Does my mum need help?

I feel like my mum needs help but I don’t know what to do. I live abroad so only see her around the summer and holidays, for about a month each time (although we talk lots). I notice she drinks a lot, just by herself she drank a whole bottle of wine last night.

She also does this strange thing where she’ll lie or exaggerate injuries for sympathy. Last week she said she hurt her knee and couldn’t walk, and I was worried so helped do everything. Then I happened to see her through the window walking around perfectly fine. But when I walked in, she started limping and wincing. I don’t mind doing the work but I wish she wouldn’t lie. Sometimes she’ll complain about headaches to me, then I’ll hear her on the phone complaining about completely different pains. A few times she’s got confused and flustered when a group of us ask how her leg or head or back is.. because she knows she’s told each of us something different. Any time one of us encourages her to see a doctor she just makes some excuse why that won’t help. Then continues to complain about all the pains and problems.

I have to clean a lot, because she’s started to just leave things lying around (food, dirty dishes, clothes etc). And she’s also started eating a lot more unhealthy.

She didn’t used to be this way. I notice her visibly deteriorating (putting on weight, less fit, more slow to understand things etc). And while some of that is old age, I’m positive the alcohol and bad food and lifestyle isn’t helping. I’ve tried to suggest making positive changes, but she just gets defensive or just changes subject.

No idea what to do...

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  • Get the rest of your family involved. If they won't help or are not there call CPS you will be removed and that might be the motivation she needs to get help.

  • Wow. I'm the OP and I just want to say thanks to everyone who replied with compassion and understanding below. You've no idea how much it helps to hear support, even from strangers online.. I really didn't expect a reply, much less a serious one. It's tough, because I'm alone (to the person who asked about siblings: no, I'm an only child and she raised me as a single parent - my dad left us when I was a kid).

    The changes have been slow and gradual, but always toward the negative/downward. For now, I've decided to cancel my return flight and stay here longer, under the excuse of "covid making travel difficult". Hopefully things improve, if not I'll try to get help.

    Thanks again.

  • Yes. Could be mental illnesses

  • This is tough and I can relate. Before I offer some advice - Do you have siblings? Did she raise you as a single parent?

  • It's better two explore two options.
    Irrespective of your and her age, since you realize what's happening, I consider you to be a mature person you can talk to her and without being judgemental , talk it over.
    With affectionate and compassionate prodding she will open up.
    First understand the problem and then alone you can try to sort it out. Some traumas are very deep but who is better than a loving relative?
    Don't talk about positive changes. These fashionable methods and terms don't help. Alcoholism is going to further take her downhill.
    If there are any organic issues developing--in her brain--they will deteriorate further with alcohol.
    If things become very difficult, get professional help from a skillful but compassionate ( and not a greedy) family member or an honest and qualified psychiatrist.

  • I want to impregnate Sarina with 3 babies.

  • The answer to your question is almost certainly "yes", but you'll probably have trouble getting it without her cooperation. If you know her principal physician, try to get in to see him or her and explain all the circumstances you set out here. It would be MUCH better if she goes with you, but that will make it more awkward for you, but you may not be able to get that to happen. You can go see him/her even if she doesnt go, but he/she won't be able to tell you much because the UK has privacy laws like the U.S. does; still it would be helpful to her doctor to know what you know so he/she can treat her mote effectively. I will hope that the two of you can go together. She seems to be suffering with either depression or dementia or both, so the sooner they can evaluate her, the more likely they'll be able to effectively treat her and stem the decline. This will not be easy for either you or her, but she is incredibly lucky to have you with her and caring about her and caring for her. I'm sorry this is happening, and I will pray for both of you. Best wishes my brave, young friend.

  • By my guess, if it goes on more then a year then help is possibly need, though I’m not sure what will.

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