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I can't cope with my mum's never ending catalogue of illnessess.

(22 Posts)
baloothebear Sun 23-May-10 09:59:20

Long- sorry.

I know I am being a bit unreasonable but I am torn between feeling very worried, frustrated, angry and sad for my mum.

Mum is only 58 but acts more like a 78 year old woman.She is bi-polar and has been for years. She also has many physical illnessess such as type 2 diabetes, asthma, a heart condition, a fractured spine, poor eyesight, poor hearing, weak wrists due to previous fractures. As well as bipolar she has anxiety problems and low self- esteem. She's on about 5 different types of medication. All in all she's a bit of a mess.

She dosn't help herself at all and has a crap diet, drinks loads of diet fizzy drinks(for her diabetes-hmmm) and coffee even before bed. Bipolar sufferers shouldn't drink too much coffee. She eats no chicken or fish and always orders steak and chips in a restaraunt. Not exactly a sin but if I were in her shoes I would at least try and sort out my lifestyle. She also dosn't excersise a lot.

She was bullied at her previous job as a seniour OT by her bitch of a boss and was forced into an early retirement. She seems to be spending her time going to doctor's appointments. I'd love her to take up some meaningful hobbies but she dosn't seem to have the motivation or faculties. I think her identity was largely tied up with her work and leaving work in such a nasty way has shattered her sense of self.

She started a job a sa volunteer in a charity shop but gave up after one day as she couldn't cope with the pace.hmm

She is still married to my dad and they have never had the most loving relationships as my dad is very distant emotionally. He is still working full time in a demanding job and he resents her staying at home ''doing nothing''. He hates the fact that she can't do a lot around the house and gives her a lot of grief about housework. So she's getting abuse off him.

I am a single mum and I work part time and dd goes to a child minder for two days and mum one day a week. Mum says that she wants to have dd more but I have said no as she can't even undo a pushchair strap due to her weak wrists. I need someone physically fit to cope with dd. I also think she needs her own interests.

Whe she does see dd she moans that she finds it too tiring and when she dosn't see her she moans that she is lonely.

Reading this back I feel sad for her but al;so annoyed taht she won't help herself. I feel like I have two babies to look after. I wish she was like many of the other grannys who still seem fit and active. I just feel that she is massively hard work for me. I also have realised that she started getting
more ill around about the time dd was born. I am being mean I know- but sometimes I think that she moans about being ill for attention.

I am a real cow aren't I? How can I encourage my mum to look after herself so that I can get on with looking after dd? It's very sad to watch and I don't know how to help really. I have one sister but she lives on the opposite end of the country and never visits. i just feel like I am doing all of the donkey work. So does my dad. We sound like a very unsupportive family I know but when I do visit mum I cook and clean for her which I don't mind. It's the constant offloading about her physical and mental ailments that gets to me.

Is this what growing old is really like? Terrifying.

Nancy66 Sun 23-May-10 12:01:19

You're not a cow at all - your mum sounds very high maintenance and self pitying.

she's not in the least bit old but is behaving like she is and she's given up.

it must be depressing for her to have struggled so much with her health but it sounds as if she'd rather give in to illness than work around it.

It does sound like she's lonely and unhappy but if she can't cope with voluntary work in a charity shop then she's pretty much unemployable - so I understand your dad's frustration too.

does she have any hobbies or interests where she could join a local group and make a few friends? My mum (in her 60s) is in the ramblers and she loves it.

As she seems to be in such a negative frame of mind at the moment - perhaps you could accompany her to a GP visit and find out what help she can get - any physical therapy for her wrists for example?

pippop1 Sun 23-May-10 12:02:13

How about suggesting she trains with the Samaritains to be a volunteer listener?

Earlybird Sun 23-May-10 12:09:09

Does she have friends?
Member of a church?

Look into activities for senior adults - water aerobics at a health club (would help her physically), bingo nights, book group, sewing/knitting/cake decorating, etc.

Is there any sort of senior drop in centre in her area?

She sounds depressed, and in need of structure, and activities that will occupy/interest her (rather than focusing on her ailments).

littlejo67 Sun 23-May-10 19:15:52

You poor thing. You have an extra person that you feel responsible for. Its difficult for you as she does not help herself in lots of ways.
You are left with a longing that she can be a more effective parent and grand parent.
That she can be there for you physically and emotionally and not just for herself.

I dont think you are a cow at all, I think its totally understandable to feel the way you do. Let go of the guilt you carry for feeling that way. Your mother is high maintenance and you get little in return to recharge your emotional batteries. Its ok to be sad about the relationship you have not got with her.

She is in this pattern of relating to people. It will be difficult to change things now but not imposible. Not got the answers for you but just wanted to reply. Virtual hug....

deste Sun 23-May-10 19:27:02

"I also have realised that she started getting more ill around about the time dd was born."

My own mother was always ill, we didn't really believe her and funnily enough she was the opposite of your mum. When my son was born all her ailments disappeared.

baloothebear Sun 23-May-10 20:59:13

Thanks for your kind replies. It is indeed as though she has given up. She has really embraced her bi-polar disorder and any other illness she has. I know this sounds wierd but I almost feel that she thinks herself ill or makes herself worse. I think she longs for some sympathy and love but we always end up bickering as I loose patience with her. My dad looses patience too as sometimes she can't even do something simple like tell the time.

I just can't quite believe that anyone could get themselves into such a state. We have always had a rocky relationship. I think she will go down hill and end up dead before her time. It's so sad. How could she do this to herself?

baloothebear Sun 23-May-10 21:06:16

And yes- she is certainly unemployable. She has convinced herself that she's useless- so she acts useless.

deste Mon 24-May-10 08:58:12

She sounds like my mother to a T, loved the attention. She couldn't do anything either.

Lucy85 Mon 24-May-10 09:07:16

She sounds like somone I know too. The basic issue is loneliness - there's not enought to think about so you think about yourself.
I think voluntering or something to get her out of the house - a project? gardening? working with children? special needs? - just something to take her out of herself, her house, her issues, - you'll find she gets pulled into other things.

However easier said than done as bipolar is a real issue. I feel for you juggling your own life and hers, and managing the huge amount of frustration this causes. I have totally failed on this front in my own life to get this person to do anything other than sit at home moaning, but just wanted to let you know you are not alone!

Lemonylemon Mon 24-May-10 10:57:36

I think that your mum is also suffering from depression. Has she seen the doctor about any side effects from drugs that she is taking? This may also have something to do with it.

Ezma Mon 24-May-10 14:38:09

Sounds v. like my mum too. Mine is a chronic alcoholic and smokes like a chimney and has done for 30 plus years. As a result she has a whole host of health problems but she obv. never makes/ acknowledges there's a link between them and what she's doing to herself (e.g. high bp, asthma etc). She's also vulnerable as a result to chest infections etc and because of the meds she's prescribed she can't take over the counter remedies so drink copious amounts of hot toddies or similar to get her through the latest infection/ bug etc! As a result she moans about how she's tired all the time, can't do much and acts like she is old when she's only 58 - lots of sighing and saying "well I won't be around for much longer". I'm amazed she holds down a ft job but she has no outside interests or friends and she only does social things if it's with me and DS. Sorry for highjacking your post but the viewpoint that I have had to take (I'm a single mum working ft with one 2y DS)is that I do feel desparately sad for her, I would love to help her and give her the support she so clearly needs but there's only so much I can do until she realises that she can do stuff for her self and take back control of her life. I know her life has been crap at times but you can do things to make your life less lonely, more fulfilling etc. It sounds as if you do a huge amount for your mum already (way more than I do blush) but you are obviously juggling an awful lot and it is not fair of your mum to be the burden she is. She is your mother and not the other way round. Sorry you can probably tell that I needed a good vent too! grin

baloothebear Mon 24-May-10 21:22:24

Ezma- I get you completely. your mum sounds like mine. Frustrating isn't it?

ineedtochat Tue 25-May-10 00:33:21

Lots of empathy from me baloothebear, I have a mum like this too. She is 65 now and has been like it since dad died 15 years ago. I have noticed her symptoms always get worse around bank holidays or when my brother or I are doing something we will enjoy.sad.
I get really cross that she moans so much we might not belive her when she has got something seriously wrong (shes being tested for bone cancer at the moment).
I would really encourage your mum to take up an interest if she is willing, I've given up with mine but Iam sure it would help her think of something other than herself the whole time. Good luck.

Ezma Tue 25-May-10 09:24:40

The one thing that I've learnt from it all so far is that I want someone to tell me pronto if I ever show any signs of heading down the same road as my mum! grin It is incredibly frustrating Baloo as you say. The one positive for me is that when I separated from my husband, the thought of turning into my mum stopped me from sitting around, moping all day and feeling sorry for myself. It's sad that she, like other mums people have posted about on here, is not the example to me that she should be but the complete oppostite of what I want for myself.....

foxy123 Tue 25-May-10 09:52:23

Wow I thought it was only my dad who was like this!

His complaints about his health went through the roof as soon as my DD was born, but it backfired when he claimed he may have TB and I wouldn't let him near her for a month!

He is an alcoholic chain smoker. The amount of money being wasted on the NHS for his various scans must be incredible, but he glazes over when I tell him to stop smoking & drinking.

I have definitely come to the conclusion it is all for attention seeking as the docs still haven't found anything after 2 years...

deste Tue 25-May-10 16:35:17

"I have noticed her symptoms always get worse around bank holidays or when my brother or I are doing something we will enjoy" Yes I can also relate to that. Everytime I went on holiday I would get her telling me how bad everyone was to her or how ill she was. When we came home she always managed to land in hospital. Either way your holiday was ruined until I sussed her out and told her so.

FelicityMintcake Tue 25-May-10 16:39:14

Both my parents are the same.

We have endless joyless conversations about hospital appointments, imminent hospital appointments, trips to the doctors etc.

They do have health concerns I admit, but they are not life threatening and they seem to want to be unwell is all I can put it down to. Or at least for everyone to think they could be. It's very wearing and depressing.

ineedtochat Tue 25-May-10 22:25:58

Wow, deste, what did she do when you told her so? Might be interesting baloothebear.

fartmeistergeneral Tue 25-May-10 22:37:29

I'm in the same position with my dad and my sister. My dad is 80 and on his own, and although I visit as often as I can with young children and a part time job (5 days) - he lives an hour's drive away - I do find it depressing and draining. He has never had any hobbies, and I long ago gave up encouraging him. His whole life revolves around going to the doctors for one thing or another. He's 80 so you can imagine he has a good number of ailments, but he does revel in them, and I can imagine if there is NOTHING else going on in your life, that this would become a total focus. He was telling me on the phone tonight that tomorrow is a busy day - a doctor's appt and an armchair being delivered hmm

I do feel for him and his lonliness, but am helpless. It sometimes is unbearable to hear his Daily Mail rants and constant news watching with ridiculous theories about the state of the world, combined with long chats about his aches and pains. This sounds awful, i love him completely, and I sit and listen, he doesn't know I feel this way, nice to be able to come on here and rant.

deste Wed 26-May-10 17:17:44

I just told her that she did it every time we went away and I wasn't going to put up with it any more, she was speechless.

Maggieg71 Thu 27-Mar-14 14:49:59

I know how you feel,my mum has a new illness every week.Earache,Headache,Pain in her hip,Dizzyness,Infected eye,Rash,High blood pressure,Toothache.She calls the paramedics about 3 times a year,and the doctors at the hospital are getting fed up with her.She has also insisted she has Cancer/Lupus/pneumonia/Diabetes/TB.You name it shes had it.If you take her anywhere usually we have to go home because shes not well or not able.Its draining and Depressing,and the illnesses always happen on a Thursday(My day off work)because she thinks I will come rushing round.I have stopped taking any notice of her now,just sick and tired of it.(p.s. She was on the phone this morning,todays illness is Flu)!

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