Dear Annie: My 35-year-old son, "Edgar," has been diagnosed with major depression and is receiving disability. He currently lives in an apartment on my parents' property.
Since Edgar is currently vehicle-less, I've been helping him with grocery shopping, etc. Last week, after a bout of extreme allergy symptoms, his depression escalated, and he texted me, saying, "I don't care about anything anymore. My life is worthless." He claimed he had no food left, but refused to let me bring over groceries. He said he didn't care if he wasted away, although he promised not to kill himself.
Over the weekend, I texted him, but there was no response. By Monday, I was frantic. I reached out to his physician, leaving a message with the assistant, emphatically stating that my son promised he would not harm himself. He just didn't want to eat. I told the assistant that it was crucial that I speak with the doctor before an intervention. Well, this inept nitwit conveyed the wrong information to the doctor, resulting in a call from the police inquiring about a welfare check. And instead of talking to me, the doctor phoned my parents.
Then Edgar called, ranting that I have totally messed up his life because I told his doctor he was suicidal. I phoned the doctor, who apologized profusely for the confusion her assistant had caused and assured me that she would call my son and straighten things out. I waited another day and then sent Edgar a text, wanting to open communications. He replied, "Forget it, the damage is already done. I can't go back to that doctor." He said he was going to move far away where no one could find him. What do I do? -- Drama
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Dear Drama: You need to give Edgar some breathing room. Although he may actually be grateful that you care, this much attention to his mental health might be overwhelming him. Send a calm text, saying you love him, you're sorry you upset him, and that you hope he will get back in touch soon. We know you are worried, but there is only so much you can do without his cooperation. Meanwhile, please contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness at 1-800-950-NAMI (nami.org).
Dear Annie: I had to response to "Torn," whose husband was desperate to stop his daughter from marrying outside their religion.
Two of my four children married someone of another faith. Their partners are perfect for them, and they love each other very much. I can only hope my other two children find people who love and cherish them as much.
Religion isn't everything. It's only part of who a person is. If they want to have a relationship with their daughter, they will have to be more open-minded. -- Happy Mother-in-Law
Dear Happy: We agree. But we also understand that many parents react to this as though the child is rejecting not only their parents' faith, but also the parents themselves, and it is painful for them. It takes time for some parents to accept that people of all religions (or lack thereof) can be part of a loving family. We hope both "Torn" and her husband will do their best to remain close to their daughter.
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