SoCal is extremely upset to hear her Loved One, who lives in another state, in the throes of paranoia. Lashing out at the family, he is unstable, speaking of scenarios that may not even be real. He is isolated and needs support.
I'm trying hard not to panic but my 45 year old son who lives in another state is getting extremely paranoid. I've been using CRAFT methods to communicate with him the last month or two and at first it was helping to stay in communication with him.
But the past week he has cut off communication. This is the email he sent me:
"..tell you that I'm being targeted, drugged and RAPED… that the same people doing this to me have been stalking me and f*cking with my head for two years… F**k You…you are not my family! Do not attempt to contact me again"
When I read this I feel so hopeless. I have spoken to the local police and they believe he is delusional and have talked to him. I don't think letting him go on like this isolated and alone is helpful but yet I don't know what to do.
Has anyone else had any experience like this? I believe he smokes pot daily and uses meth also.
Even if your son was nearby, you would have trouble understanding whether his paranoia is organic (a result of mental illness) or the result of his drug use.
It was the right thing to do to call the police. The police can do a wellness check. When you see an email like this, it may be time for another wellness check. You are far away from your son. Use the first response system. Don’t be shy. Use it as much as you need.
I also suggest looking into a civil commitment in the state in which your son is living. In Massachusetts, the state I know best, judges are civilly committing people who are in danger to themselves or to others, whether or not it is the result of drug use.
A commitment would give your son a pause in his use, and give him a chance to get a professional assessment. It would begin the helpful process of parsing out the mental health issues from the drug use.
For now, let’s assume the problem is organic: a mental health issue. See if you can find a mental health crisis hotline. Find out all you can about civil commitments from them and other emergency services available in his area.
Provide your son with a list of who he can call when he’s scared.
You’ve done the right thing by building that bridge and working on communications with him despite the distance between you. It must feel terrible to get this kind of message from him. But remember that things change on a dime when addiction is at play. Each new moment can present new opportunities, so stay open.
You are aware of the limitations of your influence from so far away, but even living in the same town you’d still have to reconcile what you are able to do and what is beyond your control. Finding resources for him to help with complex mental health and addiction issues is a key step in being there for him while acknowledging what is beyond your scope.
Reaching out for whatever support you need, including this site, is also necessary. Recognizing and staying present with your feelings as you are doing, finding concrete options for getting your son help, and sorting out what you can and can’t do will help to preserve your health in an extremely challenging situation.
Write back and tell us what you learn. You are not alone with this type of situation. What have other families learned to try when their Loved One is far away?