… and he won’t go to counseling. How can I help him, asks a letter writer.

I wish I could give you a magic answer, confesses our elder.

Dear EWC:

Our son had his girlfriend of 13 years abruptly end their relationship 14 months ago. Whatever the reasons, this has had a devastating effect on him: He lost his job and he wrecked his car (totaled). I should note that he had a girlfriend leave him in 2003 (or so) and the same depression expressed itself but we were able to convince him to get professional help at that time and it seemed to help although he found the current girlfriend on the rebound. He went on welfare for income and that has run out. He is depleting his ROTH account (funded by us). He refuses to go to counseling (but we have) for diagnosis and assistance to remedy his attitude and condition. He will turn 40 this March and I see only a slight improvement in attitude. We are still giving him supplemental money but we are retired and on a fixed income. We have begged him to at least try a visit to a professional but he will not budge. He has expressed suicidal feelings on many occasions and has expressed a desire to not go on with life. In the midst of all that, we are planning a move out of state and we fear that this will upset him even more although he has stated that our leaving does not affect his attitudes in the slightest. All of the help sources I have contacted have told me that there is nothing they can do until he threatens or attempts to end his life. That doesn’t solve anything for us. He has stated that when the money runs out he will just live on the street and I don’t know if that is a threat or is a real option. He has pretty much ‘turned off’ all of his friends and we are maybe his only source of social contact. He eschews social media and technology in general. I feel we have done all we can for him and the only thing left will be to pour more money into a situation that is not going to resolve itself in a positive manner. What say the elders?

Michelle replies

I wish there were an answer to this that allowed you to direct him to get the therapy he needs to overcome his depression. It is understandable that losing a partner would trigger a depression and that your son may feel even more hopeless because he has lost someone before. If there were some way to get him to look at the fact that he found someone to partner with rather than to look at the losses, I would tell you, but there is no magic that jolts a person out of depression. If you know of any friends of his you can turn to, do that.  Also you can call 800-273-8255 (TALK), a hotline that can help with resources. You might even be able to get your son to call them.  

Your son is lucky to have you. If there is any more family, turn to them and ask them for help with your son. He may not like your doing this, but it seems that these are desperate times. I am sorry that you are facing this. Please keep reaching out.  

Letter #: 416921
Category: Children

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