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Mental illness

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Pearl
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Mental illness

Post by Pearl »

So I guess I'm the first to post here? Ok here goes...

I was wondering if there is anyone else dealing with a parent who is likely suffering from undiagnosed mental illness? My mother has been showing signs of extreme paranoia in one particular area of her life, specifically, she believes her neighbors are all in a huge conspiracy together to spy on her basically 24/7. My dad is in agreement that there is not enough evidence to back up her outlandish claims, but there doesn't seem to be a way to get help or even get her evaluated because the problem is entirely outside of herself as far as she's concerned. She won't even see a marriage counselor because she's afraid they'll tell her "it's all in your head". It's such a complicated, sticky matter, and I'm silently, tearfully watching their marriage and life fall to pieces with no idea how to support. I'm the oldest daughter, and the only one living nearby.

Before I married, my dad and I talked at length about what it meant for a husband to love and serve his wife. I knew as well as he that he was not a perfect example of a godly husband. But that didn't matter because he WAS a perfect example of repentance. Now I'm seeing a wife who already had struggles with stubbornness and bitterness-- plagued by a seeming inability to reason or accept logical alternatives. I'm seeing a husband completely at a loss for how to live with and love a wife who insists he doesn't care because he doesn't believe her when she says the neighborhood is out to get her.

I expect this may end in divorce sooner or later... Likely from my mom, as she seems unable to live in one place for long without the delusions of persecution overtaking her. My dad refuses to move again. How should I support them? What can I do besides prayer of course?
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SLS
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Re: Mental illness

Post by SLS »

I am so sorry that your family is going through this. Will be praying for y'all.

I have some experience supporting loved ones who are suffering from mental illness. My grandmother had Alzheimer's (which led to similar delusions of "people out to get her"). My wife was also diagnosed with severe obsessive compulsive disorder.

I understand the pain you are feeling. You never want to see your loved ones like that. In my wife's case her OCD became so debilitating she "had no life" as she herself has described it. Her condition robbed her of joy and kept her from doing the things that she loved.

Fortunately, we were able to get my wife psychiatric help last year. Now because of God's grace, medication, counseling, and some lifestyle improvements my wife is living pretty much a normal life. I can't express to you how glad I am to see her "alive" again.

All this is to say that what needs to happen is for your mom to get medical treatment. As I can tell you from experience those who struggle with these illnesses find it very hard to seek help and will often push back when it is suggested.

For DW and I it took me bringing in my wife's sister and a trusted friend in the medical profession to intervene and get her the help she needed.

Again I will be praying for y'all. My best advice is try to find a find a way for your mother to get professional medical help.
Happily married to Serafina for 7 years. She is my Venus. ::luv2
neilEthere
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Re: Mental illness

Post by neilEthere »

I could tell a dozen or so stories - both personal and closely related - but that wouldn’t help. The statistics are pretty clear ………. 1 in 4 will suffer from a mental illness in their lifetime. Along with SLS I will pray for you and her.

As an aside …….. I recently read an article about a parent falling down the QAnon rabbit hole. His son had survived Sandy Hook but had become convinced it was some grand conspiracy. Imagine living with all of that.
LuckyInLove
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Re: Mental illness

Post by LuckyInLove »

Yes, I believe my mother has had paranoid schizophrenia for many years. She also believes her neighbors spy on her, her phones are tapped, people have broken into her condo, etc. It is extremely difficult to deal with and I won’t engage when she starts. I think supporting your dad is the best thing you can do. That is going to look different for each individual.
Pearl
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Re: Mental illness

Post by Pearl »

Need to get her medical/psychiatric help-- yes, totally agree! She is not showing herself to be a danger to herself or others yet, so I'm at a loss about how to proceed. We've been in contact with the police (she actually alerted them three separate times that I'm aware of and they followed up with my dad), we've also talked to our local NAMI group and a local psychiatrist (without mom's knowledge). Basically all say the same: get her evaluated.

The weird thing in all this is she is outwardly normal in the rest of her life. She functions fine day to day in public. But like a slow growing mold, this paranoia is taking an inch at a time. First it was "there are people on the roof using drones to hunt at night" (so her sleep, which was already poor becomes even more sporadic). Then "they have access to the HVAC system and are making it run constantly" (so she fiddles with the temperature all day). Then, "they have drones with infrared cameras that can see through walls and spy on me when I change or take a shower" (so she does so in a swim suit, in the dark). Then, "they have access to the wifi" (so now she keeps her wifi enabled appliances off, including stove, FRIDGE, phone, computer, etc) I have to call my dad if I need to reach her. I could continue. Her sleep is almost non existent now, both from hyper vigilance, and the belief that they have lasers that penetrate through the roof, ceiling and insulation, down to the first floor and into her bed to zap her in her private areas. Miraculously, a mirror or a couch cushion helps to block these attacks.

With this kind of half life, it is little wonder to me that she thinks my dad is a terrible husband since he does nothing. How could he if none of this is real?

It is good to hear your positive experience, @SLS. That is encouraging. Please all of you share any similar words if you have them and feel comfortable. And thank you for your prayers.
Irnmyk
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Re: Mental illness

Post by Irnmyk »

@Pearl,

All I can offer is prayers that God will deliver a solution that is an Ephesians 'more than we could ask or imagine'.

With mental illness close to me, I understand the frustration of not being able to do anything. My personality type has been called "results oriented". I'm a fixer. I'm the one that many close to me come to for solutions when things need to be fixed.

When it came to the mental illness of a close relative, I felt helpless. I couldn't fix it/them. It seemed that the professionals couldn't either. They would take meds a while, and then think, because the meds had them under control, "I'm just fine, why am I taking these meds?" and stop taking them. And then, naturally relapse to the state which made the meds necessary in the first place and the cycle started all over again.

I'm only offering these words (other than the commitment to prayer) to let you know that you aren't alone in this and feeling the way you do. Many of us feel (and live) your pain.
Pearl
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Re: Mental illness

Post by Pearl »

Thanks @Irnmyk. I relate to being a results driven personality. So is my father. I think God in his wisdom knew we would need a trial like this as a reminder that His agenda is the only one that matters.
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DoveGrey
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Re: Mental illness

Post by DoveGrey »

The first thing that leaps out at me is the lack of sleep your mother is getting. Lack of sleep will cause all kinds of mental health issues including paranoia and hallucinations.

Perhaps you can use this as the spring board to get help for your mother. She may not agree to see a psychiatrist, but she might see someone who can help her with sleep issues. Just make sure you get a doctor who knows what's going on with the link between sleep and psychiatry. And have either you or your dad go to the appointment with her.
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Pearl
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Re: Mental illness

Post by Pearl »

Oh believe me, the sleep is something my dad and I have considered from early on. She has struggled a long time with sleep apnea These delusions became known to us approximately 10 years ago and have slowly gotten worse along with the sleep. Of course we didn't think of mental illness until the last 3 years or so, since she was normal in almost every other way. The question has been which came first, the lack of sleep, or the mental unrest? Seems like a catch 22, chicken and egg thing...

Another hypothesis I have is that menopause was a trigger, along with the departure of the last of us kids from her nest.

We attempted many many times to get her to a GP or even a sleep specialist. She dug her heels in. Stubborn lady.
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DoveGrey
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Re: Mental illness

Post by DoveGrey »

I'm so sorry to hear that you are all in this situation. Since your mother has a legal right to refuse help, I think you may need to just support your dad. Listen to him. Perhaps help him seek therapy for what he's dealing with. @Irnmyk had great advice for you. A lot of dealing with the mentally ill is learning that you can't control their choices, and learning to cope. Your dad will need as many breaks as he can get, and perhaps help with self care strategies.

You will be in my prayers. I have a mental illness, and I know how much my husband struggled before it was under control.
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