Tough love – I can tell you as a mom that practicing tough love with your kids is truly one of the toughest things we go through in life. I have freely given advice about “tough love” to others in the past, and the exact right thing to do seemed so clear to me. However, when faced with a tough love decision with my own son, the right path was not obvious. Having recently been in this situation myself, one thing I know for certain is I will never judge anyone’s decisions for their kids again. We are all doing the best we can!
Bipolar Disorder I
My oldest son was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder I in September of 2020 (the hardest year in SO many ways) after being hospitalized for a manic episode. I brought him to the ER again last week, and he was again hospitalized in the behavioral health unit (aka psych ward). This time he was hospitalized for extreme depression. He was self-medicating with marijuana multiple times/day. Upon discharge the recommended treatment plan was to live for Jake to live in a sober house and attend an outpatient treatment program (he doesn’t qualify for residential treatment, because marijuana use, even if it’s daily and impairing your life, is not serious enough).
Honestly, I thought this was a perfect plan for him, and would provide a much needed break for myself, my husband and our younger son. They had an opening for him, and everything seemed to be working out. Then we suddenly learned they had filled the last room at the sober house prior to receiving our son’s official application. We were devastated…..
Next, we got a call from our son’s psychiatrist from the behavioral health unit. He said we should take him to a homeless shelter in the area, and then have him apply for the outpatient treatment program. He explained it wasn’t the ideal situation, but they could also fill up so we should take him that day. A good option was better than no option, so he recommended not waiting for ideal.
I quickly packed what could fit in two paper grocery bags (clothing and toiletries), because he was only allowed to bring that amount. I left an hour later to help my son discharge from the hospital, and we headed for the homeless shelter. This was T-H-E HARDEST thing I have done as a mom, signing that my son was homeless with no other options. And, then I had to leave him there and drive away. I don’t know how I drove home; I could barely see through my tears.
Feelings of Despair and Overwhelm
My husband and I were basically numb that night. To say I was extremely sad, overwhelmed and feeling scared would be an understatement. There are no essential oils that could overcome my extreme sadness. I did take a couple of Adaptiv Capsules, diffused Adaptiv and Frankincense and applied them both over my heart, which helped a little. The only thing that truly helped that night was prayer and talking with my husband.
It has been almost a week since I dropped my son at the homeless shelter. I picked him up today, and drove him for his chemical dependency assessment at the treatment center. He has settled into the homeless shelter, and says he doesn’t mind it very much. They are helping him apply for jobs, and he has made some friends.
I pray that this is the “rock bottom” everyone says he must hit in order to make a lasting change. I pray that the treatment helps him stay sober this time. I pray he meets friends who are a good influence on him. I pray that he reconnects with his faith and relationship with God. I pray that we get our happy, fun, and loving son back, and can create a new, healthy adult relationship with him. I pray that this tough love on our part helps him see that we love him, and truly will do anything to help him. I hope he sees it as a help someday (and not that we gave up on him). More than anything, I pray he stays safe (and sober).