I feel so scared and alone. I am at the point where I really don't know what to do anymore.

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My mother is 65 years old, and suffering from COPD, heart problems, and severe anxiey and depression.
I'm 22, and a full time student.

I don't even know where to begin, because the story is long and depressing.. but part of her problems, I believe, stem from the severe physical and emotional abuse inflicted on her by her stepmother.

Before I was born, my mother was an alcoholic. She went to treatment when I was an infant, and I do not remember ever seeing her in this state.

Sometime in my childhood she became addicted to Lorcet, prescribed to her for arthritis in her hands. She was a great mother, and I do not know when this started, as I was too young to notice any changes. She was always there for me, took me and my friends places, attended every dance recital, play, and sports event I was a part of. She was everything I could have asked for in a mom.

She was given a pain patch of some kind by a family member-after putting it on that day, she laid down, and never got up. Her breathing had slowed to almost a stop, her oxygen levels 64%, and she was purple and drooling when I found her that afternoon. She was rushed to the hospital, and stayed in that condition until they found the pain patch and removed it. If I had not decided to come home before going to do errands that afternoon she would have died.

After this incident, only by a few months, about two years ago, she started taking Lexapro. One day I came home to find her post-seizure, blue-lipped and barely breathing. To make a long story slightly shorter, this happened twice more before the doctors figured out she was having siezures as a side-effect from the Lexapro. So she stopped taking that and the depression and anxiety got worse.

Her doctor then prescribed her Xanax, which seemed to improve her mood, but the addict in her caused her to take them too frequently, run out, and begin drinking to calm her nerves. She drank about 10 beers one day before her sodium levels dropped so low she started siezing, and I came home once again to find my mother almost dead.

I can't even begin to explain how much emotional pain all of these near death experiences have caused me. Not to mention the rapid decline of my mother-my best friend, the person that has been there for m e my entire life is just not here anymore.

She doesn't want to even talk anymore.. her anxiety is so out of control she chews her lips up, and they are callused and dry looking. She sits on the couch, day after day and watches Court TV. She doesn't seem to care about anything anymore. She finally quit smoking cigarettes this month after she was hospitalized for pneumonia which made it impossible for her to smoke.

I know this post is long and rambling, but I guess I am just reaching out to anyone at all who is reading this. I'm so scared to lose my mother, and I'm so stressed from constantly worring about her and taking care of her. She always kept the house so nice and cooked meals for me all the time. Now I struggle to keep the house at her standards, cook healthy meals for us, take care of all of our animals, and keep good grades in school. I just can't do all of this at once. I am terrified that she is fading fast and won't be here much longer. I don't know what to do. I am consumed by this on a daily basis. I don't eat or sleep much anymore, and my social life is non existent apart from a very loving supportive boyfriend that does all he can to help.

What can I do to bring back the woman that I have known all my life?

Who is this ambivalent stranger that has taken over my mother, and why? They said there was no brain damage from all the seizures, but could they have changed her forever?

I need help..

I really need my mother, but she just isn't here anymore..

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Flower: I came to this forum when I was at the "end of my rope" during a week from hell. Just listening to all the caring advice here really helped me stabilize myself and move forward. I made a plan and that has really helped me.
Unless you live in an area where there are limited medical professionals available, I would highly recommend finding a mental health professional who treats the entire patient...just not the symptoms. The drugs are keeping your mother in a walking "coma." Some doctors view women's legitimate health concerns as "complaints" and load them up with drugs to keep them quiet. There are some drugs that help, but most will just make her foggy.
I am a firm believer in "shopping" around for a good doctor. They are no different from any other service provider. (you would never go back to a bad mechanic, would you?) Try to get some referrals from friends, or as txmaggie mentioned, your campus health counselor. Whenever I have moved to a new area I call the local hospital and ask for the head nurse. Be very specific. They have always given me great referrals.
Your Mom needs to get healthy on all levels, but she won't be able to recognize it until her head is clear.
Also, great advice from the others here: Take care of yourself and don't let this bring you down. Take a little time for yourself wherever you can find it. Can your mother afford to have someone come by for a few hours so that you can have some "me time?" I hired someone to come by once every two weeks to do a few chores for my Mom. I cannot believe how much it has helped.
Take care...check back here and let us know how it is going.
Lilli
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Flower, you have such a heavy burden at such a young age. You've gotten some good advice here re: trying to find some additional support for your mom. Can she stay alone at home while you are in school? If so, surely your school has an infirmary and mental health counsellors. You need it for YOU. Caregiving can be so stressful, and we all can so easily burn out because we spend all our energies caring for our loved ones and not ourselves. You sound like you are at rope's end. Please get some help for you.
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Flower, I think it's time to look around for maybe another doctor. You can also try calling your local Social Services mainly the Adult Services. Seek help where ever you can!! Another thing is, Adult Day Cares aren't just for the very old. They also cater to those just in need of other people. People who care. You seem to love her so much. Maybe attending church(if either of you are religious) or community programs. Being around good people in good environments are so helpful to a wounded soul. Show her that she has a different life now. NO MORE ABUSE. And that she didn't deserve it and DOES deserve everything positive she can get. For you also!
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Thank you for your replies. It is so cathartic for me to talk about this to people that can relate. I appreciate the warmness in this community.

Mom regularly goes to the doctor, and is in "good health", so says her regular doctor, and her renal doctor (her kidneys and liver functions were way down because of her seizures) and- she forgot about her heart doctor's appointment.. or as good as she can be with her COPD + her smoking habit that she just recently quit less than a month ago. She has an appointment with her regular doctor on Friday, so we will see what he has to say when he sees how pale/lethargic she is and hopefully runs some sort of test or does something..

As far as mental health, I believe it needs just as much help as her body has needed in the past couple of years. I took her to her last appointment, and she was in and out in less than ten minutes. He didn't even talk to her at all! He just sent her out with a bag of Abilify because he knows she cannot afford it at $500 a month. Her stepmother caused these mental issues, and actually verbally abused me as well until we cut her off for years. Before the stepmother died of cancer, my mother took care of the woman that would beat her with 2X4s and call her names. She truly has been through a lot.

She wouldn't help herself for the longest time, was so in denial about the Lorcet and then the Xanax, and now she is just almost zombie-like sometimes. She says she wants to get better, but hasn't been proactive at all besides quitting smoking. She looks weak and depressed, and anxious 24/7 and it hurts me to live with her and see this day after day.

We don't have family around here that can help. My brothers live in California and seem disconnected from the whole situation. They came out here the first couple times she almost died, but haven't been back.

I am just at a loss. And feeling like I'm going to lose it.
Thanks for letting me vent here

flower.
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Flower...this is a heavy burden at any age, but at 22 you are mature beyond your years. My heart aches for the loss of the mother you once knew.
Your mother needs some swift, professional intervention. I am personally not a fan of doctors perscribing drugs for many emotional issues that can be handled through counseling, etc. Most are not trained or are not patient enough to deal with an ongoing emotional issue and just "throw meds" at the problem. Not sure if your mother has had a complete mental evaluation (if not, it may be time to change doctors to one who takes a "holistic" approach to wellness.) My aunt was given a diagnosis of dementia until they found out that she had a reaction to two drugs that different doctors had perscribed. Once they corrected the meds she was back to her old self. Again, this may be a different case where your mother is concerned.
Gather all the external support you can get including friends, neighbors, relatives, mental health professionals, a clergy member (if your mom has one), etc. Also, your mother may benefit from group therapy (sounds like she has some unresolved, past "baggage" and until she resolves her issues, she will not get better...drugs just mask the problem)
The worse thing you can do is isolate yourself or feel ashamed that you are the only one going through this...you can see by this forum that it isn't true!
Come back here often, post questions, or just vent. There is such a wealth of expertise here.
Good luck,
Lilli
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Hello Flower.. im so glad you decided to post. It sounds like first and foremost mom needs to go to the doctors. A full work up! Call her doctor and set up an appt. Tell them everything you are concerned with up front. She might not be giving them the full story when/if she goes or she might not realize things on her own. This should be the first stepping stone for you. There are other things and sources out there for you. Once you know what's going on. I could go on with ideas, but honestly, you should just stick to getting a doctors advice quickly!
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Oh baby I feel so sorry for you. I, too, am the child of an mother who waited late in life to have a child (my mother was 36 when I was born) and unfortunately we've found ourselves having to deal with terrible responsibilities at an early age. Could she be receptive to having someone come in the house to visit, maybe someone from a local church or senior organization? I send you a huge, virtual hug.
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