He is a very happy young man; he just needs a little more help "out there" than kids who don't have his challenges.

    I would never have put this particular young man out on the streets as he wasn't doing drugs or drinking and he is a very respectful young man who helps around the house...he just has more challenges than others. But I also won't let him stay here forever for his own good, and he luckily doesn't want to. Because of his exposure to other people who have various disabilities he wants to have his own place like most of them do. It has been a win/win all around.

    While I believe the mentally ill who are violent need to leave t he house, I don't feel the same way about the cognitively delayed. You can plan for them to leave the house, and should, but they probably will need supports set up plus disability. Cognitive delays are NOT the same as mental illness. Any form of autism, which it may not affect IQ, is a cognitive difference that is very difficult to deal with. Your son has an IQ of it seems if he has Aspergers it is not high functioning Aspergers, but more middle-middle to lower. He does need your help, even now. He probably can't navigate for his own services. A psychiatrist/psychologist is not who this child needs to see. He probably has no idea who to see. You may not either.

    I am curious as to why he has not been tested as disabled? Remember, often you need to do it three to five times before acceptance. This would qualify him for disability SSDI, job services, housing and many other services. This is worth fighting for. If you haven't done it yet, DO IT. You can not take this on as you don't have the clout with the right support people. I made sure my son had these services in place by the time he turned eighteen. In his case, his high school helped transition him. He was high functioning at school too. He was mainstreamed, but it was still clear that he was not a typical child. Job Services was actually the one who tested him for disability and I had private testing by a neuropsychologist done as well. He was accepted the first time, but that doesn't always happen.

    Good luck. I hope you get proactive and fight for supports for your child. Have a peaceful, serene day :)
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2014
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Ok. I just re-read this post. If he is refusing social security disability and adult services, then, yes, I agree with COM. There is nothing you can do to help him if he won't help himself unless you can get legal guardianship of him, and it's hard to do that unless he is compliant with it. I have that over Sonic, but he agreed to it.

    So do what you have to do, but be willing to help him navigate services if he changes his mind. I would delete my last post if it weren't too Even the disabled have to be willing to accept help or you are out of options.
  5. tishthedish

    tishthedish Active Member

    Kelepani, I too have sons with Tourette Syndrome. Two of them as a matter of fact. When they were small I read every book, went to the national convention and became an expert on medications, doctors, therapies, etc. Tourette Syndrome is tricky though. It manifests as different things and can morph into other problems. When my 2 sons achieved milestones and finally got to college, I breathed a sigh of relief thinking that now that they were adults my husband and I could relax. WRONG! People with Tourette Syndrome are more likely to develop bipolar, are at higher risk for substance abuse, gambling, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), impulsivity, the list goes on. I know it to be true because each of my sons have manifested these conditions between them.75% of literature on Tourette Syndrome has been written in the last 20 years. Please seek out the newest literature on it. Maybe there is something that is currently being used to help young adults. Does he still have tics?
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  6. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome Kele. I'm sorry you are going through this with your son. It may be helpful to read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post here. It helps us parents if we can begin to find that balance point between really helping our kids and enabling them.

    If your son is refusing any kind of help, there is really little you can do but insist on your own boundaries while he is living with you. There are many options for him but he has to be willing to take them. My sister has Aspergers and is bi-polar with a host of other diagnosis's and she has managed to take care of herself, complete graduate school and actually become successful as an artist. She was motivated though, your son isn't motivated.

    You might also try contacting NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, they can be accessed online and have chapters all over. They have excellent resources for parents to help us negotiate this territory. They may be able to help you find resources for your son. It may be worth that phone call.

    However, if he refuses all options, all help, then you are in a strange position of allowing a grown man to essentially hang out like a 12 year old and do nothing all day. Or you can begin to insist on his showing up and contributing. Without any expectations placed on him to grow and launch into his own life, his self esteem and self confidence will plummet if that hasn't happened already. You need to make conditions for him to live with you.........he cannot simply accept a free ride. Are you prepared to support him when he is a 40 year old man who hangs out playing video games in your living room? Because if you stay the course, that may be the outcome. You will have to be the one who changes since he is not. There is a vast difference between throwing someone out and allowing yourself to be held hostage in your own home by someone who has no real life and no intention of changing.

    Take steps to change the situation for YOU. Focus on yourself and what your needs are. Get support for YOU. Once you shift that focus off of him and onto yourself, the next step will reveal itself to you. It's a process. We all start where we are. Keep posting, it helps a lot. We're glad you're here.
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  7. Kelepani

    Kelepani New Member

    Thank You all for your feed back!! I can't tell you how nice it is to read that someone gets where I'm coming from and has been there done that, still doing it etc. All of your replies have been read twice over. I'm going to look into what you all suggested and report back. Thanks so much for taking time out of your day to reply. <3
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List
  8. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Kele, the beauty of this forum is that we really have been there, done that, and we really understand. Do come back, it helps us to have allies on this somewhat treacherous path. If it feels right, put a signature at the bottom like many of us do, so we can all recall your basic story line. Wishing you peace.......