High Stress Levels in Parents of Adult Children with Mental IllnessFebruary 13, 2012 • A GoodTherapy.org News Summary
Any caregiver is likely to be vulnerable to stress. However, parents who care for a child with a serious mental illness (SMI) are at increased risk for adverse physical symptoms resulting from stress. Those who care for an adult child with SMI are even more likely to experience the negative effects of stress because of the length of time that they have had to cope with the difficult task of caring for a loved one with mental health issues. Although there is a vast amount of evidence showing how caring for a child with SMI can negatively impact a parent’s psychological health, there is scant clinical evidence highlighting the deleterious physiological effects to the caregiver. Erin T. Barker of the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison addressed this specific dynamic in a recent study by examining the cortisol levels in individuals charged with the care of adult children with SMI.
For her study, Barker asked 61 parents of adults with depression, schizophrenia, or bipolar to complete a stress diary and submit daily saliva samples over a period of several days. The cortisol levels of the participants were compared to the levels of 321 parents of adult children who had no mental health concerns. Barker discovered that the cortisol awakening response (CAR) of the parents of adult children with SMI increased less significantly half an hour after they arose in the morning than the control group. This suggests that the caregivers had a higher stress level upon waking than did the control group. Additionally, Barker found that the cortisol levels of the caregivers declined less throughout the day than did the cortisol levels found in the parents of adult children who did not have SMI.
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“The fact that a similar pattern of hypoactivated daily cortisol in response to stress has been found across studies of parents of individuals with different diagnoses (i.e., schizophrenia, autism, developmental disabilities, and in the present analysis, SMI) and that used different measures of stress (i.e., behavioral problems of the adult child with the diagnosis, time spent with the adult child, and in the present analysis, daily stress not necessarily associated with the adult child) provides strong converging evidence for this effect,” Barker said. She added that these findings underscore the importance of addressing the mental health, physiological health, and coping needs of aging parents who care for adult children with serious mental health issues.
Barker, E. T., Greenberg, J. S., Seltzer, M. M., Almeida, D. M. Daily Stress and Cortisol Patterns in Parents of Adult Children with a Serious Mental Illness. Health Psychology 31.1 (2012): 130-34. Print.
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The preceding article summarizes research or news from periodicals or related source material in the fields of mental health and psychology. GoodTherapy.org did not participate in or condone any studies, or conclucions thereof, that may have been cited. Any views or opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org.
erin nFebruary 14th, 2012 at 5:24 AM
There is no parent that should have to deal with something like this in their child, but there are those who do and some handle it well and others are filled with the stress and pressures of having a child with this kind of disability. This is not something that most of us would imagine parenthood being like, but for many parents this is the reality that they have been dealt. It does not make it easier but there are some very good support groups out there who can better help them deal and face the issues that are sure to come their way.
Mary GraysonFebruary 14th, 2012 at 4:34 PM
I feel so bad for these parents who have dedicated their whole lives to taking care of their children who have disabilities. That takes so much strength, something that I am not sure that I would have the endurance to do for the duration of their lives. It seems so bittersweet that they have to dedicate all of this to those kids- I know that the children cannot help it and the parents are dealing with the cards that they have been dealt, but it feels like such a shame that all of these lives get used up in this way.
Randye KayeFebruary 15th, 2012 at 12:58 PM
I’m mother to a wonderful young man who has schizophrenia, author of the memoir about it (called Ben Behind His Voices), NAMI educator (Family to Family)and blogger…and the post I’m working on now is called Mental Illness and Families: the “Burden of Care”. This is a sensitive and important subject for us all, as we strive to balance our loved one’s independence with their needs, and our own lives with those of the people we love. Stress, indeed – I am not surprised. We do, like it or not, parent our children “for better or worse” – but I will say that education about mental illness saved our emotional lives. My family knows we take care of others when we can, but also must take care of ourselves or the results are not pretty.
SamFebruary 15th, 2012 at 1:54 PM
I grew up with an uncle who had to live his whole life with my grandparents because he could not live on his own. They never once complained about the constant care and the sacrifices that they had to make because that was his child. Some people said it was a blessing when he died but my grandparentsgrieved and grieved because he was always their little boy and they loved him more than you could ever imagine. No matter the situation it is never easy to lose and bury your own child.
C n SeeFebruary 15th, 2012 at 11:45 PM
Parents may love the child and take care without a single complaint ever but it does take a tool on them.It snot easy caring for an individual with a health problem and is bound to have stressful and thereby making things even difficult :(
michelleJune 25th, 2012 at 12:11 PM
Then there are the added complications of legal problems some of these children experience. As a mother to an adult child who is bipolar, I was not prepared for him to also have to navigate legal troubles that resulted from his behavior. Truly, nobody I know can understand how terrifying this is. His birth mother is deceased so there’s no place to go for genetic history. And the courts don’t seem to care that the offenders have issues that incarceration alone cannot fix. It’s a very scary addition to an already stressful existence.
AngelaJanuary 16th, 2013 at 8:56 AM
I have a son that suffers from a TBA from a MVA. He has the same things as schizophrenia. He also has so much anger. Me and his father are at a loss. He has tortured us now for the past 7 years. His dad has just had a break down. This can not go on forever, what can we do? We love him but he is not the son we raised.
Leslie AdamsonMay 6th, 2013 at 9:57 AM
I am a mother of two schizophrenic daughters. I have been trying to care for them for 12 years. One lives with me and I cannot continue since my mental and physical health is now coming to an all time low. I have done this alone with the help of DMH. I know that I will have to find permanent housing for the one who has lived with me. This is an unbearable thought..it is like asking me whether I want to cut off my left hand or my right hand. I feel guilty that I am no longer able to bear it, but I am even more stressed not having her by my side. I simply can’t handle it anymore. I am working with DMH. Any words of encouragement or support out there?
Ingrid BrandaoJune 12th, 2013 at 5:31 PM
It seems that we have much in common….I have two adult sons, age 27 with schizophrenia. Fortunately, I have my husband, but our lives are very painful and stressful, as you know.
Maybe, we can help each other cope.
LorettoAugust 1st, 2013 at 10:30 PM
I’m actually on the flip side of this situation. I’m disabled due to a mental illness (Bipolar Type II and Generalized Anxiety Disorder) living with my elderly mother. My illness is not so severe that my mother is caring for me, but I started looking for alternate housing last year, when I realized that my mother is actually contributing to my illness. This past spring, I started to pull out of a three-year major depression in which my major form of exercise consisted of turning over in bed to lie on my other side for a while. I begged my mother to push me assign me a few household chores, make plans for shopping trips the next day for me to go along on, and her attitude was, I’m an adult, if I want to lie in bed all day I should go ahead and do that. As I’ve become psychologically less depressed, I’ve developed a lot of physical problems and illness, which I think is at least partly depression related. I had started managing my anxiety by meditation and other holistic means. And my mother has become increasingly emotionally abusive- not yelling and screaming, but playing sick little mind games. I’ve applied for housing in several other buildings over the past several months, but waiting lists for low-income and disabled housing are years long. Things came to a head last week. I had just gotten a part-time job as a video chat hostess working over the internet, and so while I’m stressed over my new job (I really like the job, but the apartment is too small for me to have a permanent workspace, so setting up and tearing down is a lot of work) she has been laying additional obligations on me, leaving housework undone at about the time I would need to be setting up my workspace, and nagging, nagging, nagging. You’d think she would be glad that I have something that helps with my sense of self-worth and contributes to the household income and cut me a little slack until I get settled into the job and can get a routine going. I had to go back on my anti-anxiety medication largely due to her abuse. The other day, I reached a breaking point, and contacted my DMH worker and told her if I didn’t get into new housing soon, I’m either going to commit suicide or become violent toward my mother. My DMH worker told me my situation is actually common- elderly parents will emotionally abuse a mentally ill or disabled adult child to the point that they crack and either threaten violence or actually hit them, then cry “elder abuse”, and once that accusation has been made, you’re guilty even after proven innocent and will never be able to get into disabled housing where there are elderly people living in the building (which is the case in nearly all housing for the disabled). The stress and abuse has affected my physical health to the point I’ve had to take off work in order to recuperate. I’m an independent contractor, so I can do that, but it makes me look really unprofessional and the company I’m working for is not happy. My DMH worker may be able to get me into housing within the next couple of months, but the rent will be more than 80% of my SSDI income, so I need to get back online and working again so I can start making enough extra income that I can afford the rent and utilities. Meanwhile, over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to be contacting the Housing Authority and see if I can get bumped up on the wait lists because I’m in a crisis situation, but for the time being, I just have to white-knuckle it.
KarenMarch 8th, 2014 at 5:11 PM
I am having a really hard time. We have been parenting my son who struggles with depression, anxiety, mood disorder,ADHD, learning disabilities and now substance issues. He is 19 and we had to have him removed from our home. It is tearing out my heart and soul. I know that we have done all we can and will continue to support him as best we can. It’s hard to function like all is ok and to grieve for all of our suffering. It’s hard not to feel helpless as you watch things unfold. I look at other young men and wonder why.. It’s so sad.
VictoriaApril 16th, 2014 at 6:58 PM
I have borne the brunt of my son’s bi polar outbursts and abuse of our entire family since he was a young boy. He is now 18 and we can’t really distinguish the mental illness from his abusive personality traits that smacks of his father’s behavior (which is why I divorced his father). I just can’t take anymore. My cortisol levels are through the roof, I hardly eat and yet am overweight, of course, it’s the cortisol, and my son’s revolting behavior towards my husband, his step-father, a man who has provided all a father could and more (his bio dad fled the country to get out of paying child support) has nearly destroyed our marriage. At what point, do I have the right to tell my son to just leave, get out and leave us alone. I have nursed him through two suicide attempts and now he uses the threat of suicide to coerce us into giving in to whatever he demands of us. I don’t even know who he is anymore, I mean, really, he bears no resemblance anymore to the sweet little boy I loved and tried as hard as I could to raise well and care for. Today he said something so cruel and vile to me that he finally crossed a line I cannot abide. My son has alianated his sister, his step-brothers and now finally me, his mother. He has been provided with all the medical care that can be offered, we have three mental health professionals on the payroll and yet nothing is working. I have paid thousands in co-pays, hospital bills and RXs and for nothing It’s like he doesn’t even want to try and cope with his illness, and we are all his victims…he has no care for the pain his reckless words and behavior causes us. I want out of this hell.
KimMay 24th, 2014 at 2:46 PM
I came to this site because I felt like I was about to have a nervous breakdown over my adult son. He has been diagnosed with Bipolar I with psychosis. He is continually abusive to me when he is manic and says scary things. For example he calls himself lord Lucifer. He looses touch with reality during his manic times. I feel like I am watching a slow moving train wreck and worry about what he will do next. Will he end up in jail again or take another trip to the mental hospital? Will I survive this? Will he survive this? My son has been successful, owns his own business and performs comedy. He is able to keep it together for short stretches of time. But that’s it. Short stretches of time. Then the mania takes over and ruins his life and everyone around him that loves him. He is extremely abusive and dangerous. He stops showering, shaving and taking care of his house. I try to tell him to get help because he is on a downward spiral, but I’m speaking to deaf ears. He is in his own reality right now. I think this is going to kill me as his mother who loves him and worries daily. All I can do is to give myself some space from him and try to keep it together myself. But when I try to get space from his abuse he says that I’m not supporting him during his darkest times. Help! What have others done to get through this insanity and stay sane while trying to help them out of their trauma?
CherylJuly 12th, 2014 at 7:23 PM
Funny how you kind of trip over things like this as you blindly search…..search…..search…..the Internet for anything to help: answers, information, support, empathy. And so I found this page — an interesting article, but more than that a collection of people whose stories are so much like my own.
I am a single (divorced) mother whose husband washed his hands of parenthood a few years ago. My 24 year old son has suffered depression and anxiety since age 16, and is getting worse. He refuses treatment but continues sinking deeper into despair — becoming hostile and abusive (mainly toward me, but also to his sister and others), pushing people away, and having difficulty thriving and becoming self-sufficient in the world.
I am perpetually holding my breath, living in fear that he will one day tire of the battle and take his own life.
It’s sad to see the lack of responses to posters here who ask for coping tips…Maybe there are just no tips to be had. Maybe, like all of life’s tests, we simply survive it because we have no other choice.
There’s a quote I’m reminded of: ‘I feel so much better now that I’ve given up hope.’ Maybe one key is to have low expectations: don’t even hope to be rescued. Once you resign yourself to it, there’s no more reason to think about it and you might find yourself feeling OK sometimes.
I am in awe of the courage and strength I see here, and the infinite love of parents for their children. Godspeed to you all, and thank you for sharing your stories. I feel less alone.
JacquelineJuly 16th, 2014 at 11:28 AM
Cheryl, Thank you for your post it was insightful…letting go releases you as well as your love one.
LouiseAugust 8th, 2014 at 10:53 AM
I wish I had some encouraging words. I am currently dealing an with an adult daughter with bipolar disorder who can hold a job, she gets them but cant keep them. she should be on disability, but is in denial and gets more than angry when I make suggestions. there is a little boy involved here to that often is caught in the middle of her wrath when she is angry, and she doesn’t care. I am ready to cut her loose totally just to survive myself. I am home from work today because of so much stress from last night when she told me she was going to stop one of her meds. Any advice for support would be helpful
Nicole MclaurinAugust 31st, 2014 at 12:31 AM
My daughter is 26 years old. She was a pretty normal person most of her life. She had three little boys one after the other. Her mental illness getting worse after each pregnancy. She left her husband and came to leave with me. Leaving with her was very inpredictable. She attacked me twice, stole my car and broke my windows. I had to get a restraining order against just to protect myself. She went to jail twice because she does not show up in court when she supposed to. And today she’s coming out of jail. I love my daughter with all my heart. She’ll probably never know how much I love her but I have to let her go if I want to save myself. It is a heartbreaking situation and I feel for all the parents who are going through this.
SheilaSeptember 3rd, 2014 at 11:11 AM
My son is 26 and has been diagnosed as bi polar schizophrinic since 15. Son has been in and out of our home since he became an adult. My husband is beyond ready to have our home to ourselves. My son just got on Medicaid does not have Disability does not know if He wants it. My son just this pass week end slit both wrist and they sent him home. I didn’t even go to the hospital this time in hopes that if I didn’t show up to rescue him they would actually possibly see how much help he needs. Instead they released him to a have a therapist call him who my son has been listed under for over a year, but has never seen. Finally, today the therapist calls to make an appointment with my son and apologizes for calling late because he has been moving offices.
My son slit his wrist while drinking. He did this in my basement. Stole money from my wallet to buy the alcohol. Then I wake to find my son slurring his words again last night. I slept with one eye open in a chair at the bottom of my stairs by the front door.
Where does this madness end?? Where does his life begin??
KimSeptember 11th, 2014 at 6:48 PM
That’s my question Victoria. Just when do we have permission to start recovery from verbal abuse, financial ruin, and not having a life so to speak. I, as the mother of a 21 year of daughter with bipolar disorder, PSTD, borderline personality disorder, and more, do not suffer from any diagnosed SMIs but sure think of a way out by just running away from it all some times…I have no help and I’m just worn out. To top that I have Addison’s Disease myself and can’t even process stress like a normal person. Almost killed me twice…:-(
Linda L.September 16th, 2014 at 10:55 PM
Dear Sheila, I know how hard this is for. My son is 27 yrs d and he’s schizophrenia is driving a wedge between us. We also had our son in the hospital several times. We kept putting off SSI in hopes he would get “better”. He hasn’t but now we are getting some financial help. They also pay me the care giver. Its so hard to deal with a grown man. Especially when he drinks. I really think they need to be pro active about mental health. The police had to pick him up last time. After two days, my husband said ” you know, it’s kinda nice. No yelling, being bullied etc”. He called 5 minutes later a was released! He’s a adult now. So we have no privileged info because of hippa. We know nothing more than day he went in. Its sad. We only want the best for our kids. But at 18, we are no longer involved on his plan of care. Best wishes to you all
A patient and victim of denial like what I'm hearing, blah, blah, blahSeptember 18th, 2014 at 9:19 PM
I hate to say this–because I see so many other women here–WOMEN–the men walk off and leave the women, and refuse to take responsibility–like my own father did, and he managed to drain my trust fund and my mother’s too while he was at it. Someone like me who inherited stock from a privately held oil company that was founded by one of my great uncles never should have been on food stamps, working 3 jobs, beat up from work injuries by the time I was 36 years old no one would hire me so I started my own company. Yes I’m bipolar–and it was only 5 and a half months ago, when I was 50 years old that one of these doctors finally diagnosed me with ADD–after I had been beating the guy senseless and spoon feeding him with symptoms–I really love my therapist, don’t get me wrong. He’s old school, hard core, and doesn’t take any of the BS I’m seeing here. People don’t RECOVER until they WANT TO–no one can make them do it.
And how on earth do you think these thongs happen anyway? Darwin baby, get a clue–if you’re one of those people who says “we don’t have mental illness, alcoholism, drug addiction, gays, etc, in our family” you’re smoking some great buds, I’d like to know where you’re collective is located–SMH
hSeptember 24th, 2014 at 11:55 PM
My adult child(bipolar, borderline personality disorder, anger/relationship issues) and grandchild want to live with me and my spouse immediately).We live in poverty and are both in failing health. My parent is terminally ill, and these are my last days with her. I don’t want to lose my grandchild (foster care twice already)by saying NO. We have offered to take him in while she tries to get on her feet(never been able to do),but she wants to stay with him. We have tried to help her for many years(and so have countless others).She is on meds, but no therapy. She has difficulty keeping jobs, keeping shelter, paying bills. We cannot afford to pay for two households. I am not safe if she lives with me. Don’t know what to do. Pray for us all.
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VickiOctober 3rd, 2014 at 9:58 PM
My family is in the same boat. My brother is mentally ill and has many struggles. He has punched holes in my parents walls and has even slapped my dad. He was recently baker acted. Five days later the mental facility contacted us and said to come get him because they needed the extra beds for new patients to come in. They basically we’re throwing him out without being stabilized. Here’s what we did. We made an immediate appointment with all his doctors with the entire family together. We discussed a plan and have stuck to it. We have no expectations and just keep pushing on. We decided that due to the violent behaviors perhaps my parents have worn out there welcome with my brother. Not to any fault of their own as they are the greatest parents ever. It simply had taken a toll on them and they were too tired to keep helping him at the capacity that they were at. So we looked into a mortgage that people who are rendered disabled to get him a home of his own. We moved him out and hired a life coach. The life coach goes to his house several times a week to help by groceries etc. when he is depressed we spend time at his house instead of bringing him to our house or we may even spend the night. We take him to his doctors appointments still but this is working great because we can be involved and still over see everything but we don’t have to deal with it 24 hours a day anymore and wear ourselves down. Utilizing the life coach prohibits us from micromanaging his life and doing things for him. It teaches him to do it for himself. It is natural that we wanted all these years to protect him and just do everything for him but it created a person who already has mental issues to now have resentment because he could read us like a book and manipulate. And when I say manipulate it is not intentional. When he doesn’t want to do something because it causes stress and anxiety he acts out causing us tons of stress and to just give in, he is only self protecting himself from anxiety. So with the life coach he is less likely to fight the battle with a stranger and more likely to cooperate out of fear of not really knowing that person. So far things are looking up. He will probably never hold a job or even have relationships outside our family but we have enough love to make up for all that. Best of luck to everyone but sometimes excepting and letting go and taking risks is the only salvation for a family dealing with a family member with mental illness.
Danielle CollinsOctober 13th, 2014 at 5:58 PM
Good day. I am 44 living and working in Texas and my sister who is 2years my senior, is l iving off of my aging mother, who is on a fixed income and i have to sometimes supplement her income. My mom has had some health issues in past (blood pressure, 2 hrt attks, blood clot to her left lung…that one was the scariest, high cholestrol…you get my point) she does not need any kind of stress in her life. That being said, my sister who is 46, has not worked in several years. She continues to hop from one person to the next, can never take responsibility for herself, tried for 2years to get on disability claiming mental issues…that didn’t work or so well and now she is back in Texas living off of my mother, making multiple trips to hospital claiming physically ill, 4 x’s in less than 6 weeks with all visits laying 5-7 days or more. All tests come back normal, nothing is found to be wrong…she she plays it up and insist she is ill. As i am sure there is a mental condition for that, so i do believe there is something wrong with her, how do i go about getting her the PROPER help that it’s needed and not this merry go round routine wearing down my mother (since i work and live in another town, i can’t be there to deal with my sister personally as much as is needed to remove the burden from my mother. I hope i am not coming off as harsh, as i have alot on my plate already deali b g with my godfather being resently diagnosed with stage 4 lung, liver and brain cancer, so please forgive me i seemingly have no smypathy for someone wanting to be sick when i have another wanting nothing more than be healthy.
BarbaraOctober 14th, 2014 at 7:20 AM
I stumbled upon this site by chance, and I’ve seen nothing like it anywhere on the ‘net’. I have a 29 year old son who’s had severe mental health problems since he was 17 years old. He has his own flat, but spends most of his time living with me. When he’s taking medication (aripiprazole) he’s fine, but he hates taking it and periodically stops, leading to a rapid downward spiral. I am, to put it mildly, totally and utterly exhausted by it. I feel as if I have been living in a nightmare for the past 12 years, with brief periods of respite when he’s taking medication. I hope this site will help me to feel less alone. I live in the UK and there don’t seem to be any appropriate support groups here.
lOctober 15th, 2014 at 10:21 AM
Looks like Vikki comment #24 is the only one offering a solution, which requires extended family involvement. I had never thought of the life coach idea. My son is currently Baker acted. He is 31. He has had problems since he was 6. I ended up divorcing his father for substance/mental health issues. He (father) committed suicide after we were divorced. My son has been in and out of facilities since he was 12. He does well for awhile, especially in controlled environments, was in the military, has held jobs, but the addiction spirals out of control and we are back to square one. He is married, but I dont see how it will last. I think the hard thing is knowing how involved to be or not to be. He is my son, and I love him, but it takes a toll. I have to try to focus on keeping myself well too. My heart is with all you out there who are living this nightmare. We are not alone.
lizette A.October 15th, 2014 at 1:20 PM
We are parents of South Africa our daughter is 10 and we had living hell from the time she was born. She has 10 different diseases , Addison, multiple personality disorder , depression,ostioporoses , hart problems , left hip problems ,third disorder,hormone divescincy ,epilepsy ,list goes on and on. we love her and do our best but can say with all our love this life is hard and it sometimes feel like now one out there know how you feel and what you have to do to keep going every day this is not a joke. She has so many mental problems and with that Addison’s her hart is giving problems and a whole lot more. We can’t remember when last we had a decent night of sleep or did not get up in the morning with body pain of being so tired working your self to the ground and still not be able to meet all the bills in a end of a month some time me as her mother just want to stand on a mountain top and scream HELP maybe some one will come and fix everything.
Linda C.October 16th, 2014 at 10:42 AM
Comment # 26 I am in a very similar situation to you and have been trying to find a carers support group in London to no avail. If you do read this please get in touch and maybe we can support each other.
Barbara L.October 17th, 2014 at 4:46 PM
Hi Linda, (#29)
This is Barbara (#26). Thanks for replying to my comments. I live in London too! Maybe you could say a bit more about your situation? I wonder how many of us there are in London, looking for a support group! I would find it difficult attending a group, though, as I work afternoons and evenings. However, I would really appreciate being in touch with people who understand my situation. Hope to hear from you again.
SueOctober 24th, 2014 at 4:31 AM
To everyone who has shared their stories, wishing you strength. Mental illness runs in my family. There have been some very dark times but I still thank each day that my loved ones are still alive. One year my dad died of cancer and both my mother and brother both attempted suicide all within a week. Ever since I have decided that life is the most important thing even though at times it is hard to hope. For myself as the ‘well’ person, setting boundaries is very important. My love is endless but my money, time and sleep has to be protected or I can’t help anyone. I try to appreciate the small moments of calm and beauty like a sunset or the scent of jasmine. Probably sounds lame but it works for me. I am very lucky to have a good job and have developed the ability to switch my head into work mode instantly even after a stressful phone call or text conversation. Please everyone try to love yourselves and forgive yourselves when you reach your limits.
MatthewOctober 26th, 2014 at 7:40 AM
I want to live full time with my Mom and Dad. I am autistic and I live in an apartment with supported living. I visit my Mom and Dad 2 times a Month and thay are 2 Day and 3 Day sleep over visits. Mom and Dad want to live their own life meanning thay don’et want me to live full time with my Mom and Dad and I don’et like that. Do you have any places where me and my Mom and Dad can go to or any suggestions?
JanetOctober 27th, 2014 at 5:16 PM
Omg thank you for that. It gave me permission to protect my money, my sleep and myself. I had two bipolar adult kids. I now have one. My son died of a heroin overdose. Code for bipolar. My 38 year old daughter who is high functioning at work but not at all in her personal relationships to include ours. She says the most horrible cruel things to me and about me tho we are very close. She threatens suicide every month And attempts it often is shes a cutter. Her body is a chopped up mess. I just wait for that call again.
DeannaNovember 8th, 2014 at 9:00 PM
I feel lost at times like life is leading me into a dead end never dreamed my life would be like this three beautiful kids and I am divorced and my ex suffers from schizophrenia and bipolar and is off in another state in his own world well I fight this battle alone with our kids. Two of my kids suffer from mental health issues my 13 year old suffers from sever depression and spends all day locked in his room and even skips school to stay in his room has suicidal thoughts and wont talk to no one not even me any more, my daughter my baby suffers from bipolar, anger issues, adjustment disorder,adhd and ocd I believe she has schizophrenia I see signs everyday is different with her, she has been institutionalized twice, all adults and kids are scared of her when she gets mad and she is only 9. I have a mental health social worker in home therapist psychiatrist, counselors, teachers and myself all working with my kids. Someday’s I feel like no one understand how can I be so alone in this big world helping to kids fight a battle within themselves. People tell me to lock my kids up realistically what kind of parent would do that a monster in my book that is always my last resort when the police have intervened and said it’s not safe for us to have her stay in the home anymore because of her outburst. I would never send my kids away turn my back on them because they have mental illness like my ex, yes some days are tough but I prey and I get threw it. I do feel like I am collapsing though not sure sometimes how much strength I have to do this alone anymore. I reach out to find anyone else who understand me and my situation.
Barbara L.November 11th, 2014 at 6:14 AM
To Deanna, #34, I completely understand your pain and exhaustion. My son is 29, and has had issues with severe anger outbursts all his life. He had his first psychotic breakdown when he was 17, and has been in and out of hospitals many times. He showed signs of mental illness when he was a child but no-one picked up on it. He was my first child, so I had nothing to compare his behaviour with. He made the lives of his brother and sister hell, with his violent outbursts. I have been on my own with all three children since my eldest son was 7, my younger son 5 and my daughter 2. I am exhausted and full of grief that my son has no real chance of having a normal, happy life.I live in the UK. It is good to be in contact with people who understand.
TinaNovember 19th, 2014 at 9:49 PM
When my son was about 14 I noticed something not quit right in his mental development. It was also about the same time he started sneaking out of house and using drugs. Before this he was doing great in school and in sports but then within a few months everything was upside down. I’ve raised him myself and have had no family around. It was difficult when he was young just trying to manage all the expenses and time to raise a child by myself but is almost unbearable as he is getting older. When he was 15 I moved to the other side of town hoping this would help. It didn’t. I found he was stealing from me and selling my things for drugs. The doctors said it is called self medicating. I started making police reports hoping the paperwork would lead to help. He was never charged- these were complaints. In many ways it did but it was a heartbreaking journey. I was missing a lot of work by trying to get him counseling and also the time chasing him down when he would disappear or not be in school. Since I was a single parent the state assisted by putting him into a forest care home which one parent was always supervising him. I request that the home be at least an hour away from Albuquerque due to my son going to local friends home that only embedded his behavior. He was with the other family for six months and while in the program the other family -along with myself and teachers agreed that if he stayed in high school that if may only make his behavior worse. So at 16 with only four credits of high school he went through the GED program. After the six months with the family he was released and had a probational officer assigned. However, the program was zero tolerance for drugs and he used pot on serval occasions. The state then siad they would either put him back into a two parent family so someone was always watching him or put him into a drug court program which was very intense. I chose the drug court program. It was a lot of work not only for my son but also for me. Almost daily we had to a counseling section or something with drug court. After a few months the counselor informed me he agreed with me that there was noticing something was off with my son but was not sure what it was and asked to run more testing. I agreed. This testing was done over a period of several months. The program was zero tolerance and if you messed up the Judge would put you into the juvenal center. A month before his 18th birthday he used pot and was being tested so instead he ran. He disappeared for a month. Two days before his 18th birthday he was picked up and once in juvenal center they did the last and final section of the full psychiatric test. He had going to spend a week in juvenal ,however, the test revealed that he had a developmental mental disorder which he no longer qualified to be in the drug court program but it was also very risky taking him out of juvenal center since his testing come back with multiple street drug in his system of a high volume. They keeper him in the center for five weeks to hopefully clean him up but this was the longer the Judge could hold him since he was also now 18. He was given medication which did help his behavior but after a few months he stopped taking. I couldn’t force him to take medication even with limiting what I would allow him to do. We applied for SS disability in NM in 2012 which we provided all the information and what he was diagnosed with and we went to their assigned doctor for the evaluation but have not heard back from SS. When he was 19 he did a semester of college. I though he was doing well. I took him and pick him up but at the end of semester he failed every class – he failed to do the work as assigned or instructions or had social fears which limited him. He is now 21 – no job- no school- odd sleeping patterns- outburst of behaviors- odd eating and very very thin- odd speech- very smart- a beautiful off mind. We have recently moved out of NM to MO and I just don’t know where to turn for help. He has no insurance and not a penny or asset to him name. Taking care of him is limiting me and we need help. I believe he needs to live in a group home that can help him with getting a job and on his feet. He is very bright but he can’t manage a bank account. I am at the point if something doesn’t change soon he may be out on the streets living because I need to survive and him continuing to live like a 10 year old I may be only abetting him if he doesn’t face hard reality . Him on the street maybe the only way to get government support but I don’t even know if that would be what it takes to get them to do something. If anyone knows of a program that can help support please let me know.
PamNovember 24th, 2014 at 3:45 PM
I hear your pain. It is lonely. The hardest part for me is I feel alone and no one understands or cares to understand. Some days I just want to stay in bed or end my life.
November 24th, 2014 at
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• Call your local law enforcement agency (911);
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• Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TTY:1-800-799-4TTY)
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is equipped to take a wide range of calls, from immediate suicidal crisis to providing information about mental health. Some of the reasons to call are listed below: • Call to speak with someone who cares;
• Call if you feel you might be in danger of hurting yourself;
• Call to find referrals to mental health services in your area;
• Call to speak to a crisis worker about someone you’re concerned about.
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• The National Sexual Assault Hotline: If you need support, call 800.656.HOPE, and you will be directed to a rape crisis center near your area.
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• For more information visit http://rainn.org/get-help/national-sexual-assault-online-hotline.
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LadyDiJanuary 10th, 2015 at 1:52 PM
To everyone who is suffering on this forum… I feel your pain. I understand how none of your family or friends know your pain because they have no idea the hell every second of every day is when a parent lives with a child, young or adult, with a mental illness.
For ten years, my husband and I have done everything humanly possible to help our grown son. He is still not diagnosed correctly. He’s been to a dozen psychiatrists, been baker acted, gone to outpatient therapy, and he fools them all. We’ve been told he’s an alcoholic or he has ADHD, which he doesn’t… just so he can get on Adderal. He’s been prescribed that drug for almost 10 years.
I look at my son and I see a little sweet boy, even though on the outside he is now a 30 year old angry lonely man searching for the normal life he should have had over a decade ago.
He has many successes in school in terms of full scholarships and degrees. But he can’t get along nor socialize with others. He hasn’t had a friend in years. He was best all around as a Senior in highschool – athletic – popular – kind… then after going away to college something major changed in his personality.
It’s gotten worse over the years and all the doctors say he’s normal.
He’s been misdiagnosed and it’s like he’s still there trapped in his own body. He knows how to manipulate and work the system. He’s hurting inside, dying inside, all alone – a recluse for years.
His thoughts are jumbled, he thinks he’s being followed or spied on, he blames everyone else for all the hell in his life. He talks to himself – his life is a sad miserable one and we don’t know how it got to this point. It is pure insanity. Everyone who knew and loved him are now afraid of him. He rants and raves and has huge anger problems. His father and I have planned an escape route incase he snaps – like the others on this site… only we know the pure hell of thinking night after night the baby you loved and nurtured might burst through your doors and end your life.
Friends always give you advice, like stop paying for him and taking care of him, get him arrested, tough love… it’s easy to give advice when you are dealing with normal kids. If we stop helping him or anger him… he could kill us or himself.
We all, parents with children with mental health issues live in a world of Insanity. We become insane because the insanity becomes a normal part of our daily life. We walk on eggshells and never know when the moods will change for no reason from one minute to the next.
Our children have been in trouble with the law, other people, cannot hold jobs because of their strange behavior, do not understand what’s wrong with them, but know something is.
They cry to us wanting to know why they’re not normal wanting so desperately to be. We see glimpses of our perfect sons and daughters and hope this time they will be the same… until the monster within them comes out again.
When we try to explain to them they have a mental illness and need help they explode. If our children were diagnosed with diabetes and needed to go to a specialist, that is acceptable. But a child with mental illness getting help from a psychiatrist… they are labeled as “crazy” and resist because it’s a taboo. Mental Illness is an “ILLNESS” and the world needs to start treating it as such.
It should not be a hush hush subject – just as any other diagnoses should not be. They did not ask to be born with a mental illness, just as a child with diabetes or asthma did not ask to be born like that. It’s an illness that needs to be treated without a stigma attached to it.
When one has an adult child with mental illness – we cannot get or give any info to the psychiatrist UNLESS the patient with mental illness who cannot rationalize or make informed decisions for themselves, is the patient who has all the rights. We are left out of the helping and gaining and sharing pertinent info in helping our own children because they are over 18. This is ludacris and the HIPA laws do not work in these cases.
I felt better having read your forums and don’t feel as alone as I have knowing others are going through my hell. I finally got my son admitted to a very expensive facility, but another problem is insurance helping defray the outrageous costs of getting help for a loved one with a mental illness. It’s not fair. All illnesses, no matter if they are in the brain, stomach, leg, etc… should be treated and considered equal. They are all an illness in the body.
In closing, my husband has been asking me to “Pick One” either him or my son after the last few years of living this hell together. I could never pick between the man I love or son I love. He abandoned the family 3 months ago. I am all alone with my son dealing with the same hell by myself. He escaped. I wish I could. But I have a heart and am not a coward. I have a responsibility to those I love. We are all on this earth for a reason. Right now I’ve been wishing my life would end already. The stress and pain is too much for me to handle. I’m beyond depressed missing my husband yet having to keep my sanity in helping my son and aging parents everyday. Life can be hell.
I can relate to you all.
Keep the faith, I will try to do the same.
Irene wJanuary 20th, 2015 at 3:40 AM
Hi my son is 29 over the last 9years we have had diagnosis of anxiety depression bi polar2 adhd lots of meds and talking therapies to no avail. My son said he is depersonalised if you read about it it does make sense. He has been trying for the last 3 years to complete his 4th year of architecture in London He just doesn’t seem to be able to get himself together he says he can’t string sentences together or draw because he’s not a person and doesn’t exist. When he’s low he rings to say he wants to end his life as there is no hope or cure for him. I live in fear that one day he will do this I feel like I’m drowning in sorrow I don’t want to wake up in the mornings. At other times I’m so cross that most of our savings have gone to pay his rent and support him in London (we liveinthe north) there is a clinic at kings that deals with depersonalisation of course he says it’s no good and won’t even try to get referred. I’m at my wits end emotionally I’m of to the docs tomorrow for some pills that hopefully will help me to cope Sorry for the rant and after reading all the posts I know I’m not alone I just wish we where all in the same city so that we could support each other.
January 20th, 2015 at
Thank you for your comment, Irene. If you would like to consult with a mental health professional, please feel free to return to our homepage, http://www.goodtherapy.org/, and enter your zip code into the search field to find therapists in your area. If you’re looking for a counselor that practices a specific type of therapy, or who deals with specific concerns, you can make an advanced search by clicking here: http://www.goodtherapy.org/advanced-search.html
Once you enter your information, you’ll be directed to a list of therapists and counselors who meet your criteria. From this list you can click to view our members’ full profiles and contact the therapists themselves for more information. You are also welcome to call us for assistance finding a therapist. We are in the office Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time; our phone number is 888-563-2112 ext. 1.
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Barbara LFebruary 4th, 2015 at 2:40 PM
I wish there was some way in which I could meet up with other parents who are going through the hell of having an adult son or daughter with serious mental health problems.I live in London, and have a 29 year old son who has suffered from severe mental health problems since he was 17 years old. He will soon be 30, so his entire adult life has been ruined. The pain for me is almost too much to bear. People try to understand, and do what they can to support me, but the only people who could truly understand are the people who are experiencing it themselves. How I long for the companionship of such people, so that we could understand and support each other. If reading about such people can help, even a little, I know that actually being able to talk to them, face-to-face, would be immeasurably comforting and helpful. How do we get together to support each other? I live in London.
JaneFebruary 5th, 2015 at 11:29 AM
My nephew done two and half years studying higher maths n science but they let him go as he was acting strangely. Still has not been diagnosed properly what kind of mental illness it is. He thinks he know everything, questions everything, is very rude but he thinks other people are not being fair,will only take tablets when HE thinks he needs it. Do not have friends. He will not accept that there is anything wrong. Will not sign in sickness benefit as he wants to work. But after couple of days employer lets him go.
He wears you down after being in his company and I cannot stand his verbal abuse. So should I just tell him he is rude and stop his silliness..I know this is illness but this is no way to speak to people and get away with it.
What do you think?
JessicaFebruary 6th, 2015 at 8:19 AM
My son just got out of the hospital last night. He will be 18 at the end of this month. He refuses to go to school, fights with my husband and me daily, and is cruel to his sisters. He doesn’t have a job, or any desire to find one, or so it seems. We feel so lost and alone. None of our friends or family knows what we are going through. My son has agreed to taking his meds, and outpatient treatment. Since we have been through this before, we know it will probably be short lived. The scary part now it that he will be an adult. I will have no control over his actions. My husband and I made a contract that he signed before being released from the hospital. It’s hard, but we have told him he will have to find another place to live if he breaks it. It basically says that he has to take his meds, go to outpatient therapy, and go to school or work at least 20 hours a week. I feel that I can’t expose his sisters to this behavior any longer. It is having a negative impact on them.
JayneFebruary 7th, 2015 at 2:18 PM
Hi Barbara, I could have written your post myself.My son is 23 and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia at 17. Funny how that one sentence seems so matter of fact. Only someone who lives the daily reality of this stinking filthy cruel disease could ever understand the chaos, pain and devastation it has on all our lives. My heart goes out to you Barbara. I’d love to hear from you
cassieFebruary 9th, 2015 at 11:01 AM
Not sure if this support group is in London but there is a group called N.A.M.I. The way it looks is the way to pronounce it Nami! My son has been diagnosed with schizophrenia about 1 year ago and it really is heart breaking! I walk around all day with this heavy weight on my chest of what if my son kills himself before his meds can be figured out! He constantly talks about doing it almost every other day! Yes we all need someone to share with!
cassieFebruary 9th, 2015 at 11:12 AM
I will pray for you and your family! Yes your husband is a coward! A man will never have the nurturing love of a mother no matter how old our children are.
tonyaMarch 4th, 2015 at 9:45 PM
Hello cassie, I’m in the US Illinois my son was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 2013 now he is twenty,he want take his meds or admit he has an m.I.,he had an psychotic break, attacked me went to jail and now has to get help in order too stay out,I feel like I’m grieving and I can’t shake it,the depression, the pain,guilt,resentment I feel daily has affected my life in so many ways,work,relationships,etc, the isolation,loneliness, we both feel,I feel like either checking my self in or death but then what will he do without or when I die,yes we need support. Hugs to everyone
tonyaMarch 4th, 2015 at 9:56 PM
They say its demon,drugs,poison or bad luck for his schizophrenia,what does it matter its hear and like many other illnesses,I don’t know what to do, but I just want to support him, no friends no girls,no normalcy I’m his only friend,some days are good some are bad,its like dementia,some days he is like his old self and other I don’t even know this person
TamaraMarch 5th, 2015 at 4:21 AM
First of all, God bless each and every one of you for not giving up on your children. I too, am about at the end of my rope. My daughter just turned 18 last week, she’s been diagnosed Bi-polar II with Axis traits, Severe Anxiety Disorder, ADD and Depression. She has been in different treatment plans, hospitalized, etc. since 6th grade. She should now be a senior, but the school won’t upgrade her status because of her grades, even though she has 16.5 credits. The only thing that kept her going to school was Drama Club, and the Teacher of that cut her from the play citing grade issues. It’s really because he’s afraid to take her to State Conference (even though I would be there to help) because of her illness. She is very timid in school, she just melts down at home. She threatens suicide at every turn, has broken everything breakable in my house, says terrible things to me when she’s upset, blames me for not being able to do something about the school situation, etc. She refuses to do school work and by the time I find out she’s behind it’s too late for her to turn it in. I’m a single mother also, her biological father is just now coming around (now that she’s 18 and child support will stop). Her stepfather and I divorced over issues with her, and he basically supports us now because I can’t work, she can’t be left alone. We had a decent Psychiatrist for her meds, and a really good Therapist, and both of those women left their practices within a month of each other. Now back to square one and she just is stuck with the Dr. on staff that day, no one is taking an interest in helping her. My family is not supportive, they think I spoil her and she’s just doing it all for attention. I feel so incredibly alone all the time.
sallyMarch 5th, 2015 at 11:57 PM
I have a mentally I’ll daughter,age 32. I feel the exact same way. No one gets this or what it is like dealing with them and a system that does not help
sallyMarch 6th, 2015 at 12:04 AM
I have been through so much with my 32 year old daughter. She has been hospitilized more than 50 times over 12 years. It is so sad and no one understands.
Isabell N.March 6th, 2015 at 2:22 AM
I have a son in his late 30s who has been seriously depressed for all of his adult life. He is even more dependant now, than he was as a child. I’m his only friend. All of my days off outworking are spent with him. Too much to go into and painful also. I’ll be 60 this year. I worry conconstantly. He is an only child of an only child. His father left when he was a toddler and has never been in touch. The worry of him committing suicide is constant. I’m at my wits end.
ManuelMarch 10th, 2015 at 2:40 AM
I READ ALL THE POST AND I WAS SO TOUCH BY ALL OF THEM…..I WAS READING MY LIVING HELL LIFE!!…….IM A 58 MALE WIDOW, MY WIFE DIED 5 1/2 YEARS AGO…..AND I WAS LEFT WITH MY SON 25 NOW, WITH ALL KIND A EMOTIONAL PROBLEMS, AND IT GOT A LOT WORSE SINCE SHE LEFT, BECAUSE THE DEMONS OF DESTRUCTION, ARRIVED AT HOME TO MAKE THINGS HORRIBLES….”DRUGS”….I HAVE TRY TO FULLFILL ALL SPACES OR GAPS THE MY WIFE LEFT UNDONE, JUST TO GET ALL KIND OF UNGRATEFUL AND HORRIBLES REPONSES…
-MY WIFE WAS 2 YEARS UNDER IV STAGE CANCER TREATMENT, AND MY SON WAS VERY MUCH THE SAME, HE NEVER REALLY CARE ABOUT HER, HE JUST DEMAND HIS NEEDS.
-I STILL REMEMBER MY WIFE PLEADS THAT I SHOULD NEVER LET MY SON ALONE, THAT I SHOULD CARE AND PROTEC HIM, SHE DID WORRIED A LOT ABOUT HIM, SHE WAS OVERPROTECTED WITH HIM,,,,AND YES ALWAYS SHIELD HIM FROM ME, IF I WAS GOING TO ASK HIM TO DO HOUSE, HOMEWORK, SCHOOL WORK OR JUST HIGYENE ON HIM SELF….I WILL ENDED UP LOOSING EVERY TIME.
-GOD KNOWS THAT I HAVE TRY HARD TO HELP, GUIDE, AND CARE ON EVERY ASPECT OF HIS LIFE……AND NEVER GOT POSITVE RESULTS.
-I WAS LIVING A DREAM, THAT MY WIFE ALWAYS TOLD ME THAT SHE WAS GOING TO COME AND HELP ME!!!!…..GOD FORGIVE ME, BUT I LOST HOPES THAT SHE’S AROUND…..AND AS THE MATTER THE FACT, I DON’T WANT HER TO SEE HER SON LIKE THAT.
-THANKS TO ALL THE POSTS THAT I READ, IT GAVE ME THE COURAGE TO STOP ALL THE VERBAL, HOME, RELATAVIES ABUSE,THAT HE WAS DOING.
-WITH PAIN IN MY HEART I KICK HIM OUT THE HOUSE, BECAUSE IT WAS INTOLERABLE….AND YES HE STARTER TO LIVE OUTSIDE OF THE HOUSE BY THE PORCH,,,,,YES I’M SO BROKEN HEART AND ALWAYS TRY TO GIVE HIM FOOD, OR BLANKETS…..AND OFFER HIM HELP, BY GOING TO A CLINIC, BUT NO LUCK AT ALL….SO IS ONLY BEEN 2 DAYS SINCE HE DEFENTLY STOP COMMING TO SLEEP OR STAY BY THE HOUSE….AND I JUST TRYING TO LIVE IN FAITH WITH GOD, ALWAYS PRAYING, THAT HE FINDS BOTTOM BEFORE IS TO LATE, IM IN ONE BREATH EVERY TIME I HEAR AN AMBULANCE…DID HE GOT A EPILEPTHC ATTACK??…DID THEY HURT HIM?…DID HE DIED FROM OVERDOSE??..DID HE COMMITTED SUICIDE??….UFFFSSS…..I HAVE RASH ALL OVER DUE DERMATHITIS NERVEUOS…..
-MUCH TO MY OWN KNOWLKEDGE,AFTER READING “ALL POSTS” FOUND OUT THAT IS NOT A “HUMAN POWER” THAT CAN EXIST THAT CAN CURE HIM.
-SO I BEEN PRAYING, AND PRAYING, AND MORE PRAYING, BECAUSE I ALWAYS BELIVE IN GOD….AND HE’S MY ONLY SURVIVAL SOURCE, AND HE WILL BE THE ONE, THAT WILL “ENLIGHTED HIM”, IN ANY GIVEN DAY,,,,EVERYTHING ELSE HAD FAIL!!!…..SOOO….DRS., CLINICS, MEDICINES,,,THEY DON’T HAVE ANY MEANNING CURE, IF THEY ARE NOT BLESSED BY GOD….
-I HOPE I DON’T DISTURBED ANYBODY HERE, BEACUSE I THINK YOU’RE ALL WONDERFUL PERSONS.
LAST WORDS:…IS TERRIBLE THAT THE GOVERMENT SYSTEM, DOESN’T NOT ALLOWED US TO HAVE POWER OVER THE MEDICAL, AND IN SOME CASES (AS MY CASE)…FAMILY THERAPY, BECAUSE THE PATIENT, DOESN’T ALLOW US….’CAUSE HE JUST WANT THEM TO HEAR THEIR SIDE OF THE STORY…..
THANK YOU…..AND GOD BLESS YOU ALL.
JulieMarch 13th, 2015 at 8:27 PM
Hi Barbara, I am going through this with my 26yr old son. He also has ADHD. He won’t accept his fiancé breaking up with him. Threatening suicide, smashing things up. I am scared of him hurting himself. My mum and brother have schizophrenia and taken overdoses in the past. I moved away for my own sanity when my son was 11. Now I am going through IT all again. Here if you want to talk . I feel so scared and alone. He reads my texts thinking I am plotting against him so have to delete everything and guard my phone and IPad.
RescueRehomeMarch 14th, 2015 at 11:21 PM
Good Evening (Day) those parents and families who are trying as hard as I am, my name is Dori by the way, to hold tight by a fragmented thin thread of hope and of love… in the midst of a life that I know myself I couldn’t have ever fathomed having to actually live – with my beloved and absolutely gorgeous young adult son.
My handsome and brave son has been diagnosed with first break schizophrenia. We have both known the meaning of fear and of confusion and of bewilderment since that diagnosis 3 yrs ago – beyond the depth of each of the meanings of those words. Those words however, scrape the surface yet describe perfectly these realities we are now faced with which we cannot wish away, and that is in every way, in all facets of life now, a mother and a son navigating a horrendous mental health system that adds more stress, heartache and full time energy, often than actual help! An endless list of case managers, psychologists, psychiatrists, treatment teams have replaced the everyday lives we thought we once had.
I have been thru what seems like an endless nightmare-and I feel a hundred years old – and yes this has likely taken years off my life, I now worry about my son’s years ahead. I was a vibrant, beautiful woman fighting the aging thing well! In the 3 years since my son returned home from his first college year away- literally our lives have been ripped to shreds, torn inside out, glimmers of hope fading fast. That is with a relentless woman like me fighting every lying clinician, becoming an expert at the system itself and then trying to save my son his dignity all the while. Be relentless in your pursuit until your loved one is stable, when you have fought the abuse, pain, and every awful thing that accompanies parenting a suffering adult child-realize this: it is not a sprint, but a marathon with no finish line, if that makes sense.
Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not here to vent and I am not a victim, neither is my precious son. We are however 3 years now fighting to get my son back, as much his surfing, riding, laughing and charming self as we can possibly grab a hold of – to a healthful life, a full and enriched life…a LIFE. A LIFE. This journey – this mental illness my beloved has is NOT going to run his life if I have a breath left – do NOT GIVE UP. That in a long way is what I say to me, and to all of you.
RebaApril 2nd, 2015 at 10:26 AM
I have a 22 yo daughter who has been diagnosed with bipolar, borderline personality anxiet and depression. She now has 3 beautiful children but has a difficult time dealing with having young children. She no longer lives with me but I am the only person she can go to when she’s having a meltdown. She has moved from place to place so often because of bad choices. She can’t hold down a job due to constant meltdowns. I do all I’m able to help financially but I am mentally, emotionally and physically drained by her constant needs. I work so much I’m completely worn out so that I can help her. Nobody in my family understands what I deal with. I’ve just been blamed and shamed for her behavior. My children were my whole life after they were born. Now I’m just trying to have some kind of a life of my own. I wishi knew where to find a support group.
Carolyn H WApril 10th, 2015 at 12:19 AM
I have a grown son age 45 has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and bipolar has been this way for so long now I have almost died for time I’m 63 years old he lives and his own apartment but is here everyday and almost every night he yells and screams throws tantrums one day he’s fine the next day he’s terrifying he scares me sometimes I love him with all of my heart I’ve gone through this for several years I do not know what to do he has been in the hospital he was on meds for 2 years he was doing fine then he went off of his meds and all hell broke loose and he refuses to go back on them he says there’s nothing wrong with him he’s angry he’s has weird thoughts he can’t stand women he’s not gay angry at the world angry at everyone hates the world wants to go to Japan constantly same thing all the time driving me crazy he’s on SSI because he cannot work cuz of his outbreaks what am I to do he is Health does that he’s diabetic type 2 he will not take any of his meds he won’t go to the doctor to get a check up won’t let them take his blood he is literally killing me and himself each time I get him help with stuff got him the apartment all the things he needed in his apartment then now he wants to run away ends up losing everything he has I’m at my wits end I don’t know what to do when I die he’s going to be in a lot of trouble he has no one else my only child my only son wish I knew what to do
MichelleApril 11th, 2015 at 12:13 PM
My prayers are with you. Life is hard enough. But when it’s you’re children that suffer, nothing can be worse
AmyApril 12th, 2015 at 8:16 AM
My son is 32 and lives with my husband and myself. He was misdiagnosed for ten years with various psychiatric diagnoses including ADD, depression, ICD etc. I now know that he has neurological lyme disease and we have a good doctor, but the ups and downs are so difficult. He really cannot take care of himself and the worst part is that he kind of missed out on 14 years of his life so he has no friends at all and is so isolated. He is on SSD, but any tries I have made at him living on his own have failed. I think the worst part for me is the isolation of not knowing anyone else who lives this life and
I long for support from people in similar situations. The details od not matter, the grief and frustration are the same. I would love it if people could contact me.
RobertApril 12th, 2015 at 1:25 PM
A lady i was dating for 6 months has a child eho is msi. I could no longer be around the child. My blood pressure would grt dangerously high snd i would get terrible anxiety.
The child eith msi is now 30 and requires constant care. Anytime her mother and I would sit together, she would curse, tell her mom she hates her and at times hit her mother.
I am paralyzed from the waist down and have been for 30 years and that is enough stress in my life already without dealing with a child with msi.
The mother has no life except working and caring for her child with msi.
Am I wrong telling the mother I couldn’t handle being around the child?
I told the mother and she was verynupset snd ended our relationship.
I think thr mother is doing a disservice to her child and herself by not putting her in a safe, healthy group home.
Do not understand
AnnApril 17th, 2015 at 9:49 PM
I sit crying and feeling intense grief and sadness about the life my 30 year old son has not had, and will neverhave. Although diagnosed at age 16 with rapid cycling Bipolar illness he was undoubtedly rapid cycling throughout his childhood. He also has severe ADHD and
generalized anxiety. He currently lives in his own apartment in Colorado but it is always in horrible shape as he throws all trash on the floor. We live in Wisconsin and try to travel back and forth to clean his apt and open his mail to pay bills. At times he has opened credit cards(how can this happen since he does not have a job?) and constantly asks for money. We are supporting him but can’t afford to do so much longer. However we do not want him to live with us nor does he want to. He won’t apply for SSDisability as he says there is no reason to live if he can’t work. I found this website tonight as I sit in a hotel room in Colorado on one of my trips to help my son. Today I convinced him to see someone at a mental health center who helps with employment. During the interview he lashed out telling the interviewer how his parents have done a myriad of things to ruin his life. Although he has done this in appointments with mental health providers before(which I spend hours on the Internet looking for) I didn’t see this coming. As with all parents in this situation I feel such anguish from my worry about what will happen to him when we can’t be here for him. I also feel as though my life will be shortened because of the extreme stress I feel 24/7. It is a life sentence for both of us.
AnnApril 17th, 2015 at 10:16 PM
I understand the pain you are feeling also having a 30 year old son with Bipolar, ADHD and severe anxiety, all since a young child. I feel emotionally exhausted at all times as I have constantly looked for ways to try and bring some normalcy to his life. He has never had a date, gone to a school dance or experienced most of life that others his age have. He is trying to live on his own but it is draining us financially and his apartment is always in horrible shape no matter how often we organize and clean.
I am close to you in age (64) and now take an antidepressant and sometimes use some anti-anxiety medication to help with sleep.
I am planning to join a NAMI support group. Have you looked for support groups in your area? It is so important to have this kind of support to reduce the feelings of isolation and aloneness. While friends can offer empathy, unless they have to face each day with the stress from worry for a child with mental illness it’s not the same.
Amy WatsonApril 18th, 2015 at 10:45 AM
Thank you so much for your post. I wanted to add that I also tried to put him into an apartment for a while, but the shape of the place was always filthy
thought it would make it easier for me , but it did not. My biggest problem is that he has been diagnosed with lymes and he always gets a lot better when he is first put on antibiotics. For three months, my son was healthy, pleasant, etc. I try not to get my hopes up, but “I always do. Now we are in a bad place where he is is so agitated and mean and even though I know that his brain is swollen, I feel totally alone, frustrated, depressed, and isolated. Like your situation, he has no one else in his life and has no life so that makes it so much worse. I need a support person who understands this hell because I feel so isolated and alone.
SuzannaApril 20th, 2015 at 7:23 PM
I feel your heart ache. You are not alone. I have so many of the same feelings you described. I also have an adult son, younger than yours but I fear is on a similar road. I hope you and I both find a light at the end of the tunnel.
theresApril 21st, 2015 at 9:00 AM
I too came to this website at wits end.
My daughter is almost 21 years old and has a dual diagnosis of drug addition and borderline personality disorder.
We tried sending her back to college but that was a disaster. Her drug addiction just picked up and escalated.
By the grace of God she got arrested for shoplifting so we brought her back home. It’s going to be a life long struggle and both my husband and I just have to be strong
LisaApril 24th, 2015 at 1:04 AM
I have a 22 yo daughter who has Paranoid Schizophrenia and either rapid cycling Bipolar or panic disorder (yet to be determined). Her first psychotic break was when she was 19. First hospitalization when she was 21. Second hospitalization 6 months later (February of this year) because she secretly went off her med….She became so paranoid that she spent every waking hour trying to find ways to block the rays of “Direct Energy Weapons” from hitting her. I was able to see messages she wrote to some people on Facebook claiming that she was hearing a voice that was telling her to get her dads gun and kill herself. Thinks she is being watched and “gang stalked.” I gave this info to her psychiatrist who then wanted to put her on an injectable antipsychotic med. she refused so had to have her committed and got her medication court ordered. She begs me not to be on injectable meds, but then turns around and says she doesn’t think she’s ill and that Psychiatrists are in on her torcher….it has been nonstop drama for about a year. I am so exhausted. I feel that years are being cut off of my life. It is heartbreaking. I need to talk to other parents who are going through this. I can’t even think straight right now…
Edie MApril 24th, 2015 at 12:13 PM
Hi Lisa Maybe we can help each other I too have a daughter with Schizophrenia she was missing and somehow ended up New Mexico the cops call us we told her she is ill they took her to the hospital then let her go then she was calling boston threateining them the police not a good time to be doing that with the bombing anniversary we kept calling the police there asking to do wellness checks at the hotel we put her up in so she wasn’t homeless they finally put her on a 7 day hold now today they are taking her to the state hospital which is a hole we have no idea what to do we know no one there and we are not her guardian wouldn’t matter anyway cause it doesn’t cross state line This system is so messed up beyond they have no fricken idea what they are doing. You must not be sleeping either !!
MayaApril 28th, 2015 at 10:15 PM
Hi There is no support out there! Drs all they do is pill pop! The patient does not take the meds anyway!
My son is 34 ADDH never treated although small group setting and accommodation even went to the university for 2 years!
Lost his roommate which was his child school BFF! Died year 2000! My son snapped!!
Now and then he has schizoaffective disorder /maniac depression!
No support anywhere! I even wrote to the NAMI for help! Nothing !!
I am sick and tired of being a caregiver and when my son despises me worst! His life is my fault!!
I am bipolar myself so they say! I never medicated now at 57 to start Bipo meds! I don’t think so! I worked 38 years w/o major difficulties ! I would say I was just a problem person that did the job! As I was forced into SSD due to Inmmulogo disorder because of high level of stress and walking on egg shells!
Everything I had is either broken or spit at! I’m just done!
I don’t want to be a caregiver!
Does that mean I don’t love anymore?
I’m exhausted! My BFF was the casino and that just tore my life in 2 pieces, lost my significant other to brain cancer!
He was the only person that could deal with me and my son roller coaster behaviors!
I wish I can have better suggestions, but all I have is isolation, shame , disgust, insomnia!
Thank god I quit smoking and drinking if not I would be in some corner loosing it!
I think either I will be a statistic or my son will!!
I want to move on! I’m a women and I delt with my demons and have lost many times!
So I need to let go of my son so he can find his way in life!
I can’t force a horse to drink water from the river! I refuse to keep beating on a dead horse!
He is old enough to take care of himself! He gets his SSD find a partime job and if it makes him happy to live in filt then let it be ! May God bless us all!!
JocelynApril 29th, 2015 at 11:30 AM
I have a 26 year old bipolar daughter she has 2 children the oldest being autistic. Exactly a year ago she was hospitalized for a week as a result of bipolar psychosis in which God was speaking to her. This was her first real episode where I as her mother was unable to reach her and it terrified me. Her eyes darting rapidly, foam at the corners of her mouth and the movement of her head almost snake like. I was sure she was on drugs but her tox screens came back negative. Since that time she has convinced herself I want to steal her children and that I care for them more than I do her. No amount of assuring her this is not the case works however I am very worried for my grandchildren and weekly interaction with them is all that keeps me somewhat sane as I need to know they are ok. Approximately 2 months ago my daughter stopped taking her medication she says she prayed on it and God has healed her. She has become trembly paranoid of me and will not let the kids see me at all even when they ask to see me she has now made the statement that she is moving away after she gets her disability approved. Her father is sociopathic schizophrenic and I have been the only one to help her or be there for her in the last 12 years. She has had a long term boyfriend but every time she’s has an episode ( she is often paranoid or delusional) he leaves the state and leaves the kids with her. I have already had temporary guardianship on three separate occasions. I am heartsick that I cannot help her and so very frightened for my grandchildren.
JocelynApril 29th, 2015 at 11:46 AM
Ann I too live in Wisconsin, I have 2 daughters one has been diagnosed as bipolar with add and anxiety disorder and I believe my youngest also has the same yet different issues as the oldest. I have been searching and searching for support groups in south eastern Wisconsin if you reside in this area do you know of any? sometimes I’m so frustrated I just want to wash my hands of the problems that are associated with loving them but saying it is one thing to actually do it is impossible even without the grandkids involved, I just want my children to be ok. Anyways if you live in south east Wisconsin would you be interested in helping me to start a support group?
damumMay 3rd, 2015 at 12:41 AM
Hi there. Let’s remember that our person is ill and not a behavioral problem or a wild animal who can live outside. States have 1-800 #s for adults just like for kids. Please call this number and fight for your person’ s rights and needs. Parents do not have skills in all areas of care needed by their person. As we can read here, most of our kids have complex, multiple diagnoses. We need help. If you are at the end of your rope, have your person taken to the Emergency dept of a hospital with psychiatric care. They will have to evaluate your person and provide care and referrals. Do not let a suffering human being spend another minute sleeping in the cold, alone and without care. You have a phone, so use it. None of us deserve to be abandoned and ignored. And yes, I have an adult child, age 33, who needs care 24/7 and I am a disabled single parent providing for her. I give up several times a day! But she is my baby, and I am responsible for getting her the help she needs. She is in bed now. The most quiet it has been all day. Take that next breath slowly, and tie a knot in the rope and hang on! We don’t have to be perfect but we must be responsible adults in regard to our kids.
Mary EMay 3rd, 2015 at 2:31 PM
I a a single parent of a young adult son with schitoaffective disorder. I love him dearly but I am beginning to feel depressed. My whole life is affected by his illness. I am losing my self esteem, my energy and my joy in life. He was recently evicted from his apartment and is living in my garage/home. He has not ability to handle money and doesn’t seem employable. It is a rough go…for both of us. I am happy to have found this site. He is disabled and collects a minimal amout. I just need to read others’ stories..it is very therapeutic to know I am not the only person going thru something like this.
DeannaMay 7th, 2015 at 10:33 PM
I have a 33 year old daughter and have been trying to help her all her life she has suffered from depression as early as 5 years old.
I always blame myself her father was abusive so I left when she was 4 months old. Then married again and my husband then adopted her and gave her a sister. My second husband cheated on me we divorced all of this has such an effect on my oldest daughter. She had troubles in school and the work place it was always some one else’s flaut not hers. Over the years we had her in counseling we had family counseling. I did remarry and have been married for almost 25 years so he has lived and stayed devoted no matter how bad it has gotten. Alisa has always thought of him as her dad they are very close. I have been working to get her on Ssi she is not able to hold a job and she has son to take care of she has lived with us off and on for the last 10 years. When I was visiting her sister in Houston she called and said she is moving to Florida to be with her husband who abused her and only saw his son twice in 10 years.
She told me she hated me and that I ruined her life. She recently found her birth dad about 3 months ago and every since then she has become defiant and mad at me she says I was never abused that I lied and took her away from her real father. Her birth dad is the one who is helping her move she was trying to move out while we were on vacation so we made her move sooner we caint let strangers in our house and she thinks I am being unreasonable as usual and proves her point and said after she moves she will never speak to me again. My grandson is the one who will suffer because his mom just caint see with her mental problems she is not being rational. She is moving where there is none of her family and we can no longer bail her out it has drained us financially and mentally I have many health issues now and caint work I have hit rock bottom and we told her she can not live with us again and we will not be able to rescue her so far away. I have never felt so defeated just when things were looking up she got on Ssi it is still not enough to support them both I have always taken care of her bills and made sure her son was taken care of I don’t know what else I can do without bringing my own self down. After more than 25 years of dealing with this it has crushed my spirit and heart. After reading all of this it is nice to know my husband and I are not alone I am lucky in the fact that my husband has stayed through it all he is an amazing man and the Love of my life. Good luck to you all.
HollyMay 8th, 2015 at 8:41 AM
I’m right there with you. I feel like this is someone else’s life. Things weren’t supposed to turn out this way. My son is nineteen and newly diagnosed, although I’ve known it for a while. Suddenly, family members who were always there before, have disappeared. And my family was close. I feel like I’m mourning several losses at the same time. I feel like those who are experiencing this are my new family. I see the world and the people in it so differently now. Hang in there. Day by day. Big hugs
Diane SMay 8th, 2015 at 10:49 PM
Amy, you are definitely not alone! keep trying to find a NAMI support group and even if the distance is too far to travel maybe someone would be willing to talk with you. I feel my son’s lost about 20 years of his life but he has had a life just not the one I’d imagined he’d have! I struggle with depression but mostly about my adult daughter’s rages rather then my son’s schizophrenia. take it a day at a time and be grateful for small blessings then the journey you and your family are on will not overwhelm you.
DianeMay 9th, 2015 at 12:17 AM
I am a 68 yr old mother of two adult children, one with schizophrenia the other with a mood disorder. I have an easier time dealing with and have more compassion for the schizophrenia symptoms of my adult son then the frequent bouts of unexpected rages from my adult daughter…finding this website is a bright light in a stressful week! I am humbled by the compassion I hear in everyone’s comments and also challenged to reframe my thoughts about our families journey in mental illness land, thanks everyone!
RobinMay 11th, 2015 at 6:55 PM
I have read many of your comments and many of them I feel I have written myself. I am so over wrought and stressed to the max over my 35 yr old son. He is bipolar ,anxiety including social anxiety disorder, depression and lives pills like candy. Thousands of dollars we have spent trying to help him…….my husband is his stepdad…… Which is been very good to us but we are both just down to our knees. I feel so guilty for I want to get off this roller coaster and give up which has me so upset. Yes I am feeling health issues and my husband is at his end and beginning to have some marital problems and I cannot make my son do anything…….I am so mentally tired and it is killing me to see his life passing him by. I see no normal life for him or ever getting married and having a child….. In his heart he wants these things but I do not see him ever being stable enough to obtain them.
Like all you say…….where is there any help???? Our monetary resources are tapped out to continue down this road…….I have a very loving husband that I am scared I may lose and a son that can steal and lie to me with no remorse.
I have been the one to always say but he is my son and I love him and have to help him………but he has beat me down and I feel so guilty and a hole in my heart. Anybody that is living this way I would welcome just to hear from…….this is causing me such heartache and pain. I am in SC. God Bless You All!!!
damumMay 11th, 2015 at 9:40 PM
Hi Robin! You sound like me! Ready to collapse and give up!! At least we made it through Mom’s Day, right? Some times, you just have to get through the next hour. Just drop everything and try to make life nice for just one hour. You may have to ask your person to stop talking, leave the room, whatever. You have to fight for yourself at this point. Isn’t it crazy that our govt spends so many billions on wars we don’t even approve or understand, but we can’t get any level of help for our mentally ill adult children? Try to contact your state and county agencies, and see what they have for housing, job assistance, medical care, and respite for you. I was flattened one Summer and found out that I could have 2 weeks of Respite Care (in Missouri). I was able to deliver my Girl to 2 competent women who owned an Emu Farm!! I was so relieved and happy to have been directed to this fantastical, fun respite placement!! I enjoyed feeding and watching the emu and knowing that I could get 2 weeks of rest! Whoooppppeeee!! So, keep calling numbers and asking for help. So much of it is out there; we just need to discover it. Many blessings, Suzy
AnnMay 12th, 2015 at 7:21 PM
I have not joined a NAMI support group yet as there are several in the southeast WI area and I need to check them out. I guess I would like to see how the already established support NAMI support groups are before thinking about starting one. I took the NAMI Family-to-Family class and it was just great to meet weekly with other parents/relatives living with the same struggles we all have. I would highly recommend this to all.
JocelynMay 13th, 2015 at 6:56 AM
Thank You for responding Ann, I think I will begin with that class if I can find one in my area. There is a group here but it meets once a month in the A.M. and I am at work at that time. I have been talking with friends from another support group I attend I am part of a 12 step program. This last week has been especially hard for me as I have not spoken with my daughter now for over 2 weeks and my anxieties and fears have really been in full swing especially because I know she is not taking her meds and making very poor choices right now. One thing that people keep saying to me is “Why are you letting this effect you so much? It has happened before and she always comes back.” I had to really sit down and think about that, I think the biggest emotion I am feeling today is lack of control… I cannot control the way her brain works and it makes me feel helpless. When I feel Helpless I become frightened. There are many things that I can control though like whether I am acting rather than re-acting. I say this because as the years go on and my daughters symptoms progress I find myself re-acting more often and I think its possible this can aggravate her symptoms. I can take this time to work on me, sometimes a step back is good to put things in perspective (I say this because although that step was not voluntary it may be just what I need to regroup for myself) My daughter is 26 and the lat three years I have spent running in circles my days existing on checking on her and caring for the kids walking on eggshells so as not to over excite her or cause a reaction of some negative consequence … I am tired regrouping will be good. I am so thankful my husband sent this link to me as just being able to read others stories and share my thoughts has helped me greatly. I did contact one of the therapists from this site and so badly want to meet with her but it is well above my price range and not covered by insurance so I will keep typing away and in the meantime looking for other alternatives. Like I said earlier thank you for responding it is just a huge help knowing others are going through the same things as I am.
TammyMay 16th, 2015 at 7:12 AM
eddyMay 20th, 2015 at 3:01 AM
Well,here is my story,I met my female partner 8 years ago,3 of my children and 4 of hers was living in my house ,ok its a big house,she was very regimental and never got on with my kids,they now are all gone ,but my girl now 31 who suffers bi bola and cutting and schizophrenia has to move out of her house as her boyfriend turned carer has decided to leave.So be aware that my girl was with me from the age of 18 to 27 ,she is non violent ,plays piano like an angel,and loves her guinea pigs,basically she has never grown up and she is stuck in her world.I love her dearly.
I was put in a situation from my partner in that she did not want my daughter back,Well my respect and love for her has gone.And as such we are now parting ways.
I will be looking after my daughter and find this not a burden,I brought her into the world and i have a responsibility to look after her.
Not the support i was looking for.
CassandraMay 23rd, 2015 at 5:22 PM
Hello, I am hoping someone may relate to my little story. Currently I am a person with a traumatic brain injury from a seizure fall and am unipolar. I was just about finished at ASU with my BFA when head injury occurred but had to withdraw due to memory issues. Anyhow, since I live alone it is not easy to gage how I am socially. Earlier this week I mistook something my mother did as a poke at my mental health and I snapped, quickly told her I had to leave, kissed her cheek good bye. I can tell I hurt her feelings and my two sisters have called ‘out-of-the-blue’, so I am sure they must all agree I travel by broomstick now. I do feel bad, maybe I overreacted only I don’t know how to make this whole thing ‘right’. Apologies don’t seem to be working. :(
carolMay 26th, 2015 at 11:57 AM
My son is 45 mentally ill and emi and is recently violent …throws things…fits…rants raves..etc etc etc……..he is ocd too…throws EVERYTHING AWAY…my clothes….you name it …..cup , silverware…I am way too old for this…the dept of mental health kicked us out because the say he has insurance……but his insurance is medicaide with hmo..the hmo claims to offer mental health …but I have yet to find a psychiatrist that will take the insurance………I am dying …mentally and physically…….I CANT TAKE ANY MORE OF THIS TYRANT CRAP….my husband is a working alcoholic…..and offers no help…just wants him out of the house…but he had never worked cant count or do money , educationally functions on a 3 rd grade level at best…….nobody to help us……
PattyMay 31st, 2015 at 7:36 PM
To Holly (#75) I, too, feel I am living someone else’s life. My 20 y.o. granddaughter was diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 18. Her mother left the state with a boyfriend. None of my family members will help me. I did get SSDI and Medicaid for her. I had her in an assisted living facility, but she left after 6 months and removed me as the payee for her SSDI. Since then, she has been in and out of the hospital. Last month, she bought a bus ticket for California and I had to find her and bring her back to Flordia. It kills me, but I do not feel safe with her in my house. I don’t know what to do. No one will help me…
KimJune 1st, 2015 at 12:06 PM
Very well said! Not everyone is equipped to deal with this!
AmyJune 1st, 2015 at 5:57 PM
I am overwhelmed by hearing that the anxiety and depression I feel is not an anomaly, but is typical of someone in this situation. I feel a connection already from these posts that is helping me.
My case a little different, but the feelings are the same. My 32 year old son actually has lyme disease which took forever to get diagnosed and it greatly affects his brain. When he first got sick at age 16, I used to tell doctors that he always did better on antibiotics, but no one ever listened to me.
There is such a long story here, but his illness manifests in agitation, depression, and isolation. The hardest part for me is that he has no one else in his life and has missed out on the last 16 years.
What makes it worse is that he has had months of total remission from alternative treatments like hyperbaric treatments and antibiotics and every time this happens, his whole personality comes back and he has made many attempts to try to start a life for himself. During those times, I have my intelligent son back and I unfortunately let my guard down.
Unfortunately, every time he has gotten better, he has gotten really sick again and before he knows it, he is back on the couch all day with no mental or physical energy.
I am finding it so hard to cope with this and feel like I keep mourning his loss over and over again. WE have been all over the country to various doctors and I refuse to give up on him.
I have no extended family at all and my husband who is not his father is supportive, but it is not his son and he is sick of all the time I spend worrying about him.
I have tried putting him in apartments, but it never works out because he is not very caring for himself at times.
Does anyone else feel like this runs their life and they have trouble getting away from thinking about it?
lissetteJune 3rd, 2015 at 8:35 PM
I have a 26 year old son with paranoid schizophrenia
I can feel your pain, my son lives on his own with another mentally Ill guy,I’m so frustrated of going to his house and finding such a mess, trash, clothes, cigarette buds, you name it is everywhere… it just drives me crazy with anger, because I don’t know what else to said to them, today I went to his house and found flies all over
…they haven’t been cleaning the cats (4)litter box !!!!….I’m just tired of having to do it myself if I want anything done. You have a good support with your husband, Mine is not my son’s father and doesn’t care about him and I’m basically the only one taking all the burden….Do everything you can to take care of your marriage ,because you will always have the responsibility with your son and believe me is even harder when you don’t have a shoulder to cry on .
CindyJune 4th, 2015 at 10:29 PM
I am worn out and beaten down. My 44 year old is blaming me for everything that is wrong with him. I feel I have enabled him all his life. I need to have more strength so he can be a more responsible person. He is a good person, but can be abusive, manipulative and deceitful. I don’t know where this is going. I need help.
JoyJune 8th, 2015 at 8:37 PM
My heart goes out to everyone who has posted. My story is along the lines of everyone here. No one knows the lonliness or the dread you feel when you have a mentally ill person. I lost a son who was 20 and to lose a daughter to an illness who takes her senses away at times is the saddest of it all.
We struggled for 2 years and nine months and I had to let go and let God. In jail he reached out to her and told her she needed help. We still had to go through four more hospitals and a LOT of stuff when she admitted she needed help.
Everyday is a new journey. A new thought. A new intention and eveyrday I get up, work on myself, work on my habits of cleaning the house, cleaning the cats boxes and taking care of me.
She has a new kind of day, thought and motivation everyday. Our lives can be going one direction one minute and the next the entire plan is changed. I have learned to live this life alone with no one understanding but always having an opinion.
Nothing in the world and no one in the world will know the pain or the suffering and sacrifices you give but God and yourself.
There are days when I have thought all the things that others have said on this blog. However one thing I have found to cling to….God and his word. His word says…I will never leave you nor forsake you. The day I began to thank God for her recovery was the day I began to see great things happen.
Today she is halfway through her Bachelors degree. Has her own apartment, bought a car and is in touch with her six year old son.
Yes, we have crazy days. Yes, I have to pray and praise God ALL the time. If you knew me, you would think I was happy all the time but inside I am touch with God because he is the only one who really knows what I am going through.
I know that this will work out to be a great testimony and it is with gratefulness that I give him honor and glory for all the things he has done and all the small details he has taken care of in her life.
The struggle is not to lose yourself to the chaos they want to create. Not to get lost in the devastation. But to focus on the good things and enjoy those small tiny victories everyday.
I have to be strong. I have to be solid with God and his word. I have to not get involved in her problems and let her work it all out. She always makes good choices and when she is rude, if I am quiet, she figures it out and apologizes.
I am blessed because this has meant learning a lot of patience and learning most of all to take it to God. Every second of the day. Every minute of the day. It is his job to watch over her and not mine.
I will put each of you on my prayer list.
carolJune 9th, 2015 at 4:47 AM
cindy and everyone,
My son is 45 and mentally ill and also developementally disabled. He was denied a real education so he is further dependent on me. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia at 16…however, they diagnosed him several times with several labels . when he is good , its so nice. but he is also OCD, he throws EVERYTHING AWAY. meaning my clothes , my everthing. I am trying to lock things up. but its impossible. cups, silverware, his clothes too. He will break or rip things and say they are junk and throw them away. Thousands of dollars thrown away. We are not wealthy …even everyday necessities add up. If you catch him he is a tyrant. My husband is no help and just sits in his outdoor room after work and drinks . I am the only one my son has. We were kicked out of community mental health in November because they say his medicaide insurance covers mental health….My mother just passed away after years of struggling to find her help with dementia. I am worn out too …beaten down. I have NOBODY to discuss this with . I cant get help for my son . but I wont stop trying. My husband said If I die he will just call the police on him and have him removed..(he is not his father , although he has been with him since he was a baby). My son is not able to live on his own. He is totally dependent on me for everything. Im sure this adds to his issues……menta illness. Im sure he is afraid.
We need help too……god help all of them and all of us caregivers……..NOBODY UNDERSTANDS WHAT THIS IS LIKE …..NOT EVEN THE “THERAPISTS’, DOCTORS .ETC
SharonJune 10th, 2015 at 2:25 AM
You are most definitely not in a place to care for or understand your sister’s or mother’s needs. Simply sit on the sidelines and feel ‘level’ enough to analysis the situation from a healthy and priviledged distance. Let’s just hope the members involved in the day to day care understand that you ate not be n a position to help. It is the only issue you will have to deal with. Bless them and yourself in understanding this.
KathyCJune 10th, 2015 at 8:05 AM
thank you for encouragement….
Louise A.June 11th, 2015 at 11:20 PM
It’s almost as though you’ve lost your child that you raised and have a completely different child and it breaks your hurt cuz I can’t fix it….my daughter has schizoaffective disorder and it’s one of the most mind boggling thing to understand. But I keep hoping and praying everyday that she will come back…I need a good support group of parents to talk with. Any in or around Muskogee or Tulsa Oklahoma area?
Louise A.June 12th, 2015 at 1:09 AM
Yes I’d to also feel this way.
Jeanette J.June 13th, 2015 at 8:48 AM
I’m from Chennai India and recently my 36 year old son was diagnosed with manic bipolar for which he is under medication starting from today. His condition is a result of years if ignorance on my part and like you I too suffered with an uncaring man who never felt that this was his son and who was going through phases of depression since 18 yrs of age. Yet I as expected
,blame myself for not seeking medical help in the early stages. I always thought he was rebellious and just spoilt rotten by me. His father passed away 7 yrs ago and I somehow got him to do several software development courses and he excels in that. A great programer too. He worked for two years but abruptly snapped two years ago and since then it is a harrowing experience every single day.
He damaged ripped important documents and hit me on occasions. Today I had to seek medical help as he seems entirely anti social and threatening me with murder etc.
He is in medication since morning. God bless you Carol …i am with u in this troubled situation…i will stay in touch once I hear from you.
HollyJune 14th, 2015 at 10:26 PM
Patty – Are things any better? Are you doing okay?
Robin N.June 16th, 2015 at 5:11 AM
Sorry I have not been back on in a while….I myself have fibromyalgia and my memory is really bad, I forgot the name of this website.
But I want to thank Damon and Lissette for their responses to my post…..I am still a mess over my son that just hearing from someone else is a comfort. All of us that come to this site is in need of support and hearing that someone cares and can really understand.
My son is still in bad shape as ever and I fear he may be experiencing the beginnings of a nervous breakdown. His bipolar has taken complete control of his life along with the woman he says he is trying to break up with but cannot stop texting her and probably still seeing at times. He is so obsessed and I have real fears if he does not cut ties with her she may end up physically hurting him, she already has destroyed him mentally. So far she has busted his computer and slashed his tire which they were in a full blown argument during the time , he had called me in tears and I could hear part of their fight and she was doped and drunk and going crazy with a knife in her hand. The other day she did do something that hurt his thumb, I think maybe a pulled ligament.
What is going to make this situation stop?
I feel dread that something bad is going to happen to my Son, he is a grown man and I have no control over all these bad choices he is making. He is not working nor looking for a job for he says he is too stressed to work.
I love him dearly, but I am so tired of supporting him and living his drama?
What am I supposed to do?…..
LindaJune 16th, 2015 at 7:18 AM
Hi I really need to talk to you as I feel I am going to have a nervous breakdown because of my 29 year old sons abuse to me,my husband,and my daughter. have spent thousands of dollars maybe hundreds of thousands to try to help him. we don’t know where to turn and what to do
BarbaraJune 16th, 2015 at 1:34 PM
It’s quite a long time since I last wrote here. My 29 year old son has been ill for 13 years, diagnosed with schizo-affective disorder (though every time he sees a new doctor he seems to be given a different diagnosis). He has just been admitted to hospital yet again. He’ll spend his 30th birthday in hospital, next Tuesday. He’s has no adult life at all, as it’s been destroyed by his mental illness. He has no friends, and has alienated his brother and sister with his hostile behaviour. I have no family, other than my three children, though I do have supportive friends. However, friends can’t help, because the only thing which makes me feel less alone is when I’m in contact with other parents who are going through the same thing. I would so love to meet up with some of you lovely people, but you live so far away. I am in London UK. I feel as if I live constantly with a bleeding, open wound in my heart. The pain is beyond anything I could describe to my friends, but you will all understand. People say I am strong, but I’m not; I have no choice in what I’m going through. It isn’t the kind of pain which makes you a stronger person; it depletes me. It makes me feel sub-human, because I operate on auto-pilot, like a robot, to get through work and every-day life.
AnneJune 16th, 2015 at 4:17 PM
I am a mother of a beautiful 26 year old daughter who battles with severe mental illness. She has 2 children (5 & 6 yrs old) and they all live with me. I am divorced. I have no immediate family near me. My question I have is this. Have any of you dealt with issues at your job because they don’t understand the enormous battle we caregivers face daily. I have worked at my job for 14 years and am just about to lose it. I’ve missed work because the last 4 months have been awful. I have taken vacation and sick leave, but am at the end of that now. The sad thing is that I work for a church. I am so hurt and angry that it has come to this. I sit in staff meetings each week and hear prayers going up for people with severe diarrhea and want to scream, “My world is falling apart! How about praying for me and my family for once!) I don’t say anything because I just can’t believe nobody asks how things are with us.They know I spent 27 hours in an ER and watched my daughter be taken by ambulance to a Psychiatric Hsp. a month ago and that she was gone for 10 days. I had to take care of my grandkids and couldn’t afford a sitter! It’s summer! I get my work done (Financial) coming in at all kinds of crazy hours. I don’t know how to explain this to them, because if you don’t live in this world..there’s no way you would ever understand what a toll it takes on you. I didn’t mean for this to turn into a rant. Any advice would be great.
AnneJune 16th, 2015 at 4:21 PM
(Continued from above)
When I say “lose it”, I mean I’m about to be fired. Personnel committee is meeting tomorrow night. I refuse to be put in front of a panel of people asking me questions, because it is so difficult for me not to get extremely emotional. And I won’t sign a form saying I will be here everyday from 10-2. I can’t make a vow that I may not can keep. They ought to know that. It’s in the Bible not to do! (Anne)
SallyJune 18th, 2015 at 7:25 AM
This is so difficult and the only people who can understand are people who have experienced this. My daughter has gotten worse and I can not get her long term care. She has been hospitalized 13 times in the last 13 months, and many many ER visits and hospitalization before these. Truly have had it. Will talk more later.
JoyJune 20th, 2015 at 3:05 AM
Hey everyone! I love reading your responses because it makes me feel like I am not alone. The journey is so difficult and there are times when it feels like I will explode.
I am blessed in so many ways. But I have to learn to not “listen” to her when she is depressed. She says things which are so hateful and then I get to doubting myself.
Its so hard because people who have never been through it will never understand and you can’t talk to people who have not seen this side of your children. My daughter presents a very polite and understanding person but I get all the inside hate and all the rudeness and telling me what to do all the time.
I just got a new therapist and I am excited to see if she can help me with techniques to help me set boundaries.
My daughter has an apartment but lives with me because she can’t be alone. which means no social life for me….no club meetings, no Bible Study and nothing that is life giving.
No gym. It is just me and her. I work from home and she interrupts my work all the time. It gets so frustrating.
The way I found out helps me cope with the situation is to sit and write about what is going on and why I am so angry. This way I keep the peace and she has a peaceful home to be home in.
I just moved the entire tv and tivo into her bedroom so she can watch when I am working and that seems to have helped.
Her divorce came through this week and that was a blessing because the man she was with was completely toxic and horrible to her.
I have to view my home as a hospital of sorts. I keep the house very quiet and very still. NO one can come over because it is stressful for her and I just have decided that this is going to be the way it will be for the rest of my life.
I have to find a way to cope with the lack of social interaction I have. The lack of freedom is very difficult. I don’t dare date because bringing another person into this type of situation makes the entire world a worst place.
Yes, there are tons of sacrifices. So many. I feel so much of your pain and I have had to learn to be quiet and learn to let God do the talking for me.
Three years of going through this and it is not easy. But I know that there is a light and I hang on to the moments when its quiet and she is asleep and I have time to do the paperwork and homework for my MBA.
Thanks for reading!
What a relief to see a forum like this.
ChrisJune 21st, 2015 at 1:28 PM
My son is 17 and has been in a secure psychiatric unit for almost a year. I am in London and know exactly how you feel so please get in contact for a chat.
AnnJune 21st, 2015 at 10:51 PM
I have been working very hard to diminish the level of fear I experience around my 31 yr old son’s Bipolar Illness. He has cycled into a more stable period the last month so I have used this time of respite to think about how to hold myself in a more emotionally stable mood. My fear emanates from many sources of his illness: intensity of his anger when manic and feeling traumatized by his verbal beatings, financial concerns realizing we will have to support him and not having figured that into retirement, wondering who/how he will be cared for when we’re gone, and the list goes on. I find that my sadness causes me to lose sight of still having some life for myself. It feels so selfish to enjoy anything when my child is suffering! However, I have started to take small steps in my thinking and actions toward developing some “selfishness” and find that it is creating a healthier balance for me. I am consciously working to replace old thoughts, so easy to slide into, with new phrases about it being ok for me to do things I enjoy and try not to diminish the enjoyment, no matter how small, with guilty and sad thoughts. As a friend of mine who is a psychologist said to me, “in the end we can only save ourselves.” To me that doesn’t mean that I do any less for my son but it means I see him more clearly as a person separate from me allowing me some self protective distance. Another phrase I am continually saying to myself is to not let fear rule my life. After stopping and thinking about the inordinate amount of time I devote to this emotion I realized how much of my day was taken over by it. When I see him cycling into depression or mania I am trying to stand firm internally and remind myself this will happen again and again as it has for 20 years. My loving him, supporting him financially as best we can, and his knowing that we are emotionally supportive is enough as in reality it is all I can do. Beyond that I find some peace in knowing that life will play out as it will and that I have to keep trying to hold a stable/balanced middle ground for myself as he cannot see beyond his own needs to make room for that.
DogloverJune 22nd, 2015 at 5:12 AM
My heart goes out to all you caretakers. My son is 33 and is bi polar. He has been
On an extreme manic episode for the last 2 months. It’s amazing how he can
Destroy his life every year and a half. When he is manic he can’t stop himself
He has to keep moving. He always gets thrown in jail. This time he took his friends
Car and just started driving. He ended up in jail for car theft. I did the most stupid thing
Possible and bailed him out. I have been regretting that move everyday. Of course, he never
Went to court, so we lost 3000 in bail. Next he got in the car and went until I blew up. My husband and I are retired and live in a small town in Mexico. He called me from a borrowed phone and told me
He has crossed the border into Mexico ,with no.passport or ID ,of any kind. I am scared to death for
Him. He has no money and w/o I D you can’t get him any money. We live in Baja Calif. almost to the
Tip.about two day drive. It has been three days now. He called me from Ensanada. I don’t know who
To contact. You don’t want to end up in jail down here. I should have drove up and got him, bout he is
So confused and delusional , truthfully I am afraid of him. My husband is fishing for a living in Alaska.
I haven’t told him what is going on because his job is stressful and we need the money! so I am on my own. I look in the direction my son is coming( if he makes it) probably a hundred times today. Don’t know how to find him if he doesn’t show up soon.i have such mixed feelings. I love him but I am also afraid of him. Anyone have any ideas what steps I should take if he doesn’t show up?
SJune 24th, 2015 at 4:15 PM
I am in my 30s, daughter of an undiagnosed 65yo bipolar father (my whole life, he has always refused to be diagnosed or treated but clearly exhibits all the symptoms to severe extremes). He is an only child, and his 85yo mother is elderly and lives alone. I find myself having to care for them both, and he cannot care for her even though doctors etc look to him for decisions. I strongly suspect that 40+years of this illness have caused him early dementia, has anyone else see this happen? Is there any hope for intervention from local government, especially in terms of protecting an elderly woman from him stealing her money? Right now, it’s looking like suing him is the only option I have. She loves her son and thinks he can do no wrong, even when he spends $50,000 a month on booze and strippers.
SueJune 25th, 2015 at 7:27 PM
I too operate on autopilot to work and survive and keep my life private from coworkers etc who would never understand. I get upsetting texts at work from him and I have no sick days, can never leave job due to providing major medical care to others, and i have to block it out and smile to get through day. If i leave work i lose my job which supports us all. So while others try calling in for a sick dog i work knowing i could find my son dead any day from depression. If they only knew. My son is 21 & i pay to have him live in apt out of my home because i need to protect his younger brother from verbal physical outbursts as well as myself. Due to anxiety he won’t talk on phone, make appts, get license, etc. So i do it all, work non stop and suffer from chronic back surgery pain constantly. Not sure how long before break myself. Looking back i often feel i was young and niave having kids knowing family has history of depression etc but you never think of the life sentence for everyone involved. The kids and yourself. I love them more than life, but this isn’t living. glad i found this web page today. Sorry for venting!
SueJune 25th, 2015 at 8:11 PM
I to feel the same and from WI. Often feel guilty for wanting to give up but know i never would. I would not even try to join local support groups due to fear of non confidential. Many don’t really understand mental illness and it’s sad how even depression is labeled as “you’re crazy” by employers, courts defenses for divorce, custody, etc. So many have no choice but to try to hide it, even if your intelligent, kind, have degrees, or are well respected in community- once you let the cat out of the bag you can’t get it back in, and many would use it against you to gain a leg up. So I tell no one about the struggles of my adult son or dealing with depression myself , and I’m thankful for sites like this.
SallyJune 25th, 2015 at 8:37 PM
Yes, I relate to this entirely. No one can possibly understand what we all go through. I too, do not have a life with this. It is pathetic. I am trying to find a way to enjoy and get my life on track.
SallyJune 26th, 2015 at 3:52 PM
I am really glad to hear from you. I am experiencing exactly the same as you are with my daughter. This is the saddest thing ever in life to deal with on a daily basis. Constant worry and an inability to have a normal life, and the pain we feel for them.This past year my sister lost her daughter who was 30 years old to a sudden death. Married and had a 2 yr old son and received her Masters Degree and working in a good job and up for a promotion.Very well loved. My sisters other daughter had been diagnosed heart disease called Pulmonary Hypertension and hospitalized and on a wait list for a heart and lung transplant 2 years ago. Anyways, it is possible that my niece had an undiagnosed familial heart condition,as well. The point is that people like us who are dealing with serious issues so often and worrying constantly are doing ourselves in. I am trying to get the right perspective and balance on this too. A sudden death, is not about worry constantly but profound pain suddenly. We can not control any of it either way.I too am relearning how to take care of my self better. Need strengthened faith, self love. Again, so glad to hear from you.
Sharon DeeJune 27th, 2015 at 1:33 AM
I have four children with SMI. There is little help for me in dealing with them. The government refuses to allow them to have SSDI, and makes them appeal their case, which can take five or more years…in the mean time, I am the sole support of my 41 year old son. My daughter who lives with me and my son, is working full time, but has personality issues which can be very stressful. There is a lot of talk about the problem of mental illness, but in reality, you are pretty much on your own. It would help if the government changed its policies of denying SSDI to everyone who applies. But then no one said that the government is helpful.
PatriciaJune 27th, 2015 at 4:52 AM
I sure don’t have any answers at present, except to tell you I know how hard of time you are having. Finding yourself suffering And being unacknowledged is painful. Being a decent person and getting your butt kicked as payment for your efforts for trying to support your child and her children. I get it. I’m doing it. Other people telling you it’s your fault your kid broke your heart again cause you let them do it-and it’s your fault by continuing to allow them to do it to you…and it’s your fault fault fault… Isn’t there a big fat hug in any of this? You know somebody saying to you the following:Your wounded, you’ve been hurt and it was wrong…life isn’t fair but I acknowledge that you have been hurt. Another big hug. Let me help you work thru your grief anger and sense of helplessness and try to help you figure out how to make lemons out of lemonade–or to find peace thru breaking the dysfunctional connection you cannot control. You know that since I sought you out, I have an ugly version of your issue that I have not solved, and I can’t go on as it is. Well all I can do is listen and send you the big hug my inner child needs !
PamJune 27th, 2015 at 6:01 AM
I have a 33 year old son, who has bipolar and schizophrenia. He is emotionally 12 years of age. He lives with me because he is unable to live on his own. We have tried several times. Each time, he would stop taking his medication. Start using drugs, which always led to a psychotic episode. Each psychotic episode became progressively worse until he had to live with someone who would give him medications, be institutionalized or dead.
The longer he lives with me the angrier I stay. I have 6 things I expect him to do. Keep his room and bathroom clean. Walk the dogs. Take out the garbage. Keep the kitchen clean. Take his medication. The only thing he does is take his mediation because I hand it to him twice a day.
I remind him to do the the things I expect. The answer I receive is later. Remind him again and the answer I get is stop telling him what to do. This cycle continues.
At first my anger would come and go. Now, I am angry with him all the time. I don’t know what to do. I know if he lives on his own, he won’t make it. I also know that he uses this against me.
I want the two of to be able to live in the same house with out all the anger. I really need help.
MJJuly 4th, 2015 at 5:40 PM
I am the mother of a 29 yr old male, who has Asperger’s , is Bipolar,and has Type1 Diabetes. His father is Bipolar and is a Borderline. My son has to live with me to survive. His father is out of state, and we have been separated for almost 4 yrs. He supports us, but I am sandwiched between them. I am 53, and the stress from the two of them has damaged my health, severely. I have no family left, and have no social life. People do not understand my stress.
My son was diagnosed with Diabetes at 7, and he does not take care of himself. He was arrested for stealing at his job, and almost again for shoplifting. He gets very little Social Security. You know the drill. He is a genius, but cannot function in society, and his age group has fallen through the cracks with help in the Aspberger’s dept. The Bipolar cycles are all over the map, and they have him on max meds.
My heart goes out to everyone here. I just need to know that I am, also, not alone.
LaurieJuly 6th, 2015 at 1:34 PM
Have a 20 year-old with psychiatric disorder who’s father for many years convinced her to stop meds. He also told her that I am a bad mother. She stopped the meds and became revengful because “I” had taken her to the hospital when she was small, she didn’t make it home until fifth grade. She is revengeful for having had to take meds, she became very violent and has horrific OCD known as an obsessive disorder which is brought on by fears. She refuses any help and is ruining the home. Her father read about her psychiatric disorder finally very recently and finally understands but it an abusive man.
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