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Worried about my sons and don't know where to turn

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Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:38 am

Worried about my sons and don't know where to turn

Postby muellered2000 » Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:59 am

I am worried about both of my sons and I wonder if you could help. Both of them are heavy cannabis users. So far I have contacted the Samaritans and was referred to Talk to Frank. Talk to Frank have recommened that I contact Sane due to the mental health aspects. I am a bit fed up of being passed from pillar to post.

First son (23 years old)

He has recently returned from travelling and has struggled to readapt to the real world. He has struggled to hold down a job and sleeps. He has just been fired from his job and admitted that he was smoking cannabis in his breaks from his last job. He has told us recently that he sees his whole life ahead of him and sees it as a long miserable road ahead. When I tried to tell him that he has got so much going for him he told me that he tells himself that but this makes him even more depressed as he thinks he is a loser for not taking advantage of it. He has several angry outbursts at all the members of the family and is very unpleasant to live with. I have advised him to speak to someone and discuss his problems but he hasn't done so yet. He lies around on his bed, watching films and TV whilst on his laptop. He flits from one project to another and doesn't settle on anything. He has just fallen asleep in his brother's room. He says that alcohol makes him depressed but smoking weed relaxes him. I have told him that I think he needs to give up both and speak to someone about how he is feeling. He seemed to agree with me but I have been giving him this advice for some time now and he doesn't act on it. He has told me that he has stopped smoking cannabis but I am not sure whether I believe him. I told him on Friday that he needed to seek some help immediately. He says that he has sought help online and told his Mum that the first step was to tidy his living space. He seemed quite positive on Saturday and was sociable with some friends we had over. He then went out on Saturday night to a friend's house, came home early in the morning but seemed sober. All day yesterday he hid up in his room and wouldn't even come and eat with us. I went downstairs after everyone had gone to bed and found him eating the leftovers in the kitchen.

Second son (24 years old)

He also smokes cannabis heavily and drinks and hasn't held down a full time job for some time. I don't think he is depressed but he has manic episodes where he speaks very fast and loudly and gets very emotional and aggitated easily. He was saying worrying things about the devil and needing to go to church some time ago. I worry that he might have some kind of manic depression. He has advised me that he is addicted to cannabis and alcohol and I have told him that he needs to go to a alcoholics/drugs dependency meeting. He has self-confidence issues at times and at other times he has a very inflated opinion of himself. My wife and I have told him that he needs to get some help and have some counselling. He has just returned from a foreign holiday (paid for by his girlfriend) and is very upbeat and positive with all sorts of ambitious (and probably fantasy) projects. He says that he has been exercising and is feeling great but this could just be a positive phase of his condition.

Both of my sons are living at home and their erratic nature has led to tension and even physical violence between them.

I would really apreciate some advice from you on this.


Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2018 11:26 am

Re: Worried about my sons and don't know where to turn

Postby paulshipmansmith » Sat Jul 14, 2018 7:06 pm

You are very right to be worried, especially as this is a situation that concerns both of your sons. You have contacted the Samaritans which is definitely a sign of your concern. This is part of admitting to a perceived problem. You were then referred to Talk To Frank. Then you were referred to here. It is very frustrating when you are being 'passed from pillar to post'.
This situation is made all the more difficult because both of your sons are adults. For you, there is the difficult situation of seeking help/advice on their behalf due to their ages. There is this perception among many advisors/professionals/society in general that as they are adults, they should deal with their own issues. However, you are experiencing the frustration of trying to help them, knowing that they need your help.
At the end of the day, you are their parent and you want to do your best to help them. Do try to contact your local health professional/health service on both your son's behalf and see what they can offer.
The first son you write about is the younger of the two (23 years old). During his travelling period, he will have been very used to a relaxed pace of life. The travel was presumably for pleasure and every aspect of that life will likely have been observed as a holiday-maker. We all have this experience on our holidays - even short breaks - when we forget about the realities of life and forget that a holiday is a 'break from reality'. Many people go on a holiday, compare it to home and their home/work life and decide that they want to live there. Of course there is a difference between life and a holiday! Did he travel alone? Did he travel with/meet people? Did he have a lot of time to think? (See further down).
Your son is now finding it hard to accept the mundaneness of the real world. He has been gently living a dream that he wished would never end. Holding down a job is hard these days for anyone because of the business environment of today and - of course - for your son, the job is likely to bore him further. When he gets a job, it's not just the monotany of the job that he finds hard to deal with but also the people as well. It can be hard for someone working in business a environment when he/she would rather be somewhere else more interesting and fun. Working with colleagues is a different situation to 'chilling out' with friends on a beach.
Your son is feeling rather depressed and this is a cycle that he needs to break out of. He does need to get out of this cycle of seeing that 'long and miserable road ahead'. He is not helping his situation by believing that he is a 'loser'. He says he tells himself that he has got so much going for him, then feels a 'loser' for not acting on it. He is wrestling with a conflict of confidence in himself. He part believes he 'can do it'. Then he quickly 'backs down' because that quick burst of confidence fades.
He is a very frustrated - and intelligent/maybe creative - young man who appears to be 'hitting a wall'. He definitely needs to 'channel' and 'focus' in order to aim for a 'target' in life. He needs to find some form of compromise between that 'bohemian' lifestyle and 'the real world' in order to find some productive balance in his life.
This would be better than telling him to 'grow up' and 'get a job'. This would be better for him than battling with the emotions of trying to 'face reality' and seeking some form of 'brilliant future' such as choosing a career when he probably still doesn't know what he wants to do........A question all young people are forced to answer....."What do you want to do?".....It's a hard one!....
On his travels, he will likely have met a variety of 'interesting' people and experienced their more 'bohemian' way of life. A life which would have some influence over him. In contrast, at work in the real world, he will be surrounded by everyday people talking about mundane 'life' things. There will also be the issue of having to conform to the workplace ideals and take instruction from management as well. He seems like a lad that would not find this very easy.
He spends a lot of time sleeping which - unless there is a medical reason - can be someone's way of not facing the world around them. Being fired from a job will certainly not help his confidence levels and it is not going to be a 'good record' if this is due to smoking cannabis. Smoking weed at work also seems be an indication of his boredom and feeling 'rebellious'.
He has a very pessimistic view of life. How did he do at school? What ambitions did he have? Did he not achieve his dreams/goals from education? Maybe his problem is that he is very clever and no-one (not even he) can see this. Was he 'passed over to one side' by the teachers?
He views his life as a long and miserable road ahead. How did he feel when he was travelling? Maybe he didn't even 'look at that road ahead'. Some people never do. By constantly trying to tell himself that he has much going for him encourages even more thoughts of guilt and despair because (conversely) he doesn't feel that he is achieving anything. He feels guilty about himself not being able to do anything about his situation and this creates a form of 'treadmill'.
There is an issue here with boredom. There is also a probable negative side effect that can occur when people travel/go on holiday. It is not unusual for people to go on holiday and end up thinking about their life's disappointments and jobs. People go on holidays and travel around in order to 'get away from it all'. Unfortunately, they can find themselves isolated and actually dwelling more about their negativities in life. There is actually more time to do so on holiday. One may actually find it more beneficial spending free time 'doing stuff' at home rather than just dwelling on things on a beach somewhere.......This could be where studying at college could have a positive effect.
His angry outbursts are his frustration at not being able to 'channel' himself into more positive pursuits. Spending time lying around in bed and watching TV/Films helps to pass the time. He seems to like to relax, do his own thing and find ways of 'escapism'. He tries different projects in the hope that he will find something to give him meaning and purpose to his life - of course - as with any of these projects/pursuits, time, patience and money are required. Commitment is also needed. Again. College study may help him here.
Although he is a man of 23, you will find your relationship will be strained by simply telling him 'to grow up' or constantly tell him to 'settle' down and hold a job.
In a way, your son is struggling to accept the mundane reality of the adult real world. Rather that just say to him...."Get help".....or....."Get another job"......Maybe he could be more accepting of the way of life that he is living that combines his relaxed lifestyle with some serious 'reality'. Could he work part-time and attend a local college? The job would not be his only focus and the college study could help him be more ambitious and positive about the future. A mixture of different people as well.
He cannot hold a job....OK....Could he work in a job, save some money, then do some travelling? When he returnes, find another job - maybe agency work.....and do the same again? This will help him be more focused and look forward to a brighter horizon.
Does he have to take advantage of the fact that he has a bright future? OK....He feels he has but then feels really guilty/bad for not taking advantage of this. Many people never look to the future....It is how they are......Many people are not ambitious.....It is how they are.......
The way above will help encourage him to keep more focused for the time being. Again....He could explore education opportunities that would be better for him than just 'getting a job'.
Yes....He could live a life that is more suitable for him regarding the 'non - mundane' or 'bohemian' but at the same time connect to the reality of the adult world. This does seem to be his problem here.
As for the smoking of weed.....Yes.....He will need to give it up......Or at least reduce it......
'Everything in moderation'......Yes....The odd 'joint'....OK....However.....The cannabis could end up taking over his life and he will be 'hanging out' and 'getting high' with people that spend their days in one room!.....With no concept of time or space!......
He is an adult now and needs to take responsibility for his actions. This can be hard for 'milliennials' (the 'adult children' or 'kidult' style generation)......He is 'living at home' and he does need to show some respect for other members of the household. With positive direction in his life, this could be made somewhat easier.
He needs to take each step 'one at a time'. Firstly, he does not have a job. He has all day to himself and of course there is the question of how generous you can be regarding the 'living expenses'. Are you willing to compromise financially to allow him some extra freedom to explore his options. If so. Do make this a condition that he does not simply 'doss around' all day.
For a start, he could try for a part-time job. Whilst applying, he could do some volunteer work at the local charity shop and/or consider a part-time college course. He can 'pay his way' at home when working (even if only a few hours). This could be better for him than just 'jumping' into a full-time job and quickley getting fed up with it. This will allow him some variety as he does seem to be intelligent and maybe creative. That's an area he needs to focus on.
This way may be more stimulating for him in general. He may find himself more comfortable with this lifestyle and that may help him reduce his depression. Again. When travelling, did he feel so negative? Again. Encourage him to save money for periods of travel/holidays so that he maintains that interest. If he is more comfortable in his pursuits at home, he will come back from holidays/events feeling more 'ready' to 'get back to reality'.
Your other son is 24 and he is experiencing difficulties as well. His smoking of cannabis and drinking alcohol can be considered unhelpful to his situation as well. To a degree, that may be contributing to him expressing himself loudly and also his emotional/agitated state.
You are obviously worried about the issue regarding the Devil and him feeling the need to go to church. Is this due to his own personal religious preference? Does he speak to the Devil? Does he have strong feelings toward the Devil because of worship? Does he converse with the Devil when he is 'high'. Does he feel threatened by the Devil? This is something that needs discussion in order to establish whether this is a genuine religious choice or that this is a situation that he cannot control and needs help with.
His self-confidence issues seem likely to show when he is more 'himself'. The 'inflated opinion' of himself may come when he either feels more confident - after a few 'drinks' or a 'joint' - or is having one his more 'great mood' or 'excitable' moments. You may find that during these 'episodes', he may speak or act spontaneously. This can sometimes appear 'strange' to people who are not used to it.
An inflated self-opinion, however, may also indicate that he is 'hiding' his lack of confidence and trying his best to 'give the impression' of confidence or 'coolness' to 'impress' those around him. This again, can happen during a drinking alcohol/smoking weed session.
He seems to have accepted - or is giving that impression - that he is addicted to cannabis and alcohol and he would benefit from going to a 'dependency meeting'. The problem here is that it is only 'he' himself that can make that decision to go and no-else can go for him.
You are right to tell him that he needs counselling and it would be a good idea for your wife and you to work as a team in order to encourage him to do this.
You mention that his holiday was paid for by his girlfriend which does indicate that he may have intentions to continue this behaviour should he leave home and live with her. He may already be very comfortable living at home with the various benefits it offers. Is he getting used to this 'living at home' lifestyle?
He has ambitious/fantasy projects 'in the pipeline' which appear to have manifested whilst on holiday. There is this 'dreamworld' issue here which is similar to his brother. Highly intelligent/and/or creative and not being able to express it? Could he follow the suggestions mentioned above?
It appears that both of your sons do - very genuinely - have some serious issues which they need to work through and this will need to done as a 'hands on' family team. Both you and your wife have an advantage here with regard to them living at home and you both would benefit by pointing out to them the benefits.
There is physical violence occuring between the brothers - who are now grown men - and this is happening in your home. Many people would not tolerate that sort of behaviour and would insist they leave the house. However, life is not as 'black and white' as that. Underneath it all, both young men are struggling to adapt to the 'adult world'.
As brothers living 'under your roof' in the family home, they now need to work together as a team and help each other. As parents, you could try working as a team to encourage the brothers to work as a team and make this a 'shared/family' experience. This could be regarded as a 'family journey'. Their situations do seem similar. Both need 'one-to-one' counselling/therapy to explore why they are feeling the way they are. Although the therapy will be on an individual basis (ie, alone with professional) both brothers could encourage each other to go to these sessions.
Both of your sons have enough to deal with in their lives and their journey of 'self-discovery/recovery' should could be faced together. They need to be fighting back at what the world/life throws at them together. Certainly not fighting each other.
Both your sons could go together 'as a team' to any group therapy sessions such as alcohol dependence meetings. This could encourage them to explore and discover feelings about them selves and one another.
Both your sons appear to be highly creative and intelligent. Perhaps too intelligent for their circumstances (such as not being in employment). Both would benefit from professional counselling/therapy. Both would benefit from college study. Both would benefit from quitting the alcohol and cannabis. Ok....They may not want to do that.....Both could at least overcome their addictions and at least re-train themselves to enjoy these pleasures 'in moderation'.
Both would benefit from leaving the house more often. Go out together. Go to more social places than just 'sitting in a room drinking/getting high'. Join a gym/club/whatever.
As a family, you all need to accept that these two guys are young adults. Yours sons especially need to accept this and the responsibilities of adulthood. After all, only they can really help themselves and it would be best for them to work as a team on this.

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