Fallout of Mental Illness

First, I wanted to take a moment to honor those who died in battle to protect the freedoms our politicians are bound and determined to destroy. My dad, grandpas, brother, and brother-in-law served our country, we were fortunate to have them return after their terms of duty–some families weren’t as fortunate. I sincerely appreciate the military men and women for the service they so willingly gave.

Now, onto stinkin’ mental illness. It’s like a hole in a pair of stockings, it starts small and runs the length of your leg.

To most friends, or co-workers, their depressed friend may be viewed as standoffish, withdrawn, and my favorite misunderstood personality trait–introverted. The depressed or anxious don’t intend to act outside the norm—our day-to-day activities are centered on keeping it together to make it through the day. To some, this isn’t even possible–they can’t get out of bed, can’t go through the motions of the day. It’s not these people I’m referring to.

My mom has lost two of her four children. The grief of the loss of a sibling is hard to work through, but her pain, I can’t fathom. She has her own way of dealing with it, and one of them is being stuck in a denial stage. I have to admit, that I haven’t been very supportive because I have had trouble holding myself up–going through the motions of every day, to make it until the end.

I have written about a question whether a depressed person is a good match for another depressed person. My oldest son is in a relationship like this. Do they both feed off each other? Are they bringing each other down, preventing their recovery?

Most times, a person suffering from mental illness, can’t see things clearly. They interpret actions in a way that may not have been intended, or are far from what is actually the truth. They see what they want to see, and most of it is directed at how bad they think they are.

Even though our son’s girlfriend is not our responsibility, we have jumped through hoops to get her to help herself. She completely turned her back on her family. Her reasons are hers, and it’s not up to us to judge, or understand why.

We have been her financial support for three years–I think? Paying for her room and board, and her therapy.

A good source of strength for me, has been the saying – we can’t control the actions of others, we can only control how their actions affect us.

That statement goes through my mind at least once a day.

Our son is still here, but not the same. Of course, maturing was expected, but the complete change in personality was not.

That brilliant, talented, funny guy, of constant noise–gone. Whether it was coming from his guitar, trombone, CD player, or mouth, he made noise. When he left for college in 2008, it was quiet in our home. Very quiet.

He’s not the young man we sent off to college. At first, he returned home for holidays, and some of his long weekends. Then we saw less and less of him–heard less and less from him. He would come home for holidays, but seemed withdrawn. We believed it was due to the fact that he needed down time, as he is an introvert. I encouraged him to seek help, and he finally did.

He finally graduated and returned home–with the girlfriend who had nowhere to turn, and no financial support. The one he says he loves.

He was a skeleton of his former self—in body, mind, and spirit. He was so skinny that he looked unhealthy.

He is one of the vampires in the basement. Two people who stay up all night and sleep most of the day. Waking us up while rummaging for food during the night–leaving their dirty dishes behind. While up during the day, all the blinds are closed.

Hmm…..I think I’ve blogged this before.

After revealing to the two, our deadline for where we see our future going, it spurred our son to seriously look for jobs.

We are very proud of his accomplishments. He is not. He unfortunately suffers from the type of anxiety I do, but hasn’t learned to live in spite of it, or is as determined to conquer it. He has other issues he hasn’t shared with me, but I’m hoping his therapist is helping him recover. I know it takes time, but the lifestyle they live only aggravates mental illness.

We lost our son, and I don’t know how to get him back. I don’t know what more I can do to help his girlfriend, who continues to be uncomfortable around us in spite of all that we have shared with her, and told her how much we care about her.

All I can offer is love and encouragement, and hope he is feeling it. One day–my wish is that he will return to us.

Mental illness has an impact on the entire family. All I can do is stay on my road to recovery, and pray he finds his way as well.

At times, it’s hard being a mom.



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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24 Responses to Fallout of Mental Illness

  1. It’s harder, I think, to lose a person even as they continue to be right in front of you. To know that connection you once had is missing, especially if they deny it or pretend they haven’t noticed. There is nothing else to say, no wise advice, as you already know all you can do is offer your love and hope one day he realizes how important it is to nuture the bonds you have with supportive family. May you continue to find strength wherever it may present itself.

  2. revgerry says:

    Great post, very honest. I especially was drawn to the losing your son part, because I lost mine too, due to me own depression. For years they refused to even communicate with me. it only got better in their late thirties. Thank you for helping these two – I am helping my (bipolar) grandson and his wife and baby – I think people in their early twenties who deal with mental illness need a little more help than the other kids to get on their feet. I have to look for progress in their lives, not love towards me, a my reward.
    Yes, at times it is hard being a mom, I agree. Cyber-hugs, and hang in there.

    • April says:

      Thanks. I’m surprised my family still sticks with me. I think it is me that I see in him. I don’t want him to suffer as many years as I did because I wouldn’t accept help, and remained in denial.

  3. suzjones says:

    All you can do is continue to love him. He knows that you do. And you haven’t lost him. If you had, he wouldn’t be living in your basement. He lives there because he feels safe.
    Take care my friend.

  4. “All I can do is stay on my road to recovery, and pray he finds his way as well.” This is a lot. It takes a lot to stay on a road that is constantly diverting and dipping and rising. I admire this.

  5. Gallivanta says:

    It sure is hard. I am too weary to explain further.

  6. Juli D Gessesse says:

    I’m so sorry for what you are going through April. Seeing our children suffering is devastating.

    • April says:

      It is. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’s going in a forward direction. He’s had a few job interviews, and one looks promising. I think it will improve his confidence. Maybe he’ll come out of the basement more. 🙂

  7. This breaks my heart to read. I can’t even imagine what it does to you – knowing that your son is struggling so much, with things that are so familiar to you, and yet you can’t fix it. I have to believe that the strength and courage you have modeled for him will help him pull through, too.

    • April says:

      He keeps telling me — or used to — that he wouldn’t have made it through college without our support, and he wasn’t talking about financial help. Kids make us worry so much, there are times it kicks into overdrive for me.

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