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Old 02-12-2021, 12:13 AM   #1
laughnotcry
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Default Not Feeling Hopeful

My eldest kid is almost 28 yrs old. He has a variety of diagnosis, including BiPolar, OCD, and Autism Spectrum. He is living with a girlfriend, but that is about to change: girlfriend is moving out of state, leaving my son alone in the apartment. My son does not drive and does not do well being by himself for more than a few hours at a time. The lease on the apartment doesn't end until July.

I'm not really sure where to start with explaining my concerns, except that I see a crisis coming. Right now my son is quarantining for two weeks so that he can come and visit with me, his dad, and his brother (we have barely seen each other since March last year). I do want to see him. I do want to be able to do family stuff, like eating together and watching movies. I want to be able to give him hugs, Really what I want though is to visit with him, not live with him, take care of him, or be responsible for him.

He is asking why he can't live here, at least for a few months, while he "recovers" from stress. It turns out he has weaned himself off all 3 of his mental health medications. This has happened before - he ended up with months of mental health challenges which also manifested as severe physical symptoms. Granted, the medications did not solve his problems, but being off them is certainly not going to help him get through the rest of the pandemic, whatever his living situation. Last summer and fall he decided to go back to college. His girlfriend was still in college, doing a graduate degree. Now his girlfriend has quit her graduate degree (and job that goes with it). In the fall my son was taking a full course load as well as working two part-time jobs. He got great grades, and all of this despite the pandemic. Now he quit one of his jobs (bosses were getting worse), withdrew from his classes (he apparently did not attend any classes or do any homework during the first few weeks of the semester), and lost his other job (which was tied to him being a student). The reason he gives for dropping his classes is that college can't give you a couple of weeks off to get through difficult times. He is on disability benefits, but seems to think he can get off those when he gets a better part-time job. As far as I know he is not currently job hunting.

Since I am concerned about how his needs affect the mental health of both myself and my husband (and maybe our other son, who still lives with us), that is my main thought of how to explain why he can't come and live here. Last time he was living here he did nothing to help around the house, did not walk his dog, did not clean up after his cat, got upset about many topics at the dinner table (to the extent that he would shutdown), wanted someone with him almost all the time, and he did nothing to find a job (until he decided that he wanted to move out and he needed a job to do that). Once he decided to move out he finally asked the counselor, who was trying to help him to get work, for the help he really needed and he got a job within a couple of weeks.

I am greatly concerned that his girlfriend is also going to break off the relationship shortly after moving (right now my son believes that they are going to get an apartment together in a different state once they have had time away from stress, assuming my son actually wants to move out of state). Most of this has happened before - moved out to live with a friend, but then ended up back living here suddenly. It would be bad enough, but he now has 2 dogs, 1 cat, a whole apartment worth of stuff (he can't seem to part with anything much at all), and some amount of student debt. Helping him has been constant, even during the 4 years he was away from home at college (he is smart and graduated suma cum laude, but then decided not to use his degree). When he was in college my husband and I literally couldn't even have a night away to help my younger son find a college placement without my eldest having some kind of urgent matter that needed my attention. For the last year we have had a break from caring for him, but I imagine his girlfriend has had to take up much of that slack.

I hate that if he can't figure out how to help himself he will end up losing almost everything and he will be homeless. I have been trying to locate resources to help him with affordable housing options - in the event that he doesn't move out of state - but I've not found much of help, and he needs so much more than that anyway.

Thanks for 'listening'. Just some thoughts on how to speak with him about my needs would be good.
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Old 02-12-2021, 10:55 AM   #2
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Default Re: Not Feeling Hopeful

Hi @laughnotcry - welcome to My Support Forums. I am sorry you are stuck with the situation with your son.

Caregiving as you have said above is not easy. It can totally disrupt your life. Since your son only seems to respond to necessity, from my quick hear of what you face, I would lean toward establishing clear boundaries like have him maintain paying the rent on his apartment and living on his own.

If your son eventually ends up in the hospital, this can be the start of the road to recovery.

Now this may seem out of place, but as a caregiver myself, the most important thing for me to do is self care: support groups like NAMI, exercise online (have links if needed), eating well, sleeping enough to cope with stress, and having a life of my own in the midst of all else that goes on.
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Old 02-13-2021, 10:12 AM   #3
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Default Re: Not Feeling Hopeful

Quote:
Originally Posted by CANDC View Post

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Thanks for your response and for the observation that ES (elder son) responds to necessity. That rings true. I have a call scheduled with ES this afternoon. Here is what I am struggling with: it's probably not my job to change ES' view of the future, but I find he responds best when what I say fits into his vision, or if I can adjust his vision to an alternative that makes sense to him.

Right now his vision is:
  1. come home until I feel better
  2. move on with the rest of my life (with my girlfriend)
My vision is:
  1. come home
  2. don't feel better
  3. get dumped/ghosted by girlfriend
  4. feel even worse than now and have no idea how to move forward

Maybe I need to start the discussion with his good points and move on to actions he is going to take:
  • you are a good person
  • you are a strong person
  • you can move forward from this and I can help you
"Let's talk about what you are going to do and what kind of help you need".
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Old 02-13-2021, 04:23 PM   #4
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Default Re: Not Feeling Hopeful

@laughnotcry I see the differnce in perception between you and son.

The one thing I would suggest to you is to write down what you are not willing to do, what you might be willing to do if son commits to taking meds and can only stay at your home as maintains taking meds, and what you are willing to do. The reason writing this down before meeting with son is important in my opinion is to prevent the mother in you from caving into nice words from your son. It is a mother's inclination. But having strong boundaries and backing them up can be real love too and do more than caving in can be.
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Old 02-13-2021, 10:42 PM   #5
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Default Re: Not Feeling Hopeful

Does he need to be in an assisted living facility? Why is he accumulating all these animals (that he doesnt take care of) and other material goods? And with what money? Has he attended vocational rehab?
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Old 02-19-2021, 09:04 AM   #6
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Default Re: Not Feeling Hopeful

Thanks for the input. He probably does need to be in a supported living situation, but he is not open to that, at least right now.

I have written out what I am prepared to do for ES (elder son) and what I am not prepared to do. One difficulty is that ES seems to equate helping him with love. He most often calls when he wants help with something. I think he likes the feeling that comes from being helped. Dh (dear husband) is struggling with this. ES will ask for something, like advice on which day has the best weather forecast for his girlfriend to drive to her out of state parents. Dh is a helpful person and likes to do things for people. But then ES ends up asking more questions than expected, or he doesn't respond (after dh spends time researching and sending him information).

Dh and I have spoken with ES several times since I last wrote. We communicated that we have our own needs and ES can not come and live with us to "get better", which we don't believe is the reality of what would happen anyway

Dh reminded ES what it was like last time he lived here, how we have different priorities in life, and that ES could not wait to leave again. So, for now ES is coming to visit and sleep over for 2 nights while his girlfriend leaves for Oklahoma. He is bringing his 2 dogs, but not his cat. We don't currently know which day ES wants picked up - today, or tomorrow, or possibly even another day, if his girlfriend delays leaving. I am approaching this as I would having another house guest: I have my schedule for meals, dog walks etc; I provide a place to sleep (I am loaning the guest room to you for your stay); you follow the house rules (be courteous like a guest would).

It's hard to know what kind of state ES is really in, without medications on-board. I suspect he gets out of bed to take care of his dogs and then goes back to bed and sleeps for much of the day. I think he and his girlfriend still prepare and eat dinner, but that would be later in the day than we eat. I will explain our schedule to him as if he were staying with a wider family member (he knows what that is like, because all of our family is out of state and he has been to stay with them).

It doesn't help that we recently had to say goodbye to dh's 14+ yr old dog - ES, dh and I are still sad about that. Petting dh's dog was good therapy.
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