Your adult child with mental illness and well meaning advice, from well meaning friends.
Three words…DON’T DO IT!
As much as you love your friend with an adult child with mental illness, and want to help and feel like you have the perfect solution…you don’t. You don’t because you are not in their shoes and you will never know the heart break of watching your super talented beautiful, straight A daughter disappear before your very eyes.
Yes they can be destructive and believe their delusions are real and are disruptive to your otherwise perfect neighborhood.
You cannot force your adult child with mental illness to take medication
There are places your friends or family members may suggest for your adult child to possibly get help however you must understand the following:
- #1 The person has to want to change and acknowledge there is a problem
- #2 There are channels and hoops one must go through to even get close to getting in one of them. Like getting arrested.
- #2 Many of those homes are poorly run and have a mix of diagnoses, that would scare many people and make for a miserable existence.
- #4 You cannot force someone to take meds or go to counseling.
Unless however your person are a danger to self or to others, there is no help to be found. Oh yes you can press charges against your daughter or son if they destroy something of yours because of voices or their delusions telling them to do so and then they will get arrested and get the “help they need”. I know this because I have called the mental health outreach people many times and nothing ever comes of it. Although I have never pressed charges as that is what it will actually take to get the system to intervene.
Is your adult child with mental illness a danger to you or your family?
Of course you are the only one that can answer that. If however you feel you have been trying to hide the elephant in the room too long and it has become too much to manage it is time to reach out.
Your friend who only sees from the outside may be fearful because of movies and stigma attached to mental illness.
The stigma of mental illness causes fear in people who don’t and won’t try to understand.
My son who is 21 months younger than my daughter and who in childhood played imaginative games with her that included a host of characters and voices, is one of those people.
He is afraid of his sister now. They are 29 and 31 years of age. He came home for a visit and told me of a movie he watched that gave him chills in the first 15 minutes of the show. It is called Midsommar. The HUFF pretty much trashed the show for giving the bipolar diagnosis a role in a scary movie stating that “bipolar didn’t need to be mentioned” There is an excellent article about this in the Huff I have linked to that gives you a pretty good idea of how it is to live with someone with bipolar and the fear that other people have towards that person which makes living a normal life for the person with the illness and the supporting parent almost impossible.
Below is a list of UK sites that have been set up to help.
I have personally used one of them and found it to be a great support in a very dark time of my life.
Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI – this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rethink Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0300 5000 927 (open Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on www.rethink.org.
When my daughter realized something was not quite right with her mind, she wanted back what she was losing.
She now considers all forms of mental health therapy as witchcraft. Of course it is not. When she first realized something was not quite right she wanted back what she was losing. Together we tried many different types of therapy. Including IMDR, which she now feels was some type of hypnotherapy which in her mind is witchcraft. CBT is the one therapy that could have possibly helped her but our city did not have anyone that specifically used that as treatment. I even bought a book with worksheets to help her see that some of her thoughts were not helpful in dealing with situations and her own anxiety.
My daughter went through the system, was arrested when she was 17 and it took 6 people to “detain” her, one sustained injuries. She was then hospitalized and put on meds that caused her to be what is called “blotto” in the psych wards. It means, drooling, no emotions, just existing. Her meds were gradually, tapered down until she was on a very low does of an antipsychotic, however it caused her to gain 30 pounds. She seemed to be doing well emotionally, and during that time still had many friends and was writing and performing music. Gradually the weight came off and she was on a maintenance dose on the antipsychotic when her psych MD put her on a monthly shot. This med caused her to have Tardive dyskinesia and that is when she said enough is enough. She stopped taking meds.
She went through multiple counselors dropped all medical providers. For many years she did ok, still performing and very popular in the music arena. Until about 2 years ago when she had invited a friend over to help her with some digital music. After the project was done, she felt he had the wrong idea about their relationship and asked him to leave and not come back. He threw a big boulder through my living room window and was arrested. After that she stopped performing and would not leave the house for over 2 years. She tried going up to the park by our house but felt that children were making fun of her and parents were calling the police on her. She stayed mostly in our front or back yard.
Please rethink mental illness!
I am pleading with anyone who reads this to please please rethink mental illness. Re think, re member, re build, re cognize, in order to help all those who are trapped inside a world of their own, and hurting inside so much that it presents itself in ways that most people view as weird and unusual. Remember who these people were in your life. Rebuild a relationship with them establishing new boundaries created with love. Recognize they have an illness that they and you can live with. Give their existence validity.
I feel that my daughter needs to be on her own in a place she feels safe. I am in my 60’s and am a hospice nurse and I have seen what happens when people do not plan for their adult children with handicaps.
It is my plan to build her an apartment over my garage, as many homes in my area have them. My 2 other children would manage the property when I die and she would be able to stay in her home for as long as she needs to.
Of course I dream of the day when she just wakes up and says, “Mom why am I still living in your basement?” “what happened to me?” I wish that it was just a dream that she could somehow wake and be my girl again. I have seen people with bipolar disorder, get better with age, especially women who have to deal with hormonal surges during their youth and until menopause. I have long felt that if she was on birth control her symptoms would be managed.
But back to the subject of well meaning friends giving advice. Speaking as a parent of an adult child with mental illness, we will never do what you say. It only makes us feel less supported and like we are doing something wrong. It is easy for the outsider looking in to say, put her in a home. Id like to see you try it.
If you truly want to support us, give a thumbs up for the apartment idea. Help us explore options that give our kid a chance to live a normal life without first risking it in the system. Be on the lookout for job opportunities or companies that support those with mental illness and give us a heads up.
Take care of you
October 10th is World Mental Health Day. It is also a day that is filled with sadness for me as it is the anniversary of the day one of my son and daughters friend died from complications of anorexia. I considered her my friend also as she was so kind to all of us. I had no idea that she suffered from such an illness. To me she was a flawless beauty like an angel. It wasn’t until her funeral and all the girls she was in a support group for their illness stepped up to talk about her that I found out.
We are all going through a rough time now and we all need to take care of our mental health. Wearing a mask 8-10 hours a day is life sucking to me. Coming home to a daughter that may be angry, paranoid, or have her face painted with the juice of crushed wild berries is stressful for me. Each of us must do what we can to stay sane and strong mentally.
I have gained a few pounds and made up my mind it is time to get back on the bike. Which is the motto for my company.
I highly recommend you read my book. If you want to get motivated and get your butt moving.
Brush yourself off and get back on the bike
from the happy weight loss book
Business that support those with handicaps
While the team in the flagship Jackson, Wyoming farm comprises community members with developmental disabilities (such as those with Autism and Down Syndrome), their model can work with other forgotten workforces, such as formerly incarcerated citizens and immigrants seeking asylum.
If you know of any other awesome companies that are doing something other than giving advice. Please contact me.