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I don't know how else to support my depressed adult son.

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Long story short. I have a loving husband and 3 children. My youngest daughter has depression and has had medication and support for a few years now.

My Older 20 year old twin son has been diagnosed with depression a few months ago. Hind sight is a wonderful thing. he should have been seen to long ago as well. He is on medication that I don't think is working - it is the same one we originally had for our daughter, which didn't work for her. He also drinks quite a bit and smokes cannabis which he says helps him sleep. He goes to work and then goes to a mates house until meal time, eats and then retreats to his room. I know there is no right or wrong way, but I get to the point when he comes home and is in a rage over minor things and breaks doors that I want to kick him out. I couldn't actually do it. He won't talk to professionals and his GP is on holidays for the next week and is extremely hard to get in to see. I don't want to yell and make him feel worse. But I also don't want to accept how he makes us and the rest of the family feel. He knows he is struggling and we know he is trying.

Any advice is welcome

3 Replies 3

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi antionette

You sound like such an incredibly loving deeply thoughtful mum and probably an exhausted one too.

Being a mum to an almost 19yo gal and 16yo guy, I can say our generation is the 1st to really start addressing feelings constructively. We wonder about our kids' feelings, we try our best to help them manage those feelings and we're even prepared to go above and beyond by employing professionals to help our kids manage their feelings, thoughts and internal chemistry (with the help of meds if need be). While addressing their thoughts, chemistry and feelings, we're the 1st to really constructively give attention to mind, body and 'spirit' as being a significant combination, when it comes to how our kids tick and us too.

In the lead up to our generation, kids typically heard 'You're too sensitive, toughen up. What's wrong with you?! Stop dwelling, just get on with things' etc. In summary 'Suppress what you're feeling, try and become more insensitive to how you feel your way through life and ignore the need to ask the deeper questions'.

For me, my years in depression were tough to navigate, as there was none of this talk about the significance of 'feelings'. In my mind, to feel so much was wrong, defective. Looking back, I can see now exactly what I was feeling at any given time, what my sensitivity was trying to tell me. There's that hindsight you touched on. I managed my depression partly though alcohol or mismanaged it I should say. No one told me alcohol's a depressant, although I did feel it was, looking back. I used it as a suppressant in a way. It helped me suppress feeling anger, resentment, lost, neglected and so much more. It's a suppressant of feelings until those feelings crop up again. Then they can be even more intense. Wondering if your son feels this too.

One of the things I've learned beyond depression is feelings are significant. Like a compass, they offer direction. Not sure if this will help with your son but these days I address my feelings by asking things such as

  • What is this feeling? Is it a new one, hard to identify?
  • Why am I suddenly feeling it? Is something or someone naturally triggering, oppressive or depressing?
  • Where do I feel it? Which part of my body? How intense is it?
  • What is it trying to tell me, regarding the challenge I'm in?
  • How do I need to vent it (talking it out, crying it out, breathing it out, screaming it out etc)?

Btw, if your kids a sensitive enough to feel a med not working, trust that feeling.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
Although you are very kind not to kick out your adult son, you can impose reasonable conditions for his continued tenure in your house.
>1. Disrespect in your home will not be tolerated;
>2. Damage shall be repaired at his expense;
>3. Use of substances is forbidden (at least while at home);
>4. Agreed weekly/monthly consultations with GP/therapist.
Also consider (if not already) board contributions and servicing his own needs (laundry, meals, maintenance) in a bid to establish autonomy for independent living. This could be the best thing you do for him to help restore some sense of purpose to his life.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi there Antionette and thanks so much for your post.

I see that you have received some very good responses but I can also see this is an extremely difficult situation. It must be so hard to not look at things and wonder why you can't just fix it! Depression is a condition that is extremely difficult to understand, therefore try and treat.

I'd like to share my experience with my daughter when she was a teenager. She was a bit of a flower power girl with hippy friends, pot smoking, bringing friends home without notice, 'forgetting' to tell me where she was when not coming home at night and so on. Her abuse of our relationship was not based on anger at all, but I got the impression that she just didn't want to respect my rights, and just didn't really care.

I was a single parent (Father), running my own company, and found this all very hard to understand. I did get upset a few times and tried laying down some house rules, asking her to pull her weight more in the house etc but this didn't get far.

I used to wonder what had happened to my sweet little girl! Then I read somewhere about looking inside myself and really trying to see without judgement what type of parent I was. In short, time spent with her was not great, I was always at work, and felt as a result I didn't really understand her or why she had become a Hippy.

So yes, It was time for me to 'Own' some of the blame for the situation.

So I asked her if we could go out for dinner one night and have a nice chat. Very non threatening. I basically apologised to her about the type of father I was, told her I loved her very much, was very proud of her, and felt some responsibility for us moving apart. Kind of an apology! This made it so much easier to move onto how I felt about her behaviour and the hurt in my heart.

Wow what a response! We both cried a bit, she told me how much she loved me and we had an amazing discussion about her life and she asked a lot about how she could improve our home life.

The point of all this? By making it very clear about how her actions were affecting me, and then moving some of the 'blame' onto me (That was the hardest bit), and reaffirming my love for her, she felt non threatened and very safe to open up back to me and reveal her true emotions. After all, she was still just a child really!

So I hope Antionette that this outline of my experience may contain just a couple of little things to help you with your son.

Very happy to discuss. All the very best, The Bro