My wee mum is 77 and is hyper anxious 24/7. She is forgetting a lot. She’s a shadow of the dedicated, nurse-manager she was all her working life. Since retiring, at 72, she has declined rapidly. She no longer has confidence in herself. It’s like she’s stuck in ‘fight or flight’ mode. This has been going on for at least 5 years and has had different medications but stops taking them soon after she starts feeling better, but she doesn’t remember that. She fell last year and told the doctors the anxiety only started after that. She was treated for post-concussion disorder, they gave her tools for coping with her anxiety. She forgets about them, then refuses to use them when I remind her.
I recently moved back from living abroad for 20 years. I Skyped my mum 3 times a week and she’d lay it on thick how much she missed me. Mum has now got me feeling like I’m responsible for her. She says she can’t stand being alone as she is very anxious and scared. When my husband goes away for work she pretty much begs me to stay over at her house and I feel awful saying no. I know she isn’t well and I don’t know how to help her. I feel like I’m ‘leading the horse to water’ and she won’t drink.
She’s now very impatient and intolerant of others and driving me nuts. I’m trying my best not to lose my patience as I understand she doesn’t mean it.
How do I help her? How can I help me? Can I go to her doctor behind her back? Should I be getting counselling if she’s refusing it? Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Hello, Bella Blue. I can’t help much with your questions as my own caring was very different. However, I do think that you could write to your mum’s doctor and tell them exactly what’s going on. They won’t be able to talk to you about her unless she gives permission, but that doesn’t stop you feeding information to them.
You are right to think about how to look after yourself. If you need counselling it doesn’t matter if your mum has refused it. (I had some sessions at our local cancer care centre even though my husband didn’t want any.)
Hello Bella Blue
My circumstances are different to yours, but at one point I wrote to my late husband’s Doctor, listing my concerns. He did take note, a fortunately hubby allowed me to go to an appointment with him.
At least write to the Dr, and keep a copy of the letter. Your concerns can’t be ignored.Explain you feel counselling will help you
Hi Bella Blue and welcome
Unfortunately much of what you describe are signs of old age, some could also be signs of dementia. Sadly theres nothing can be done to ‘cure’ either.
Yes by all means write to her doctor with her symptoms but there is no drugs or medication that would help much other than antidepressants perhaps
Rather than feeling guilty or irritated from the guilt she puts on you, trying changing it to being sad. It’s sad she is getting so old and so needy, it’s sad she can’t remember things, it’s sad her functions are declining, but that’s all. You are not guilty of causing any of it, nor is she. it’s also hard to be angry at something that is sad.
All you can do is make sure she has any help she is entitled to, and that you perhaps act as her Care Manager arranging and corodinating things rather than doing her day to day care.
Counselling may help you, as too will being on this forum and reading other people’s stories. We are all different and muddle through in our own ways. There’s no one right or wrong way. Just look after yourself mentally, physically and emotionally as it will be a stressful time, no matter what you do, or don’t do. It’s just life.
Hope this helps a little
I am afraid caring for your mother will be difficult to change. She is set in her ways. As carers sometimes is it us who needs the support. In dealing with our relatives.
Seek a carers support network in your area.
Try to put in place coping strategies for you!
When you husband goes away can not go away. Stay with a friend etc. When your mother knows you are not always going to be available each time. This might instil you are not going to jump to it each time.
Hi Bella Blue,
Mum CANNOT just have you because she wants you.
If she needs someone with her that much, then her choices are
she goes into residential care
she accepts someone else in the house
she manages her condition alone.
I’m afraid you are just going to make yourself less available.
Put your answerphone on, and leave it on.
Don’t tell her when your husband is away.
Do activities which take you away from home.
When your husband goes away, could you go too?
Sometimes it’s nice just to be at home alone for some quiet “me” time. To listen to your favourite music, read a book, make a dress (I love sewing, you may hate it!). I get the feeling that you never get the opportunity.
My husband died when I was just 54, my housebound mum made various unsubtle hints about having a “live in daughter”.
No house would EVER be big enough for both of us! My youngest son has severe learning difficulties, so I could use M as my excuse!
You and your husband should be enjoying each other’s company, nut running after mum. I learned to my cost that the more i did, the more i was expected to, until I was on the verge of a breakdown. Counselling helped me turn my life round, by giving me permission to say “No” without actually using the word.
Confronted with a seemingly endless list of jobs, the faster I did them, the faster they came, the counsellor suggested a new strategy. To say to mum “You asked me to do this, so let’s finish this job before we started another” I worked at the speed I wanted to. Once I felt I was in control of the jobs, it was a lot easier.