Monday, 15 May 2017


My son and I aren't really speaking.  Last fall he sent me a series of texts in which he told me to fuck off and told me that the best gift I could ever give him would be to never see him again.  That didn't stop him from repeatedly asking me for money.  A few months ago he texted me to tell me that he had been diagnosed as having bipolar disorder. 

My son lives with a woman who has three children, none of them are his.  When he told me that he was diagnosed he also asked for money for his rent.  I told him no but that I would pay for his medication.  I don't know if my son has bipolar disorder or not, the medications he's on are antipsychotics and antidepressants.  He was diagnosed by a doctor at a walk in clinic, not a psychiatrist.  My son is also a habitual liar.

I have a very good friend who has bipolar disorder.  It's a horrible disease.  My friend was trending up into mania last week when we were talking about my son and she told me she was surprised that I didn't have more involvement with him because I'm so supportive of her struggle.  I told her that I had to protect myself from him and that I don't have to protect myself from her.  She is my friend, there is space between us.  There is very little space between a mother and her child. 

I want to help my son but he is angry with me.  Angry that I remarried.  Angry that I don't give him money.  Angry that I don't do what he wants, when he wants.  I don't know how to support him without getting sucked into his lies, so I don't.  I keep him at arm's length to protect my own heart. 

I just finished reading a very good book about bipolar disorder, "My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward" by Mark Lukach.  It gave me more insight into what it's like living with someone with bipolar disorder and the effects it has on a family.  But it also made me feel resentful, I already have one dependent adult child, I don't want to care for another one which makes me sound like an awful mother but it's true.  I'm tired of taking care of others.  I know it's not my son's fault but I can't deal with this right now.  It hurts to much.  Every time we are in contact he hurts me again so I do feel the need to protect myself.

I need to find a way to support him that doesn't drain me. 

11 comments:

  1. I appreciate your honesty, and I agree that you need to protect yourself from him. There comes a time when you want your children to grow up and become independent. It is okay to want and expect that. Katie is an exception to the rule because she is unable to become independent. Your son is not doing what he needs to do, not getting the help he needs to change his life and manage his mental health. He could do that, but he chooses not to. He has choices. So do you. Being his mother doesn't mean you have to sacrifice yourself and your finances so he can avoid getting the help he needs. Offering to pay for his meds is a kind and loving gesture. That might be the best and most effective way to support him in his struggle. My heart goes out to you.

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    1. Thank you. Mental illness is so difficult because your brain lies to you. But yes, he does have choices.

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  2. Are you in British Columbia? If someone can't afford antidepressants, antipsychotics etc. are 100% covered. If you want to know more send me a note on Facebook and I will look it up.

    I think you are doing right by your son. He is an adult. You are doing him a disservice by caretaking. Caretaking is taking from someone who can do for themselves. Caregiving is giving to someone to assist them to live their best life.

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    1. Thanks Birdie. I'm in Alberta, not sure how it works here but I should look into it. And I love your definition of caretaking and caregiving. A good reminder.

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  3. I am bipolar (1). I think I have been from a very early age, part genetics and part the pressure of abuse. My symptoms were mostly depression, although I had many others. I consider that I have a mild to middle disorder.
    I can only! speak for myself, but the most important thing to me was that my family believed I had a mental illness (I was mocked and shunned - to some extent they still don't believe me). When I was finally, finally! at 63, able to get a proper diagnoses, the prescribed medication changed my life. Previously I had been treated for depression only and it never worked. In fact bipolar people are resistant to antidepressants. Educating yourself about this disorder is the best thing you can do for him and yourself. I would, if I were faced with the same situation, insist that he get a diagnosis from a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. They diagnose, prescribe and monitor medication. (and he must! be monitored in order to consistently receive it). I would ask to go meet the Psyc. Nurse to confirm (absolutely, if you are paying)and then, and only then, agree to pay. Throwing money at this, blindly, isn't going to work. You have to set boundaries for him and for you. If he won't agree, well, you've done your best.
    And you have to understand, dear friend, that if he has any addictions (thank God I don't!)it will be much, much harder for him to want to self care. Then, love and prayers, that's what's left.

    A long comment, sorry, but those are my best thoughts. You can email me if I can help in any other way. Big hugs.

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    1. Because he is an adult, 33, I have no right to ask his practitioners anything. I have done reading on bipolar disorder, not sure how he fits into the diagnosis. I think for him it's mild to middle as well. He was a drug dealer for ten years and self medicated for years which didn't help his brain I'm sure. The hardest part of dealing with him is his anger towards me, some of it justified and some not. He also tends to hide when things become difficult, even as a child he did that.

      Thank you for sharing your diagnosis with me. It helps.

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  4. I have a friend going through something similar with a son who is now addicted to heroin. It is heartbreaking. But after a long torturous time she has come to the same conclusion as you - offer appropriate medical help, but let go of the emotional game. I can't imagine being put in that position. Take gentle care of yourself. {{{hugs}}}

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    1. He's being doing drugs since he was a teenager and it adds a layer of resentment and distrust to our relationship which doesn't help. He's clean now but the lies are never ending. His biological father was like that too which probably brings up memories for me.

      Thank you.

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  5. That's so hard. Once you kid is an adult, you have to set limits. I've had too many patients who are taken advantage of their whole lives. You can't really help him until he gets serious about seeking help.

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    2. I thought parenting would be easier once they were grown:)

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