Shane has struggled all his life to fit in. I saw the signs of depression when he was an infant, and definitely when he was a child. Our older son was so different in that he smiled and laughed more easily. Shane was withdrawn, flat affect, and found it difficult to interact with people; it seemed that he was more than shy.
By the time he was in middle school he was self-medicating. We took him to several therapists over the years. He starting getting into trouble and has been in jail several times, the longest was for over a year. He has been diagnosed with depression, bipolar disorder, several anxiety disorders, post traumatic stress, addiction, etc. We made a place for him to live at our home the last time he was released and it didn’t work out. He moved in with a room mate and worked at a fast food restaurant. At first he was happy and independent and planning to transfer to a four year college. The pressures of life caught up with him, and he started to unravel.
During this time we took him to the county mental health for appointments, which was a pretty good facility (he is not insured). He would go, and then stop taking his medication and going to appointments. A few weeks ago he was severely depressed and was hoping to get some help. He spoke with the therapist and said he felt suicidal and was still not prescribed any medication or anything else. A few days later he was back in jail and is there now. That has been his psychiatric treatment, which is non-existent.
The legal counsel seems to think that since he has a loving family, his problems would melt away because we could solve them with our love and support and supposed access to mental health care. We went to NAMI’s Family to Family class two years ago. It was very good in helping us deal with some of the difficulties but we still have not gotten the help we need, even with the knowledge we acquired. We can care for him in the ways we know how, but cannot be his doctors and therapist. Part of us believes that if he was motivated he would get the help. My experience has been that no one wants to help him because he is not able to help himself. That doesn’t seem to be the way it should work. He is entrenched in the system, languishing in jail like so many young men, going down a black hole. He has completed two years of college and has worked several jobs too, but then the world crashes in.
Even thought we are pulling together, my family is in crisis. I pray that he will eventually find his way and get the help he desperately needs, hopefully sooner than later. I am not as optimistic as I used to be.