Today a friend of mine is burying her son. He was 22 and had suffered from Depression and Asperger’s Syndrome during his short life. He committed suicide; it is every parent’s worst nightmare. She had lived with this fear for a while. She had tried to convince him to get more help, but he refused. No parent should ever have to bury a child, no matter how young or old. It’s not the right order of things.
This tragedy hit home because my son, age 20, also has had Depression issues over the last year and a half. He has shown some post trauma stress symptoms since the house fire, too. He’s had nightmares, and he had a breakdown just last month. Despite all this, a few days ago he told his father and me that he didn’t need therapy anymore. His issues were resolved. He and his doctor didn’t have much talk about now. It was a waste of money. Everything was cool. His father and I told him that he needed to continue while he made the transition back to school. Post trauma stress doesn’t just disappear in two months, we said. He had failed two semesters due to Depression, and we wanted to increase the odds for his success.
Parenting adult children is, in many ways, harder than parenting young ones. Physically, the younger ones zap your energy more, but emotionally, the teen and young adult years are much more stressful – for both parents and offspring. I’m an adult now. You can’t make me. It’s my choice. You don’t understand. Hmm, sounds like the teen years all over again. His relationship with his dad and me has definitely gone downhill the longer he’s lived at home. We want him to be independent, too, back on campus, doing well at school. His dad and stepmom and I all feel the stress of having him at home, and we understand that it’s stressful for him, too. But we’re also worried. We think he’s in denial about post trauma stress and his Depression. His problems won’t all disappear the minute he moves away from home though he firmly believes they will. And yet he’s right. We can’t make him. He’s 20, legally an adult. We can only hope for the best. And worry.