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DS18 Uni, MH & alcohol....where to begin?!(7 Posts)
My relationship with DS18 is completely and utterly tits up. The last year has been hell. His GF dumped him in Feb followed by other traumatic life events. He is a v bright lad, but responded by secretly drinking and I'm proud to say seeking psychiatric support. Amazingly he got through the exams and is probably subject to an OH clearance heading to Uni in a week to study a health related degree. I think he's a functioning alcoholic. I've tried everything- suggesting AA meetings, self help books, a gap year to recover ...but he's adamant he's off. Home life is shit. Anyone who has lived with an addict will know what I'm talking about....lies, hidden stashes,broken trust. I have a 12 yo and part of me wants my DS gone for the sake of the rest of the family but part of me is terrified for him too. I'm the enemy in his unwell mind and I'm worried that he's mentally unstable and could get hurt or Be suicidal. Our talking relationship is terrible now. I think he's an adult, there's little I can do to change his life choices, he's 18 but it doesn't stop me being so bloody worried. Any wisdom on our cataclysmic mess appreciated thanks.
Is he staying in halls?
Universities usually have good pastoral care. Either speak to someone on the Health and Wellbeing team or the Chaplaincy team and explain your concerns.
I couldn't read this and not post Op. In many ways it is very, very similar to the situation my dd and I were in a few years ago minus the alcohol abuse. First of all she got through it, and things are really going well for her and we have a good relationship now. She has received help via the university for her mental health issues.
But it was hard. She screwed up her first year at university, refused to tell us what was happening until she actually got chucked out. Looking back she wasn't in the right place emotionally to leave home and go to university but she did, and I couldn't have stopped her. And frankly she was behaving so appallingly my dh and I felt relief that we no longer had to live with her. Sounds awful and it is but until you are in that situation you have no idea what you will feel.
I am not sure how much the university will be willing to do to help your son unless he asks for it himself. I would definitely contact them though.
Is there any chance that he could defer for a year? Sounds as though that might not be the best thing for you as a family though.
Have you tried writing him a letter? We did this with our dd saying that we loved her but were scared for her and that we no longer recognised her. She never responded but has kept the letter and I think that it might have helped a little.
Is your ds going into a health care related course, I ask because of the OH clearance?
Thanks both. @notanurse2017.....he's been v open about his problems and this has prompted the additional OH assesssment. He's an outstanding pupil on paper - aced the grades for medicine and desperately wants to be a doctor. There were no MH issues until earlier this year and events triggered the drinking. The AD's don't work because the drink counteracts them. He drinks because he says we stress him out.....so life's a big nasty vicious cycle. Part of me thinks now he has to leave, step up to this high stakes role and either confront or live with the day to day consequences of the addiction to reach a rock bottom moment. I've tried everything....writing a letter, pleading, threatening myself to leave ....just everything. The uni seem to be onboard and I'm so pleased at their attitude. He's a bloody nightmare when he's bored (drinks) and I'm hoping a full on emersive experience and a desire to positively conform are a roll of the dice worth taking. If he took a gap year, I think he would have to move out. We are at breaking point after months and months.....
@cdtaylornats.....the chaplaincy is a fantastic idea. I hadn't thought of that, thanks. Yes I'm in touch with the disability services who are excellent and seem determined to have my son on board.
Chalfontstgiles I think that it's really good that your ds has been open about his issues to the University. Medicine is a very intense course and I would be worried that he is going to struggle. But as you say he could rise to the challenge.
But I think that in the end you have done all that you can. Be prepared that he might screw up (which for my dd was a wake up call, she had to take a year out but returned to the second year), but that in the end all that really matters is that he finds happiness and health.
Best of luck to you both.
Thanks @notanurse2017...,sounds like you've been there got that t shirt, I'm pleased and heartened to hear that there's light at the end of the tunnel. The depression is v up and down. One day not wanting to leave his room the next day being the heart and soul - it's v hard to keep up yourself day to day with this rollercoaster. Post drink is dreadful. But he does have a strong desire to conform and we find it hard to figure out how much is general teen behaviour. We never know what's really going on deep down but feel he has to take this step now.