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Connie's Story

I first met the boy who was to be my stepson when he was 12. He was a quiet, cheerful boy who had this conviction that he would be a con-man or street magician. By 15, he hadn't grown out of it. Instead he was shoplifting and planning cons on his school friends. By 18, he had left home, was at Tech but failing badly (he took the allowances without attending classes in the end) and by 19 (as I found out later) he was buying synthetic drugs on the Dark Net and selling them them to gangs. From there, he started using, and in a fit of paranoia came back to live with family. Not long after that, he started having seizures, got thrown out of his stepdad's home (for breaking rules) and after a year (during which he flatted alone, experimented with religion, begged in the street, gambled himself into debt, flirted with his sexuality and returned to drug use), a diagnosis of epilepsy was found. We formed a family support group and quickly found we were all being lied to on a monstrous scale. An intervention was made for the gambling and drug use but to no avail. He took the initiative of voluntarily banning himself from gambling venues, but this does not cover scratch tickets or online gambling which he still uses. It was a year which ended with his second psychiatric hospitalisation and this time P was found in his blood. The day his family had to restrain him and call the police is a sharp, traumatic memory for me. The things he said and did while in his psychosis were the most despicable and disgusting things that I have ever experienced and it got worse. The things he did in seclusion at hospital were revolting and when his family went to visit him on his first day out of seclusion, his response was not what you would expect: "I'm enjoying it here and at last, I am getting some attention from my family!" But that was not the worst bit. That same night he cheerfully told his stepfather that he had sexual interest in his half-sister who is seven and admitted faking epileptic seizures for attention (even incurring the cost of an ambulance trip which saw us standing around his bed until 4am). The worst thing is that the NGO's won't or can't help. He is not autistic or brain damaged *enough* for home help or secure housing. Community Mental Health and the Neurologist are squabbling whether his condition is mental health, medical or not. We tried to impress on the medical and psychiatric experts: he is a liar and a danger to himself and others but he is out 'in the community' living near five schools and down the street of his half-sister. Attempts by his family to control his finances worked until he insisted he could look after it himself. The money was gambled in days. He ran rings around his CMH care worker (who despite being given permission by the patient to do so, never reported back to us) and kept putting her off so when *we told her* he was gambling, she didn't know. He says he is seeing a psychiatrist, but judging by his behaviour, this is probably yet another lie. He tells us he is a 'music producer' and going back to Tech. These are lies too (he has never played a musical instrument and he is not eligible for tech course allowances/loans). Because of that last hospitalisation last year, the support group fragmented. We all felt disgust, guilt and anger at his behaviour and his revelations to us. The family still communicates, but only in passing. All but one of us has no contact with this 22 year old nightmare of a boy/child. We are sick of fighting a system that protects his right to privacy when we know everything that he says is untrue. Goodness knows what rubbish lines he has spun at his Psychiatrist (probably a sob story of child abuse and neglect). My husband won't get a trespass order against his son (he thinks that though physically intimidating, his son is a pussy cat). I refuse to be alone in a room with him (I've been sexually harassed by him and seen his violent side). His mother and her partner have banned him from their house. I find myself hoping that he will be arrested and jailed. I felt so safe when he was in the psychiatric hospital under Section! I have been fighting to get my life back on track but somehow I keep drifting to places like this site. Because my husband wants to maintain contact, I see this young man for an hour every two weeks and every time, I become a nervous wreck. Because he lives nearby, I feel that I have to avoid him at the shops. Sometimes I feel his refusal to follow the CMH suggestion he move away from his family and schools is deliberate. That's my story. Thanks for reading.

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