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Ask Fatboy: Issue 2 – My Grown Son May Be Depressed

I just received a question with a little sadder tone than Ask Fatboy: Issue 1 had, but I imagine it is a common feeling for parents with adult children with CF who are where her son is. With her permission, we take a look at the issue at hand and what I have to say about it. She writes:

I’m watching my 22 yr old son struggling to gain weight. Also seems to be getting depressed watching his friends getting married and so to speak moving on. Do you have any suggestions? – Maribeth

I can fully and completely identify with both of those problems, but my suggestions vary widely based on where he is in life right now regarding work, college, friends, living arrangement, and his relationships with his parents and doctors. If you’re reading this, “son,” don’t take any of this as talking “down” to you nearly as much as “at” you, because I have been where you are according to the request from your mom. You may have additional circumstances, but from what I know at this point, you and I are cut from the same block, and that’s how this is addressed.

Situation #1

Life sucks because he’s aimlessly drifting through life without an education or job or both and sees no hope for a future that looks any better. There’s nothing anyone can do for people in this situation except to first help them get out of that situation to see life differently and open up new opportunities and experiences.

Situation #2

Life sucks because all of his friends have stopped hanging out with him because their lives are filled with their girlfriends, fiancés, and wives. Friends have moved away. Maybe now that he’s 22, he can’t keep up with the sports friends he used to have (been there, done that – all of it).

Here is where people are better able to help him. All it takes is one good friend who cares and is available, even if it’s a long-distance friend. If he has any interests, such as computers or games, he can attend any number of conferences around the country to connect with others with similar interests. I traveled to Chicago twice for a conference that has changed my social/business networking life forever. Some local conferences are very cheap or even free to attend.

Situation #3

Life is fine, but it just sucks to have CF. This is coming from someone who has spent a lifetime pretending he’s normal “just like everyone else” and neglected some treatments over the years. I can tell you at the age of 31, nothing will make a CFer not “just like everyone else” faster than not being compliant with treatments. You can skip aerosols for a couple of days without noticing any difference, so what good are they doing, right? Well, 3 months later, you’re on IVs, and it becomes pretty obvious at that point.

Say, “that’s enough!” of living like that!

That’s not enough, though. I know. You have to believe that the future will be better than it is now. You don’t have to be married to be happy. Sure, having someone to care for you, sex, and the extra income of a two-earner house is a complete break from living with your parents, but with today’s online work opportunities, anyone can learn the skills within a year or two to earn enough to move out into a nice one-bedroom apartment by themselves.

When you least expect it, you might find that person and wish and hope and pray that you hadn’t been so stupid in your early 20s!

Why go to all the trouble of taking care of yourself if no one has tethered themselves to you for life? Because, when you least expect it, you might find that person and wish and hope and pray that you hadn’t been so stupid in your early 20s! That’s the down and dirty truth to the situation. Living until you’re 30 all alone and lonely is a very long time to live. Reaching 30 and having a lifetime to spend with someone slated to live into their 80s changes everything.

I have a sneaking suspicion that 80% of CFers are 3.2 times more stubborn than mules. I know I am! I have a very strong mindset that says no one tells me what to do. If I’m going to do something, it’s because it’s what I want to do. What separates us is what we do with the stubbornness. We either make the most of what we’ve been given or we waste it away.

I’m going to work on getting Beautiful to write something about this topic soon, even if it’s just a Q&A with Fatboy. Why?

Because it was her and her alone that kicked me in the head and heart hard enough to make me realize exactly what Situation #3 means and how to get out of it. It was a late, late night one night that sparked the fire. She just verbally kicked my butt and I went on to read approximately 50 blog posts from a husband whose wife was getting her double-lung transplant. I said right then and there, “I’m not going through that until these lungs have nothing left, and I’m not putting Beautiful through the position of writing transplant updates if I did a crappy job with the lungs I was born with.”

It’s up to you. What are you going to do?


  1. Maribeth says

    Thank you for the thoughtful comments on depressed and 22. Sam for the most part takes very good care of himself. He is a brown belt in karate and just became a EMT and currently living with a friend (who now has a serious girlfriend). Sam has always been in th role of the funny guy. Now that he is maturing I think he wishes to kick the funny guy role and wants to be taken more serious. He is just really is having a hardtime gaining weight. I feel that he is struggling to have a body that matches how he feels as a young man. Thanks again I hope he can see some of himself in you.

  2. Good for him!! I'm here to help any way I can; that's why I created
    this site. It all comes down to getting food income more than outgo,
    just like finances. It took a concerted effort to top 4k Calories per
    day, but that was the key for me. Check out my Tips category for more
    on that type of thing.

    I'll write more from home if I think of more. iPhone keys are so

  3. Ok, now that I'm home… I'd have to say that one of the single-most empowering things has been gaining weight to start giving me the body image I want. I think I mentioned a day or two ago that I'm happy with my body for the first time ever.

    If Sam can hit the calorie marks he needs, he will see improvements with his physique and his mind will start to change. Sam, track your calories like I did for a week or two to get a feel for how much you need to eat to hit your marks. I don't count any more because I know what a full day of food consists of now.

    Don't be a stranger.

  4. Really good post. I vote for Beautiful to write a post soon. Would be very interesting to read her perspective on the real Fatboy. I'd like to hear the other side of the story. Write, Beautiful, write. 🙂

  5. Consider your vote counted and conveyed. I'm not sure if she rolled her eyes
    or is just being shy. 😉

  6. I will be sure to share your veiws with Sam. He needs to know he is not alone.