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When enough is enough - mental illness

kmarla

Brilliant_Rock
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Joined
Feb 8, 2013
Messages
686
@Housecat, @AGBF, @smitcompton, I am so sorry to hear that your struggles continue with your loved ones, and I know that for whatever reason, everything just seems to hit so much harder at Christmas. My heart goes out to all of you.

It’s exactly two years today since my family experienced the worst crisis we had dealt with up to that time with our youngest daughter, who is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Bipolar Type II. We had been dealing with one crisis after another with her for many years before that, but for me I just couldn’t seem to get past that last one. It literally knocked the breathe out of me, and I know you all understand how that feels. I’m usually a very quiet, private person, but for some reason I decided to create this thread after that last trauma and it turned out to be the greatest source of support for me ever. So many wonderful people responded, all offered support and so many also shared their experiences, including all of you!! Thank you so much to all of you from the bottom of my heart!! It is so powerful just knowing you’re not alone on this journey. We all love our children so deeply and that’s why the pain of not being able to fix things is so deep.

I don’t know if you’ll find it helpful or hopeful or just a reality check, but I would like to share with you where we are as a family two years later. Our youngest daughter, who’s now 27, is doing well in the life she is choosing. She has not come back home, and is now living with new roommates who are a more stable and grounded influence on her. She is doing well on her medications and has not had another hypomanic episode. She is in a long term relationship with her now fiancé who lives on the other side of the world. They have visited each other several times and he is looking to move here long term. We worry of course, but we are glad they aren’t in a big hurry to move things forward. Our daughter receives disability benefits and cannot cope with full time or even part time work, so she isn’t flexible to move to another country. She is still more or less the same person, but we do see some maturity. She is a drama queen and still tries to shock us to get attention, but that is her personality.

The biggest gift she has given us over the past two years is that she has shown us that she can make it without us!! This was our single biggest worry! It might be messier than we hoped, but she’s doing it!

She has a circle of people (some professional/some friends) that can help her and she isn’t afraid to ask for help if she needs it. And of course she has us too. When our daughter lived with us she was always stuck on waiting lists to get the help and support she was entitled to. Now that she’s independent those wait lists disappeared and she’s finally getting the services she was entitled to.

I can breathe again, finally. Life isn’t perfect of course, but it’s night and day to before. I realize what an impossible burden of stress we were under before and I don’t ever want to go back to that place. I see my daughter at least once every week when I drive her to riding, and we text/call regularly. We have good weeks and not so good, but I won’t let her effect me like she used to. DH and I are downsizing and we’re having our new bungalow built right now. We’re looking forward to moving next spring.

Hugs to all of you....I wish you all some well very deserved peace of mind and heart along this journey xoxo
 

CHRISTY-DANIELLE

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jul 10, 2017
Messages
1,951
@kmarla thank you for giving me some hope. I have a 21 yr old son with Autism Spectrum and severe depression. All I want for him is for him to find his own way. It is sooo hard when your child is not "normal". We've spent years on medications and therapy. He's still suffering. We are thinking about trying ketamine iv treatments, his psych thinks there had been some promising results. The heartbreak is the worst. All you want is the best for your kids.
 

Ellen

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 13, 2006
Messages
24,427
All of you dealing with these tremendously challenging (to put it mildly) situations are in my prayers. It is heart breaking to read this thread. God bless.
 

Bayek

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
May 11, 2013
Messages
7,491
@AGBF & @smitcompton Held captive by the mental illness of a family member. I do understand this, for sure, but it's my brother and not my child. So far I feel lucky neither of my son's show any real bipolar disorder, but I know it well.

My aunt is 71, I am 66 and my brother is 60. He has hasn't worked since 1985. He lives in California and me in Maine, close enough. My aunt lives in Delaware/PA. My brother has had 2 strokes but s pretty fine except for slight paralysis on his left side and must use a motorized vehicle or wheelchair. When my brother was in his early 30s he tried to kill my mother and father. When he was 45 he tried to kill his daughter and her mother. He threatened to kill me, my aunt, my sister - not my other brother. So I understand this heavy HEAVY weight of having a bipolar family member, your whole life is tainted, and colored by this person and their control of YOUR life. The love you feel is always so sad, or at least for me it is. My sister, other brothen and I decided that I would get all my youngest brother's inheritance from our dad, I think it was 77K, so I doled that out but 2 years ago I gave him the last 18K (he was very generous to my aunt and our other brother btw).. he spent that in a few weeks on his toy army collection and the Franlin Mint. Now he's destitute in CA lucky for ME he was a 4 year navy vet so he can take advantage of all the good things the military does for crazy ex sailors.

My sister lived in constant fear that he would find her and kill her. I felt really bad about that, sometimes I pretend he doesn't exist to give me some mellow yellow. He has a great case worker and other crazy ex sailors, he's in rehab right now then he will be in a nursing home, I feel relieved, sad, guilty, angry, loving etc about him, and he's not my kid.

So I'm not in your same boat(s) ladies but I am a few ships behind and I send LOVE yup love and loving, healing thoughts for both of you, fine ladies, good women. Wish I could help you both but you are basically doing everything you can.

Annette, your money, your possessions, your choice(s) on what and where you want them to go. I applaud and support you on doing what is right for you. You are a fantastic mother.

Deb, you need a respite from this life with your daughter and McDonalds pickups etc. You don't deserve the best time of your life in sadness. I send you love Deb, you are such a fine, good person.. I stand with you.

@House Cat HC - missed this info on your Dad's g/f.. so so sorry. Hope he's doing okay. You are being manipulated by your mentally ill son, I am sure you know the script. Parenting is never ever ever easy HC and most of us do the best we can as human beings, believe me I carried more than 100 trunks into second marriage and had my boys.. long haul and long on and off's of mental counseling. You aren't alone. Sending you love.

None of this mental illness is OUR fault, I think it's a gene. I really thought long and hard b4 having my son's because of my brother.

Here's to us warriors on the mental illness forefront, we are heroes. Unsung, but none the less, HEROES.

Kate
 

Bayek

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
May 11, 2013
Messages
7,491
@kmarla I am sorry I missed your post on first read! Such a great post!!!!! I am very happy to read about your happiness and peace of mind! Thank you sooooo much.!

Kate
 

kmarla

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Feb 8, 2013
Messages
686
@kmarla thank you for giving me some hope. I have a 21 yr old son with Autism Spectrum and severe depression. All I want for him is for him to find his own way. It is sooo hard when your child is not "normal". We've spent years on medications and therapy. He's still suffering. We are thinking about trying ketamine iv treatments, his psych thinks there had been some promising results. The heartbreak is the worst. All you want is the best for your kids.
I haven’t heard about ketamine treatments, but I’m a little out of the loop for treatments right now. I know that we tried many different meds for our daughter over the years and it’s very encouraging to hear that they are getting good results with ketamine. We just want our kids to be happy and it’s so hard to see them suffer. Hugs to you Christy-Danielle!
 

kmarla

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Feb 8, 2013
Messages
686
@kmarla I am sorry I missed your post on first read! Such a great post!!!!! I am very happy to read about your happiness and peace of mind! Thank you sooooo much.!

Kate
Thank you Kate! We are doing so much better now. Issues still come up but we don’t feel like we have to fix everything ourselves anymore. Hugs to you!
 

House Cat

Ideal_Rock
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Joined
Feb 22, 2009
Messages
4,480
The pandemic has been really hard on my 16 year old son. He’s always been very anxious and I’ve had him in therapy since he was 8 years old. Because of the isolation he experienced during this pandemic, he became severely depressed. This wasn’t his first depressive episode. I guess I just hoped that his depressions were fleeting. This time, the depression was too deep and I had him see a psychiatrist. She put him on an antidepressant. He seemed to be doing much better in no time which should have been a red flag to me but I was just so relieved that he was finally feeling better. Then one night he came to me and said he thought he needed to go to the ER because he felt like he was dying. His heart rate was really high and wouldn’t slow down. We took him to the ER. The end result was that he tried to overdose on cocaine and commit suicide. He was in a mixed episode, has bipolar disorder and has been in the hospital for two weeks. He starts the day program today.

So it begins...

His father wants to move him out of town because of the access to drugs but I feel that will push him over the edge because it will sever all of his emotional connections at a very tender time. There have been many heated discussions about this.

I feel like the walking dead. The idea that i almost walked into my living room and found my child dead is haunting me day and night. I can barely function with that on my heart, yet I have to because he needs me!

I feel pretty stupid too because I’ve personally been through this and I didn’t see it. How did I miss this? I just wanted to see him as feeling better.
 

rainydaze

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
May 1, 2007
Messages
3,073
I'm so sorry @House Cat. What you are facing is exhausting, heartbreaking, terrifying, stressful... so many depleting emotions. It's all that much harder because there often isn't a clear path forward, and a lot of starts and stops, with mental illness. I am hoping so hard for you that the day program makes some headway and that something allows for a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel to come through, for your sake and for your son's.
 

junebug17

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 17, 2009
Messages
12,999
@House Cat, I just want to send you support and love. I am so sorry for what your son, and you, are going through. And as a mother I am so sorry you had to experience such a frightening thing. Please don't beat yourself up or feel guilty, it is so hard to know what is in a person's mind and heart. He is getting the help he needs and that is the important thing. I am pulling for your son and sending lots of comfort to you.
 

tyty333

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
24,012
Sending hugs and strength House Cat. I too am hoping that the day program can set him back on an even Keel. The
pandemic has been hard on a lot of people but cant imagine how difficult it has been for those with MI and their care
takers. Take some deep slow breaths and remember to take care of yourself first.
 

Elizabeth35

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 24, 2011
Messages
685
Do they have any groups or counseling for family members for his day program?
Or family sessions to help you, as a family, help him when he transitions home?

I'm sorry you are going through this and don't beat yourself up for 'missing' this.
As a parent you are always, always hoping for the best and looking for positive signs. And teens are very adept at hiding things. It's good he came to you and asked to go to the ER--I view that as a positive sign of him reaching out to you when he needed help.
As far as moving out of town---pffft. My ex also was always trying to blame others and access to drugs. The truth is, if a child (or adult) has addictive tendencies or mental health issues, changing their location will not make them go away. It will make them do drugs with different people--that's all.
That being said---if there is a drug issue, he will eventually have to find a different social group if he wants to be sober. And that will be his decision--you can't 'make' him do that.
It's a bumpy ride--sorry.
 

Cerulean

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 13, 2019
Messages
2,463
Wow, this thread. Full of as much heartache as it is empathy. I know many of these posts are years old…but no doubt many of the challenges are alive and well.

I read the whole thread actually. My mother was diagnosed with bipolar, borderline personality disorder and an anxiety disorder that causes panic attacks. Frankly, she was a terrible mother in a lot of respects. Unstable, self-indulgent, self-destructive, would say extremely harmful things while being terrified of abandonment…and had repeated staged suicides (I was truant from school in 4th grade because I stayed home so often to prevent self-harm). She would lie to her therapist and frequently go off her meds. Every vacation and holiday spoiled with what we called her “spirals”. We heard anecdotes that she was even worse in her teens and 20s.

On her good days, she was extremely charismatic, fun and loving. None of my friends had a clue! I admired her ability to always hold down a job and provide for us financially (in hindsight, what a feat!) She suffered so much and I knew she hated what she did but couldn’t stop.

I distanced myself substantially, especially emotionally as I was dependent on her to provide for me. Her sister has similar, undiagnosed issues but she’s terribly cruel - I’ve cut her off entirely. But it took a long time to heal. I was a reckless teenager and into my 20s, but never quite followed in her footsteps. It tools years of therapy and setting boundaries. She still transgresses boundaries occasionally but I am much faster to recover, and I know what I can and can’t rely on her to do.

What is my point in mentioning all of this? I wanted to share a bit of optimism for you who are dealing with children here and now - my mother dramatically calmed in her 50s. Maybe it was menopause, maybe she finally just embraced who she was instead of feeling shame…but it’s possible and she’s living proof. She also self medicated with pot for years and is finally off it. She’s had the same partner for 10yrs, has managed to have a decent career and we finally have a wonderful relationship. It’s hardly perfect. But I never imagined it could be so “okay”

There will only be so much you can do as parents, but maybe some of your kids will prevail. My grandmother died broken-hearted, assuming that she failed. But she didn’t. Her support manifested years later, I just wish she had lived to see it.

Anyways…

@House Cat I am so sorry to hear about your son. The pandemic has been hard on even high functioning people with no history of mental illness…for those who have a history, it’s been especially hard. I wonder if you too have had your own struggles this year, which makes it harder to see what is happening to others…don’t torment yourself about “what-ifs”. They will give you no satisfaction. I hope you get the support you need, truly. It’s been a horrible year…
 

Queenie60

Ideal_Rock
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Sep 15, 2014
Messages
4,844
@House Cat - I am so very sorry that you're having issues with your son. I've been there and feel deeply for you in my heart. If it makes you feel any better, our son is not 27 and functioning. It has been a long ride and we can see the light. I'll pray for you and am thinking of you each and every day.
 

AGBF

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Jan 26, 2003
Messages
21,986
House Cat- You have been through so much over the years. There are no words. You have been a great, caring mother. You have always tried. You have always had empathy. You have always stretched and cared about mental illness when others did not understand it. Sometimes it strikes some of our families like anything else and it isn't fair. I hope you can come here for friendship and that you have other support systems. Always know you did the utmost.

Hugs,
Deb
 

House Cat

Ideal_Rock
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Joined
Feb 22, 2009
Messages
4,480
Do they have any groups or counseling for family members for his day program?
Or family sessions to help you, as a family, help him when he transitions home?

I'm sorry you are going through this and don't beat yourself up for 'missing' this.
As a parent you are always, always hoping for the best and looking for positive signs. And teens are very adept at hiding things. It's good he came to you and asked to go to the ER--I view that as a positive sign of him reaching out to you when he needed help.
As far as moving out of town---pffft. My ex also was always trying to blame others and access to drugs. The truth is, if a child (or adult) has addictive tendencies or mental health issues, changing their location will not make them go away. It will make them do drugs with different people--that's all.
That being said---if there is a drug issue, he will eventually have to find a different social group if he wants to be sober. And that will be his decision--you can't 'make' him do that.
It's a bumpy ride--sorry.

They do have a family program, but I have mental illness and have been treating it for over 20 years. I’ve actually been hospitalized at that same hospital. I’ve also done 15 years of therapy. I kind of know the basics. I guess that’s why I’m beating myself up for missing this.

His father and I have had a session with his therapist. Once he is done with the hospital program, we will have family sessions.

It was a positive that he came to me and asked to go to the ER. He said that he started to imagine the people he loved finding out he was dead. He saw their pain and wanted to live.

We still don’t know if there is a drug problem. He said a friend gave him the cocaine as a birthday present and he held on to it. Then, in an impulsive, manic thought, he thought it would be a good way to commit suicide. Either way, we bought bulk drug tests and he will be tested randomly. The hospital doesn’t seem to think there is a drug problem. I guess time will tell. Teens can be cunning.

Thanks everyone for your reassurance. It’s one thing when it’s yourself who is mentally ill, it’s a whole other thing when it’s your child. I never understood that until now. I’m sorry for that lack of understanding in the past.
 

Cerulean

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 13, 2019
Messages
2,463
They do have a family program, but I have mental illness and have been treating it for over 20 years. I’ve actually been hospitalized at that same hospital. I’ve also done 15 years of therapy. I kind of know the basics. I guess that’s why I’m beating myself up for missing this.

His father and I have had a session with his therapist. Once he is done with the hospital program, we will have family sessions.

It was a positive that he came to me and asked to go to the ER. He said that he started to imagine the people he loved finding out he was dead. He saw their pain and wanted to live.

We still don’t know if there is a drug problem. He said a friend gave him the cocaine as a birthday present and he held on to it. Then, in an impulsive, manic thought, he thought it would be a good way to commit suicide. Either way, we bought bulk drug tests and he will be tested randomly. The hospital doesn’t seem to think there is a drug problem. I guess time will tell. Teens can be cunning.

Thanks everyone for your reassurance. It’s one thing when it’s yourself who is mentally ill, it’s a whole other thing when it’s your child. I never understood that until now. I’m sorry for that lack of understanding in the past.

It could be a one off (the drugs)

I went overboard as a teen, but nothing habit forming. Even random positives might not equal addiction. Some teens feel a lot of social pressure or just socially do drugs, especially if he’s hanging with a not as great crowd (not implying he is, but wanted to mention as a mere possibility)
 

Calliecake

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 7, 2014
Messages
7,668
@House Cat, I’m so sorry for what your family is going thru. Please be kind to yourself. We never really know what others are thinking and feeling. Please know you have a lot of support here.
 

missy

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Jun 8, 2008
Messages
46,861
@House Cat I am so sorry for all you and your family are going through. Sending you many well wishes and gentle hugs and keeping you and your son in my thoughts. I cannot imagine all you are dealing with but I know one thing for sure...your son is lucky he has you on his side. {{{Hugs}}}.
 
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