Note: Mumsnet has not checked the knowledge, experience or professional qualifications of anyone posting on Mumsnet Talk, so this is not necessarily the best place to seek help if you're feeling seriously distressed or suicidal. Mumsnet cannot be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you need help urgently, please see our mental health web guide which can point you to expert advice and support.

Problems with ds not looking after himself and dh not wanting to get him help

(81 Posts)
dhisaconspiracytheorist Sun 13-Oct-13 08:18:19

ds has dropped out of uni and has spent a year at home. He has not signed on so just sponging off us. He went out with dh last night and I went in his room to get washing. It was squalid. Moth lavae in clothes and the carpet, wet towels, rubbish and plates and cups.
He came back and felt that his space had been invaded. We had words and I said keeping carpet clean is non negotiable as condition of living here. He stomped off to the river and I asked dh to follow him, take his phone and call police. Dh eventually went but came back without finding ds and refused to call police. ds came back later and I got out of the way. This is getting long, sorry. dh slept on the sofa. Back story = I work full time and dh doesn't. We have had major rows about cleaning as I do not have enough free time at the weekend to do it all. Dh won't let me get a cleaner. I want to get professional help for ds but dh doesn't. What can I do?

LIZS Tue 15-Oct-13 07:22:58

Sounds as if you have made some progress. Has your dh had any MH issues in the past , could he be afraid that ds is going through similar and may not receive support therefore it is easy to avoid the issue?

dhisaconspiracytheorist Mon 14-Oct-13 23:17:05

That's really helpful stinkingbishop ASD was the first reaction of one of the sws I work with a few weeks ago. 24 jars of nutella also rings parallels, he went through a phase of energy drinks when he dropped out and nocturnal too, although now he does not have internet in his bedroom, he seems to have a better sleep pattern. Glad to see things are working out for your son.

Hoophopes I would book the cleaner but unfortunately dh has zero hours contract so he doesn't work regular hours.

MrsMinkBernardLundy I agree that DX of MH is not a life sentence - I have been through it myself with post baby hypermanic episodes/psychosis and also spent a time as an inpatient 10 years ago. I now manage to function pretty well and know how to manage my own mh.

So I phoned the gp from work and unfortunately they could not phone me back until I was home. Had a good chat with gp and explained how worried I am and why dh does not want ds to get a mental health dx. GP was very good and did say that they are loath to label people, which I know from my own experience of psychs is true. Dh's reaction to me making the call was however very worrying, I now think his own mh is worse than I thought. Anyway we had had a chat on the way into work this morning and I had told him that I was going to call gp about my worries. And after dh had come back from the shops after the call, we discussed it and he did seem to be less stressed about it, and I am hopeful that he will come round to taking ds to gp. GP said that I could ask him to phone me again when we have persuaded ds to go and see him and he will fit him in despite no available appointments. Ds vacuumed his room today, dh has finished washing all of his clothes (!) and they are going out to get ds a new winter coat tomorrow so progress of sorts.

MrsMinkBernardLundy Mon 14-Oct-13 22:37:29

Would showing dh this thread help convince him perhaps?
Also knowing that a diagnosis of a MH issue is by no means a life sentence nor is it something that need adversely affect job prospects.

HoopHopes Mon 14-Oct-13 22:12:40

Re: your ds, being at home for a year with no reason to get out of bed could cause the apathy and low mood or he may be like that because of low mood. Regardless he either needs to: see a gp for assessment, treatment options or needs to find a structure to his day and activities ( ideally out of the house) to motivate him.

You say you are funding him. Could you sit down with him and lay down basic ground rules and tell him you will not fund him any more so he needs to find a job etc! If he had a small job, a routine, it could help him find friends and give him some self esteem etc. and if he cannot manage that then he needs medical help.

Sounds tough.

Shame your dh will not allow a cleaner into the home. Could you book one to come on a day he is out at work and give her a key so it is not an issue?

stowsettler Mon 14-Oct-13 09:27:09

OP I think we all get that you don't want to do anything your DH doesn't want to do, and I'm sure we all realise that there has to be a bit of give and take within a marriage.

The trouble is, it sounds like you're doing the giving and he's doing the taking. Even if that is not true, we're not talking about who puts the bins out here, or whose turn it is to do the shopping. We're talking about your DS's mental health and, quite possibly, the rest of his life.

IMO that adds a whole level of urgency to the situation, and if your DH can't see that (or won't see that) then you simply have to go it alone. You owe it to your DS.

Dear goodness, I could have written this! I can only really tell you our story and what we did and how there IS (touch everything wooden in sight) a potential happy ending.

DS is ASD, but very high functioning. However I think we had all persuaded ourselves he was higher functioning than he was. He started Uni last year, all seemed fine, was back for Xmas, all happy. Come end Feb, I had a funny feeling something was awry, went to visit him, after 24 hours it emerged he'd dropped out academically in the October after getting behind with an essay and just hid, ostrich-like (YTAF did the Uni not contact me/him??) and then socially too, as was embarrassed in front of his friends, so just sat in his room, went nocturnal, survived on Nutella (found 24 jars in his room)...I whisked him home.

He saw the GP, was put on ADs (even if he hadn't been before, 4 months of isolation would send anyone potty) and referred to the mental health services. I had to fight for all this to happen ASAP. Screaming matches with receptionists etc. They put him on a course of CBT and he also saw a private counsellor about mindfulness (he genuinely enjoyed this).

We had 4 pretty shitty months, when he just sat on his PC, that's if he was up at all. DP went into work mode ie problem/solution and kept coming up with various star charts eg if you go swimming every day/get a job we'll go to Nandos/sushi...Didn't work.

All that did was time, understanding, lots of heart to hearts with me, the ADs kicking in, and then some gentle planning for the future.

We visited another university and had meetings with their MH people and got DS registered disabled so he now has weekly meetings with a mentor to keep him on track (he started there last month). He also used some of an inheritance to go travelling, and I disagree with some of the posters above - it gave him something to focus on, plan for and get excited about. He managed really well - re-learning independence, responsibility etc. He checked in with a relative of mine who lives there halfway through so that gave me some peace of mind, and I insisted on daily texts.

The single best thing though was, like you, I got him on a short course with one of the tutors at our local uni on a vaguely connected subject that he's always been interested in. It got him out of bed twice a week, and started to rebuild his self esteem and worth (and got DP off his back).

With your DH...I dunno. Maybe you two could go out for dinner and in a non confrontational, neutral setting, rather than having harsh words about it all when you're freshly exasperated at everyone's laziness, talk instead about how it makes you feel, value, respect, lack of etc...and then also agree a joint plan for DS. But crucially, DS himself then needs to be part of and sign up to that plan.

Hope this all makes sense - do PM me if you want to talk more as it's eerily similar and I suspect you might be feeling like I did - heartbroken, failure as a Mum etc. It DID get better x

scallopsrgreat Mon 14-Oct-13 08:24:30

So he was actually threatening to jump? Jeepers, that puts a whole different light on the issue.

I know what you are saying with regards not overriding your DH's feelings but it seems to be OK for him to do the same to you? I am not seeing any compromising or help from him in this matter at all. Why do his feelings count more than yours (and your DS's)?

He doesn't do any cleaning even though he works less than you. This is what I picked up on originally. That sense of entitlement and I thought your son might be following down the same path. That may still be part of the problem but evidently there are more pressing issues. So apologies for the last post. I can totally see why you found it unhelpful.

What did your DH say when your son said he was going to jump? In fact what has he had to say about any of this?

Have you thought about what you are going to do if you can't convince your DH that something needs to be done? Because there is no guarantee you will be able to persuade him. I think most people on here are with you in that something needs to be done (just disagreeing about the best course of action smile). Doing nothing isn't really an option and would be letting your son down and sending him the message that his father's opinions and feelings matter more than his.

Also other than the shouting match you haven't said what your sons feelings are (as far as you know). I am presuming you have tried to speak to him? Has he said anything about what he wants to do or what happened at uni, for example?

LIZS Mon 14-Oct-13 08:22:04

Going back to the original problem I'd get a cleaner in for a one off , or maybe several short, visits perhaps when ds isn't there if possible to Spring clean. Then you can start a better regime to keep on top of it , even if once fortnight or once a month you all hoover particular parts on the same morning, keep a spray cleaner in bathroom to use after you have a bath/shower or brush teeth, wipe kitchen surfaces while the kettle is boiling etc. Each would only take a minute or two and might reduce the stress of that aspect of things . However I suspect it is really a displacement of your concerns over ds and frustration at dh and agree gp should be first port of call. I doubt he could get ESA without diagnosis and even then it is not a given. Good luck

MinesAPintOfTea Mon 14-Oct-13 07:55:13

Is your DH trying to avoid seeing how bad things have got? I don't know how you can make him see without things changing for the worse, which is exactly what you don't want. Would he support you if you booked a day off work to take DS to the GP? Or could you do it on a day he works?

As for the "make him" comments about the DS: my DB went through similar (pretty much recovered now, but still living with my DP), you can't make a young adult man do anything, including walking out of the door. The OP could stop providing healthy meals or doing washing, but he needs healthy meals to recover and is unlikely to clean for himself. I know its not just a matter of a balanced diet, but I suspect the DS would live off junk if meals weren't provided. Aside from that she has no sanctions if he doesn't want to do anything and has a pot of money when he does want to buy something.

You have my sympathy OP. Mental illness in a family member is hard to deal with partly because its so hard to get them to seek treatment once an adult.

dhisaconspiracytheorist Mon 14-Oct-13 07:23:09

The reason I posted in relationships originally is because I wanted help in persuading dh to see how serious this is. Its not about laziness, fragile egos is more like it. To hell with what dh wants is pretty much on a par with ltb. In marriage you do have to consider your partners feelings. We have been together 28 years, things are generally good. I said upthread that I am going to contact gp for advice this morning, but really I would like to persuade dh to take ds to gp. I have to go to work. I can't just take time off as and when, it needs to be booked.

humphryscorner Mon 14-Oct-13 06:28:23

Yes op that puts a different spin on things.... To hell with what your dh wants. Call a GP out this morning .

CharityFunDay Mon 14-Oct-13 05:56:48

He wasn't missing as such, he was threatening to jump.

Oh I beg your pardon, I missed that bit on first reading. Sorry. Stand by the rest of my post though.

joanofarchitrave Sun 13-Oct-13 23:51:51

'I firmly believe that someone's self-worth is dependent on them feeling like they're making a useful contribution, even if it is just ticking off a load of housework tasks that someone else has asked them to do.'

This.

Does your dh like having company around? Does he even maybe quite like having someone around who isn't a go-getter? This is OK in itself but not at the expense of your ds's future.

I very much get the dynamic that you are the breadwinner and therefore feel you have to tread carefully in putting your foot down due to fear of fragile egos; tough; where your ds is concerned he is at risk of sticking at this stage for years, now is the time for action.

mercibucket Sun 13-Oct-13 23:45:41

you can also speak to his gp separately
afaik this goes on his notes so if he asked to see them he would know you had spoken to them, but invaluable for letting the gp know what is happening

dhisaconspiracytheorist Sun 13-Oct-13 23:21:08

He wasn't missing as such, he was threatening to jump.

CharityFunDay Sun 13-Oct-13 22:17:51

DH was right not to call the police. They wouldn't do anything WRT to a missing person report unless it had been 48 hours.

Agree that this sounds like a very troubled young man, who needs to be handled carefully. First priority should be a GP visit (accompanied by a parent who can fill in some of the gaps).

See where you go from there. If he is ill, file a claim for ESA immediately.

The business about living in squalor is classic 'red flag' for deteriorating MH. How did it ever get so bad in the first place? This should have been nipped in the bud long ago.

Your relationship with DH sounds problematic in itself, but that's a separate issue.

humphryscorner Sun 13-Oct-13 20:57:35

OP when my dd hit 17, she dropped out of college because she didnt like the girls there and I was heart broke. Her bed room was awful, mouldy food, make up smeared all over carpet, piled up plates, dirty clothes,old sanitary towels .She refused to do her chores and was disrespectful to me and my DH. I asked her to leave as Id just had a DD2 and wouldn't allow some one to treat me and my home like that. It was my house.

She went to live with her dad for a year, well his mother really as he was with his gf. Our relationship improved massively as we wasn't in each others 'face'. She allowed me to help find her an apprenticeship and I watched her find her own feet and blossom in to a wonderful young lady. I had to let the reins go. She text me earlier tonight for the first time ever telling me she loved me. I nearly fell of my chair and suspected she was pissed! she moved back in just before her 18. She is a different girl.

I think you should call GP out like an above poster said and if he is not depressed, then he has to find his own feet. He isn't a child any more, he is a grown man.

My 26 yr old db lives with my DGM still, lives his life through the computer, online wizards ect...hmm he is a recluse and a bit weird. He also has never signed on but gets himself a job for 6 months saves the money then has six months off shock My DGM totally enables him and this behaviour and its segregated him from the rest of the family but she cant see it.

regarding the cleaning - time to grow a back bone! good luck!

dhisaconspiracytheorist Sun 13-Oct-13 20:34:52

tingle1 I don't know why I am trying to engage with you. Grabbing and shaking would not end well, ds is well over 6ft tall and well built. dh still had his shoes on as they had been out. I do care about him and I need to get him professional help. Nothing justifies violence. End of.

Thanks thanks for all the helpful suggestions folks, especially Kundry. I appreciate the dog walking suggestions as kindly meant, although realistically it is past that at the moment though could be useful along with all the other volunteering suggestions after he gets treatment. I found a once a week "free" paper round got me out of the house after I was ill many years ago. Getting paid for carrying weights and going for a nice walk.

The "They fuck you up your Mum and Dad" type posts were not really helpful (yes I know it is all our fault, thanks) and I could have done without the LTB's. grin

Let's all have cake and brew and a good nights sleep and I will contact our gps and ask for their help tomorrow.

Hi there OP, sorry to hear things are bad for you. Although I do feel sorry for you, I do also feel sad for your son. I was a gloomy teen and was pretty crippled with insecurity and shyness, and it sounds to me like he is ashamed of himself for living in squalor, feeling worthless because he dropped out of college and trying to disappear. The world is a frightening place for a teen who doesn't fit in. Sometimes getting dressed is a struggle. It sounds to me that you are more of a go-getter like your daughters and maybe your son is more like your DH, if that is the case what does your DH think would work. Maybe the softly softly approach would help. Take him somewhere where he feels happy, reassure him that you are proud of him and love him and ask him what he wants to do with his life. Maybe his lecturer would have a word with him, and he could go back next year? Good luck.

stowsettler Sun 13-Oct-13 19:59:26

DH is also part of the overall problem as well as yourself

This. Very much this.

MrsMinkBernardLundy Sun 13-Oct-13 19:59:17

I wasn't suggesting getting a dog but dog walking either as a voluntary thing or very p/t work. i found it helped me a lot when i was not well but i could not have cope with a dog ft. I find structure and routine really beneficial. Even if that routine is just on one day a week walking a dog/going to a class/volunteering/playing football ire anything else he might enjoy.

Owning a dog means that you will just end up with something else to care for. Its not fair on the animal either.

Why does your DH not want to seek help for his son?. Is it for the reason I cited i.e totally misplaced shame and embarrassment that his son needs such mental help?. That is why my ILs refused help btw.

DH is also part of the overall problem as well as yourself; this has dragged on for a long time now and things have or will soon come to a head. You are both well outside your comfort zone here and it shows. Time to act decisively and not bury your head in the sand in the hope it will go away because it does not.

elastamum Sun 13-Oct-13 19:57:03

It does sound like e is suffering from depression. Often parents, particulalty fathers find it hard to admit that their child might be ill. You need to get him help - talk to your GP. Also look at the Young minds website - they run a support service for parents of young people with MH problems.

stowsettler Sun 13-Oct-13 19:50:53

kundry got there before me. Getting a dog could be a disaster, it would most likely be just one other thing for you to take care of, OP.

I agree that your DS sounds very ill. So ill that you have to realise that putting him first means, in this case, disregarding the completely misguided opinion of your DH. DS needs help, you're his mother - ergo you must get him help, whether he wants it or not.

As to your DH himself - well that's a whole other problem IMO and not something I'd be putting up with. But it's hardly the biggest problem in your life right now.

tingle1 Sun 13-Oct-13 19:47:37

Why didnt you run after your son? why didnt you grab him, shake him and shout stop? you just thought about calling 999, then sent dh down to find him. you seem so distant from each other, and it doesnt seem new.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now