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Worried about DMum's mental health

(11 Posts)
ConcernedDD Fri 24-Feb-17 19:19:24

NC'd for this.

My mum has always had mental health problems for as long as I can remember. Bouts of depression, compulsive/OCD behaviour, verbal and physical tics, manic behaviour, and alcohol abuse.

She's been an alcoholic for well over 25 years now and as a result she has significant nerve damage. She went to the Dr about it and when she phoned me to tell me, I instantly knew it would be related to her drinking. She denied all knowledge - she's in fact never acknowledged her alcoholism and the family don't discuss it. It's an open secret that has caused a lot of in-fighting, shame and upset. I had a horrible childhood as a result.

As far as I know she only sought help from a therapist for her depression sometime in the early 90s. I don't believe has she ever approached a proper Dr about it nor been on any medication.

I feel very sad when I look at her. She's in her mid 50s but she looks much older, due to nerve damage she jitters, she can't string a sentence together, and most of the time I haven't a clue what she's talking about. It's been my suspicion for a while now that she has alcohol-related dementia. She has very poor short term memory, and most of the time, she repeats things she has told you just minutes ago (even if it doesn't make sense, she will still repeat the combination of words).

When I was younger I tried to help by asking my dad to get help for her, and we would try to stage interventions over her drinking. I got involved in this from a relatively young age, and the resultant lashing out from my mum meant that I ended up feeling powerless to do anything. We could never make any kind of headway with these interventions and I just stopped trying.

No one in the family discuss it or try to deal with it in any way. I feel she's been let down throughout her life by people who were supposed to care for her. Instead she's just a laughing stock in her community and among aquaintances.

Since moving out I have shut myself off from trying to do anything to change the situation. I've let go of the anger I felt at my childhood and now all I feel is sadness for her. I don't have a bond with her but I know there is something there that is telling me to care, because I am her daughter.

Is there anything I can realistically do to change this situation? She needs help to stop drinking, she needs to eat proper meals so she can get all the vitamins she needs, and if that happened some of the damage she is doing to herself could be reversed. If she received adequate care and support for her mental health issues she could turn her life around. But I don't know how to do it. No one in the family will talk to me about it.

ConcernedDD Fri 24-Feb-17 19:25:41

I didn't want to make my first post too long but don't want to drip feed either.

She hasn't had a job for over 10 years. She tried to get work but she couldn't even write a CV. I saw one of her attempts and it was a piece of torn paper with some incoherent writing on it. To think she sent that in to various organisations - I can't imagine what they must have thought when they received it.

She can't use a computer so she was never able to find work that way. She used to have a typewriter years ago but due to her drinking I doubt she would know how to type now. She also can't read (not because she's illiterate but because of the drinking) but she covers it up by saying her glasses don't work.

She has no routine in her life whatsoever which I think exacerbates her drinking and mental health problems. She spends compulsively/obsessively and is in debt as a result. If you walked in to a shop with her she would have to pick something up, absolutely anything, and buy it. I think it is one of the only things that gives her any kind of happiness.

ImperialBlether Fri 24-Feb-17 19:32:27

Oh you poor thing. This sounds so distressing. Who does she live with at the moment? Does she have any regular contact with her GP?

You say she's going into debt, but who is lending her money?

I know it's not important, but I really doubt she sent off the CVs. I doubt she was organised enough to find an envelope, address it properly, buy a stamp and post it, so don't worry about that. I know it's the least of your problems, though.

ImperialBlether Fri 24-Feb-17 19:33:04

Sorry, I know you say she saw the doctor, but is she having regular appointments?

ConcernedDD Fri 24-Feb-17 19:37:47

She lives with my dad. They have stayed together despite his obvious unhappiness. She desperately needs him and I don't know how she'd cope without him. She's got no income of her own and very little support system as she hasn't got friends. Just her elderly mum and dad (who have their own health problems to deal with), my sister and I.

I don't think she has regular contact with her GP. When I have asked what came of the nerve problems, she just says that it's all sorted out, but obviously it's not. I can't face asking my dad because I know he will just fob it off. He's not in denial about her problems but he won't face up to them at all.

She gets money from pay day lenders, I think she must do it through my dad's info and he must let her do it.I don't know how she physically has the capability to go through the processes but somehow she gets money. I think she uses my dad's credit card as well. She's also been lent a lot of money from friends who no longer speak to her because they never got their money back.

ucandoit Fri 24-Feb-17 19:42:45

What about a support group like AA. I know they have contact numbers which you could ring and they could advise you. It's worth a shot.

ConcernedDD Fri 24-Feb-17 19:47:06

Hi I could give them a call and discuss it. The problem is that she doesn't admit she's got a problem. The only time I have ever thought she might at least have an inkling she had a problem was when my sister and I were still living at home (i was about 15 or so) and we asked our mum why she was drinking at 10am. She got very defensive, told us to leave her alone etc etc. The next day I couldn't find her drink all day, then my sister found a poured glass of wine in the glass cabinet, so she'd been hiding it there all day. That makes me think at least she was aware there was an issue. But other than that she seems oblivious.

My suspicion is that when she saw the GP about her nerve problems, he may have asked her if she drank alcohol, and this would have been the red flag for her to get out of there. She doesn't want to stop drinking, it's one of the only things in her life (apart from spending) that she can control and that she wants to do. Drinking is her entire life basically.

ucandoit Fri 24-Feb-17 20:18:16

Please do look them up. I'm sure they have given advice to many people who have been in a similar situation you are now. My mom has been in recovery for years now. I could completely relate to all the symptoms you have spoken about. Somewhere deep inside she must know alcohol is no longer working for her. AA are people who have been where your mom is, recovered and could identify with your mom. Alanon is another support group for families of alcoholics. They teach you about how you can only control yourself and not other people actions. They will also help you to protect yourself and learn about this horrible disease

ConcernedDD Fri 24-Feb-17 20:47:52

Thank you so much, I'll make contact with them.

chickenwing Fri 24-Feb-17 21:04:10

She needs AA and you need Alanon. Google it and you'll get the phone numbers. It's the only way. She's too far gone to do this on her own, if she was hiding drink when you were 15, I don't know what age you are now but I'm assuming adult? It's no wonder she's showing signs of dementia.

Most AA will say she has to want to go for them to help but honestly if it was my mum I would get her to a meeting any way I could, even if it meant lying to her and putting up with the fall out afterwards. I'm not meant to advise that, I'm in AA and have been sober a few years now but this is heart breaking sad call the helpline or just look up the website, find your nearest meeting and take her there asap. It doesn't matter if she's had a drink, that's what we are there for xx

Poorlybabysickday Fri 24-Feb-17 21:07:22

She sounds like my dad, who has now died sad. Unfortunately you can't make her get help if she doesn't want it, but you should definitely contact Alanon for support for yourself flowers

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