Guardianship


#1

I’m still trying to get the facts on what is really happening/being said however I’m thinking that it may be time to look into some sort of guardianship. I will try to sum things up if I can. 15 months ago my son moved back with me after living with his Nana as he had his first psychotic break while with her in April-May 2011. Was with her for 2 years. During this time he developed a chronic/daily marijuana habit as she didn’t feel comfortable with the no tolerance approach. She has zero sense of smell so he used to smoke weed in the home all the time, to the point of her getting an eviction notice. Offers for addiction treatment facilities were being turned down by both of them. Finances got worse and worse due to my son’s spending until I was helping to support them. Some interaction between my son and his treatment team wasn’t happening as she didn’t want people in her home in the condition that it was in. Eventually things got to the point where they were both in such bad shape that she was suicidal. I got a phone call to take him now, which I did, and she was told to voluntarily check herself into the hospital or someone would do it for her. This was May 2013. December 2013 she suffered 3 heart attacks. Throughout this past 15 months that my son has been with me whenever things are hard here he calls her and ‘vents’. I am being controlling, treating him like a child, yelling at him for no reason, kicking him out onto the streets, forcing pills down his throat and just overall treating him so bad that during our trip out there last month he spoke to her apparently in detail about killing me and she thinks that that is ok and that everything he is telling her is the truth when it’s not. She is seriously hating me right now. Part of the difficulty in this situation is that my son is aware that he is lying to her yet feels justified in doing so as he wants her on his side. When I asked him yesterday if he gets anything out of making his Nana hate me he said yes.

On a side note my daughter is now being caught in the cross fire and as of last night her Nana has turned her back on her due to an argument they had by giving my daughter back gifts and taking down photo’s of her. Nana is willing to turn her back on her other grandchildren in favor of my son. She has stated that it’s her choice to let her grandson kill her (stress of taking care of him etc) and called my daughter a lying back-stabber accusing her of telling me something that she did not tell me. I guess my son’s father said that my son could move back in 6 months if he saved up ALL of his money, knowing full well that this will not happen which is why he said it. I need to get the details on this.

So here we are in a complete mess and I don’t know what I should be doing. Last night I actually took away my son’s phone and internet privileges as I’m beyond tired of him using my resources to lie and manipulate. It’s being said that he pays for these services so I can’t take them away. No he doesn’t. He gives me $500 of his disability payment when as far as I know I should be getting over $700 of it since I provide him with all necessities. Phone, cable and internet are not considered to be necessities or covered under the basic needs that he is receiving money for. He costs my husband and I a lot more then $500 a month.

Anyways I’m getting off topic. I have his doctor reports from when he was living with his Nana where it states that she was unwilling at times to send him for addiction treatment or even take the steps necessary to limit his drug use. As of last month he is still abusing her prescription perks which he himself admitted to his current treatment team. I don’t know if I have a leg to stand on or not however I feel that his relationship with his Nana is at this point only toxic to him and even to her. Taking care of him will I’m sure kill her as her physical and mental health is tenuous at best. To my knowledge she is still on occasion suicidal.

I’m trying to look at all this rationally… I’m staying calm and not letting my emotions interfere with how I’m acting/reacting. I’m guessing at this point that I may have to try and find a lawyer on Monday. I’m at war with myself. While I know that my son is old enough to decide his future can I let him move forward with something that will probably end the lives of two people and based on what the situation was 15 months ago, no I’m not overreacting.

How hard is it to get custody/guardianship of an adult under mental health laws?


#2

I have to say, I have no idea how to get guardianship in Canada. I am so sorry this Nana is is suffering too and can’t see that she doesn’t have the strength to take care of her grandson.

To just disown her granddaughter too… I feel so sorry for your daughter. What a mess for everyone. Your daughter worked so hard to get herself back together and fought off depression and made it through school… I hope she has the strength to over come this.

I’m glad your going for guardianship. He was doing so well for a while, he was going to the Y for school, he was showing interest in a girl, he was getting a routine… It sounded like he was doing really well.

Here are some idea just now brought to my attention…

http://www.oha.com/CurrentIssues/keyinitiatives/MentalHealth/Documents/Final%20-%20Mental%20Health%20and%20the%20Law%20Toolkit.pdf

I know your highly computer savvy and can find so many more resources. But I really wanted to help somehow.

I hope the PACT team can help you with some answers too. I really am rooting for you with all I’ve got.

-James.


#3

Wow, what a predicament. I’m really sorry you are having to deal with all that. I am completely baffled by your mother’s viewpoints. That you son considers killing you and she thinks that’s ok??!! I’m not trying to be harsh against your mother but she sounds like a complete enabler and is doing everything counterproductive instead of assisting you in your efforts to help your son. That your son is considering killing you is grounds for having him committed. It frightens me for your safety that he thinks that and is voicing it.

I think you should go full throttle on gaining guardianship. Some strong action is needed here. I have been advised that a lawyer will be needed to begin the process here in GA. The lawyer will obtain supporting medical documents and apply through the court system. The process sounds pretty straightforward, but not sure how it works in Canada.

I think you did the right thing by taking his means of communicating with your mother away. I’m sure it’s making the tensions rise in your home, but you’re caught between a rock and a hard place. But on the flip side of this, if you do have him committed, it might be wise to let him have that privilege back to ease tensions. idk it’s just a hard call. Way too often we have to pick the lesser of two evils.

And on the money issue, you’re right. $500 is only a fraction of what it takes to support our sons. They don’t realize that though. Taking everything into consideration, I think my husband and I spend anywhere from $1500 to $2k a month on our son.

Hang in there, I’ll be praying for you and your family. Pls keep us posted.


#4

I’ve never had the guts to ask what my parents used to spend on me, or how much my hospital bills were, or even how much they still spend helping me out here and there. I’ve been very unaware of the financial side.


#5

Oh yeah, I didn’t even factor in the hospital bills. We just received $1800 bill for his hospital stay in May. $300 for the ambulance ride. Around $500 for blood work and testing.


#6

I was looking at the second link this morning. Seems to apply to inpatient situations. Thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to look for me :smile: I think I’m going to contact the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario and see if they have any information or a good lawyer to recommend.


#7

I have been trying to not overreact, if that is possible, to him talking about killing me. He was on perks at the time. I have talked to his nurse and pdoc and they don’t seem overly concerned as he doesn’t have a history of violence which isn’t really the case. He does have violent tendencies when not stable. Nana is his father’s mother :smile: and she currently resides with her son. No I don’t understand her right now at all as she seems more upset that everyone was gossiping about it by telling me. I don’t think she is mentally stable right now. She has had her own issues for most of her life.

As for money… His share of basic’s alone is around $800 a month and that doesn’t count all the extra things we are constantly buying him like McDonald’s, Tim Horton’s & treats etc or the big things like $3000 laptop, cloths, Nintendo 3DS, PSP4, bike. Almost every outing with him costs us money. Around $1000 a month total. When I try to pull back on this I get accused of being unreasonable and child abuse. Thank goodness I don’t have to pay for his medications anymore as for the first 3 months they were costing us around $900 a month out of pocket.


#8

Barbie,
I have guardianship of my son. I’m not being a drama queen, but not only did it save my son from addiction it saved his life, it has saved us from alot of the chaos. The guardianship is the only reason my son is making progress. It is still slow, but he was heading for alot of disasters, addiction, arrest and death. Most loved ones will agree to it, but they will fight down to the last minute. My son agreed to it. Like your son, he will run to the place of least resistance, always to someone that will “say you don’t need medicine”, or jump in the car and travel across many states. I always get the brunt of his illness. This is what worked for me.

  1. I made an appointment with his doctor after making it clear that my son was losing the battle
  2. In that appointment I asked his opinion about guardianship and if my son was a candidate for the guardianship. He said yes, His illness was a life or death situation and my son was not interested in his treatment, he was just showing up with me. I asked him for a letter recommending guardianship offering to pay him for that service.
  3. I took the letter to my lawyer and we filed the guardianship.

My son had ran to his dad’s and had been staying there. His dad thought if he was working that would fix his mental illness.
There are different levels of severity in mental illness and that is the key factor that made me take my course of action. My son didn’t have insight during this time. I couldn’t get him to help himself and he was deteriorating rapidly. Long story short I had to save him from himself.
let me know if I can help. The attorney did say we had to prove him incompetent to make his medical decisions, and yes it could be done with his history. Its really hard but I’m here for you as this is not an easy decision or process.
Something I left out, I started with temporary guardianship, it was an emergency. Legally, I had done a couple (3) of commits previously, so the court and the local police were tired of me and saying “do something”. This was in my favor, the court had some history. We got lucky and got the same judge that had some history with my son. On the temporary they sent him papers for a quick court date. He showed up without representation, my attorney talked with him and gave him legal advice. My son didn’t like it. When I got the temporary, I told him to go take his shot. He finally did and in 3 days, he called “Can I come home now?”.


#9

Oh ok, whew! Sorry about that. Still not a good situation, but I’m glad it’s not your mother :smile:


#10

I don’t know Barbie. If he threatens you while he’s on percs, maybe he’ll kill you while he’s on percs. It’s not a far reach.


#11

I do agree and I am being mindful of what is going on. At the first sign of needing to I have no issue with calling 911.


#12

This is something that will help regarding competency to make medical decisions:

  1. He self medicates against dr’s advice, so he’s not following the treatment plan.
  2. Does/has he had issues with medication compliance

Your Attorney can pull any records, hospital or doctor that will/can prove his ability to comply with treatment, including drug abuse.

I have 0 regrets about my decision.


#13

This was another reason for guardianship. I was calling the police to no avail. Here they would gladly take him to jail, but not to the E.R. He would say yes, I was going to kill myself but I’m OK now. They taught him what they wouldn’t do. I learned at a commit hearing that the police cheif wouldn’t allow them to do the holding charge. So calling the police here just helped while they were in my home. There was a few times that he overdosed and they took him to E.R. So that lack of support was something that helped with my decision.


#14

I am so sorry all this progress started to unravel. I’ve been reading your blog, I think you are writing of all this with amazing courage, humor and understanding.

I’m glad your going to try and gain guardianship. It doesn’t sound like his Nana is in any condition to take him on. I do hope things get easier for all of you.

I do agree with @rsummwwjd when they mentioned running to the place of least resistance. But I have a feeling you already knew that.

I always feel that I learn from your post. Thank you.


#15

It looks like me needing guardianship may not be necessary at least not for the above reasons. I seem to have been pulled into yet another lie/delusion. His dad finally got back to me yesterday as he had been away for the night and point blank said no he isn’t moving back. Nana had been locked in her room since her argument with my daughter until the next afternoon. The totally sad part in all this is that I think his dad had to have his mother admitted for psychiatric treatment last night. He called me wanting to know if I had any numbers from when my son was out there. I looked some up for him as I only dealt with the psych ward and my son’s treatment team never crisis outreach in that area. I haven’t told my son yet. Even up until last night when I was trying to tell him that all this is only hurting everyone especially him and Nana he was still defiant that he is going to continue to ‘vent’ to Nana. This venting on top of her own failing physical and mental health is more then she can handle.


#16

It probably varies from state to state how you get guardianship. You need to seriously consider the legal obligation this gives you. You might consider putting him in a group home. That might be an option.


#17

I am going to disagree with everyone else here. He has no insight whatsoever. He has threatened, even planned with someone else, to kill you. If you go for guardianship, that might be exactly what it leads to.

I think you have to do what I did to my son. Make him leave. Arrange for him to go to his father or his Nan. Tell him he is going because of his threats to you. Tell him he is clearly unhappy living with you. Tell him you have tried everything to help him. You can do no more but he is still getting worse not better. You agree, if necessary, that’s it’s all your fault (that will force him to step back from that delusion and argue with it himself). So now it’s time for him to go to someone else and you hope they can help him.

Basically, he is not seeing you as a support or helper, he is using you as a scapegoat. That is actually a symptom (externalization), but if you “take over”, it will aggravate/justify it. He will never take responsibility for his own treatment and recovery as long as he can keep blaming you. He will never gain insight.

I did this. I made him leave, sent him to his father’s family - he got treated much, much worse, and eventually had to recognize that the problem was inside him, not me. He’s now on his meds, living independently and getting better. And we have a much better relationship, close to what it was before this all kicked off.


#18

I totally get your point. I am trying to find a balance between the two extremes. We have an appointment with a program called Ready4Life today and they help transition into independent living so I will be trying to get him into a different living environment as he is in need of some reality checking.


#19

So sorry Barbie. Unbelieveable likeness to my son.
I have to agree with Hatty-actually it was the only way for me at the time-because C. was already too old. My reasons were for the same reason. He needed to get a handle on his illness ( really, drugs ). You can`t control where he goes, or who he talks to, but you can control what goes on in your house. I really believe if it were just his illness, Things would have been a lot easier.
I did not seek guardianship because I felt that control over his own life was about all he would have left. I also wanted him to see that HE was the one who was making the choices. He blamed everyone else. Like I said-being aware of his illness was one thing, but substance abuse is another dangerous issue. If he had been underage, I would probably have done the guardianship route.
This was hard, but I did kick him out of my house finally.
This is your decison-just telling my experinence.
3 years ago-my son hit me in the face----hard enough to draw blood. if he had not been on drugs ( withdrawal I think ) this never would have happened.
Do what gut tells you…saying prayers.


#20

Yes, I mean what I say may sound harsh at first, but what I realized was that if my son did hurt me or someone else while he was not in his right mind (and that is what happens, you can kind of see the “slide” happen in someone’s face), I knew that he would never forgive himself later, when he came back to himself. You do read these stories about people with sz who kill someone (whether a loved one or a stranger). Then, of course, finally they get hospitalized, they get help, etc. But I ask myself how hard it must be to recover, when recovery means facing fully what you did? Honestly, I thought that if he kills me, OK, I’m dead, everything’s over for me. But he’s in prison. He’ll never cope with prison. Plus, I know him. He has a very acute conscience. He’ll probably never forgive himself, he could kill himself too. Etc, etc. All a mother’s fears.