Need courage and strength to start visiting Mom more often.

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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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