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My mother developed depression and anxiety when she turned 70. She is now 76 and the signs are that she also is developing dementia. My father is in hospital and I have been caring for my mother for the last 6 months or so, with occasional help from my sister. I wake up every morning, happy and positive and within 10 minutes of interacting with my mother I want to kill her or myself, or throw things. My anger is out of control. Then I cry and then I'm guilty for the rest of the day for shouting at my ill mother. I know it's not her fault but underneath her illness, I honestly think she does know what she's doing and is putting on an act.
I'm angry because all my neighbours and her friends get the good mother... she's chatty and smiles and is fairly normal. As soon as the door closes, I get the depressed ill, non communicative mother. I hate her for it. I can't think of another word. I get her criticising me, ignoring me, talking negatively about me, but then she expects me to do everything. Because everyone else sees the good mother, they don't understand why I'm struggling.
But why can't she try for me?

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Juliet, watch Teepa Snow videos. Best thing I have done so far to help myself besides getting on anxiety medicine and finding a great life coach to help me through this rough time just like you are experiencing ... you are not alone dear 💕
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At my local caregivers meeting tonight (for people whose loved one has LBD) this topic of "they're always nicer to everyone else" came up. One wife said it reminded her of when she went to parent/teacher conferences for her teenager. The teacher told her what a pleasure it was to have her articulate daughter in her class. She was always so polite and was a calming influence on more rowdy students, as well as being bright and hard-working. The mother responded, "I think you have me confused with someone else. My daughter is Madeline Smith. Medium height, brown hair, braces." Parents can be astounded that the sullen, non-communicative, hostile teen who lives in their house is seen by her friends' parents and teachers as a gracious and articulate young person. Caregivers aren't the only ones who are treated to the less pleasant aspects of a loved one's personality!
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" I can't figure out why she saves her best self for others and leaves me with the worst of herself. ".

I struggle with this also. It was explained to me that it's a twisted way of her knowing that you love her and won't leave her/make her leave you. They're always meanest to the ones that they love the most. Crazy, right?

Good advice above. My go to is "I love you too much to argue", then walk away.
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I totally understand. If I hear from one more person what a sweet woman my mother is and how she gives the nicest smiles, etc, I am going to lose it. I get angry because I can't figure out why she saves her best self for others and leaves me with the worst of herself.

I totally understand showtiming and how she musters up everything she has to put on her show of normalcy for outsiders but it is still insulting.

I am coping by just accepting that I am nothing but the "help" to her. I have stopped seeking her love or approval and just put in my hours. It is a shame for both of us because I no longer put in the effort to make her life fun and interesting. If I ever received any appreciation for the things I have tried to do (arrange outings, buy her favorite food, etc) I would continue to do them but now, I keep her clean and fed and leave her parked in front of the TV.
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Not to be pedantic, but people don't usually see a doctor every two weeks *because* they are physically ok. Or, if your mother's doctor and therapist are one and the same person, and that person is in fact a psychiatrist, I'm not sure I'd rely on their meetings including much in the way of physical attention - or do they?

I'd be happy to wrong, but I'd suspect there is something behind this. Could there be something she isn't telling you because - ah! my favourite phrase - she "doesn't want to worry you"?
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Juliet, I think you are correct that a therapist could help you with your anger and resentment. And you deserve that help! What is holding you back from arranging it?

Your anger is out of control. You shout at your mother.
Then you cry.
And then you feel guilty for the rest of the day.

This is not a healthy cycle, is it? You deserve better! Here you are sacrificing to help your mother, and it is destroying you. Not fair! Get help.

Your mother is mentally ill. She is often "not in her right mind." She says and does things from her illness, not from her heart. As she continues with treatment she may get a better handle on this. On the other hand, if she is indeed developing dementia then things are likely to get worse, not better.

Mother may not be able to help how she treats you, but that doesn't mean you have to accept that treatment to your detriment.

Can you spend less time with her? Can your sister pitch in more? What about hiring in-home help?

When you are with her and she starts spewing her negativity, leave the room. Stay gone enough for her to calm down. You might say something like, "I love you very much, Mother, but I cannot stand this much negativity right now. I'll be back in a half an hour." No shouting. No angry tone. Nothing to make you feel guilty later. Just matter-of-fact statement that you need a break. If she tries to argue or criticize just walk out, without defending yourself.

These problems might not be world class, but they are significant in your life. You don't have to "just get over it." You are every bit as worthy of a quality life as your mother is. Spend less time with her. Remove yourself when she is at her worst. And above all, get the help you deserve from a qualified therapist.
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You state "underneath her illness, I honestly think she does know what she's doing and is putting on an act"

I can see that believing this would contribute to your anger and feelings of being persecuted.

Your mother is mentally ill. The illness is real. The fact that she sees a therapist and a doctor every other week would indicate to me that the illness is not mild. It is good that she is willing to get treatment.

Does treatment include some medication? Does she take it as directed? Walking would be excellent. Unfortunately that can be hard for a person suffering from depression. She used to be able to do that, and yoga as well. Since her husband has been hospitalized she hasn't been able to continue. It is not surprising that this event has been a setback for her. She has lost some of the ground she'd achieved. No doubt her therapist is working on this with her. I suggest you continue on with your walks and invite her to come along. "Today I'm just walking down to the duck pond. Would you like to come along?" No coaxing or fussing. Just an invitation.

She won't even make her own lunch. Again, this is a fairly typical symptom of her mental illness. What would she do if you weren't there? Probably she often would just not eat. Or she'd eat something that didn't require preparation, like a bag of potato chips or a candy bar. She is lucky to have you! Could you try something like, "OK Mom. I'll do tuna fish sandwiches. I'll clean a couple of celery stalks and you can chop them while I get everything else together." Taking the initiative to make the whole lunch may sound overwhelming to her. Even getting up, going to the fridge, taking out the celery, washing it, and chopping it might require too much initiative at this moment. But if most of that is done for her she might be able to do a simple task. Anything she can do is good for her!

Taking care of (or just living with) someone with mental illness is extremely challenging. It helps a lot to understand the nature of the illness and to know what to expect. Perhaps you could make an appointment with her therapist to learn about her disease. (Confidentiality would prevent discussing her case in particular.) Do you know her specific diagnosis? You could read some of the many articles about it on reliable web sources.

If your mom is "putting on an act" it is for the neighbors. She can fake the "good mother" routine long enough to get through a short visit. It won't change her a bit, but if you can accept that she has a genuine illness that might help your anger a bit. Why does all the negativity come out with you? Well, for one thing you are in her home. She can only "fake it" for short periods. It is too much effort to do it all day long. And she probably feels safe with you. You are going to love her no matter what. Fair? Of course not. She is mentally ill, and the logic of fairness just doesn't apply.

There is a little more I want to say, about taking care of yourself, but I need to do my treadmill walking now. It's good for my depression and for my diabetes!
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My mother sees her doctor and therapist every two weeks so I know she is physically ok. As for me, I'm 48, single and no kids, so the prime candidate to stay and look after my parents. Well that's what everyone seems to assume anyway. So no, my friends keep me chipper but I think only a cbt therapist can help me deal with my anger and resentment. I feel like a stroppy teenager all the time. My fuse is so short it's non existent! But heh, it is what it is. The world has bigger problems and I've just got to get over it. Thanks for listening. And writing. X
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I'm so sorry Juliet. There you are with a blanket to catch one baby from the burning building and lo and behold there's another...

Sudden lethargy and fatigue: depression and anxiety will be a factor - of course they will, given your father's illness; but if it were me I'd have her checked out physically too. Depression will make her ignore and clam up about any symptoms she's noticed so you can't count on her to be taking even basic care. Classic suspects would be silent heart attacks (commoner in women) and TIAs. Yes she's fit and a good weight, but there's the stress and her age to consider. Can't hurt to check?

Also: how are you taking care of yourself, hmmmmmmm????
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She used to walk and practise yoga every day but since my father went into hospital she says she hasn't got time. Her therapist says its so important to walk and do her mindfulness but she has excuses for everything. She used to walk after lunch but now we go to the hospital then. When I suggest we walk in the morning, she says she doesn't like walking in the morning. She does nothing from 9am until noon. Literally nothing but sit and read the newspaper. She even asks me to cook lunch because she doesn't want to. I can't get her do do anything for herself. It really irritates me. She was such an independent woman before all this. 
We also have such a strict schedule because it helps her anxiety and it's the only way to stop her mind racing. If we change the schedule or do anything spontaneous, it freaks her out. So she is skinny but now very frail too because she's not exercising. I just keep thinking things will improve once my father gets out of hospital. I should be worrying about him, but all my time is taken worrying about her.
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Hugs Juliet. Ah, the black hole of negativity. I get it.

How is your mother's physical health?
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