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My mother is sick

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I really need some help. Since I was a child I have known that my mother is seriously mentally ill. She would come home and lock herself in the bathroom and scream at someone who wasn’t there, using foul language. She says bizarre things such as “when I met Melvin he was the ambassador of the whole Canadian territory!” Melvin is my dad, and he’s never even been to Canada! She once told me that she believed that “They” killed Cindy Crawford and replaced her with a younger woman. She isolates herself and talks to herself all the time, but she only moves her lips while not making a sound. Most of the time she’s a quiet, sweet 62 yr. old woman, and sometimes I wonder if maybe she talks to herself because she’s lonely. As far as I can tell she doesn’t hallucinate, and I’m very confused about her mental state. Does this sound like any mental disorders you have heard of? I understand that you can’t diagnose her but I just need some idea of what’s happening, I’m worried about her. Thank you.

My mother is sick

Answered by on -


I admire your love and concern for your mother. One way to understand this is that she clearly has behaviors that concern you, limit her in the world, and involve delusions. The only way to more deeply understand her behavior is by having a qualified mental health professional do an evaluation. A psychologist, psychiatric nurse practitioner or psychiatrist are your best options.

There is a chance your mom may not want to go for an evaluation. If this is the case be certain you, your father, or both of you make this trip with her and explain that you need her to go to help you with the relationship. Often this request is easier to accept for someone struggling with these issues. Let your love and concern for her well-being be the guiding principle behind the evaluation, not the implication that there is something wrong with her. Love and support are usually better motivators than fear.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

My mother is sick

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). My mother is sick. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 21, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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