My son, Joe, hasn’t been doing well. He’s off his meds and is psychotic.
We've had Joe 5150d twice in the last 30 days. This last time seemed like they were trying to place him in a long-term in-patient treatment. He was in a two-week facility. Last Sunday my son called because it wasn’t going well and he was arguing with staff. He said, “They’re going to discharge me.”
Long and short of it. I was under the impression that he would be either in the hospital for 72 hours or at longer-term treatment, but yesterday evening I got a call from the police. “Your son is in the streets and needs to get home.” He was an hour's drive away. So we went to get him.
Joe was discharged because the "professionals" couldn’t figure out how to deal with him. What a system. Now he’s talking his usual nonsense, but I’m just happy I know where he is and where he’s getting his next meal. He’s home.
Please pray for us all. It's what we’re all dealing with. No real help out there.
Since bringing Joe home yesterday, after he was discharged and homeless for a week, he’s been psychotic and rambling. Today, however, he’s becoming destructive. He screamed at my husband, pushed him, and said, “I have AIDS.” He took a queue ball from the pool table and threw it at the front window. He missed but it hit and shattered my work laptop.
We called the police but my son was gone when they arrived. The officer said, “Call us when your son returns.” We called the "non-emergency" number, as we were told, when we received location information about my son. The dispatch said, “We’ll assess him and move on if he’s not a threat.” I pointed out that Joe destroyed our property and is in need of treatment. I was told, "Statuses change. If he is evaluated as non-threatening, we'll move on."
I don't know what to do at this point because, if he comes home, we can’t have him destroying things and help doesn’t arrive when we call. In addition to his schizophrenia, Joe is using other drugs. I’m frustrated and heartbroken. I can’t help my son get the help he needs. We’re being refused, essentially. Why, why, why?
My son returned home after yesterday's incident. Once again, he was confrontational so I called 911 with urgency about the situation. A cop showed up. He was aware we’d been calling previous days and basically made the assessment that there’s nothing he could do. “The destruction of your property happened yesterday. Today he’s not a threat.” He offered the option of getting a restraining order against our son so, if he violates it, he can be arrested.
What’s wrong with this picture? My son can get a criminal record but no mental health treatment. This is a vicious cycle that can be broken but only with mandatory mental health treatment. Joe’s been psychotic at the hospital and in front of the cops, but nothing can be done. They tell me.
I received a call from a detention center. My son was arrested for petty theft and released. He’s not been seen or heard from since. All I can do is pray that, somehow, he manages on the streets.
A few days ago my son called. Finally. He was at a mental health hospital. He said he was there for four days, but I know they only hold for 72 hours. No word since then. I worry all the time. In the evening, when I'm in bed, random areas of my face tingle and swell. From the stress I'm sure.
As suspected, my son was discharged from the mental health hospital. When? They won't tell us. They say, “He's not a patient here.”
Praise God. Yesterday was a low point for me with worry, guilt, and heartache. I cried, I prayed, and this morning my son called. He said he was tired and wanted to come home. He was in Yorba Linda which is about an hour’s drive for us. Don't know how he wanders the streets in the wrong direction. We picked him up, got him a burger, and brought him home. He was discharged on Monday (10/22) and said he was making his way to the coast (beach) but just got tired. "When I’m homeless, I can't sleep, I’m afraid of what someone will do.”
I asked, “How do you get by on the street?”
“I drink a lot of water, mostly, and ask for money only when I’m extremely hungry. I don't ask people for money unless I really need to. It's hard being homeless.”
I told Joe he doesn’t have to be homeless, but he feels like he has no choice because we "harass" him at home. Of course, that is the perception for him.
Another positive, while driving home, there was a call from a nearby (to our home) behavioral clinic, where Joe has an appointment tomorrow morning. He looked better than I expected, so that’s a relief. He seemed calmer, though he was still having audible hallucinations and bouts of laughter. These last few months have been the worst for him. I hope we get him the help he needs and he complies.
No real treatment. This week we located our son, brought him home and took him to an appointment at a behavioral clinic. He refused to let us go in so we were shut out. His interaction at this appointment lasted, maybe, five minutes. He came out agitated.
Joe doesn't believe he needs treatment. He paces around the house 24/7, demands money, — we don't give any — and threatens to leave and be homeless. We tell him that’s his choice. I'm exhausted.
Today, he went to an AA/NA meeting somewhere and caused a scene, then went to a local bar and caused a scene there, too. He was threatening people. Police were called but never showed. My husband received a call from someone who knows my son's situation. He went to the bar to find out what happened and returned home. My son was home, too, by then. We asked, “How was your day?” He said, “I didn't do much.”
At the moment we’re just letting him be. Interactions are at a minimum. My son’s in his state of mind and not a thing we can do.
Note: Viviana lives in California.