From a teen in the U.S.: I am concerned that my mother has lost her mind. Let me start off by saying that unlike many similar stories, my mother is not elderly. She is 36 and I am 19, the oldest of her children.
I have always shared a strong emotional connection with my mother. Ever since I was a child, I have been her biggest fan. I can remember being absolutely ecstatic for her to come home from work when I was younger so that I could spend time with her. Lately I feel very distant from her, she is a completely different person and I no longer feel that I share the same connection, a feeling that is far worse than heartbreak.
It began three years ago, very slowly at first. My mom was always a working woman who was independent and supported herself. She recently remarried (Maybe 8 years ago) and became a stay at home mom to my little sister. I believe this is where the issue ultimately stems from.
It started with her skin. My mom has always been vehemently vain and placed a lot of importance on her appearance. At first, she said she was seeing weird breakouts on her back and chest that would sometimes flare up and then eventually go away. She seemed to place a lot of time and energy into these “break outs” which kind of looked like welts on her skin. She would pick at them and constantly look things up on the internet (which we all know makes things worse) and obsessively buy creams/lotions to help with whatever her skin condition might be.
Eventually we moved to another state and things went further downhill. I graduated high school shortly afterwards and moved to another state to start my own life. When I visited my mother for the first time after moving out, I never looked at her the same way again. She looked like she had aged several years and I had only been gone six months. She had a horrible break out all over the sides of her face and her skin was red and irritated. She rambled on and on about random subjects. She was extremely manic and almost delusional. constantly talking about conspiracy theories and how she can hear things and sense emotions.
She always had different suspicions as to what is going on with her skin, for example, first she thought she had parasites, then she thought it was fungus, and after that she thought it was mold in the house somewhere. It has been almost three years since this began and to this day I do not think there is any physical factor contributing to her skin issue, I firmly believe it started as something small that she has blown completely out of proportion with her own mind and has caused it to worsen purely by picking at it and thinking about it constantly.
She has accumulated quite a collection of medications, lotions. Creams. she even tried putting VAGISIL on her face at one point. For those of you who do not know what that is, it’s medication used to treat yeast infections in women’s vaginas.
Now she is so deep in her insanity that I can barely have a normal conversation with her without her going on some ridiculously long tangent. She always wants to talk about how the government is watching us, or how she thinks that our neighbourhood is full of child molesters and drug dealers or how there’s a halfway house on the end of the street (she lives in an upscale neighbourhood with an HOA; there is no way any of this is true)
At this point, it has been so long I honestly fear that I will never have my mom back. Her husband is completely useless and has most likely made the situation worse; he is horribly emotionally manipulative and physically abusive with a drinking problem. My mom is very isolated and does not have many friends any more because she is too self conscious to go outside of the house so he is the only person she has to talk to.
I have tried many times to talk to my mom and ask her to get a divorce, I’ve tried telling her that she needs to get away from the house and get mental help because it seems like most of this is in her head but she gets extremely angry and insists there’s no possible way that’s the case. She shuts me down every time and will not consider anything I say so I am so worried I will never be able to get her the help that she needs.
She has seen countless doctors (none of them have been for mental health) and not one of them has been able to pinpoint what her issue is with her skin so because of this I know that it has to be something that she has created herself. I don’t know how to get her out of this and I am sick to my stomach at night thinking about her being in this living hell that she is trapped in. I love her so much I feel it is my responsibility to save her.. Any advice?