My son is 27, has been ADHD since a young boy, but not medicated. His life in the last several years has been the classic of adult ADHD, possibly now into bi-polar, but even though it has spiraled out of control in the last couple of years, he is really just too sick, mentally to even see that it is his illness that is taking his life away! As of now, he has lost literally everything EXCEPT his beating heart, and he still will NOT accept that it his illness that has caused it all! He has no more friends, romantic relationships end, lost his children, no job, no money, no car, no license, no home, his entire family, except for me, won't be around him, and yet. . . he STILL doesn't see it. He is not only in denial, but truly "sees" that it is some curse over him, or that the world is just so out to get him that he doesn't get a fair chance to make a life for himself. He won't go to a shelter, won't go into treatment, tells me that I am the ONLY one that can help him, but I won't, even though I WILL and WANT to, but what he needs is not what he wants help with! I have contacted Crisis centers, the PD has been involved, and will be again, but still, his suicidal threats are there, and time is not on my side!!! What else can I do????
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What more can I do?? I have no legal ability to act on his behalf, but he needs someone to make decisions on his behalf right now.
I'm so sorry to hear this. Unfortunately, when ADHD remains untreated for years, the symptoms can sometimes grow worse and often new symptoms appear.
Partially this can be due to the stress of living with untreated ADHD "fallout" -- being late all the time, being chewed out, fired, rejected, etc. But part of it is due to bad habits, too -- drinking too much coffee to stay away or ingesting marijuana to relax. Insomnia and other sleep disorders can contribute, too. As can co-existing conditions such as conduct disorder and bipolar disorder.
I wonder why he has never received treatment, despite being diagnosed many years ago. Was an effort made to educate him on what ADHD is -- and isn't? Are you, his mother, now aware of the same?
It is important, if you want to try to reach someone with "in denial" ADHD to truly understand their experience. If all they hear is criticism and admonishments to buckle down, etc. that can drive a wedge in the relationship and, more importantly, make you seem as just one more person who doesn't "get it."
It might help, too, if you learn about the physiological basis for "denial." It might truly be, as you suggest, that he doesn't see that he, as opposed to the rest of the world, is the problem. More specifically, his untreated psychiatric condition is the problem.
I'm not boasting when I say that my book (Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.?) was the first consumer book on ADHD to explain in-depth the reasons for "denial" and how to help someone out of it. I am grateful to the international expert in this area, Xavier Amador, Ph.D, for helping me to write those chapters.
My name is Joel. im 23 years old. I have been diagnosed with a severe case of ADHD since before i was in kindergarten. i have been taking medication my entire life. i also have severe case of depression the runs in my family and has plagued me for as long as i have memories. lucky for my family the depression skipped a generation but i received it from both my grandfathers, now both dead. they had depression until their dieing day and i probably will as well, although i dont believe i will live nearly as long as they did. my ADHD has caused me to fail in every academic endeavor i have ever attempted. my life is terrible, im suicidal. im getting treatment. i take my meds, im on them right now. my last suicidal though was 5 minutes ago. i hate my life. i constantly ask myself this one question, and its a question i believe a lot of ADHD people that are in positions like your son and me ask themselves and might help you understand him and help him. the question is "What is the point of my existence?" the one thing to keep me from taking the leap that i can never come back from is that there are too many people that would be crushed if i was gone. ask yourself what future do you see for your son. when you figure out what bright hope there is for him out there tell him. god if i could answer that question for myself. all i see for myself in the future is blackness. ive been to 3 colleges since i graduated from high school. i was a bad student in high school because of my disibility. in college every year got progressivly worse. ive dropped out now. i want to go back but i dont see the point. i can barly will myself to go to class when im enrolled. i cant concentrate in class when i manage to build up enough willpower to go. for me i feel that im just too broken of a person to succeed in life. im a proud person i dont like asking for help. i hit a low a couple months back i got on the phone and called my mom i said goodbye. i made my peace with god. death does not fear me. nothing fear me anymore. if i could just find the answer to my question mabey i wouldnt feel so dead inside. your son wont magically find the willpower to better himself till he finds a reason to. and until you answer that question or he figures it out there will be no improvement. so my advice to you is think hard on that question, or enjoy the time you have left with your son.
Salizar, I feel empathy for you. I have had to take medication for my depression. Stay strong. No one ever told me when I was young that I must stay strong and brave and stay true to myself. You might have ADHD but you have some valuable qualities that you have still to discover or rediscover. Life is a journey. Has anything in your past given you joy, or have you had a passion for doing something? I go to a group meeting of ADD and there is a national group. When I was younger, I was constantly overwhelmed by life's troubles but I learned to protect and cherish who I am. You are not alone. Seek and you will find a way. Best wishes.
You sound like a very sensitive caring person. Is there something that you really really enjoy like music, skateboarding, drawing or even video games? Start researching the things you like and take some time every day to do it. Perhaps one day you will take a class or moonlight with one of your interests to transform into work. right now, perhaps traditional school education might not be for you..what about a course on line? Home study? I know it is difficult to center upon an answer as I have a son who is well into adulthood and has tried and failed many many times as well as being in trouble with the law which has not only hurt himself, but he made these mistakes and now it is more difficult for him to succeed in employment. Be thankful that you have no problems with your background in public files. Believe me, there is always something to be grateful about. in fact, my son stands to lose his license now for a very long time in our state and we hope he can hold onto his current job. However, even though he was a D student in high school after almost 7 years of trying at a community college he will be graduating with an associates degree in 2 weeks. Although he doesn't feel like it we are going to celebrate this accomplishment anyway. He is talking about going to further his education for a BA degree. We did not think he would finish the 2 year. So this is huge! I hope you think about how creative you can really be and think back to a time when you felt really happy at something - something you did yourself - and try that soon. Journal about it or blog ... you will feel just a small bit better and that is what counts. Do not dwell on your past perceived failures - you were learning at college some things you did not know before. Thanks for letting me write back to you. Creative Connection
Gina, I don't know how I just got this email, 2 years later!!! Either way, It was very helpful for several reasons. Today, he is still having most of the issues, but maybe because he is 30 now, some maturity set in that may have taken the edge of a few symptoms, but only the edge. If you are in a room with him, and not just a casual acquaintance, then you still know it is any moment that he will snap. His biggest problem is put downs. He puts me down and belittles me, or laughs at me for my reasoning on situations, which, of course brings out the defensive and although I won't engage in an all out verbal war, I do show him I am frustrated and he takes it to the next level. I usually move to a bedroom and if it has a lock, lock it. If it doesn't he will burst through and continue to belittle me. Then, in a moment, he can turn around and tell me I'm yelling and he's not, and why can't he ever just talk with me. He doesn't get it. Anyway, to let you know, I am bi-polar II and know what it's like to be non-medicated, but I. . . saw I needed help and got it! I guess that's why I have a hard time with his refusal to go do the same. I have had to realize that he just can't see it. Almost like there is a link in the brain that is not connected, or perhaps missing altogether. The only time he is even in the realm of easy to deal with, is when he is taking pain meds. Yes, he is in legitimate pain, and prescribed but a few years ago, he had no prescription and bought them from others. The whole family knew when he didn't have any. He was a JERK! It's hard to love your child with all your heart, and in turn HATE them as a person. I would do ANYTHING to get him to receive help. Thanks for your response. 2 years ago, LOL!
Thank you for your input, sweetheart. It took two years for me to get it, not sure how that happens, but anyway, to answer your response, I am proud to say that I DO remind him of what is good about him, praise him when he is doing well, and remind him that he is a good person with a good heart, but that his illness and anger are getting the better part of his soul. As his own younger brother said recently. . "he has a wonderful soul, with a devils heart" It's true. He acts like a very mean person, but we all know better. He has been making some huge strides lately and I have told him how proud of him I am, and that he is NOT the loser he claims to think he is. I have felt andd still do feel like a loser for my own reasons, and betweeen him and I, I am more of the true form than he is. He has the potential to get better than what he has in life. I am in my 50's now, so a lot of possibilites are no longer possible. I would die happier knowing that he will have known what a happy life is. Anyway, you are a smart person to realize that suicide is not the answer and the pain it leaves behind. Same reason why I never have. That and the unknown. I have hope. Always will. Good to have heard from you. Please take care, and take your meds. I do.
Thanks for your Reply!
It is a horrible and extremely hard position that you are in. My heart breaks for you. If you get help for him it could push him over the edge, yet if you don't take action he will most likely continue on his current path, which could also have an unthinkable ending. My father recently killed himself by gunshot, and he too had been talking about passing on for many years and then the last 6 months of his life he started to talk about suicide, rather than just death. My brother also talked about suicide and killed himself by hanging many years before my dad did it. After my brother and before my father my mom starved herself to death. Neither one was ever treated for depression, and I feel that it might have been possible for them to get through the depression of they would have been committed in a long term program, although that is not a 100% fix, at least it is a chance for recovery. I'm unaware what the success rates of residential treatment is, but I know it must be better than no treatment or a stupid 24 hour or 3 day hold that can be done when suicide is in question. It is hard to live with the regrets of not getting loved ones into long intensive programs. I hope you don't mind, but your son and you are in my prayers. I also hope that things have gotten better for your son and you since you posted your concerns.
Hi mom, I guess better late than never. I'm just seeing your reply two months later.
It's interesting that the pain medication makes him easier to deal with. I wonder at the widespread epidemic of pain-medication addiction, and wonder how many of those people have underlying psychiatric issues. (I know that many are having legitimate pain issues, but there are others...).
If he can't "see" the problem, perhaps there are ways of trying to make it more clear. It is not easy, I know. But one method is called the LEAP strategy, developed by Dr. Xavier Amador. I interviewed him for my book ("Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.?) and explained the strategy there.
He also wrote a book, "I'm not sick! I don't need help!"
the fact is the PD is a last resort situation only to be used to prevent injury to OTHERS, as there is always the possibility of the situation being escalated to a lethal force issue when they are involved. And this is turning into the norm, more and more every day.
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