My 20-yr old is taking a leave of absence from his college program because he burned out last semester and now he seems to think he's on vacation. How do you know when the help you're offering is actually enabling someone? He had a reduced course load and accommodations he could ask for, but he also had terrible procrastination problems, so he would end up turning in assignments late because he underestimated the time it would take to complete them. He automatically got docked a certain number of points each day the assignments were late, so he ended up flunking assignments which were marked an A+. He was in a deep hole of depression and anxiety. He said he would spend hours berating himself and telling himself to get up and do what he needed to do, but he just couldn't. He's back home now, and now that the pressure is off, he is much improved. He has started exercising, eating better, taking an anti-depressant and seeing a psychologist. The problem is that he seems to thinks he's on vacation. He will not do the things we ask him to do in order to contribute to the household without a great deal of nagging (like walking the dog, doing his dishes or laundry, or any of the other annoying chores we all have to do). Nor will he do any preparing-for-the-future tasks like investigating careers for which he might be suited in order to apply for programs with a September start date (the deadline to apply is Feb. 1) or apply for jobs without being nagged or anything else that will help ensure he is not living in our basement five years from now. He says he will, but then he just doesn't. He will not get up on time, he will not stick to any kind of schedule (though he says he will the night before). I am sure I rely on the red line far more than I should, but I do not have the capacity to do anything else right now--his dad is ill, I work two full-time jobs and I feel like I'm cracking up. It irritates me to no end that he won't even try to fight against his inertia or tendency to throw up his hands and give in at the first roadblock he encounters. We sit with him and try to help him do various things like applying for jobs, but he's so disinterested in the whole affair he forgets how to do it the next time it comes up. In fact, he forgets how to do almost everything that isn't of interest to him (he's either tired or he just "forgets"). He wants us to sign him up for more personal training sessions and extend his gym membership and have his psychological assessment re-done to see whether anything else besides ASD is ailing him and also to see a therapist once a week, but after last night (when he swore he would get the things on his to-do list done before noon today so he could have the rest of the day off--only to not do a single thing on the list), I'm debating whether to do all of that--none of that is cheap and if he won't even try to hold up his end of the bargain, who's to say he will after throwing even more money at the problem? We've spent thousands trying to enter into his world and do things with him in order to strengthen our relationship with him, but I'm not sure it's helped--at least in the future-planning department. I feel like we're not doing him any favors giving him more and more while getting nothing (in terms of his movement toward self-sufficiency) in return. I am afraid for his future--what is going to happen to him after we die? (We have no family around.) I don't want to send him spiraling into a black hole of depression by cutting him off in one or two ways (like not paying for the personal training), but he seems to be completely disinterested in even trying to get himself to do the more unpleasant tasks adults are required to do. How do you know when your help veers into enabling? I recognize that I am at the end of my own tether due to circumstances that have nothing to do with him (two jobs, ill husband, etc.), so I don't want to be unfair, either. Am I allowed to say 'We will do the personal training if you apply to two programs for the fall'? I know a bribe is not ideal, but the deadline to apply is Feb. 1. If he does not feel he is healthy enough mental-health wise and physically to go, he doesn't have to, but if he gets the support he needs, what if he is? At least he will have the option of going.

Posted by julesmck at 2024-01-22 19:46:20 UTC