My son is in there, somewhere


My son was harmed by marijuana and he suffered psychosis and has not held down a job since. It started around age 14 and he is now 24. He has been diagnosed with depression, anxiety & bipolar and bipolar schizo-affective disorder (depending on the psychiatrist).

He is medicated and like a zombie.  He lives at home with us and just gets up and eats, wanders around, and then sleeps and keeps odd hours. He is not getting into any trouble or anything like that, so I guess that is a positive, but I miss him.  It’s been 10 years of this now.

He is on anti-depressants and mood stabilizer and quit pot for about 8 months and then started up again. He doesn’t smoke as much and as often as he smoked it before but it still worries me very much.  He goes to counseling for a brief period and then quits.  He just stays at home all day and rarely leaves the home.  His psychosis was about 18 months ago and the scariest time of my life as there is no one out there to help you.  The police do a “wellness check” and only ask him if he can tell them his SSN and birthdate and determine he is ok and leave. 

No treatment center will take him unless he agrees to go and no ER will help him unless he attempted suicide and is bleeding. One time he jumped out of a car and went to the ER for that and then they released him as he said he was ok and did not need to be admitted.  He got put in jail for a DUI (for pot) and I had him sit in jail for 2 days while he would call me hysterically and beg me to come get him out. They put him in a straightjacket in a room by himself. 

I almost filed a restraining order to protect me and the rest of the family.  My son saw the order and that I had almost served him with it and he was very upset with us all but I think this “woke him up” that things were bad and had to change.  I was with him through the court system with his DUI. I helped him with all of the hurdles once you enter the penal system of losing your license and all.  I think this is when my son knew I had his back and he could trust me. 

He had a psychotic break during this time after two of his friends committed suicide and he was smoking pot all day long and all night long and that is what triggered all of this behavior.  He thought he was a gifted musician at this time and posted videos on YouTube all the time of him playing the piano with spoons.  We all thought he had lost his mind and we were so scared.  He had so much anger and rage and was so delusional.  He started preaching to homeless people and thought he was “Solomon” from the Bible.  This was a kid who was always exceptionally bright and witty and very athletic – things came easy for him. 

I was a single mom since the time my son was 8 years old.  I think my son needed a dad during this time and he wasn’t there for him.  My son was searching for some friends to fit in and he fell into the “pot crowd”.  Life spiraled downward and he has had jobs and lost them and now we are here and the hope and glimmer in his eyes is gone. 

My other children have felt cheated at times because my boy has required so much of my attention over the years but there is only so much of you to go around.  I tell them I love them equally and would fight to the very end for each of them.  One of my teens still feels anger about it and that I never paid enough attention and has panic attacks and now I hear this child started smoking pot and the nightmare continues. 

I get so upset with the system. Recently a mentally ill person committed a crime here and the mother and brother had reached out so much for help to subdue him, but no one would help until he acted out and now, he has criminal charges. I hate this how they do not listen to the parents and those that love these kids and allow us to protect them before they are in a state, they can’t protect themselves.

We have all been there or are there now. I am happy Moms Strong is still fighting the pot industry and I am with you.

We have to educate people so they know that the choice to smoke pot may be a “life sentence” for themselves and their family so think carefully about that choice and arm yourself with all the information you can get because your body is a temple and you must protect your soul above all things that can harm it. 

I wrote this poem recently to get out some of my emotions.


A Mother’s Prayer

A shell of what you once were
I can’t see you anymore
The boy who used to make me laugh
Has left and shut the door.

I don’t know how to reach you
To guide you through this pain
The boy who used to warm my heart
Stopped reaching out in vain

We share this space together
Interact as if all is just ok
But the boy who used to love me
Is not the man I see today.

The air is always heavy
And the mood is rarely light
The boy I used to love so much
Has left me in the night

I hope one day to waken
And to find you back once more
The boy that had a spirit
Please come knocking at my door

I ask for God to guide me
And give me patience for this day
That the boy who used to love life
Will find you God I pray

I don’t know when it happened
When your spirit slipped away
But the boy that used to call me mom
Simply passes through the day

I sometimes catch a twinkle
Or a glimpse within his eyes
From the boy trapped in the darkness
Saying “help me mom” and sighs

So I go through the motions
And function as I must
For the boy that I once knew
Will come back to me I trust

A mother is only as happy
As her most troubled child
So her son so full of agony
Slowly kills her deep inside

For when you become a parent
And give your heart and soul away
To the boy that used to fill my heart
Come back to me I pray.

Patrice is a mom from Montana. She wrote this poem on 3/28/20.

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  1. Reply

    It is terrible that our country and the educational system is NOT educating kids about how dangerous pot is to their mental health. I am very sorry that you’ve gone through all of this and that it has harmed your other children. We need a society that is more caring and supportive of single moms. You’re a great person to have gotten through all of this without a societal support system. It’s also too bad that the ACLU and Drug Policy Alliance think that individual freedom to do drugs or whatever is more important than how it impacts others. In general, the US goes by their philosophies.

  2. Patrice


    Thank you Dale. We need to fix the system so this doesn’t keep happening. We have to get the word out that the brain is still developing until age 25 and it is so important to guard it until then. These kids need to know all the information before their choices are taken away from them and so is their chance of a happy and productive life.

  3. Sally Schindel


    Thank you for sharing Patrice. Thank you for joining Moms Strong. I wish you peace and healing and recovery for your son. It is a difficult journey for the entire family – as you described. Your support system is the lifeline for all the family. May it grow in strength and provide you peace.

  4. Jennie Putrino


    Your story you shared is so simular to our story.I wish people one day will wake up and see that pot is a real danger especially to young developing brains.I am afraid my son will never be the same.He also suffers from mental illness.He also was an extremely bright handsome boy.He is now 32 and I have to remind him to groom himself even though he rarely leaves the house.I wish I had him back.

  5. Patrice


    Thank you Sally and Jennie. Yes it seems strange to have to remind them to do things like take a shower every day or put on new clothes or just care for themselves in general. It’s like starting over again.

  6. Monica T


    My 19 year old son died from cardiac arrest in October 2019…he vaped THC. His autopsy and toxicology were ” inconclusive”. Ive read that THC can increase heart rate, but no one will say THC killed him.

    • Christine Miller


      Dear Monica T.,
      I am so sorry for your loss. You should look up the story of Michael Ziobro, a 22 yr old from New Jersey whose parents are convinced he died of cardiac arrhythmia caused by the potent THC he was using a couple of years ago. They were interviewed by the Today Show. The coroner in that case also refused to believe THC was to blame for his sudden heart failure, although case reports published by German scientists attribute 3 similar deaths of young men to the THC levels in their system.

  7. Diana


    Beautiful poem and such a heart-rending tale. This has been our story for the past 16 years. All I can add is that our son, now 33, finally realized that it has been pot that threw him into psychosis and has quit using it. We are fortunate that it’s been a whole year since he was last hospitalized, but it took an order of protection against him, being homeless and having had really bad things happen to him to get to this point. But we are here and can only hope that they will remain “stable.”

  8. Reply

    Patrice, This story just breaks my heart. It will helpful to so many people to read it so I am grateful to you for being so honest. I hope your other son, who you found out is using, will realize what his brother has lost and stops himself from going down that same path. Stay with Momsstrong. You’ll find lots of support here.

  9. Dana Massey


    My 19 year old son is in treatment now. He, at least not yet, is seeing the danger of THC; in fact, I’m afraid only his twin sister and I see the terrible danger. Your poem calls to my heart – I once wrote him (while he was still living here) when he was 17 telling him I missed him – he didn’t understand. Please know, Patrice, that my son had myriads of men in his life, a father and several mentors, who love and invested in him. This is not about you and anything you failed in.

    I’m not sure what this is about but I feel strongly that it is because our society has accepted THC as normal. It is mind boggling.

  10. Dianna


    Your story touches my heart. I could not help but sob while reading your poem. I was in your exact shoes 4 years ago. My son was lost to pot and alcohol abuse and had been for years. Although it was hard, we made the choice to have him leave our home. He had to hit rock bottom and the only way that would happen is if we no longer enabled his behavior. He lived out in the world for about a year and then realized he needed help. He found a live in faith based program. He was there for over a year. Got clean and has stayed clean for 3 years. He did it for himself – no amount of begging & pleading & placing him in one program after another did any good. God gave me my son back and I thank him every day. I will pray that He does the same for you.

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