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Very long rant about my son - Carers UK Forum

Very long rant about my son

For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.
This is just a rant - quite a long one.

It's been a very long haul for my 21-year old son with drug-induced psychosis. It has taken maybe 18 months for him to be taking the medications he needs. During that time he may well have had a second psychotic episode which considerably worsened his conditions.

For me, his mother, this has been a very difficult period, increasingly so as I was unable to get for my son the treatment I felt he needed. It felt like I was fighting both my son's father - who refused to see what was happening or even discuss it really - and my son's care coordinator at an Early Intervention Service - who decided my son wasn't that ill because his symptoms weren't "florid" enough, and also that I was just a fusspot. My son was discharged from the EIS in June just as his condition became really severe - the care coordinator couldn't (wouldn't?) see the changes I was reporting and merely handed my son a leaflet on sleep hygiene.

In October, my son finally did start taking medication. I had contacted the local Crisis Team when my son starting experiencing paranoia on top of the wealth of negative symptoms he was living with. The Crisis Team contacted the EIS again and they got in contact with my son. Eventually, he saw the psychiatrist again and - credit where credit is due - the psychiatrist did finally recognize the severity of his "unflorid" symptoms. After yet another long month of waiting while my son's new (and very nice) care coordinator tried to persuade him to take medication, my son finally agreed to take it when he was threatened with "hospital" (a section).

It was hard at first but my son now seems to accept that he needs to take the medication and it is definitely helping him. His weirder behaviours have faded and there seem to be little improvements almost every day. There is a very long way to go and it is quite a slog on several fronts. But there is at last some room for hope.

So it is ironic that at this more hopeful moment, I am for almost the first time really struggling with grief over what has happened to my son and anger and resentment towards my husband and my son's first care coordinator for ignoring me and what was happening.

I think what it is is that the fear and panic and desperation of the last year have finally abated enough for these other feeling to show through. I know I will come to terms with these things somehow but for the moment I find myself overwhelmed and tearful for some hours every day.

I did try an anti-depressant about six months ago but I had a very strong reaction against it. The GP suggested I could try another type, but I am reluctant - though also reluctant to go on just enduring...

This is a very long post. Thanks for reading if you got this far.
Welcome to the forum. There is often a delayed reaction after anything serious happening in our lives. Many widows say the worst bit is six months afterwards, for example. So just be kind to yourself, and try to avoid putting any extra stress on yourself. I'd go back to the doctor and ask for some gentle medication, especially if you are finding sleep difficult?
May I say something that may sound cruel and insensitive, but might possibly.....possibly.... apply?? (No idea if it does, but I say it anyway, as it's somewhat 'unsayable' - but if it doesn't apply then obviously just chuck it out the window!).

It's this. You say you are angry and resentful at your husband and the first care coordinator....but, I wonder, is there a chance that you are also angry at your son?

You mentioned 'drug-induced psychosis' in your opening, and I wonder, therefore, whether there is anger in you that his current state may be 'self-inflicted' by his 'choice' to take drugs in the first place???

By the same logic, is there a possibility that you are also angry with yourself, for having 'allowed' him (by not intervening - or feeling powerless to intervene - or even being ignorant of needing to intervene) to take drugs in the first place?

Or, indeed, angry at a society where recreational drug taking is regarded as perfectly normal and acceptable, and a peer pressure that makes it very hard for young people to reject recreational drug taking?

If it was recreational drug taking that has caused his current state, then that raises the very, very difficult issue of just how much responsibility HE has to take for the decisions he made at the time to do so. And because of both his youth and the 'social acceptability' and the 'peer pressure' that is hard to decide.

IF he did 'freely choose' to indulge in recreational drugs, then he must, logically, now take the consequences, and face up to them, including what he needs to do by way of treatment (accepting meds etc) and for the fall out this is having on you.

Apologies if this has absolutely no relevance to the situation. MH is never a simple matter, even if recreational drugs have been involved in its causation (may well not have been the sole cause anyway!)(and, indeed, of course, may have been far more of a symptom of MH problems than a cause of them).

Whatever the relevance or irrelevance of the above, the most important thing is that he finally IS getting treatment, and I do hope that it is successful, and that he can emerge from this troubled period of his life and get back to the life he SHOULD be having, and the future he SHOULD be able to look forward to.
Hi Fiona

I recognise everything you say - the tears, stress, resentment. Don't beat yourself up for it. It is a normal part of the process of coming to terms with it. I too put off taking anti-depressants for a long time, as I know from when I had post-natal depression, they often make it much worse for the first couple of weeks, and I really didn't want to feel any lower.

I finally relented and went on them in November, and I did feel awful for the first couple of weeks (suicidal even at points), but because I had spoken to my GP and family about it, they knew it was just a mini-phase due to the drugs, and I got through it. Two months on, I feel I can cope so much better; Issac seriously deteriorated and got sectioned, and even though it is an awful situation, I have not felt as low as I did before I started taking them.

I think it might also be useful if you air your resentment to EIS. Organise to have a meeting with the manager of the service (they are usually quite happy to have an informal "feedback" session over a coffee), and tell them everything; how it made you feel, how you feel they let you down, what they could have done differently. Off-loading will make you feel so much better, and it may also help the service to improve in the future.

Also, maybe you should tell your husband how resentful his actions have made you feel. I know I quite often assume that my husband knows, or can sense, how truly sad and beaten down I feel, but actually, he is a man, and they don't have a clue unless you spell it out to them :roll: Keeping communication within the family open and honest is one of the best ways to build a strong and solid foundation for your son's recovery.

You will get through this, it is going to be OK. It is also OK not to be OK at the moment - you have been through a trauma too. Off-load your stresses, and don't forget to hold on to hope for a better tomorrow. (((Hugs))) xxxxxx
Hi Fiona

May I send (((hugs))) too? I do understand the grief and anger at the way psychosis robs our children of happy lives and opportunities.

You have been holding it together for so long, and now you no longer need to it is like a dam bursting and it all comes out, because it is safe to go to pieces for a while. It will get better.
Thanks to all of you. Everyone is right in what they say - and it helps to hear it - and from people who understand.

Jenny you aren't being cruel and insensitive. What you say is right and relevant. It's just that my culpability and the silliness (in my view) of society's current tolerance towards "only weed" hit me hard a year and a half ago when I first started dealing with this. As for anger towards my son or him taking responsibility - I wish!

Steph I have read how hard things have been for you and I'm sorry. Your suggestions are sensible. Maybe I will try again with my husband. But I'm not always the most tactful. And bowlingbun and starfish - just thanks.
Glad I didn't upset you. I do feel for you - my own son is about your son's age, so I know how worried sick I would be for him, whatever the cause, even if his 'foolishness' contributed to it - I mean, they are only young, and impressionable, and peer group pressure is a venomous thing....

I completely agree with you about the hideous dangers of our modern times when society 'normalises' something that no society in their right mind should! Alcohol is quite 'drug' enough for any society! Yes, I know there is a huge debate about 'which is more dangerous' etc etc, but to my mind the most dangerous aspect of drugs is that they are illegal and therefore 'cool'.

A friend of mine whose son is friends with mine says, and I think there is a lot in this, that so, so often it is not the 'ringleaders' of any group of youngsters who get into trouble, or take the fall out from whatever 'illicit but cool' stuff they are doing, it's usually the kids who are less sure of themselves, who aren't the 'ringleaders' at all....THEY are the ones that get caught, and damaged....

Teenagers should be able to be immature and impressionable etc etc without endangering their lives.....these days the stakes seem far, far too high....

As I say, I very much hope that things are now on the turn, in the right direction, for your son, and that one day in the years to come he'll look back from a much, much happier place both for him, and for you.

PS - this is hardly a 'comforting' thing to say, but I tend to think that my son is 'sensible' (so far!) in many ways more so than many of his peers because he's been through the unbearable trauma of losing his dad to cancer when he was 15. I think the 'upside' is that he had to mature very quickly, and is because of that, he tends not to take risks or live dangerously (except driving the damn car too fast!!!!!!!)
Hello Fiona,
I find myself reading all of these posts as a new member of this forum on another very hard day with my 26year old son. After listening to him sobbing for over 2 hours today and telling me how worthless he is, that he wants to leave this world and that there is no point to him - I found my self searching on line for help, someone who might be able to understand how I am feeling.
Our son has been diagnosed with PTSD which manifests in depression, anxiety, anger and violence which we have all been living with now for 5 years, although he was only diagnosed last year. He too dropped out of university and we are certain that he started smoking "only weed" at about 15years of age. He now says it helps with the anxiety and calms down his violent thoughts.
As parents we have been through every emotion, however the overriding one for so long was grief - grief and sadness for the son that we had and for the confident and happy adult that we were trying to help develop and may never see - we know that we have to reset our dreams for him.
As a couple we have also experienced many other emotions - from blame, to being alone in a marriage, to hurting each other but also a united feeling of being in it together (for our son and for each other). Sometimes, I listen to how my husband responds and reacts to a certain event and I just cannot believe that he can even think that way! Others he calmly helps me to see that our son is ill and we are not to blame.
This is another long post from a mum just tying to do her best and trying to stay strong for everyone. There is so much more I could say, to just share with you how we have coped over the years and how we think we will for the foreseeable future.
Kerry - two thoughts (spoken with ignorance, but 'good intentions')(though, yes, 'good intentions' may be dangerous as well as completely wrong....)

BUT.....

If your son is still using cannabis, but because it 'calms him down', would it be possible for him to switch to another drug - a legal one! When my husband died of cancer I was prescribed diazepam to 'calm me' and I do recommend it! I know it can become addictive (what can't?!), but it did most certainly 'take the edge off' and still does (I'm allowed to take it on 'bad days'!). It gives 'a little shelter' from emotions and trauma, and just gives a sort of temporary 'cocoon' allowing some self-recovery to start inside. No idea if this would be suitable for him, or desirable, but if it's a choice of a prescribed drug or an illicit one, maybe the former is less worse??

Secondly, if your son says he is 'worthless' (heartbreaking thing to hear!), then how about this thought: Could he prove to himself that he isn't worthless - by being the person who 'makes a difference' to someone else. Helping others can be extremely empowering - it shows us dramatically that yes, we CAN 'do something' we can 'be worthwhile' because if we didn't help that person, they would remain in need. If helping humans is too traumatic for him, then as so many with mental illness find (like my niece), helping animals in need can be very, very therapeutic. (The other virtue of helping others is that it also shows them how much worse off other people can be, and that can help to put their own woes, which are, of course, very real to them, into perspective.)

Many apologies if this is all far too simplistic. One of the real 'curses' that MH inflicts on sufferers is a kind of 'self-obsession' (in a non-selfish way!) and they find it so, so hard to to think beyond themselves and their problems. To help others (human or animal - or even nature - eg, conservation work!)(growing plants!)(er, not cannabis mind you!!!!!) reminds them that firstly the wider world exists, and could do with our help, and secondly, that they have the power to help....

Wishing you as well as can be, and your poor son too, Jenny
Hello Jenny,

Thank you for taking time to respond so quickly, your thoughts are received well and yes it does all sound so simple, so easy to apply and I too would have given the same advice before I found myself in this situation. My son really sees cannabis as a "natural" substance that helps him through the very dark times that he encounters. He has sought clinical "evidence" to support his beliefs and cannot understand for a second why I would encourage him to take synthetic drugs, albeit legal ones, over a naturally occurring substance. I have a medical background and it breaks my heart to watch him persisting with this drug. That said he has cut down and I believe that he smokes far less of it now than he has done over the years.
He has a deeply caring side to him and yes he finds great satisfaction in helping people when he is well himself. He spends quite a bit of time helping others to complete the awful forms that need to be completed to claim benefits, and I will continue to try to help him to focus on that - thank you! However in his very worst times he believes this is not enough and that actually the world, and more specifically his loved ones, would be better off without him.
He has now spoken to his therapist over the phone and the situation today has again calmed down. He has gone out to be with friends but actually I know he feels claustrophobic being at home and around us during these times. My husband and I are left reeling and trying to make sense of what has happened to that gorgeous little boy that we had - feeling desperately sad that we cannot make him happy again, that needs to come from within and we just cannot see it happening for quite some time.
Thank you again.