I’m not a quitter but I wonder how long I can keep this up

We had a really rough night with Elliott. He’s struggling a great deal emotionally and I don’t know how to reach him. He’s so angry, hurt and scattered but we aren’t sure why because much of what he is upset about, never happened.

His perception is often inaccurate and there is no convincing him that he’s misunderstood or misinterpreted a situation. He feels that he’s not loved or that he doesn’t matter to us and I don’t even know what to say. Of course he’s loved and he absolutely matters. We tell him and show him that all the time but that message seems to be getting lost and that’s a problem.

We’ve spoken to his therapist at length about this. She’s known us very well since before Lizze was pregnant with Elliott and has watch him grow. While I don’t know where we went wrong, it feels like must have done something wrong because our almost 13 year old doesn’t feel that we love him. Somethings not right and we need to fix it.

Elliott is struggling for many reasons. He’s Autistic, depressed, incredibly anxious, very sensitive, possibly bipolar and heading into his teenage years. He’s surrounded by other people who are struggling with life as well and that’s not easy.

He’s very impulsive. He doesn’t really think through things, he reacts and he reacts emotionally. I feel like in these moments he’s sorta checked out and is running on pure emotion. It’s absolutely heartbreaking because I believe he believe these things are true and there isn’t anyway we’ve been able to do get through to him.

The things that come out of his mouth in these moments are hard to hear. The fact that we can’t reach is an awful feeling.

I’ve mentioned before that Elliott is getting all the help we know to get for him. This is a complex problem with many moving parts. Most of those parts are Special Needs in nature but I’m sure some are more traditional or typical of his age. Where one starts and another stops in unknown.

I can say that this is exhausting and the very thought that he might truly believe he’s not loved, keeps me up at night. I’m so overwhelmed by everything. I’m heartbroken for my son and I don’t know what to do.

This is also only one single challenge, in an arena filled with challenges. It’s hard to get anywhere because this needs our attention but so do the other hundred problems that we have. Everyone is struggling. Everyone needs/deserves my time and energy but there’s not enough of me to go around. As much as I know I have very really limits, I can’t help but feel like a failure.

I’m trying to find a balance that allows me to meet everyone’s needs but it’s not proving to be easy. I desperately need to focus on work because we are drowning but I’m so distracted by everything and I’m being pulled in too many different directions. Every challenge that we’re facing at the moment is important. My family needs my physical and emotional support 24/7 but I also need to be able to provide at the same time.

I’m on complete overload and this doesn’t even include what I went through this morning with Emmett.

I’m not a quitter but I’m also beginning to wonder how long I can keep this up.


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  1. @Charger0843Rion I know exactly how this feels, my sympathies

  2. Be strong! My son has bipolar schizoaffective disorder. He is 36 – diagnosed at 21. The challenges… https://t.co/xjUngd7JGz

  3. Can I feature your blog under tribe content on my new site it will link to your blog

  4. *to you.

  5. Rob, you will keep going because there is no alternative. Peace and love you you.

    1. Thanks… ☺

    • kimmy gebhardt on January 26, 2019 at 3:13 pm
    • Reply

    I have to agree with Becky. Just listen to him and validate his feelings. Maybe get him some therapy on his own from someone other than Dr. Pattie. Elliott is a middle child which can be bad enough for any child, but add to it that he has the issues that he does and now add in teen angst and that he is the ‘least sick’ member of your family and you have a recipe for disaster. He lives in a world where his brothers take up all the household energy and resources and if that wasn’t bad enough, his mother is chronically ill and spends a lot of time in bed. If you look at it from the outside, maybe it will help to see where he’s coming from.

    1. Elliott is getting outside help but he’s also seeing the best therapist anywhere even remotely close to us. Any move away from her would in the wrong direction. That’s said, we are going to increase the time he’s getting in therapy and maybe adjust the approach.

      Elliott’s struggles seem to revolve around his perception. He’s not accurately interpreting what’s going on around him and that applies at home, school and anywhere else he goes.

      Elliott believes that everything needs to be equal and that’s not how life works. We do our best to ensure that everyone gets what they, as an individual need. What he needs is different from Emmett or Gavin. What they need is different from him.

      Elliott perceives things in a manner that are often at conflict with what actually took place. He’s not lying or looking for attention, he just doesn’t process things correctly and we aren’t sure why. We know he’s depressed and anxious but beyond that, we’re still actively looking.

      Being a middle child is hard for anyone. When your in a special needs family, that can be even more difficult. Yes, Lizze is chronically I’ll but spends very little time in bed during the day. She’s present when they’re home unless she needs a break. We try to give each other breaks.

      Let me give you an example of how Elliott sees things. When we watch a movie, we all see the same movie and we all see how it ends. Elliott sees the same thing but doesn’t believe it. He will try to convince us of some alternate plot line that didn’t happen. I always tell him that I love the way his mind works and his theories are very interesting. That does not mean that he’s right. If we don’t agree with him, then he feels we aren’t listening or taking him seriously. Then he goes to feeling unloved and it unravels from there. He feels like we don’t respect his opinions because we don’t always agree with him. He doesn’t understand that we can respect his opinions and still not agree with them.

      He also never let’s things go. We were at my parents house after my grandfather died and Elliott all of sudden lashed out at me over what he feels happened when we were cleaning up the storm damage last fall. He had wanted everyone to take a 30 minute break but no one wanted to because we were running out of light and people needed to get home to their families. Elliott stomped around the yard in tears, refusing to work and making a scene. After about an hour of him doing this, I went over to him. I was trying to talk to him and he kept running his mouth. I gently move his face so that he was looking at me and told him that I was confiscating his phone.

      Elliott doesn’t remember the hours worth of attitude that he gave me prior to me taking his phone away. He simply remembers me “grabbing him by the face and taking his phone away”. He feels wronged but that’s not what happened. He feels that he asked me one time if everyone could take a break and I reacted to him by taking his phone away. My Dad and half a dozen others were all there when this happened and Elliott doesn’t remember it correctly. Because I don’t agree with his recollection of the events that happened many months ago, he won’t let it go and he feels like a victim. (His words, not mine)

      This is the kind of thing were dealing with. Again, he’s not lying or making anything up, his perception is wonky. Depression may be playing a major role in this and he’s getting help for that, although he’s not liking it.

      Elliott is such an amazing kid, full of compassion and love for everyone. He deserves better than this and we’re trying to give it to him. This is likely much deeper rooted than feeling lost in the shuffle. He’s been through a great deal, especially with Gavin. The person he’s seeing at Akron Children’s has stated that Elliott was traumatized by Gavin’s behaviors when he was younger. It turns out that this guy’s was working with Gavin in the physch unit one of the many times he had been admitted and he remembers Gavin’s behaviors. I’m sure the separation played a roll as well. There are a lot of pieces to this and we’re doing everything we’re told to do, while constantly looking for more.

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    • BeckyW on January 26, 2019 at 4:23 am
    • Reply

    Maybe if you listened to him without judgment. Don’t tell him it never happened, he doesn’t believe it and that further alienates him. Listen to him, ask him what you can do, tell him you’re sorry (because he’s hurting). And of course this all needs to be worked out in his therapy and family therapy. If you’re sympathetic because he’s hurting, that may at least help him feel loved.

    The fact he has several psychiatric conditions most likely mean he is also paranoid. So that exacerbates the whole deal.

    (This is similar to advice I’ve been given. I’m not this smart!)

    1. Becky, no one’s judging him. His arguments don’t make much sense and are based on things that didn’t happen or didn’t happen the way he recalls it happening. See my reply to Kim’s comment… ☺

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