Mental Health

From obsessive behaviors, to bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress, mental health conditions can be debilitating. Are you suffering? Share your story and advice for others.

If you believe you need immediate assistance, please call your local emergency number or the mental health crisis hotline listed in your local phone book's government pages.

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Replied By: wendyrev on Jun 23, 2016, 6:00AM - In reply to insomniacmom4
I have it to they prescribed prozasin.  Wasnt helping me
Replied By: elacobsmom on Jun 17, 2016, 1:09PM
I am writing with regard to our 14-year old son, Elijah.  I am writing from Wisconsin.  Our location becomes most important later on in our story.  He has suffered with generalized anxiety that according to him stems from when he was approx. 6 years old and he vomited (stomach flu) and it stuck with him from 1st grade on (he is now going into 9th grade).  For many years during this time we didn’t have mental health insurance as my employer was able to choose not to cover mental illness, and he did so.  We did the best we could over the years to get him some type of therapy, counseling or medication.  He completed elementary school with good years and bad years under his belt.  Some years he was more anxious than others, but he successfully completed every grade. 

He saw a few therapists over the years, we attempted to teach him various relaxation techniques, breathing exercises.  We had little success as once any of the counselors would push him towards his fears, he would shut down.  He was placed on Prozac which gave him hives and made him jittery.  At this point he was afraid to take any additional medications and it was impossible for us to ‘force’ him to take anything so he did not.  I would like to add that his body tends to react differently – Benadryl makes him jittery.  Other medications that he has been on in the past have not reacted according to what doctors had told us would happen.

He entered middle school in the 6th grade.  He was an instant success there.  He had excellent grades, made friends, landed a role in the high school production of Seussical as JoJo.  That is where some troubles began to brew again.  Because he was in theatre, some of his ‘friend’ assumed he was gay.  There were whispers and rumors and it almost cost him his role in the play.  Thanks to a caring director, some great high school kids and a great guidance counselor, he finished the play and did amazing.  He struggled the rest of 6th grade with his anxiety.  On to 7th grade, and it was a great year.  At this point, we had mental health coverage and he was placed on Zoloft.  That worked well and he was thriving.  On to the summer before 8th grade we go.  He had a great summer, hung out with friends, slept over at friend’s houses (something he was never willing to do in the past) and he was ready to rock the 8th grade.  In his words, “this is going to be the best year ever!”  He was going to secure great friendships, perform in the middle school play, sing in the talent show, perform in choir and in jazz choir.  Fast forward to the second day of school, 1st hour of the day…panic strikes.  He suffered a major panic attack (something he had not experienced ever before).  That is September 2nd.  As of September 3rd, we have a totally different child than we had before.  He gradually stopped attending school.  He watched all of his dreams for the 8th grade disappear one at a time.  He was paralyzed with fear, fear of panic attacks that kept coming, fear of vomiting and fear of failure after failure that just kept happening. 

We sought out a counselor to work with us and a change in psychiatrist.  We switched to a pediatric psychiatrist who prescribed him Lexapro.  We worked on CBT therapy, with little success.  Exposure therapy is equally unsuccessful.  At this point he is 13 years old (almost 14; again important because of our location).  He was not sleeping or when he would finally fall asleep, he would need 12-13 hours and no matter what we tried to do to wake him up, we were unable to.  He just required the sleep.  In addition to his Lexapro, over the course of a few months, the following medications were tried to help with the sleep and the increased anxiety/panic:  Alprazolam, Trazadone and Vistaril (hydroxyzine pamoate).  In December of 2015, the therapist we were working with determined that she was not able to help him and suggested we take him to Rogers Memorial Hospital in Oconomowoc for an inpatient stay, for more intensive therapy.  This was two weeks before Christmas.  We spoke with our psychiatrist and he didn’t feel that for various reasons including light staff and the holiday that it was going to hurt him to keep him out until after the holiday.  We waited and continued to work with his medications. 

As we enter 2016, we took him to an acupuncturist.  That is where we saw the greatest success, but at $70/visit and no insurance or flexible spending accounts, we were unable to maintain the three visits per week it was taking to harness in some of the anxiety.  It still wasn’t enough to get him back into school, but it was enough to relax him some.  Our hope was that it would do what the medication hadn’t been able to so far – relax his mind enough to be a valuable participant in his own therapy.  We started seeing another therapist and were placed on the waitlist for Rogers Memorial as there were now no beds available.  We also decided, with our psychiatrist to do a med wash.  We took him off of all meds in preparation for his admission to Rogers.  This would allow them to start clean with whatever medication they would prescribe.  He saw this therapist for about a month – and again, she determined that she was unable to help him.  He was unable to get past the anxiety to practice or engage.  He would have panic attacks in her office before they even began the sessions.  It was the opinion of our psychiatrist that he had become comfortable in his anxiety and stepping out of the box to get the help he needed was a behavior that he couldn’t handle.  It was believed that his condition was behavioral.  This brings us up to and through his 14th birthday…and this is where it all spirals totally out of control for our family.  In Wisconsin, when a CHILD turns 14, he or she is now allowed to make their own mental health decisions.  We were unable to force him into any hospitalizations.  Rogers Memorial Hospital is a voluntary facility so we were no longer able to place him there because he refused treatments.  We are not sure how this got to this point.  Neither my husband or I recall anyone telling us that once he was 14 our world would be turned upside down, but it’s always possible that at one of our visits it was explained to us and as overwhelmed as we were, we missed it.

We went over the options we had with our psychiatrist.  Those options were:

  • Trying a new medication.  That made us nervous as we had so many bad experiences with medications.  He had definitely not been responding as expected.
  • Pursuing a third party admission to a mental health facility.  We were advised that this was an option given his age of 14, but we would lose, or potentially lose, the control over the facility where he would/could be placed.  The thing that resounded between all of our medical team opinions was that we did not him placed in a state facility and that was most often where patients like him were placed.
  • Convince him to do a voluntary admission to a mental health facility.
  • Quit all treatments and medications and see how/if he bounces back or allow him to ride it out until he’s basically fed up and realizes he truly needs to seek help and cannot help himself by sitting on the couch watching the world go by.
We were able to convince him to agree to a voluntary admission into a mental health hospital that specializes in child and adolescents.  He spent 6 days there.  He refused to eat anything there and his weight went down to around 100 pounds.  He participated in group therapies, individual therapy, art therapy and other activities.  He was prescribed Clomipramine and Seroquel.  Much of the time we visited him, he was sleepy or agitated.  He left there on 75 mg of clomipramine and up to 200 mg of Seroquel daily.  The one thing we did notice when he returned home is that he was able to get to sleep at a reasonable time and wake up within a reasonable time.  However, he was very tired.  He would often take 2-3 hour naps and usually like clockwork around one hour after taking his daily dose of Seroquel.  The agreement that he had made upon his release from the hospital was that he would enter Rogers Memorial Hospital Eating Disorder (because he was refusing to eat due to fear of vomiting) outpatient program.  We got down to the facility on the first day – and upon signing him in, he refused to sign the paperwork and refused treatment, yet again.

Rogers Memorial Hospital suggested another therapist for us who specializes in OCD and we have been seeing her.  He struggles to see her again because she is pushing him to his outer limits and he is slowly beginning to shut down.  He has also asked to be taken off of the clomipramine/Seroquel cocktail.  This medication can have some side effects that he doesn’t want to experience and this cocktail left him feeling exhausted and…still anxious.  Taking medications should reduce his anxiety and so far has not.

Please believe me when I say, we feel very strongly that he wants to get better, but his anxiety has taken such a strong upper hand that he’s unable to fight it off anymore.  We feel like it has robbed him of his common sense and the ability to recognize that he needs help and in order to get through this anxiety crisis, he needs to go through it – not around it.  He has lost an entire year of school, he took online courses and was not very successful at them.  He is very much a people person.  He loves music, theater, acting, socializing, learning and so much more and up until September of 2016 – he was amazingly successful at all of these things – and now, he’s a scared little boy who has very few friends left, he can’t sing anymore and he quite the summer musical in which he has performed for the last 4 summers.  His self-esteem is destroyed and one day at a time we watch anxiety swallow him alive.

We have looked into several out of state options, but given insurance constraints and financial constraints, we have not been able to find him a viable treatment option.  We have done extensive research on the Amen Clinics and SPEC scanning.  It is the treatment that we would choose to go if finances would allow.  It only makes sense to scan the part of the body you are treating.  I have requested scans from our doctors and psychiatrists and have been told it will most likely prove to be unhelpful.  I don’t believe that.  I wouldn’t allow a doctor to cast my broken arm without an x-ray first.  Nonetheless, we are at the mercy of our medical team….and a very afraid 14-year old boy.

We are reaching out for help – for any suggestions that might help our family.  We are all paralyzed by this anxiety.  I have lost my job due to the inability to work my employers requested schedule.  I would get to work and get called home for a panic attack or a raging angry episode.  We cannot go on vacations or day trips, even a trip to the mall is too much for him.  He won’t go to his grandparent’s house or other family members – basically he will only leave our house if I am with him and only for short trips.  Please, if there is anything you can do or suggest to help our family, we would be forever grateful.  We just want our amazing son back.  We would like to see him do the things he liked to do – or explore new things and leave the past behind him.  We want to see him happy again in whatever it might be.

Thank you in advance for any help you could be.
Replied By: ellena68 on Jun 16, 2016, 5:21PM
I have been dianosed with major depression and anxiety disorder. I have had this for years. I have not been able to go to the doctor to get my prescriptions renewed, because I owe the doctors office money and until I get that paid they won't see me and without a job I can't afford it so I filed for Social Security Disability, because of my mental illness it makes it to where I can't work. I am also married to a man that is very controlling and makes fun of me because I have this illness. He thinks I'm crazy and I really don't have these things wrong with me. There has been times in the past that I started cutting my arms, because I thought it would help get rid of the pain, but it only made it worse for me. Instead of the pain going away it only caused my pain for me my arms hurt. I started going to therapy and it helped for a short period of time. I did stop the cutting, but that is it. Have I thought about cutting again off and on, but I realize how much it hurts so I don't do it anymore. Living with the kind of illness is very hard and people say you are fine or you are crazy and you start thinking that you are crazy and that it is all in your head, but really its not all in your head.
Replied By: sharon71 on Jun 9, 2016, 1:35PM
I was married to an extremely emotionally, physically and sexually abusive man for 7 years. My son and I lived with the abuse until we fled at midnight a few weeks before he turned 5. I was abused physically and sexually.....which I now know was rape, all in front of our son. Many times my little boy would try to help me and his father hurt him in the process. 

We battled in court for almost 7 years over custody. I initially had full custody but started denying visitation when my son started being abused and no one would help. I pleaded with the police, courts, the Guardian ad Litem and no help. I eventually was sentenced to a year in jail for denying visitation. Ended up doing 56 days. My son was then kept from me for 2 years as each court date was postponed by my ex's attorney. All the while my son is being abused and in the car often when his dad drove drunk and even had a DUI accident. In 2009, I took it upon myself to research and file (even after many attorneys told me it would never happen), I filed to have his parental rights terminated. I was granted the termination of his rights. We've not seen him since.

In 2007,I started a non-profit for domestic violence. I run it myself and have helped over 300 victims and their more than 550 kids. I speak at monthly domestic violence meetings at area police stations, speak monthly at the Solicitor's Office, have been a guest speaker for the counties police officer training, been on many radio shows and several news stations and spoke at churches. I won't give up. If I help just one woman, that's one I saved. 

When my son was 14, he started physically abusing me. In my line of work, I urge women to call 911, but this was difficult, was my son. The police were never called. When he turned 16, I saw a change, the violent outbursts were very unpredicted. Once the abuse was done, he went on about his life like nothing happened. He never apologized or talked about it. I could see a change in his demeanor right before and attack. One incident, he had me on the floor punching me in the head over and over. Every so often he'd say "I'm sorry mom", but continue. He started sexting over 25 girls he'd never met. The texts were very graphic and disgusting. He'd tell every girl she was the only one who made him laugh, then he'd say he loved her and wanted to get married. Over 25 girls in the past 2 years. He only actually knew 2 of them. When he started creeping them out, he would then get real mean calling them horrible names then threaten to kill himself and leave a suicide note behind "so the whole world knew she made him do it." 
Many times I took his phone away and would find videos of him driving his car very recklessly while holding hands with a passenger in another car and videoing this. He's had several driving tickets with reckless driving and several accidents. He's on his 3rd car. Of course, every accident and ticket was not his fault. He takes no responsibility. 
He then started harassing girls at school. If they ignored him he got very vulgar with them and if they were not from the US he'd tell them to go back to their own country that no one wants them here. At 17 I found out he was drinking yet he still denied it when I had the physical evidence. His anger causes him to beat me, call me horrible names, punch holes in the walls, break anything that doesn't belong to him, lay in the middle of our street screaming for hours (at the age of 16-17). He's thrown things at my car to damage it when I make him leave the house (which I was not able to do so legally if he was under 18 but needed the violence to stop). He's threatened to kill himself many times.

I took him to MANY therapists, psychologists, had him take a 26 week perpetrator's class, had help from the Solicitor to put him through a DJJ class. NOTHING helped. All counselors said it was "normal teenage behavior". I knew that wasn't true. I 100% believed he has a mental illness. I suspected PTSD and some more at this time. He did tell one that he kept having "flashbacks" and that's when he got violent, But wouldn't tell us or couldn't tell us anything else about them.

His senior year this year, he was failing horribly. Wasn't going to graduate. One class he didn't do a single assignment all last quarter and didn't care. He was loosing all his friends and started hanging out with a few students who were criminals and didn't care who they hurt. I work at the school and have for 4 years so saw all this. Kids always coming up to me to say my son is being rude to them. Teachers approaching me about his disrespect from him. He didn't care and denied everything, even when I saw his texts. 

One day at school, after I cut his phone off from internet usage, he came up to me in front of about 400+ kids and called me a fucking bitch. After the shock, anger etc wore off, I texted him saying he didn't have the right to disrespect me. His response was, "I am an American and I have rights. I have the right to do and say whatever I want no matter the consequences."

Just recently, he ran a guy off the road which made this guy chase him down. When the got reached my son, he punched him in the head and broke his side mirror. My son called the police. Once investigated it was closed. My son said he didn't do anything yet the guy chased him. Turns out when the guy confronted him about it and said "You put my child's life in danger". My son replied, "You put your own child's life in danger by chasing me? 

Another incident, my son broke down and called his step dad to come help. My son was disrespectful to him so his step dad said he was leaving. My son dialed 911 and said he needed the police because his dad was harassing him. 

On Mother's Day this year, he was arrested for abusing me. He got a PR bond and wasn't allowed to come back to live with me. The judge ordered that he could call/text/email me since he was still in high school. He was rude to the bond judge. At this point, he didn't care about hygiene. He went 2+ weeks not showering or brushing. The school tried to help when I took clothes and hygiene items and they pulled him out of class to shower. He refused. 

After being released from jail, he blew up my phone. Texts would be calling me a bitch, slut, whore, horrible mother. Saying I never loved him and never did anything for him or bought him anything including clothes. The next text would say to bring him some clothes. Immediately followed by the name calling and threatening to put me in jail if I called him, came near him or looked at him. These were constant and back and forth thinking. Some texts said to "get a lawyer because I would be arrested for murder because he was going to die from hypothermia. Our lows at night were 65. He'd text everyone saying I made him homeless, I was stealing is money, he hadn't eaten in weeks because of me and on and on. He was in fact blowing his money using his debit card and eating out 2-4 times a day every day. He still refused to shower though and looked and smelled horrible at school. Kids began talking and saying things like he was crazy. NO students knew what was going on, only administration and the Resource Officer.

Due to his texts to my phone, I was able to get Mental Health and Probate Court to order an immediate pick up and evaluation at the ER. 5 hours later they released him. Since he was 18 now they refused to talk to me or tell me anything. I did however find out that he was treated with several schizophrenic drugs and a shot. Once out, the threats and unstable behavior continued. He didn't do school work, drove erratically and got more tickets and more. 

About a week later, he was arrested again for threats he texted incessantly to my phone. This bond judge spend almost 40 minutes on his case telling him he needed serious mental health help. My son was very rude to her and she really wanted to help him. Again he was released on a PR Bond. But this time ordered to have NO contact with me at all. So he began texting everyone who knew me with the same erratic texts that I'm stealing his money, he's homeless and starving and unclean.

May 27th, I had just left the school that morning. Seniors were done but were all to show up that morning for a mandatory grad practice. My son didn't show. I wasn't gone 10 minutes when the Resource Officer called me. My son sent many texts to students at practice that he was killing himself with a gun. You can't imagine my state of mind at that time. No one knew where he was or if he was serious. Immediately they started "pinging" his phone, I was sent to the police station to have them do a BOLO then sent to Mental Health to get a judge to sign another pick order for evaluation when we found him. The pings started coming in and they were all around my 10 year old son's school so I immediately got him out of school. I was bawling my eyes out, trying to drive, trying to find him,trying to get all the papers in order to have him picked up. Almost 2 hours later he was found and taken to the ER. This time the Social Worker talked to me. She wanted to know how long he'd been having his hallucinations. That was a shock, I never knew he was. As we talked, we determined his "flashbacks" were actually hallucinations. He was admitted into the mental hospital that night. 4 days later, the mental hospital released him. 

He is getting even more erratic. His driving, his constant texting to people that I'm stealing his money, that I somehow hacked into his cell phone and texted people about him pretending to be him and all kinds of things. He says he has no problem that I'm the "mental patient". He is now telling everyone that his father never abused him (although I have pictures and reports, etc) and he is now saying I am the one who abused him all his life. I never have. 

He witnessed my abuse by his dad. I have permanent damage to my back and spine, just got braces off my teeth after 3 years and had my 1st surgery to fix the broken jaw bones and sinuses on one side. Five more months and they'll do the other side of my face and put 4 tooth implants in where he knocked them out. I already have 3 implants from teeth he knocked out. I have a scar on my face by my eye. Both my son and I have all the mental and emotional scars that will never heal.

My son is stalking a 15 year old girl in Vermont (we are in South Carolina). She told him not to contact him on her parents orders so he then contacted over 20 of her friends on Facebook trying to get info on her. He thinks he's doing nothing wrong. 

PLEASE Dr. Phil. Can you help me help my son before it's too late? There are many family members in my son's biological father's family that have been on meds for years for mental illness so it's not uncommon for him. I cannot give up. I started attending NAMI support groups but that won't help him. He is going to seriously hurt himself, someone else or do something he'll pay for in prison for the rest of his life. It's been just the two of us his whole life. He is still my baby and I can't stand to watch him deteriorate like this. 

I am running out of ideas for help and know you help a lot of people with problems. I've been watching you since you started out on Oprah.
Replied By: insomniacmom4 on Jun 9, 2016, 7:11AM - In reply to grannychick
Drs On Demand. I think it costs money.
Replied By: insomniacmom4 on Jun 9, 2016, 7:04AM
Are there meds for PTSD? I was abused mentally/physically and emotionally as a child. Raped at 8, sodomized at 15. My first husband beat me and my second husband who I can't afford, monetarily, to leave yet lies, decieves and does things he promised he would never do behind my back...being with him is slowly killing me, but I have no job, no skills and no money to leave and am taking care of my grandson every day. Two counselors said I have PTSD. I tried anti depressants, but I gained 30 lbs and felt so bloated and uncomfortable I went off of them. I wouldn't hurt myself, but most days I do wish that when I went to bed at night I just wouldn't wake up in the morning. I also wonder what will happen to me next because it's always something and I can't take much more. I feel so weak and barely get anything done anymore. My coping skills are shot.

Replied By: wkh2054 on Jun 8, 2016, 6:00PM - In reply to tikkydo
His psychiatrist should have welcomed your input.  Get a new one.  Talk to your family doctor about his symptoms.  UR right something is wrong with him which must be addressed.
Replied By: wkh2054 on Jun 8, 2016, 5:53PM - In reply to reblom99
I was taking a prescibed drug and it caused nightmarres.  I mean the kind like you describe.  Make sure you tell your Dr. or I would even call them.
Replied By: wkh2054 on Jun 8, 2016, 5:51PM - In reply to nowhereman67
If you are trying to tell people to go off their meds you could not be more mistaken.  I have met people like you who try to not use meds and they are a mess and drive everyone around them crazy.
Replied By: wkh2054 on Jun 8, 2016, 5:46PM
The concept of dual diagnosis includes a mental illness with a drug or alcohol addiction.  I contend that smoking should be included in that.  I know many people suffering with depression who smoke.  I found a scholarly article online that said people with bipolar disorder smoke at a rate of 70%, schizophrenics 90% while the general population it's only 18%.   Nobody ever tells us this if they even know.  This makes quitting smoking an even bigger struggle than it already is.  Go to my personal blog for my method which I have seen nowhere else and doesn't include BS like eat carrots.  It is said that smoking is more difficult to quit than heroin.  Would you tell an heroin addict to just go eat a carrot?  Dr. Phil where do you stand on this?
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