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I have to drive an hour and a half to see her. On back roads since I have a anxiety disorder. And even then I'm afraid of an accident making me detour onto Route 29. As the only way to finish driving there. I bought a GPS but the way I go if there is a detour the only way there might be to beltway or route 29.
I'm completely stressed out by mom now. Won't be driving there till March unless emergency or she goes in the hospital. Since I am afraid of bad weather without warning in winter.


Barbara

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I bet your mom be more accepting of monthly four hour visit rather than seeing you twice yearly for single over nights.
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My brother is better now. Mostly verbal yelling and complaining. Its only occasionally that he gets physical. And he is helping mom get dressed now that she has her injury. But I will call Adult Protective Services if things get worse.
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O my goodness, Hadnuff, this does put a different slant on things. Her son is being physically abusive to her? Are you sure? I guess APS wasn't sure when they investigated. If Mom protects him and claims she tripped on something it is hard for them to take action.

But worrying about her safety as well as everything else has got to be a huge burden to you. I am so sorry. Hugs.

APS was called a few years ago. That doesn't mean that they can't be called again, if anything suspicious happens. Tell the laundry lady to report anything else like this to you, and then you call APS. Physical abuse of your mother is perhaps worth persuading your husband or a friend to drive you there. This must be stopped.

Maybe it has stopped. Maybe brother has settled down and is more helpful now. I'm willing to bet that he loves her, but he is mentally ill. If he can't/won't control his anger he is not a suitable house mate for her.

I've advised you to detach from her day-to-day care, and my advice still stands. But seeing that she has protection from a mentally ill son who can't control his anger is in a different category, I think. Don't take it on yourself. Don't try to heal or control your brother. But do put it in official hands if needed.

Again, hugs. This must be so painful for you.
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Another explanation. Brother moved back home in August. He has personality disorder. Gets excessively angry. Lady that does moms laundry and light cleaning told me. She called upset about bruises all on mom arm. Said if she ever saw brother hurt mom she would call police. Mom fell and hurt her ribs eight or nine months earlier. Mom told me she slipped on something. During this phone call I found out that brother pushed mom in anger. This woman is a elder care taker for others. She told me I should come see mom more often to see how she is. And keep an eye on her. A few years ago Adult Protective Services was called by moms therapist. Nothing was done. The social worker I talked to said they don't do anything unless its an extreme case.
My brother is actually helping mom a little now. Help her get dressed in morning and get robe on at night. He has always fixed stuff around house and takes her to doctor appointments.
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So, Barbara, who is telling you that you should visit more? I'm curious about that.
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Let me explain the situation. I used to visit once a month when my father was alive. I would stay overnight. Go home next morning. Then Dad got sick was in hospital. Husband took me to visit a few times. A week later I had a massive infection and ended up in the hospital. Dad then died while I was still hospitalized. I was in hospital for three weeks. Then rehab and home bound for about three months. By then my car was dead. Nervice about driving in new car and not haven driven for over four months. Had excuse not to go visit mom. I think husband took me once, not sure. So the next time I drove to see mom was her birthday. Found reasons not to go again for a bunch of months. Ended up going to visit only twice a year. Chanukah and her birthday. Mothers day is always a week or less away from her birthday. So it was always celebrated on one day. This has gone on for years. I do talk to mom on phone every few days. It was suggestioned to me to visit more often now that she is so frail and old. To keep up with her condition and see when I have no choice but to get her help or put in nursing home. Plus, mom keeps saying she wants to see me more. The reason I was happy I slipped into just two visits isn't just my driving anxiety. It's also that mom is so negative. Frail and I hate to watch her struggling to do things when she could have help. And watching her baby my middle age brother. Doing stuff for him when he should be doing those things for her.
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Let me ask you this: you visit. You drive back roads. Your anxiety increases. You stay 8 hours. You can't help her or take away her pain. She says ooow and "the pain" for 8 hours. Your anxiety increases. You drive home anxious. The ride home adds to your anxiety.

How is this helping either you or her?
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Barbara, I agree with Sendme that telling yourself your mother is responsible for the mess she's in is not likely to do much to reduce your anxiety. I also agree with her that the help you can give is unavoidably restricted by your own *essential* needs. It's not like you have any option about it, is it? You can't cover the distance. Not don't want to or can't be bothered - you can't do it. That simple.

But there's another point that I think might also help you get a new perspective on it. That mess your mother is in… well, how bad is that mess, really? To be honest, it could be a heck of a lot worse.

You may not think much of your brother's caregiving abilities. But he's *there.* If there ever really is a crisis - I won't give examples because you'll only have needless nightmares over them - then he'll deal with it. He may not be energetic or imaginative or inclined to bust a gut over helping her, but he's there. She's not on her own. Many elderly people are, you know. They really are stuck. Your mother has somebody living on the premises - so from that point of view, she's fine.

Then you worry about your mother's pain. She calls you constantly and complains about it. When you suggest possible solutions, though, she doesn't want to follow up on them. What does that tell us?

Firstly, it tells you that the pain - though it's real, and I'm not belittling that because it would get anybody down, poor lady - is not that bad. It's not bad enough for her to want to do anything constructive about it, for example. So you know: it's bad, it's miserable for her, she deserves sympathy - but it's not THAT bad. You are not leaving your mother in agony while you whistle a tune and go on your merry way.

Secondly, it tells you that your mother isn't really interested in your solving her problems. She just wants someone to talk to about them. I wonder: have you ever thought that the reason she goes on and on about them is that it's a habit? That she's got used to talking about this subject, and forgotten the other, perhaps more positive and interesting, things that you and she could discuss?

I'm not suggesting that it isn't very important that your mother does have someone to talk to about the pain she's experiencing and anything else that might be troubling her. What is being forgotten by both of you, though, is that instead of sharing her trouble she's just passing it on to you. What do you suppose happens when you finish a phone call? My guess is that she goes back to whatever she keeps busy with and forgets all about the conversation, while you're left in a little puddle of guilt and anxiety for hours afterwards. That's not sharing, that's passing the buck.

So sympathise with her, ask if there is anything she would like you to do, make a note of anything you can do, explain why if it's something you can't do; but then, crucially, move the conversation along. And afterwards what you need to repeat to yourself is that mother is doing okay. Not perfect - whose life is? - but okay.

There is nothing in her life that will be improved by your being ill with worry. Doesn't help her, very bad for you. Focus on *what helps.*
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Your mother calls and says she has very bad pain. Let's say you drop everything, spend an anxiety-filled hour and half on the roads, get there ... and do what for her pain? Do you really have a superpower to stop her pain, and it only works in person? Really?

Over the years I've known a few people with anxiety and with panic disorders. One very dear relative is included. It seems that therapy can be VERY helpful, not just for finding the right medicine but also teaching techniques for dealing with the panic when it attacks.

Please, take care of yourself. Do that first. Do that now.
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Barbara, might I ask who is managing your anti anxiety meds? It sounds as though you need something more, perhaps an antidepressant as well as some behavioral techniques that will help uou with the anxiety and the rumination and dread.

4 hours is a long time to spend! At least that's how it strikes me.
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My husband could drive me once in a while. He is not going to want to much. It takes an hour on the beltway. And he hates traffic. If he stays he will be pushing me to leave after four hours. Mom feels that isnt much.
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Can your husband drive you
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Look into EMDR and dind a therapist trained in it. Its very helpful for anxiety.
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Try to focus on your own available resources. You can't give what you don't have. It won't work to tell yourself that
'Mom is responsible for the mess she got herself in'.
You cannot be the one to help her because you are ill.
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I just posted another entry. Maybe I can get therapy. Im trying to tell myself that she is responcible for the mess she got herself in. Its hard when she keeps calling and being upset repeating about about very bad pain is and cant hardly do anything. And brother knows this and wont fix meals for her, etc. I say I cam hire someone to help you dress and make meals. She says no or I'll see. I dont want that for now.

Barbara
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Oh, I wanted to add that while courage and strength are good things when needed, we also need to learn other things, like moderation, relaxation, limits, control, boundaries, contentment and peace of mind.
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I agree. I would consult with a professional to see how I could treat the anxiety. It's not healthy and will make you physically ill. I wasn't nearly as anxious as you and I got a lot of health issues form sustained high anxiety. I learned first hand that I could not subject myself to constant stress. You do the best you can. You then have to let it go. The problem is that sometimes we need help in learning how to do that. That's when a professional comes in handy. They can teach us tools to use that will help us.
I wish you best of luck.
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Hadnuff - in your previous posts you have openly said you have an anxiety disorder. Please don't be offended here - but I think you are letting that disorder take over your actions, thoughts and perceptions. Case in point - worrying about "what ifs". If we all focused on the bad "what ifs" no one would ever leave their homes. Is there a professional counsler you can talk to - to help you get control over your anxiety? I say this with the best of intentions - it must be hard for you to go through each day imagining the worst that could happen.
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Hadnuff, It is so easy for others to judge about how often you see your Mom! That is just wrong. You may feel worse reporting to the PT that you will visit more, then getting her answer, "Good!" That is just psychological abuse, and they don't know it. You can choose to stop reporting to people. Start thinking better of yourself.
You really have Hadnuff, that can change somehow.
Song: " From a distance, the world looks like your friend...."
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Sorry, I typed before seeing a PM.

I think you have a few choices:

1. Research and locate additional support for your mother while living with your brother.

2. Accept that you don't feel confident in his care and make arrangements for her to live closer to you, with all the responsibility that entails (and that wouldn't be my first recommendation).

3. Come to terms with the situation as it is.

I say this not critically, but you ARE going to become ill over all this stress.
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CountryMouse sums up the situation insightfully and delicately. You're going to make yourself even more ill if you allow the perceived responsibility to dominate your thoughts, and your life.

Your brother is on site; that's his responsibility.
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My anxiety got worse after mom told me yesterday that she can't bend her arm. And the comming blizzard with possible and probable power outages. In my area and moms. Starting tomorrow afternoon. Then all the "What Ifs" come to my mind. All really bad of cource. Part of the what ifs is me having to go to moms house or try to help by making phone calls. My energy is depleted already. Dont have any left for the comming storm. But I will get a hot drink and try to get my mind off mom and the storm.
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Barbara, this is what has happened most recently.

The appointment you had to jump through hoops to arrange has now taken place. During that appointment, the PT, who after all had been dealing on the phone with you, made a conversational enquiry to your mother about how often you - the person she had thought to be in charge - were there in the house. Perhaps she had expected to see you there and was surprised, mildly, that you weren't.

So later on, during a different conversation with you that had nothing to do with monitoring your attendance, when you were carrying guilt from your mother's report of that earlier conversation during the PT visit, you spontaneously told the PT that you would visit more often. And the PT said good, because she was thinking in terms of everyday scenarios and everyday relationships - which by the way, in your case you do not have - and generally speaking one likes to think of elders enjoying frequent visits. And that's *all* she meant.

So, but, tell me: did the PT say a solitary critical word to you about your "failure" (only in your eyes!) to visit your mother more frequently? No. I will put money on it that she said no such thing.

Listen. Your *anxiety* tells you that you should be physically present to tend to your mother. But reality should tell you that a) you can't, because your ability to travel is restricted and the distance too great; and b) given your brother lives with your mother; given that all of this blew up *because* the PT was dealing with your mother's pain; and given that your brother is, as you type, supposed to be taking your mother to a related appointment - there is not even any *need* for you to be physically present. Other people are there to help her. Nothing terrible will happen to her just because you can't get there very often.

What you might like to do right now is make yourself a hot drink and sit down with a book or a tv programme you enjoy. Or take a bath. Whatever will help you to switch off and get out of this anxiety tailspin.

You are living with so much FOG - Fear, Obligation, Guilt - that even the most general discussion of your role in your mother's care triggers complete panic. So. Deep breaths, relax, all is well, your mother is in good hands and there is nothing you need to contribute today. Planning journeys to your mother's house is not something you need to do now. Please, at least take this evening off and take care of yourself.
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I thought she was living with your brother and that he was supposed to be responsible for her home care?
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I was trying to distance myself. But. situation with moms arms, shoulders, and neck injury turned for the worse. The physicaltherapist started working with her last week. But mom is feeling more pain and said she can't bend her arm now. She should be at the orthopedist right now. Hopefully he has an answer for whats wrong. The therapist asked mom how often I visit. Mom said twice a year. Mom told me the therapist said I thought she was more involved in your life. So when therapist called me to say she was going to be late to her appointment with mom. I told her I was going to start visiting mom more often. The therapist said good. I had planed on visiting four times a year now that she is so frail. Before her injury. I guess I will visit even more than that. She really needs someone there at least five days a week to help dress, etc. It was a battle just to agree to see the social worker. Seriously dought she will agree to any help unless it's mostly or all paid by medicare. Which it probably won't be. Just wish my anxiety didn't get in the way. Still trying to distance myself emotionally. Trying to think of her as a client not my mother. Pretty hard to do.

Barbara
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Whether driving to visit your mom, or anything else, I have found the following to be a great tool. My trainer at the gym is always pushing me to do more. The way he gets me to is by saying...you can do anything for 30 seconds. At first I didn't understand but he explained saying...you can handle any situation, any amount of pain and suffering for 30 seconds, as long as you know it will stop after 30 seconds. Then when you make it through the 30 seconds you start again...say I can do anything for 30 seconds...and keep going. I am up to intervals of 60 seconds and I use it for everything that causes me issues, especially anxiety. I hope it can help you.

Angel
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I thought you were trying to distance yourself from your mom. I would try to work with a counselor to get some peace. And if your mom is okay and receiving proper care and attention, why not just focus on something that is less troubling and more peaceful to you? Maybe courage and strength will come down the road later. Just be gentle with yourself and work on feelings of calm and contentment. We all need different things at different times in our lives.
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