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DM dragging me down with her - desperate(38 Posts)
I am putting this here rather than in Elderly Parents as it gets more traffic. So much to say, but will try to keep it short. I am desperately ill, with multiple conditions which are made worse by stress and anxiety. DH and DS1 are disabled. DS2 is fine. I am the family breadwinner, but struggle to work full-time, due to my chronic condition.
DM is in her 80s and lives on her own, a long way from her children. She has been pretty well and fit since my DF died some years ago. She had loads of friends and went out a lot and seemed reasonably happy. We all visited as often as we could. I went a lot and enjoyed seeing her.
About a year ago, she started going downhill. Basically, she decided that she had had enough and stopped eating enough food. My illness got worse and I couldn't visit as often and so I didn't see her for some months. We have just got back from a visit and I was horrified by her condition and the state of her house. She is now emaciated and the house is a tip. We did our best to clean it up.
Now my brother has been and tells me that she is back in the same state, with mouldy food and pots everywhere and general mess and filth. She has told him that she wants to die and that she doesn't really care about the impact on us.
My DM was more than a mother, she was my best friend through so many difficulties. But I now feel so angry towards her. I can't handle what is happening and have collapsed in bed, feeling horribly nauseous and retching. I feel like a monster in that I wish it were all over. I want to cut her out of my life so I can cope and go back to work, but an cant do that for the sake of my siblings. I don't suppose anyone can help really, but I just need to get things off my chest!
You are in a very difficult situation, and I don't think in a position to provide practical support to your mother (who sounds profoundly depressed).
So, your brother needs to step up to the plate. He needs to contact her GP urgently so that her care needs can be properly assessed. This should be done over her objections if necessary - she has stated she wants to die.
Is there support your DH can offer in terms of making phone calls and so on for you? My DH is disabled but this doesn't mean he can't provide support (although in fairness he would find making phone calls extremely stressful).
What about other siblings? Neighbours? Wider family? This cannot all be on you to sort out.
We are in the process of moving her to be nearer other family members so we can all visit more. But I don't think it will do much good if she is determined. I am wondering about going to my GP and getting signed off work for a while because of my stress levels, although work helps keep my brain occupied! It's just that at the moment I can hardly get out of bed because I am being sick or retching all of the time.
Can you arrange cleaner.
She sounds depressed but if she doesn't have alzeimers or dementia there is not much anyone can do imo. Unless she moves in with someone. Unless she IS depressed and GP can help there.
If she has dementia the GP/ social services might arrange carers to cook meals. Report her condition to social services.
Yes, my DH has been fantastic with supporting us all. He does all of the phone calls because I react badly. I am trying to keep in touch with my siblings via email, but that is now making me very ill too.
DM is on ADs already and is having lots of tests as she is convinced she has multiple illnesses - not true! We are in touch with the GP and are doing all we an as a family. My siblings are really stepping up.
Thanks for your replies at this early hour. If I go off-line for a while it will be because my iPad is low on charge, or because I am being sick again!
When we get her moved, she will have cleaners and carers and also much more frequent visits from family. We hope this will he to change her mind.
Perhaps you could try having some counselling to talk through your distress at the situation. It is hard when those that cared for you then need cared for, and there is no happy ending really, so you could try to sort out your feelings about this by speaking to someone.
I think I need to see my own GP. Although I have loads of consultants for my chronic illness, this is something else really.
Gurl go to your GP, you have so much on your plate and this is just more to add to the load. Talk it through, see if counselling might be offered. You don't get much on the NHS, but I found having someone to rant to for 6 weeks when in an overload situation very helpful. Take care.
Does her GP know about her suicidal statements? Has she been assessed by the mental health team? Presumably when she does move she will need to change GPs, and some of the process will have to be done again.
You do very much need to focus on your own needs today. You need to let your siblings take the majority of the burden for now.
No other advice other but just giving my support - you have SO much on your plate, no wonder you feel at the end of your tether. You really mustn't feel guilty for the way you feel - it's a miracle you've coped so far. I'm so sorry and hope things get easier for you x
I think that if your DM has stopped looking after herself and eating, she has probably stopped taking her medication too. Stopping AD's suddenly can cause a psychotic episode and then she will continue to be depressed and not look after herself. I think a DR could refer her for a stay in hospital initially to get her sorted out in the short term, there may be infection present and dehydration which can cause confusion in itself. If she thinks she is really ill, hopefully she won't object to a stay in hospital. They will be able to get all the care services in place until she can move to the new home, or possibly even a short stay in respite care to bridge the gap between hospital and the new home if her current home won't be suitable. There is always the risk that your DM might refuse to let carers and home helps in when she is back in her own home.
Don't blame yourself for this. It is truly horrible to see this happen to someone you love, but I agree that the stress of this is making you ill and you can't sort everything out for her. It isn't unusual to feel the way you do in this situation. We all think our Mums will be around for ever and be there for us, and it's a real shock when they can't be.
Thanks everyone for your advise. I have an appointment with the GP this afternoon. So worried about everything that I can't think straight. Frantic about DM, work and so much more.
Update: back from the GP. I have been diagnosed with severe depression. I burst into tears as I told the GP everything I was feeling and DH looked on horrified as I hadn't really told him how bad it has got. Am now on ADs myself and am thinking that I shouldn't be so weak.
Weak how, Gurl? Weak in the way that you've held everything together under incredibly difficult circumstances including your own chronic illness? Weak in seeking the right kind of help and taking medication that will hopefully, in time and with patience, help you to feel stronger and more able to cope?
You have done absolutely the right thing - thank god. Get whatever rest you can, and allow others to pick up some of your burdens. You've done bloody well.
Dear Gurl, just want to offer my support, please do not feel guilty for how you feel about the extreme difficulties you are coping with. You are NOT weak and you have nothing to feel bad about. You are absolutely doing the right thing in seeking the help and support that is available.
Thanks, both of you. I seem to spend my life racked with guilt about so many things:
- am I letting people down at work?
- am I letting my M down?
- am I doing the best for my DSs?
- the fact that I smacked my DS1 during some of his violent episodes years ago
- should work have appointed me when I was already beginning to suffer with this chronic illness?
Or worrying that everyone I love is going to die and leave me all alone. Everything feels so bleak. All my dreams for the future now seem impossible. I will never be well enough to travel and see the things I want to in the world.
Sorry for the awful self-pity.
My heart goes out to you, I am sorry you are going through this. You have not let anyone down but have kept on supporting those around you despite all the problems have been thrown at you.
Is your employer aware of the difficulties you are going through? Do they offer employee support/counselling?
I know it is hard but PLEASE try not to feel guilty...you can only do what you can, also it does sound as though depression may be skewing your outlook as it frequently does. I do think that once the ADs start to work (which does take a little time) things will seem less bleak & you will find it easier to cope.
Thank you. Can't post much now as I have taken the first pill and feel very drowsy/nauseous. Not quite with it really. Hope I feel better tomorrow!
Gurl, well done for getting the help you need. I get so disheartened with threads about people feeling depressed but that refuse to get help. So you've inadvertently cheered me up! I think ADs don't work immediately, someone else will advise I'm sure.
Have you considered that you are grieving? Essentially you have lost, fairly suddenly, the mother you once knew, not only your mother, but your best friend. For someone that has several people depending on her this is a lot to bear and I'm sure having a break from work and a bit of headspace will help.
OMG feel awful! Is this all in my head or does Citalopram react very quickly?
I found that it took a couple of weeks on Citalopram before I felt better....it may affect you differently however. I don't know for sure of course but the way you are feeling might be a reaction to the stress & pressure you have been under. Try to get some rest & don't hesitate to consult your GP again if you need to.
citalopram made me feel like a total zombie from the word go till I had to be taken off it 6 weeks later (I was on it for pnd and once it kicked in I became suicidal and self harmed!!!) Imo its an awful drug and I would never take it again. if you feel worse on it after a week or two please go the gp and tell them. I was swapped to prozac and within two weeks felt much better and by 6 I felt I could conquer the world.
good luck and get some help in place for your mum that's not involving you. like respite or social service visits. we all need a break too. big hugs xx
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