Parents of Mentally Ill Children Have a Long and Difficult Journey

I’ve long been a fan of the Rudyard Kipling poem, “If.”

If you can keep your head when all about you
are losing theirs and blaming it on you…

I can relate to this verse. I’m sure all parents of mentally ill children can. Often the greatest challenge we face is not going stark raving mad ourselves.
Being the parent of a bipolar child is painfully tough. There's coming to terms with your child's mental illness, the expenses, and facing the stigma. More on my parenting blog.If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you…
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting…
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating…

Being the parent of a bipolar child has not made me popular. My child has been passed over for parties and had his own invitations declined. Other parents who only know my child by the stories they hear from their own kids are quick to label him as a bad seed. And if he’s a bad seed, surely he must come from bad parents.

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same…

We all have high hopes for our kids. When your child is diagnosed with a mental illness, it’s hard to come to terms with the impact of the diagnosis on those hopes. Should you continue to worry about paying for college, or just focus on getting him through high school?

If you can …watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools…

Undoubtedly, the hardest part of parenting any child is the hurt we suffer when they suffer. Our children tend to suffer more, and there are few (if any) rewards to soothe their suffering.

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss…

I try not to think of all the prescriptions I’ve filled in the past five years. Particularly the ones I refill—at full market price—only to have the psychiatrist a day later agree they are not working and here, try this instead, and no, it’s not available as a generic. And it may not work either. But let’s hope for the best.

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you…

People fear what they don’t understand. Many people don’t understand mental illness. Some of them are closer than you think—friends and family members you never expected to do or say hurtful things.

Kipling’s words paint a disheartening portrait of the world—not unlike the world we face daily as parents. But at the end, he offers this as inspiration—if you can survive all this adversity,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it

helpingWhich perfectly describes those moments when we are proud of our kids…when we feel like we’re doing right by them…when we haven’t lost our temper or cried in front of them…you know, the good days.

I wish all of us more of those.

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149 Responses to Parents of Mentally Ill Children Have a Long and Difficult Journey

  1. Maureen says:

    My 24 year old daughter has been experiencing mental health issues since age 11. Many hospitalizations, suicide attempts, all the things that mentally unwell persons experience. Last night, she left home once again in a manic state, and proceeded to spend last night and today, in and out of a delusional state. She was released from the hospital on Monday, and it is Wednesday and here we are again. I love my daughter still, I dread what might happen to her. Keeping my own sanity through all of this has been the greatest challenge I face. There is no “normacy” to any day. I am tired emotionally, physically, and mentally, and so isn’t my family. She has no idea what she is doing. I have decided that the only thing I can do is pray and continue to hope that the answers and guidance will come.

  2. Janina Moe says:

    My daughter is only abusive and bipolar with me, therefore nobody else believes me she is mentally ill and think I’m lying. She has used me, lied about me, claims credit for me buying her a car, taking her to dinner,etc. She only comes around to ask for money and is very abusive and disrespectful at all other times. I’m at my wits end. She has a one year old son. His father is a deadbeat loser. I’m really on the end of my rope with her. I cannot take the abuse anymore.

  3. Jill says:

    It is heart-breaking to ‘lose’ a child to serious mental illness, and my heart goes out to everyone affected by it in one way or another. To be at the receiving end of a child’s hurt, anger and above all, confusion, can feel like abuse, but I’m not sure there is real intent to be abusive. The only support I might offer is to tell yourself that the essence of your child is still within, and that however s/he might rage against you and /or the world, your only response is to continue to offer your unconditional love (and of course to keep yourself and your child as safe as you can). Hope is all any of us in situations such as these have in this life. I wish you all the very best. There are many of us who bear this silent burden day by day, and I hope it helps you to know that you’re not alone in your struggle.

  4. Lisa Furr says:

    God this year has been so hard I have and still am fighting breast cancer and before that already had health issues. My 33 year old daugher is bipolar and has never moved out. She had a normal 14 year old daughter and a 9 year old bipolar son. Her and her son have other mental health issues. She has always been mentally abusive but this last year has turned physically abusive to since she knows I cant fight back. Her son has always been violent. Now I have to leave and she will say Im abandoning her. I left before I had surgery but she lost her home within a month had to go to a motel to live and talked me into coming back. She since has started drawing SSI. But with me sick she has made many mistakes. Now we r hungry living in a condemned house where she has moved an abusive boyfriend in. She blames me for all her problems has taken all my freedom. I can stand to have her around me now. And what Im saying isn’t d half of it. Im scared she will hurt me bad before I can get out. And Im worried about my grand children. She can fool people into thinking Im the problem. Now I believe I’ve wasted my life on her. So fed up.

  5. MaryAnn says:

    Why do we have to suffer in silence. I to have a mentally ill child with a veriody of problems and can explode over the littlest thing. It’s very hard to find him the right help or even convincing him he needs it. There should be a place for those who live with the mentally ill can go to find confert, support or just a place to cry amoung those who get their pain.I feel for all those whos replys I’ve read because I’ve lived it too.I wish I could hug you. If only it can make things ok for a bit.

  6. s says:

    I’ve decided to post a comment just to let other parents know that you are not alone and really to not feel so alone myself. I am currently sitting in the er with my 16 yr old son. He is bipolar along with a handful of other mental health ailments. He assaulted a classmate a teacher and a police officer. We are waiting for him to get admitted into an inpatient mental health hospital. I am worn down and can’t wait for him to be 18. I’ve already decided that I will not let him stay with me past his 18th birthday. I need to preserve my own mental health. Whoever you are out there, please hang in there. We can do this. I’ve got to believe there is a light at the end of this tunnel…maybe we can meet there.

  7. Thank you for your comment. I am so inspired by your ability to be appropriately selfish by setting boundaries for your self and knowing your limits. That is so hard to do as a mother of a child with mental illness. But it must be done.

  8. Susy says:

    Dear s, I’m so sorry you have to go trough this. Know that you are not alone, I wish I could be there to help and support you but from the distance and with all my heart I send you a great big hug. You are a great woman and an amazing mom! Sending lots of love your way.

  9. Cece says:

    Hi S and everyone else. I am writing because I don’t have a support group or no one that understand what I go through. I have a bipolar daughter that just turned 18 august 20. I thought I would feel better when my daughter turned 18 but I still have panic attacks. She’s been running away and prostituting since she was 15. She will take a greyhound to another city, get caught and go to juvie. I’ve set her up to be caught numerous of times. She’s been hospitalized, took her to rehabilitation centers across the country because they don’t have locked facilities where I live, she can just walk right out. These centers are not cheap, 3,500 per week. I thank God my insurance paid for her. Basically all this was buying me time until she reached18. I cry because I see a lot of my friends kids doing so well, graduating from high school, going to college. It got sooo bad, when she turned 16 1/2 I called the cops because she was a threat to herself and my family. They spoke to my son and he told then he was scared she was going to kill me. They removed her from my home for abuse and haven’t lived with me since. She didn’t care, she don’t like rules she says she would rather live in a homeless shelter so she can do what she wants. She likes living on the streets and prostituting herself. I have been through it all, from nervous breakdowns to contemplating suicide just to get away from her. She has used me until she can’t anymore. All I can do is pray for her, I have to take care of myself some how. She don’t like to work for NOTHING, no high school diploma, nothing. I have to live for me, my son and my fiancé. I can’t force her to take her meds. I have life insurance on her so if something happens I won’t be burden. She is on the path of self destruction. I feel like watching a an action/drama/thriller and horror movie all at once. She’s constantly on these water coaster rides, there’s no need for amusement parks I have one in my own backyard!

  10. Jean says:

    Cece, I’m sorry you have to go trough this, it is very difficult. My heart goes out to you for the emotional and physical pain this has caused you. Know that you are not alone, don’t feel alone, we are here and understand. Keep praying for your daughter and don’t give up the hope that she will in time do better for herself. Take care of your son and yourself, you can do it!!!

  11. betty donnell says:

    hello im betty my husband and I are going thru things we don’t understand our 12 year old daughter is mentally ill she beats up on me just this Thursday was arrested we took her to the hospital sometimes u fell like u cant take any more but find streangth to keep on going god really helps us .

  12. Steve says:

    Hi, my partner of 4 years has a 19 year old son, he was diagnosed with aspergers at the age of 9, he is also gay, we live in private rented accommodation, everything in life he has, phone, internet, food, nice house and including myself, lovely caring people to confide in, he was recently diagnosed with a mental illness, I am now watching his mother slowly deteriorate, pain in her eyes, crying, pain, hurt … You name it, she is feeling it, I’m helpless because I’m not his dad, he is extremely violent, abusive and hurtful. Just the simplest task of taking a cup or plate to the kitchen sparks off a massive war, after his mum cleaned his room, we actually found mouldy food, piles of filthy washing and a bottle which he had urinted in because he couldn’t be bothered to go to the toilet, he is on prescribed drugs from the doctor, but nothing he is taking is helping at all ?? I suppose I am just waiting for the inevitable to happen, then I will call the police, must his mother really have to put up with this ? His father isn’t cared and his mother only has me as a shoulder to cry on.
    Am finding this hard
    Please offer some advice


  13. kita says:

    My 13 year old daughter has just been diagnosed with bipolar and o.d.d this has been the worst couple of years she was able to convince most of my family that it was my fault that she had been acting out some have started to see that it is her she has been hospitalized 3 times already and now she is dating a 19 year old I’m putting her in therapeutic foster care because I feel I can not keep her safe at home right now. Has anyone else gone through this.

  14. Jackie says:

    we too have a 26 year old son who has a serious mental health problem, looking back, for all his life but became more obvious as he got older. He has been in trouble with police, had to live in hostels as he was a threat to the rest of the family. Nothing we have done in the past or try to do now for him helps, we try to keep some normality but its impossible. He hears voices, cries, paranoid, OCD etc etc, because of his age the medics will not talk to us but we are supposed to support him with no knowledge of how to do that. It is tearing us apart, and really making us ill, I feel I need to preserve my own sanity now for the sake of our other 3 children and each other. He sees psychiatrists, psychologists, GPs, hospital, but we are never allowed to be involved, but we are the ones calling ambulances when he is suicidal, where is the help for all the thousands of families going through this, who in the end back off completely to preserve their own sanity which leaves the person alone, how does the help? give us some help then maybe we would not have to give up! thinking of all you out there going through the same thing xx

  15. Carol price says:

    I have a 33 year old bipolar son that lives with me. I am single 54 years old. He controls me isolates me verbally cusses me spits on me. Physically abuses me. He alienates everyone that trys to come near me. He uses emotional Black mail to keep me under his control. He doesn’t have a car he doesn’t date are have are doesn’t want a girlfriend. He never leaves the house. He got me evicted from my last home. Cussed out my co-worker of 13years I had a breakdown because I was fixing to be homeless. I put myself in the hospital for 2 weeks. While I was in the hospital he went to a Rehab. My Sister helped me find this nice condo, I even found a nice Salon to work at. But he started calling there continuously that I lost my Job there. He dresses like batman reads comic books all the time. He is smoking Cannabis-weed again that makes him so paranoid. He doesn’t take his morning meds until 1 in the p.m. and his night meds at 1 in the a.m. stays up until 4a.m slamming cabinets eating all night. I am his prisoner. If I tell him he needs to go get help are find a place to live besides here he threatens me with lies that he will tell to try to get me in trouble are evicted. God someone out there help me. I have lost so many good potential relationships because of him he jumps on my date are runs them away. Please God someone out there help me?

  16. Tatiana says:

    My seven year old has recently been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He was in a pediatric hospital for several weeks then released to partial hospitalization. This has been the worst months of our family’s life. I am losing hope. He threatened to kill himself, his father, and his younger brother which led to the initial hospitalization. I feel like we have lost our son and any normalcy in our lives. He has been on so many drugs with little improvement. Today was particularly bad in that he raged in the car and said that when he got home he was going to stab himself. I feel so hopeless and cry all the time. I want my living little boy back. I know he is in there and we see glimpses between the different mood states. The pain he goes through makes my heart shatter. Any words of encouragement out there would be so appreciated. Thank you for listening.

  17. Esther says:

    I’m not sure how to get this to Steve who commented on Set. 21, but I will try.
    After 11 years of marriage and watching me try countless times to get help for my mentally ill son my husband left our family.
    What I have learned: my son will abuse me, it is part of his illness, I can take it and deal with it calmly when my son is okay again. I can never deal with his abuse when he is in the middle of a breakdown. My marriage might have been saved if my husband had learned to back off. I often felt as though I was being crushed between two walls – do you remember scenes from old Batman episodes where the walls are pushing in on them? I would have my son being verbally abusive to me on one side, and my husband yelling at him to stop on the other side. There is an extreme lack of effective help for mental illness but there is also lots of good information. In my most humble opinion, learn to back off, learn to support your wife by being a shoulder to cry on, not by telling her that she should not have to take that abuse. Do not offer parenting advice unless she asks for it. Find a support group and read what you can. Life is hard for us parents but I have learned that it is even harder for my son. Be there for your wife, be curious (not a know it all) and try not to make demands. When my husband left he said “I will no longer tolerate any emotional dysfunction.” That is no more an option when your child has a mental illness than if your child had diabetes and you said “I will no longer tolerate any more blood sugar levels dysfunction.” Do no harm.

  18. Micky says:

    Tatiana, my heart aches for you! And for all that have to endure this pain. I wish I had an answer for you and a solution for all this pain. If you can look for a support group. There you will be able to share your feelings, fears and maybe there will be an answer or a way to cope. Even though we feel alone there are others out there that are going through this same pain. I pray for you and a cure for all mental illnesses. As for your little boy the doctors will find the correct dosage and combination of medications and he will be able to live a healthy productive life.

  19. M says:

    I thought I was the only one that had a daughter that behaved as mine does. But reading what these other mothers are experiencing I realize that my daughter is truly ill and needs help. I thought she was just spoiled and manipulative. So many of these experiences have been mine for so long.

  20. Tina says:

    It’s 3:17 am and I have to get up at 6am but I can’t sleep. My 19 year old son needs help and I don’t know how to go about getting it. It would take forever to tell you everything he’s done but I will list a few. This year, for the first time in his life, he called me bad names. It really hurt the first time but now I am numb to his name calling. He is restless and slams his door all throughout the day and night. He talks to himself. He exhibits very strange behavior like when he fixes a sandwich , he tosses the bread over and over and over; it takes him about 15 mins to complete the task. He throws rocks at the neighbor’s house at night and walks through the woods and will not get in the car with me when I go after him. One night he ran back and forth from my house to the neighbor’s house over and over for no reason. He will never stay home the whole night…he leaves EVERY night. You cannot have an intelligent conversation with him. When you ask him to do something simple like clean his room, he says “it is clean” when in fact it looks like a hurricane went through it. He leaves food in the room for days and wears the same clothes for days. He is VERY disrespectful and combative. I don’t know if he used drugs and his mind was affected or if he just has a mental issue period. My other two kids are afraid of him. I am a single Mom and I am VERY tired. This is not the straight A , athletic, mannerly child I raised. One more thing, he acts as if he just hates me, but acts “almost” normal when relatives stop by. They probably wouldn’t believe the stories I could tell, but out of embarrassment and fear f being judged, I keep it to myself. SOMEBODY, SOMEWHERE HAS TO HELP ME.

  21. Tina,
    You are not alone. You are describing the same behavioral symptoms most of us parents of children with mental illness have seen. The key is what you mention…it is out of character for your child. No one knows your child like you do. Trust your gut. The first step to getting him help is to do your homework. Educate yourself on mental illness and then try to get your son evaluated by a doctor. This site is a good place to start.

  22. Beverly Dulaney says:

    My mentally disabled son hates me and his sister and brothers. We have done nothing to him, we try to understand him he like other people more than he do us.b I pray to God that one day he realize that we love him, and care what happens to him. When I give him money he is okay, he has a disliking towards his stepfather that has done nothing to him.

  23. Sarah says:

    My heart is breaking reading these comments, because your story is my own. My younger daughter (19 now) has had behavioral problems since she was 7, but in the last 4 years finally received a diagnosis of bipolar. I feel like I’m walking on eggshells ALL the time because I never know what will set her off and when she has an outburst it’s extremely frightening. She has been physically abusive, emotionally abusive, and her behaviors have resulted in my losing jobs, unable to sustain a relationship because no one wants to be around her, and losing every security deposit I’ve put on a rental because she puts holes in doors, walls, etc. She’s extremely depressed and constantly suicidal, or I would have put her out a LONG time ago. But in her case, that would be a death sentence. I’m exhausted, I don’t feel safe in my own home, and I don’t know what to do.

  24. Brenda says:

    Last night I watched the cops take my daughter out of my house in handcuffs. My story is similar to all those I read above. I am grieving the loss of a beautiful, talented 25 year old daughter who is so ill she can’t function without rage and violence. But I can’t get her admitted to a hospital because she hasn’t attempted to kill herself and hasn’t caused actual physical harm to another person – although last night she viciously attacked her younger sister, which is why I called 911.
    There is something seriously wrong with our mental health care system, when a person has more right to be ill than they do to get treatment. If she had access to guns, I’m sure she would be killing people. We are filing involuntary committal papers on Monday and praying desperately that she will get some help. I have so little hope for the future that I am depressed and suicidal myself.

  25. Amy says:

    I am in same position as many here, my boy who is 20, is bipolar with manic depression. He is very paranoid, walks around for hours screaming and cussing at nothing. He is very violent with doors and walls and is now threatened to kill his family and himself. These fits are a everyday occurance and will last for hours. He has even sat on the floor screaming and head butting a metal stool over n over til he bleeds and the whole time screams stop hitting me. He is the only one hitting himself. I have never spanked my children so I don’t know where that’s coming from. He has two younger sisters who can’t live with me because of his fits of rage. I am at my Witt’s end. Tired of listening to hours n hours of him ranting and raging and breaking things constantly. Then the worst part is he doesn’t even remember what he did or said in these fits…. Mental hospitals are a JOKE, alls they do is dope him up til he just sits n drools n that’s no way to live. He has been in and out of those hospitals for 3 years now, has also been in trouble with cops.he refuses to take meds, says were all out to kill him… Just don’t know what else to do…… So lost….

  26. Amy says:

    Also wanted to add that we too walk on egg shells constantly, we all fear to have any conversation about anything because he comes running out screaming and cussing us out for talking about him. The paranoia is the worst…. Cars drive by he’s running out asking them what there problem is. People walk by n he runs out n asks them if they got a problem. Its bad. And lord don’t try to talk to him when he’s like that cause then he goes off….he cannot work, he sits at home watching crap on internet all day. I am single mom n work all day. When I was married I was a stay at home mom. But now divorced, can’t have my girls live with me n I work all the time. He has scared my grandma, his great GMA so much lately she just cries all the time. It breaks my heart.

  27. sid says:

    jimmy a
    I have a 21 year old son we believe has chronic fatigue. For the first 14 yrs of my sons life, he was athletic, very intelligent, played the piano, had friends and was an absolute great kid. Then about age 14 it seemed like someone turned off the light switch and said goodbye. For the last 7 yrs , he has been mad everyday, is never happy, will not work, has quit college 3 times and has cost us a ton of money for therapists, psychologists, hypnotists you name it. He has tried every kind of medication and nothing works except adderall. Even with that he only does minimal things and will not go back to college or get a job. All he wants to do is sleep and it is taking a toll on me and my wife. If I throw him out he will end in a facility that will basically lock him up and throw away the key. Our insurance will only let him stay for a few weeks at a decent facility and then will no longer help pay for the bill saying he is fine to return home. He has friends but hardly ever goes out and will not take advice from anyone who really cares about him. He has absolutely no confidence and will not even give himself a chance. If you knew my son when he was 13 yrs old you would swear it is not the same kid. My wife and I have given him all the love and support and dont know what else to do. We even sent him for brain scans in new york and run out of options. I try to explain to him that God helps those who helps themselves and that is part of depression, to force yourself to do things when you dont want to, but after that more times than not you were so happy that you were able to do the thing you didnt want to do. I have never met a more negative person then him in my life. It is very hard sometimes to be around him because he starts to give you depression and he has an attitude like a badger. I have almost choked him a few times because it got to a point where we cant take him anymore and he was just acting like an animal , but I know the cops would take him to the very same facility where he would be getting no help. We love our son very much but we need more options if anyone has any ideas. My heart goes out to the people who love the children they are trying to help and feel threatened by them

  28. sandra says:

    I have a brother who mentally ill and abusive to my mom. Afraid that one day will seriously hurt her. I need some advice please

  29. Elena says:

    I have a 13 year old daughter with bipolar and I found this webpage. I read through the comments and I can’t believe other people are describing my hell. I live with this day in and day out I have given everything I got to help her. I lost my friends, my husband, my family everything defending her and trying to keep hope alive when everyone else gave up long ago. I wish I could send her away for someone else to raise I am loosing my mind and my will to go on. She has worn me out and she is violent and cruel to me it is hard to explain to other people that she is not choosing this life she is out of control and something in her mind is not working correctly.

  30. Barbara Lillford says:

    I have a 29 year old son who had his first psychotic break-down when he was 17 years old. Since then, he has been in and out of hospital many times.I feel totally alone, because even though I have very close friends, they cannot even begin to understand the agony of having a child whose life has been lost to mental illness. I would so much love to be able to meet people who are experiencing the same sort of thing, but even where I live, in London, UK, I have been unable to find a support group, and I have not got the energy to form one myself.

  31. Mary says:

    I feel for all of these people with comments here. Some of you seem to have some codependency issues. I have gone to a codependent group and that helped me realize the ways I was reacting to my daughters mental illness weren’t helping. She is a 33 year old mother of 2 small children. She has lost primary custody and can only see her children every other weekend with my supervision. She has a job, but that may be threatened due to some recent behaviors. She has been diagnosed bi-polar and has been in hospitals a few times. Just this week she got some meth and totaled her car running a red light. Luckily no one was seriously injured. She has spending problems and can’t afford her apartment but expects her father and I to pick up the slack when she runs short of money. We have decided to offer emotional support but not financial any longer. She definitely can not move home. Lucky the fathers are coming through for their kids. She is on Lithium and Abilify but doesn’t always keep her Dr. appointments or take her meds. She has threatened my life and broken things in the house if she doesn’t like what we say. And in front of her kids I too am at the end of my rope and am considering not letting her have access to our home. This would mean she would not see her children without supervised visitation arranged by the courts. I am beginning to think her children would be better off without her this way. Now, without transportation, she may loose her job.

  32. Tosha Hatcher says:

    It’s 4:24am
    And my 22 year old son has mental health issues, all he does is Stay in the house, sit in silence, and talk to himself all day. Sometimes he laughs at himself, and other times he argues with himself, I can’t sleep knowing that he is struggle alone trying to drown out the voices he hears. It’s so heart breaking to watch your son who was once a happy, respectful, friendly kid who had dreams and aspirations sit in defeat, and anger. As a mom who is married but don’t have the support of her husband in all this is hard, exhausting all at the same time. Mental health is so real. I really need answers.

  33. dee says:

    I have a 25 yearold whom is bipolar!! I cant take anymore of her she uses my grand children and keeps them away for weeks at a time. I don’t know how to handle this anymore. my 5 yearold grandson is going through pure hell. how can I help him

  34. Kate says:

    I have a beautiful teenage adopted daughter with ADHD and RAD, among other things. She has been to juvenile detention for abusing us. She has made a ton of false abuse allegations against us, even though the rest of us are covered in bruises and bite marks. I have to home school her to keep her safe from her impulsive behaviors. She’s been in treatment programs, that only seem to enable her and increase her demanding, abusive and entitled behaviors. She has been on many meds that make no difference. We cannot get her into a psychiatric facility. I am fortunate to have a strong marriage and to be a stay at home mom, but she is my full-time job. Everyday is an emotional, financial and safety struggle. We have had tons of professional help, which often times, causes more confusion and takes away our power as parents and increases our guilt but we suck it up Some days our house looks like a war zone. Our lives have been hijacked by her mental illness. We are her hostages. We are isolated and stressed and exhausted. I wish I had some wonderful piece of advice for all of us–especially you single parents out there. One thing I would say, is that these kids try very hard to manipulate and tear our lives and relationships apart. Don’t let them! Marriages and friendships are too important in getting through this. Don’t keep their secrets. Share what is going on in your life. You’ll find there are more of us out there than you think. On our few good days we tell ourselves that we are entrusted with these kids because we are strong and capable and then we pray and offer thanks. On our usual bad days I shut myself in my room and pray until I feel that strength. And while I’m praying she is kicking my door down trying to break my lock, but I keep praying! Love and support to all of you moms and dads and families!!!

  35. Cory Ida says:

    My son, who is 12, was treated for bipolar disorder and ADHD for well over a year with the same revolving door of medications that didn’t work. His mood and behaviors started changing the summer before third grade and escalated into more and more difficult situations until the end of January, when he assaulted a teacher, was choked by another teacher who he wouldn’t stop berating, and cut himself at least 100 times in one night (all superficial wounds, fortunately). This came after a year of progressively more difficult behavior at home that had escalated to the point that he was using me as a verbal punching bag and was truly emotionally abusing me. I felt like I had to let him because I didn’t know what else to do. I took him to counseling. He was on several types of medication. I took him to anger management classes. We had structure and a written list of expectations and consequences at home. I even avoided red dyes and any other environmental factors that might, in some way, make his condition worse. Finally, at the end of January, I realized I couldn’t do this on my own when, after the extreme behavior listed above, he threatened to kill himself in very specific ways and had a psychotic episode on the way to the emergency room. He spent a week in an acute inpatient behavioral health center, something that had also happened in November, but this time they recommended that he be moved to a residential treatment facility instead of coming home. This broke my heart, but I knew I couldn’t do this alone. He underwent extensive evaluations and they changed his diagnosis from bipolar to DMDD, disruption mood disregulation disorder. They also determined that he doesn’t have ADHD, he has severe anxiety and sensory processing problems that result in behaviors that look like ADHD. Lastly, they learned that he had been molested by a family friend when he was 7 (the time his behaviors started) and possibly by a teacher recently and was dealing with PTSD. They changed his medication. They’re trying different types of therapy. He’s in a very contained environment. He’s still struggling. It’s been close to two months since I have had my son at home. My heart is broken, but I know it’s the only hope he has. All I want – all any parent wants – is to have a happy, healthy, well adjusted child. I can’t do that for him and it’s so, so hard. How do you NOT question yourself? How can you NOT feel like you should have been able to do more, BE more, and that you should have been able to fix what is broken? I’m dealing with copious amounts of guilt right now, even as I know that my son is where he needs to be. It’s a constant, confusing battle in my head and heart.

  36. Lou says:

    I have 4 children. My oldest 2 children are both mentally unstable. One recently took off with an older woman on the internet. My oldest has mental handicaps , and severe depression. Due to his age the police can’t arrest the person my child took off with. My other adult child is also mentally unstable. He tells everyone I’m nuts , and I beat him up as a child. How do I deal with it? I don’t I cut the 2 oldest children out of my life. I changed my number too.Someday they will get help hopefully. Until then I have 2 children at home who need me. Sometimes the only thing you can do is walk away. Give it to god and live your life!! You don’t do anybody any good if you fall apart trying to fix an addict or mentally unstable person. You deserve to live a life free of their crazyness. Put them in a hospital for the insane . There are group homes for adults too.

  37. kelly says:

    On month 2 of my 13 year old going through this horrendous diagnosis delima. Today is the 4th hospitalization stay in 2 months. She started by telling her school she wanted to kill herself. The story continued to place allegations on my husband and I of things we never did. So of course the first baker act when last for 3 days. Sent home to us who was still in shock over the whole thing and scared to death. Nobody out there to help us only her. She lasted for 3 days and again told teachers she wanted to kill herself so back she went this time for 2 weeks. Came home for 1 week and got upset and took a belt attempting to strangle herself and marking her neck up. During the week at home she had to quit her travel ball softball and start hospital homebound school. Which to me us a huge stupid waste of time. She went back to the hospital for 7 days the last episode. Man had to go through her phone and found old men edging her on and just stuff you don’t want to see as a parent. So of course there will never be a phone again. This time when she came home we got to stay 2 weeks and I was really thinking the medication was helping her get stable. A new councilor came to the house and set her off told the stupid lady she wanted to die and hated living with us. So of course per the lady we went back again. I am numb. Completely numb. My older kids are angry the younger kids are sad. I am confused about what this is all about. Come home go back it feels like whenever it gets tough she can run away telling anyone she wants to kill herself. Getting angry with know one helps the parents.

  38. Grace says:

    It certainly not easy being a parent let alone a parent of a child with a mental illness. I have never felt so alone and helpless. I don’t know what the future will hold for my 17 year old son….an unknown. Nothing would surprise me at this point. The last 6 months were the most challenging I have faced. Between all of the diagnoses, the self harm, the stitches, the suicide attempts, the public display of harm, the hospitalizations, the ocd stuff I feel done. He won’t take any medication and says it doesn’t work but doesn’t give it enough time to work. I just take one day at a time….and keep praying.

  39. Windy says:

    I feel all the pain and suffering of parents trying to love and take care of their children – be they 13, 19 or 24. Mine is 19 and she is just lost in a sea of anxiety, OCD and depression. It is beyond sad to watch your child become so sick. The worst part is the lack of insight on her part. We are in between meds now and I pray she will return to the dr and get a new prescription. I used to be afraid of giving her all these meds but I am so much more afraid of her illness now. Walking on eggshells. That phrase sticks out at me from a comment above. Our life is a shambles right now and like all of you, I am praying for an answer. Another comment is coming back to me – about codependency. I think I enable her. I know I do. But what else can you do when you have other children and a life and if you don’t enable her you can’t function. Lately it has become so bad that even all the enabling is not enough. Nothing satisfies her. She is just so sick. I have not posted a comment anywhere about this before. We are all parents trying to do the right thing. But what exactly is that?

  40. Jennifer says:

    Oh my gosh, I go through this daily with my daughter but I know from experience where there is no fire there is no flame. Avoid confrontation with them. Be supportive and pray lots and not just for the kids but yourself too. It is not the kids fault but you sure do see a lot of this happening. Social media acts like it is just a bullying problem but it is a problem with children in general they need to learn the correct behavior and responses to social settings and set them up for success not failure. It is so hard because of the hurt we all feel but the kids are no different than a child with cancer or some other disease that affects them in a negative matter. Educating people that deal with our children and there special needs and educating society is a huge part of healing and maybe we will not have any more bad accidents with mentally ill children and they will quit putting such a terrible stigma with it. They did not ask for it and we certainly did not and are doing are best and that is all we can do. Protect and love them and protect ourselves and others too. God Bless you all and I pray for healing for all of you and your families.

  41. Lisa says:

    Glad to have found this site but find it so depressing as well. Our mental health system is so messed up. Our children are the ones who fill up our jails because they can’t get the help they need. I have been dealing with my daughters mental illness since she was 4. She is now 17, got arrested last night after jumping out of a car and high on meth. I have stories, only seen in horror films as probably most of us do. My heart breaks for her and how difficult it is for her every day. I pray for all of us and all of our babies that they make it to a time when they know they need help and try with all their might to function and have some joy in life. I wish we could all be together and give each other the biggest hug. May tomorrow be a good day.

  42. WOW just what I was looking for. Came here by searching
    for teen health and safety with guns

  43. Amanda says:

    Hi! I have a 13 year old son that has been diagnosed with ADHD, ODD, Intermediate explosive anger, mood disorder, and 2 therapist say they believe he is bipolar but because of his age they don’t want to label him as bipoloar. He has to take 5 diferent meds everyday and they just added a new one, not to mention the stomach meds he takes. We noticed he was different from other kids when he was about 2 years old. He was kicked out of daycare at 2 for drawing blood from another child. He could not be still. He was an aggitated child. He tore up all his toys, clothes, beds. He has been removed from public schools, after school care threw him out, he now goes to a school were he is locked in when he walks through the door. He is extremely violent. He has attacked me and his younger brother several times. He is verbally, menatally and physically aggressive. He will not clean up behind himself. He lives in filth.He has set fires, stabbed my furniture with knives, lies all the time, gets into fights, refuses to go to school. When I go in his room I find knives in his bed and closet. He has been in 5 different behavioral/ mental health facilities. We are are trying to place him in a long term care facility at this time. My heart aches for him so badly. I am constantly fearful for his and my younger childs safety. Even as I prepare to put him in a long-term center, my heart brakes. I am so tore between wanting to have my child with me and try to protect him from himself and letting him go so we will be safe and have peace.

  44. chad says:

    I have a 20 year old daughter, who was our foster child since the age of 2 1/2 and we adopted her at 7, with a long history of mental illness. At the age of 16 she was placed in an OMH home. After a few months she was asked to leave because they could not handle her out breaks and disruptive behaviors. She was then moved to a locked placement. At 18 she was moved to a community home for adults in the OMH system and stayed there for 6 months. Then she got a boyfriend and moved out of the placement without our consent or any of her therapist consent. For about a year she lived with his family or friends, in the woods in a tent, or in places with people she just met, a total of 11 places and all of them ended badly. All this time she was off her med’s and would not go to therapy. She would contact us and be nice to us if she needed something, money, clothing or food and then when she got it she would be nasty to us. She would not listen to word of advice from us and was verbally abusive to us and once was physically abusive. We had to limit our contact with her. About three or four times she asked me to rescue her from really bad situations where someone was chasing her with a knife or she was on the streets homeless, which I did. I finally said enough is enough and I will only give you a ride to a city mission.
    As time went by she became pregnant by a new boy she just meet that week. After living with a different boy and his father for about a month, that new boyfriend goes to jail and she becomes homeless again. A Christian family then gives her a place to stay in their house for the time being. Now she is pregnant and has very little options as she has burned 98% of her bridges; she now wants to change her life around and wants to get close to us again. She is asking to move home with us again which would be a nightmare. She has said that people have told her that we are financial responsible for her until 21 and they said she could go to court to get us to support her. She is getting SSI money.
    Are we financially responsible for her to she is 21 or beyond because she is mentally ill, even though she left a treatment center and she won’t go back? We have supported her by paying for her phone and giving her some money, food and helping the family she is living with now with money and gift cards.

  45. angela says:

    Thank God, I thought I was alone

  46. Stephanie says:

    My son is almost 15 – I have struggled with him since he was a baby. Remember the scene in Lilo & Stitch where they take Stitch home – that’s what it has been like. He pretty much mowed over every child in his path in a manic type of energy. He was amazingly strong. His life hasn’t been easy and he was diagnosed with Asperger’s. I have him in a therapeutic school. Eventually something life altering and traumatic always happens. When he is “normal” he is a amazing and funny and sweet. When he isn’t he is positive we are all physically and mentally abusing him. He gets the police involved or starts drama. It isn’t limited to just us in the family. When he is mad at someone outside of the family he demands and rages they be punished and that I call someone etc. He says scary things like one day he will have to kill a lot of people when he is a politician. He doesn’t see the problem in his behavior. It doesn’t help that his step dad is a moody injured Iraq veteran – but it is definitely not the cause. When my husband was away the problems were awful – I was constantly at the school figuring out problems. Everyone assumes it is problems at home and upbringing – they don’t realize the emotional roller coaster the child is constantly on is the way they came. I am at my witts end. I am tired of him running my name through the mud, I am tired of looking like an idiot – I am tired of never being able to give enough. I was at the doctors office and they asked me if I ever felt like suicide or self harm and I burst into tears – my son started laughing…. yes laughing. He twists truths into lies – lies and delusions he actually believes it seems. Which is really strange. He becomes cold and hateful at times. And other times he is so sweet and endearing. I just don’t understand. I am trying to get a social service intervention for him because I just want to believe he can be placed in a therapy home and that it will help. I have just become convinced after all the persecution that this all must be my fault somehow and hey if they can fix it I would like to see them try. My son says he hates his step dad. Sometimes he says he hates me. My family has died so his step dad and step grandmother are all we really have and I worry about his future. Since he doesn’t like us – well then who will he ever trust? I am worried about his future and I am worried about my current state. God help us all. Amen

  47. Lynda says:

    I have a son od 24 years who is mentally challenged we have tried every possible medication their is available, been in and out of hospital for his behaviour ( he get very agrresive, but because we live in South Africa and we can not find a home to place him in because of the cost and the government one was no place and also will not take him because of his behaviour where to now I don’t know any more just wish we could get the behaviour under control can live with his madness

  48. Rene says:

    We should have treatment centres that are affordable for young adults, kids are diagnosed with all kinds of things and have not way to address it, it’s left up to the parents who can’t do it.
    Our daughter blames everything on me , (dad) she usually goes ape when we say she can’t smoke dope in our house or that she needs to turn down her music because we need to sleep, she sleeps most of the day and stays up most of the night , we are at a loss , she’s been in homeless shelters, hospitals, we keep trying to clean her up, but being 22 she is an adult with the mind of a 6year old, when she gets upset she paces around and you can see her rage building up, every day is a task, God bless everyone and if anyone finds some solutions that work , post them

  49. Margaret Lee says:

    my son has bipolar and depression. His behavior is violent at worst, severely depressed at best. He refuses to do anything. Will not participate in school, failing, doesn’t do anything but play on the computer/phone. He will do a chore if I threaten to take his phone, but not without a possible episode. He is intent on winning the approval of a girl, but when it ends, and it always does, he threatens suicide and ends up in mental ward. He is often violent, I have many holes in the walls. His I can’t attitude is draining. I do not know what each day will bring. I wake in the morning wondering which version of hell will I experience today? If it were not for my ex husband I am living with, he would probably hurt me really badly. He has attacked me numerous times, I live with terrible spinal degenerative disease. Work and life is constantly interrupted. I am always responding to his emergencies. My husband is extremely narcissistic, adding to the hell, his behavior is criminal. He is emotionally abusive and very controlling. My mental health is suffering. My physical pain is made worse by the constant dysfunction from both of them. Trying to get my education not easy under the circumstances. Trying to do right by God and do the best I can for my son I don’t always know what that is. I am at my wits end everyday. My son has been kicked out of schools, I avoid him most times to avoid violent outbursts. My son is 17 and I am to the point that I must save myself, I have nothing left to give. My daily thoughts are of finding a plan to get out when he turns 18. Nothing works, medications are a joke and there is no real help. My family has nothing to do with him, they do not support even emotionally. I feel alone in the world without much hope. People tell me it will get better it never has. I am ridiculed for being negative, isolated and abandoned because of the behavior of my son and husband. I am at my wits end, tired of everyday being a struggle, I can relate to all of the comments above.

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