a depressed teenager under my roof #recovery #mentalillness #mentalhealth

August 9, 2014 § Leave a comment

From one generation to the next. If we don’t stop the insanity it will simply leach into the next generation.

My grandson is staying with us for the first time in almost 10 years. My daughter was 22 when he was born, I was 41. Her pregnancy was not planned and the father was a handsome, intelligent, but emotionally and mentally unstable drug addict. She broke up with him a few days after Grandson was born. During his first eight years, Grandson stayed with me almost half time. His mom was working a graveyard shift and he often stayed overnight and I would take him to school in the morning, pick him up after school, keep him for weekends, etc. We were very close.

Then she met her now husband. He is an American, and she moved to the US, taking Grandson with her. That was when Grandson was eight years old. It took them a few years to get settled in the states, and Grandson attended a number of schools as they moved around. We still stayed in touch, but he did not come to visit the way he used to. In 2010 my daughter and I had a falling out, and did not speak for 4 years. I missed my grandson terribly, but that was the situation and I could not do anything about it.

A couple of weeks ago Grandson showed up on our front porch to say hello. He just skated up on his skateboard and knocked on the door. Within a couple of days he had moved in to stay for a few weeks. He worked with me on my construction job, helping me with various tasks and learning construction skills. It has been wonderful to have him here. It is as if some part of my life that was missing has been found. It feels great.

However, I could sense that my grandson was not entirely happy with his life. He spends a lot of time in his room, and he is socially isolated. He is very intelligent, and a talented musician, as well as an accomplished skateboarder. He also has a very sweet disposition, he was able to win Jethro in a very short period of time. Jethro is a sensitive judge of character. At the same time, Grandson can get very down on himself, he does not ask for things for himself, he defers to us on basic preferences, like what to eat for dinner. It is as if his capacity to perceive what he needs, and his capability to meet his needs has been impaired.

He has accomplished his high school graduation early, despite the numerous schools and disrupted schooling situations. He challenged his high school equivalence tests and passed this spring. So, at 17, he is graduated from high school and looking ahead at what to do next.

The one friend he has here where we live is my nephew, Nephew6. They get along really well, sharing a passion for skateboarding. Unfortunately, Nephew6 has a father, my brother, Brother2, who is an alcoholic. Nephew6 has been traumatized by Brother2’s drinking and emotional abandonment. One of the ways that abandonment shows up is for Nephew6 to abandon Grandson when they are making plans to get together. It has been very difficult for Grandson to cope with, and I can see how he turns his hurt feelings into a depressed affect. He shuts down.

So that tells me that Grandson has been coping with emotional abandonment by shutting down. That tells me that he has been feeling abandoned on so many occasions that he has developed a habit of shutting down.

Last evening he admitted to me that he has been feeling depressed for about 3 or 4 years. He told me he had sought help with a therapist twice, but both times had not helped, he had not felt comfortable with the therapist.

We are going to do what we can for Grandson. Husband has been part of his life too. Husband was with me the night Grandson was born, long before we were romantically involved.

Now we are heading out to this family event today. Well, I hope Grandson is coming. He threw up last night, so I don’t know the status of his health. I also don’t know if he is going to want to go, having been treated so badly by Nephew6. I hope he comes and I hope he can find some comfort knowing that his lineage is one of mental illness, alcoholism and addiction. I hope this next generation can realize that it doesn’t matter where we are from, it is what we do with our origins that is important.

Me? I am dreading attending this family event. I am wishing I had not agreed to go. But I am going, and I am sure I will make the most of it. Our families are what we are born into, they are there to train us to be better than the conditions of our birth. I don’t know a single family that is not struggling to recover from the ravages of narcissistic capitalism, systemic inequality, self-inflicted financial crisis, and technological determinism. We shall prevail and make the world a little better for our efforts.

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