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New with a 32 year old son living back with us

Hi, my son has been living back with us for about 3 months. He was living in Sydney but has come interstate as essentially he was unable to support himself. 

He really hasn't had full time work for a few years. He's been on and off Centrelink benefits. Over every years I've help him out a lot, paying rent etc etc.

he has had professional help in the past, always at my instigation. He has had a couple of hospital admissions when things got pretty bad and he needed help . There have been diagnoses of Depression, Bipolar 2, ADHD and at various times since he was about 19 he has had medications. Various Anti depressants and dexamphetamines. Since coming to live with us he has gone off all meds and is also trying to stop smoking and so is using patches. 

Before he came to live with us I had conversations with him about seeing Dr, getting on a mental health plan, seeing a psychologist for regular counselling and I was optimistic that he would do these things.

But so far he refuses to do any of these or go to Centrelink for benefits. He says he wants to find work ( he has been helping us on our rural property.) . but he has increasingly been unhappy about doing a lot of chores, sleeps in till midday, and is often very irritable and rude. Also tearful and clearly very depressed, it is very sad for me to see him like this. His search for work is sporadic and I fear he is not sufficiently qualified on paper for many of the jobs he expresses interest in - he never finished his degree at university - in spite of spending 5 years trying and although he is very intelligent there are some learning difficulties. 

I have become really depressed after having been optimistic that we could help him. My husband is being very supportive but unfortunately my sons father is unable to help having severe mental health problems himself. Many of the things he says / has said to our son over the years are very destructive. 

So ive been to Dr myself and am planning to see psychologist hoping to get support for myself. But also hoping they might be able to suggest ways of getting my son to seek help. I feel that with support from professionals he may be able to improve his situation.... but am also fearful it may never improve, in which case I have to get him to seek a DSP as financially it will be too difficult for us to continue to support him.

There is so much more I could write, as I'm sure others in this situation would know, but any suggestions people might have, I'd be most appreciative 



Re: New with a 32 year old son living back with us

Welcome to the Forum @Tennessee I am sorry you are in this difficult situation and I hope that you get the support here plus advice on what has worked for others.  You may also find some useful information on our website.




Sylvester SANE Moderator

Re: New with a 32 year old son living back with us

Welcome to the Forums @Tennessee, it sounds like you have a lot on your plate and it's great that you've recognised that you need help for your own mental health. Does your son have any hobbies or interests that may motivate him to start being more proactive? 

Re: New with a 32 year old son living back with us

Hello @Tennessee 

Conversations about what is reasonable in today's social reality have helped my relationship with my son, but it has been delicate matter and I have had to be very patient and work with him in his own realisations.


My son also rejected Centrelink for a while and that was a burden, but it was also a "seeking through" of financial realities, so I saw it as good for reality testing strategies.  Eventually he figured it out and learned to accept interaction with Centrelink.  The big thing for us was supporting him to do so without loss of face and self esteem and a sense that he was entitled.


Lately we are discussing the common phrase tossed around i the media a lot ... about while privlege and /or entitled males ... and I emphatically recognise the limitations of his privilege and the reality of his struggles .... rather than him getting defensive with me .... we are getting on the same page ... sometimes the the down feelings can be a result of a long night of the soul .. or inner reflection .... which can be good ...when you can turn it to productive use ... so many people who are big money spinners ... and self reliant in that way ... are dependant on others to pay high pirces ... so thats how I rationalise it ...but not get too obssessive about that side .. and pursue day to day activities that matter .... what is success etc ... 

Hope your family finds a way to manage ... in these ...interesting times ...


Re: New with a 32 year old son living back with us

Thank you @Appleblossom I appreciate your comments I do have to learn patience

i like your comments about loss of face and self esteem as it's clear my son is really suffering loss of these

Re: New with a 32 year old son living back with us

Hi @ Ali11

id like him to get involved with an interest.. I've been suggesting community radio as it's something he's really interested in... and he's mentioned some sport such as football which I do think would be great

Re: New with a 32 year old son living back with us

Thank you @Sylvester 


Re: New with a 32 year old son living back with us


Working with his interests is important.  I have remained focussed on those positives in my son rather than worrying about pathologising him.  The more I notice the good ... but gently jolly him along in the boring mundane stuff too... he is growing his own conscience without battling against himself as much ...

Take Care of you as well ...

Re: New with a 32 year old son living back with us

Community radio and football sounds like either one would be a great start to help him start becoming more motivated and perhaps getting some of that independence back. How are you this weekend @Tennessee

Re: New with a 32 year old son living back with us

Hi @Ali11
Actually had a nice weekend away.. my son came too and he was pretty good... the hard thing is sometimes he seems perfectly “normal “ and then I’m fooled into thinking maybe it will all be ok

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