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.