19yo son with MH problems, I can't cope :((17 Posts)
I feel a failure just writing this but I just don't know what to do. My son (with his 2 brothers) and me got a house in shropshire. We've been here a year. I wasn't in his life for most of it through divorce and me going to jail. Their mother destroyed them with boyfriend and a step father who abused them sexually and emotionally and they ended up in care. 3 years ago i was able to meet with my eldest and then this son. My youngest was 18 months later. So last year I pulled us together in a house here and tried to repair some of the damage that had been caused. My eldest and youngest have some issues but are well on their way. So my middle son has what seems on the surface some psychiatric issues, I think they are more personality and behavioural problems. He has reverted to a 12-13-14 year old and throws tantrums and is very impulsive. He get pets, which I have to re-home (and cry over with the last poor dog) he buys crap with the tiny bit of benefits he gets and I have had to take his "housekeeping" from source. He throws my past in my face (I wasn't a good person then) and when I challenge him he tells me what right I have to tell him what to do, I understand what he means but its his way of hurting me to "get off his back" and it has mainly worked up until today. I was told by the local CMHT that they are going to start closing his file as they don't believe they are the right service for him and suggested that I contact psychological services to get him assessed for counselling, CBT, DBT. I am now faced with another 3-4 months before he gets any real help and I am at the end of my tether. I love him dearly and hate that my life has hurt him so badly and although I am unable to go into details about my life they had a lucky escape. I have my own issues but have spent the last 7 years fixing myself and getting myself into a life I could be proud of and give to the kids. He doesn't really speak to his mum and I think he finds my sexuality a bit weird for him. I am living with the fear that whatever I do or say will only make things worse and if I challenge him to much he will just lose it and go but I also know if he is left to his own devices he'll end up dead, as we have already cut him down and he has cut himself several times but they are not too deep. I don't know what anyone can do but I wanted to get it off my chest...
I have no idea what to say.
Well done for turning your life around.
The only thing I can say is that he obviously needs help.
Did he have the chance to be a stroppy 13/14 year old? Is he acting it out now do you think?
when I challenge him he tells me what right I have to tell him what to do
Because you can see him doing exactly the same thing and you don't want that?
Sorry not much use, but couldn't leave it. I hope someone comes along soon with help. I know some people on here have had really difficult teenagers.
johnny, I don't have your experience, but I do know about the anger some boys build up, and how it hurts people, and especially themselves. Here are some things I am pretty sure are true...
Your love and care will help. They won't fix, but they will make things a bit better. The kids who are really damaged are the ones who have no-one there for them. If you love him and you are showing it, it will make a difference.
It'll take time. These boys have had a really bad several years. I think you should expect it to take at least as long to 'make things better' as they spent with things being bad. It's no bad reflection on you that it takes time: mental ill-health creates real damage that needs healing, and you can't wave a magic wand and fix it immediately, any more than you can with a broken leg or some other kind of physical injury. It might help to think of your son as having been in an 'emotional car-crash' - it'll take years, and 'emotional rehab' to get him healed.
There's probably a certain amount of anger that needs to come out, before he can get well. It sounds like he has real reasons to be angry. Try to let him be. If he doesn't let it out, but keeps it bottled up, it will hurt him - his mental health is likely to suffer and he may self-harm as a 'release'. So he needs to be able to express his anger safely, including his anger with you. Let him express it as much as you can, tho don't let him abuse you. So, shouting and raging may be what he needs to do, but there should be no physical violence. Get some support yourself (like counselling) to help deal with that, cos it will probably hurt, or make you angry in return.
Support for yourself is also a good idea because there is so little support for him. It will take months to arrange anything. You will probably be left pretty much to your own devices. Look after yourself, and you'll be better able to help him.
Whatever you think about his mother, it's probably best to keep it to yourself. She may deserve criticism (or more), but psychologically, your son will identify with her because she is his mother - he is 'half her' - and if you slag her off, he will feel you are attacking part of him, too.
Is he smoking skunk? It's likely, given his age and life experience. There won't be much you can do about it, but you should be aware it's a depressant, a disinhibitor, and for some people (particularly, it seems, vulnerable young men) a psychotic.
Encourage anything that takes your son's attention outside/beyond himself. It will help him to do something. The pets may be his attempt to think about and look after someone else - he may not be able to do it well at the moment, but his instincts are right, because looking after others is good for your mental health. There may be a local voluntary group that he could get involved with, with a focus on young people or those with mental health needs - as a starting point, Google the name of your area + 'mental health + music/art/activity'.
Look at this website - and you'll see the freephone no of a parents' helpline. Young Minds is a proactive mental health charity focused on young people.
Agree with flow - don't slag off his mum - let your son express himself, keeping him, his brothers and you safe, of course. By being there, by telling him that you love him so much, by taking an interest in him, doing things with him as much as possible, talking to him about his future - you are helping him to rebuild his life every moment of every day. May not seem like it, but love and security are immensely powerful. Essential help is sort for the self harming - targeted help now so that this is dealt with and positive actions take its place. Watch out for drugs - I've seen just how horribly they can affect young minds.
Pets? Could he keep any of them - they are wonderful companions.
Good luck - and well done.
I second the Young Minds helpline. We were going through a crisis with our 13 yo last year and they were good to talk to.
You say your sexuality is weird for him. Can I just point out that all sexuality of parents is weird for teen/adult offspring?
Try not to push your sexuality at your DCs iyswim, not to say deny an essential part of who you are, but you don't need to make a big thing of it. They won't want talk about it with you!
I greatly admire that you are trying to offer your sons another chance at family life and are trying to redress some of the things that went wrong previously. It must be very hard work, so look after yourself. Make sure you get some time just for you and do some little things each day that you enjoy. Also get some counselling support just for you to help you get your boys through this very difficult period.
Thank you for your comments....and thank you for the link, I will be calling them for some advice. I wanted to clarify that i do not slag his mum off as I am off the same mind, he however does but i try to ignore it or if its bad i do say. He does love the pets but forgets that they need care all the time and that is very hard for him hence we have 5 pets (4 of which he sprung on me) and its hard to have to deal with all of that and this fight with his issues. He doesn't smoke drugs or drink. I smoke weed for pain but i think it worries him so i'm going to have to go back on painkillers, I hate them and the side effects but if it means its another issue sorted it'll be worth it. I am trying to get some support myself and have even used The Samaritans. It is hard to find a balance with him but I'm hopeful he'll get better. We're working hard and he has started to open up to his MH nurse so its a step in the right direction. I've a Drs appointment on thursday and will be asking for my pills back as this is triggering my own MH issues and i can't risk getting ill.
Again thank you! x
I haven't been able to do much as I have had a mild heart attack yesterday...I'm ok but need a break so am going away for a couple of day. I spoke to his nurse today and he's starting to open up, I know the attack affected him as he called them
I will update this post when i have some news....
My son is now in hospital as he tried to take his own life again I'm hoping this time they'll help him and not expect me to know what to do!
Johnnybear so very sorry to hear how your son is suffering. I don't have any kind of advice but wanted you to know that I admire everything you are doing and trying to do. Please keep it up. Are you involved in any kind of faith community?
So very sory first time on this site looking for help with my depressed son and i read your threads and was so sad with your last one but i have been moved how strong you have come across for your family and i really hope that there is an answer for you both soon take care
Please take care of yourself first. You can't help anyone else if you're in pieces yourself. In sorry you and the boys have had such a rough few years but so glad they have a dad who wants the best for them
Have the hospital been able to offer your son any help? If he's on any meds make sure he takes them as going on and off them is worse than not being on at all (speaking from experience!)
How are your other sons coping with all this? It must be hard on them as well
Thinking of you all
thank you for your kind words....HoneyandRum...I am an atheist but i feel where your comment came from and i wish to thank you...
Stringer123, thank you...I hope you're able to get some help..i know how hard things can be...
Thank you Turniptwirl...I am trying to look after myself...I am recovering from a mild heart attack so am taking it as easy as i can...
My son is on lots of medication which has asking 3 admissions and hours of calls to get to this stage..
10mg Diazepam x 2
It doesn't seem to help much we are waiting on psychological services to give him some help but waiting list are high in shropshire..I will plod on till my last breath...I just wish things would at least move forward...
thanks for your caring words
Oh johnny, you've had a dreadful couple of weeks. Hope you are recovering now. It sounds like your son needs to be in hospital at the mo - he should be safer there and will at least get a bit of support. You'll get as bit of respite too - and it sounds like you need it. Take care.
Meds can take several weeks to work and even longer to get on the right dose and combination. Keep going with it
Thinking of you both and hoping each day theres a little more hope in your lifes x
Wondering and hoping things have improved for you?
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