The Tears of Helplessness

The other day I wrote a post on the desire to fix everything. I have been watching and reading the story about the Virginia Senator whose son wasn’t helped with his struggle with mental illness. Not that the parent didn’t try, but our health system failed him.

Anderson Cooper, who also lost a brother to suicide, interviewed the Senator. This was an extremely emotional interview for the father. If some of you haven’t heard the story, the Senator took his adult son to a hospital, asking for help, only to be turned away because there weren’t enough beds available.

The following day, the Senator’s son, came after him with a knife, and then took his own life. Watching that father, with scars visible on his face, agonizing over the loss of his son was completely heart wrenching. The scars on the inside were visible through his voice and the tears falling down his face.

The father could only do so much–because the son was an adult. An adult whose brain was not processing information in a sane manner. He is now introducing bills to change laws regarding hospitalizations for the mentally ill. He is doing his part in the discussions we need to have about mental illness, and quit whispering about it.

My reason for another post today, I feel out of control. I haven’t written about this because I’m not sure if my oldest son, or his girlfriend read my blog. I have made cryptic references hoping they will grab onto them, and do something. We have tried talking to him, along with his girlfriend. Which appears to be a slippery slope. Since I know what depression feels like, I pay attention to how I word my questions, or conversations. My husband? Not so much. I’m trying to avoid backing them into a corner, and create a conversation, but I’m getting nowhere.

Both of them are sufferers of depression and anxiety. My son won’t discuss with me what he struggles with, other than the fact that he has an avoidance type of behavior issue. He has no self-confidence in his abilities–however, he is extremely smart. His girlfriend comes from a background that most compassionate parents couldn’t imagine treating their children as she was treated. That treatment has caused so many problems with her self-esteem, confidence, and tons of anxiety.

They are both seeking therapy. Or, I should say she is, but my son has stopped therapy. He is looking for a different therapist who could possibly help him better than the last one. He is dragging his feet, and won’t make an appointment.

My fear? They won’t see how much they need professional help.

I have joked about them being vampires. Which is really horrible for people suffering from depression or anxiety. An irregular sleep schedule only aggravates symptoms. They sleep most of the day. I’m not talking about until noon, it’s more like 4 or 5 pm. Then they are awake all night. If they are up during the day, the blinds are drawn, and they mill around in the dark. They only leave the house for the day of therapy, and possibly some food.

We usually see them at dinner time, but that is about it. There are days they spend a little more time with us, but mostly they keep to themselves.

This kind of behavior is not what I remember my son as being. Sure he is an adult now, but his personality doesn’t even seem close to the boy we sent off to college. We expected him to grow and change. He came back withdrawn and quiet–not the change we were expecting.

I don’t know what to do, and I am afraid. I’m concerned. I want to fix them.

If one of you two are reading this, I love you. Dad loves you. Both of you. We would do anything to help, and we hope you will accept this help. I certainly can empathize with what both of you deal with. I know our situations may be unique, but the mental illness is the same.

Please talk to me.




About April

I'll come back to this when I find out who I really am. I've been through some extremely rough patches but they have made me a better person. I blog if my brain is functioning first thing in the morning.
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11 Responses to The Tears of Helplessness

  1. mewhoami says:

    A feeling of helplessness is scary. The wonderful thing though, is that they both have you and you’re there for them. Plus having been there yourself, you know better than most others would, on how to help them. It’s obvious that they have an excellent support system. Just keep being there as you are. That alone makes a big difference.

    • April says:

      At least I’m a bit stronger. Sometimes it is a fine line to walk to keep from pushing them away. Well, I’m determined, that should help.

  2. aviets says:

    I’m so very, very sorry they’re struggling with these issues and that you are suffering the pain of watching and feeling helpless. My heart aches for you as a mom. Sending a virtual hug and hopes for movement toward healing. -Amy

    • April says:

      Thanks Amy. After seeing that Senator talk, and break down while talking about his son’s suicide, and the struggle encountered when he tried to help his son, it triggered a huge sense of helplessness in me. I’ve been fighting back tears since. As parents, we try so hard to keep our kids from pain, even when they move into their adult years. I know there is only so much we can do when they are adults, but this is one experience I have lived through that I hope they will listen to what I learned.

  3. suzjones says:

    I hope they do April. I hope they do.

  4. Glynis Jolly says:

    I was having sleep problems. Have had them for years, to be truthful. I thought it was the GAD that was making it hard for me to sleep. I finally talked to my regular doctor about it last month. From the questions he asked me, he determined that it wasn’t the GAD at all. I have Restless Leg Syndrome. He didn’t want to put me on still another med but advised me on what over-the-counter meds to use and suggested a cream to put on my legs at night. Guess what! I’m sleeping 8 to 9 hours each night usually now.

    What I’m trying to say is this –make sure it’s the mental issues because it could be a physical one instead.

    • April says:

      I will bring that up at my next tune up. I know when my issues started, then all kinds of other thinks kept happening. I created an anxiety issue out of going to bed. I’m working on it.

    • April says:

      I will bring that up at my next tune up. I know when my issues started, then all kinds of other thinks kept happening. I created an anxiety issue out of going to bed. I’m working on it.

  5. Gallivanta says:

    It’s hard, very hard.

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