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Food Lady
01-26-2012, 05:57 PM
I just feel the need to put it out here--last night I found out a friend's son had a break while at school. He's so young, a senior in HS. He's in hospital and they are trying to diagnose and treat symptoms. He had been hiding any symptoms from friends/family, and I am so sad he felt he couldn't be real with us. He's one of the most intelligent people I've ever met. I'm just devastated; I know he'll never be the same again. I'm surprised I didn't get into an accident on the way home from church last night, as I was crying while trying to drive. I've lost 2 friends in 6 months (Plaidman and my friend Chris), and now I feel like we've lost this one. Too much in 1 year.

Seshat
01-26-2012, 06:19 PM
My brother broke in high school (and I probably came close - I know my depression got to suicidal ideation at that point).

He's fine now: wife, two kids, dog in the back yard, active member of his church, the whole thing.

Sometimes a mental illness passes. Especially in teenagers, it can be a temporary state while the brain is going through its version of puberty (which can extend to about 21, 22).

Even if it is a permanent issue, well, my friend A has a permanent mental illness: and if she's on the meds that keep it controlled, she's fine. Functional, alert, and her self (rather than her delusions and extremes of emotion) is in control of her life.

You haven't lost him. He's just sick at the moment, and needs help, support and medical care to recover.

Yes, it is possible that he'll never fully recover. And, unfortunately, it is possible that you'll lose him. But the most likely two outcomes are the ones like my brother, and like my friend A.

Grieve. It is appropriate to grieve for a loss of health, in yourself or in someone you care about. So do grieve. And yes, grieve at us - we're strong and can handle it. (We can split the 'being a shoulder to cry on' job among many people. ;) )

But when you're with the boy and his family, grieve with them only when they need to share their grief. Otherwise, try to support them, be strength and help for them. Help them the same way you would if their son had a physical illness.

I say this sort of thing often, but bringing people meals to stick in their freezer, or taking their laundry and doing it yourself (with permission, of course!), or otherwise just doing practical chores, can be more help than it seems!

Food Lady
01-26-2012, 10:00 PM
Thank you. That's more than helpful.

Seshat
01-27-2012, 12:44 AM
You're welcome.

If it does turn long-term, there's a book that may be of help - to him, to his family, and to you.

It's called 'Be Sick Well' (http://www.amazon.com/Be-Sick-Well-Healthy-Approach/dp/1879237083), it's available on Amazon, and it has good advice for dealing with chronic illness or long-term disability of any sort.