Saturday, January 29, 2011

Such a helpless feeling

I'm feeling more helpless than usual the last couple of days. My son is really struggling. Not with addiction--although that's always part of the struggle--but with his depression and anxiety. He's in a negative rut, for sure, and I can feel the agony he's going through. It really hurts.

I've been thinking a lot lately about taking my son to the University of Michigan Depression Center for an evaluation. I've heard some really good things about the place, and they also host University of Michigan Addiction Treatment Services. I've been told that the two can work together to treat dual diagnosis (depression and addition) patients. My wife called U of M the other day but, of course, any appointment for an evaluation has to be made by our son because of his age. We met with his therapist last night and I asked him what he thought about the whole U of M idea. He thought it was an excellent idea. Now all we have to do is convince the patient.

Watching my child struggle never gets any easier. Sure, I can detach for short periods of time and try and forget about it. But when I constantly hear him say, "I hate my life" or wonder out loud why he should even bother to get up every day, it's like someone's sticking a knife in my gut and twisting it ever so slowly. I'm his father. I feel like I'm supposed to be able to make things better for my son. But in this instance I can't. And it's such a helpless feeling.

"It hurts so bad that I cannot save him, protect him, keep him out of harm's way, shield him from pain. What good are fathers if not for these things?"
--From "The Way We Are" in Bodies in Motion and at Rest: On Metaphor and Mortality by Thomas Lynch

More than anything in the world, I want my son to experience happiness. I want him to wake up in the morning and feel good about himself; to have friends; to have a job; to feel like he has a purpose in life. Right now he has none of that. But I pray every day that someday he will.


  1. I believe in you and your son. Things will get better.

  2. Sitting here crying as I read this. I feel this exact same way about my son right now. His depression and anxiety are off the charts and he may be using again. It hurts so much to watch, feeling helpless. I love the quote...can relate to that as well even though I am a mother (but also his father since he doesn't have one). As a mom, I want to wrap my arms around him and hold him and make all the pain go away. Instead, I've become immobilized myself and just sit and wait to see how things unfold.

    Sorry to make my comment on YOUR post all about me. I think its an excellent idea to take him to U of M and will pray that he agrees to it.