(Sorry, this may be posted twice. I don’t know how to format this, nor how to delete my previous post. Confusing.)
Our 23-year-old son has reached the point where we feel the need to reach out for help, for him and for ourselves. It’s a long story, and I’m struggling to write this, but I’ll try to summarize: He was born with a significant birth defect, spent his first 7 months in the hospital, 2 ½ years eating through a tube, and later had to deal with eating problems, delayed growth, small stature, scoliosis, and more. We’re sure this all affected him greatly. But despite it all, through his childhood he was an amazing kid in many ways. He was mostly energetic, aware, outgoing, curious, creative, and caring. He was popular at school, interacted with people, and had many enjoyments, interests, and plans. He became an excellent rock climber. Still, it often seemed he was struggling with things he didn’t share with us much. At 16 is when things really changed. We think (he won’t say) his only girlfriend ended whatever they had together, and from that point on he lost most of his spark for life. He quit high school and climbing, gradually lost all his interests and friends, became angrier, depressed, and increasingly paranoid, and has been going that direction ever since. We don’t think he’s ever been into hard drugs, but we do think his frequent use of cannabis may generally be amplifying whatever problems he’s having. After living his whole life with us in a small house we built, he lived in an old bus right next to us for the past few years, and then, with our help, moved into a nearby apartment a few months ago. His isolation, fear, and depression have worsened for years, until now he won’t speak more than a few words to anyone and avoids people as much as possible. Over the years he’s also developed the idea that we, his parents, are mostly responsible for his problems (we know we bear some responsibility because our relationship had problems), so he mistrusts us and minimizes interaction. If we press him on anything, or even just talk with him, he either becomes rageful or almost literally runs away. Lately he won’t say more than a few words, and if we visit his apartment he won’t open the door. We don’t try to force anything, and we try to be as patient, understanding, and caring as possible. He still comes by our place most days, usually briefly, but seems to want nothing to do with us. Since his parents are now all he has and this place is all he’s ever known, he may be finding whatever comfort he can by coming here. We are heart-broken. For years we’ve done everything we can think of to help him. He’s always refused to consider counseling (or medication), so he’s never been diagnosed with any mental and/or emotional disorder. Our educated guess is that he may have schizophrenia, but we may never know. We both suffer anxiety, depression, and overwhelming sadness because he seems to be suffering so much, and may eventually feel the need to end his life. We’re also worried that we ourselves couldn’t endure that. I know this is long. Does anyone have suggestions? We’ve thought of trying to have him taken in for psychological evaluation, but that involves the police entering his apartment. We’re worried that in his mental/emotional state he may pick up one of the knives he has and commit suicide-by-cop. Are there alternatives? Is there help?