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Mom has DD - Persecutory type and I am at a loss

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Mom has DD - Persecutory type and I am at a loss

Postby TennesseeGal » Mon May 07, 2018 3:01 am

Hi,

New here - quick introduction: my mother, in her 70's, has delusional disorder persecutory subtype. She's always been a little odd - a little paranoid, but about 8 or so years ago my stepfather died and she went totally off the rails. She moved into a townhouse, and then became convinced that the neighbors were out to get her. She thought they poisoned her dog, she thought they had bugged the townhouse, she thought they were pumping poison in through the air conditioner, that they were talking to the property manager to get her evicted, etc. etc.. I lived in a different state at that time and believed that maybe she had some bad neighbors (I mean, I knew they weren't poisoning her, but I could believe that maybe they were unpleasant).

So she moved to a house in a different neighborhood, and again the same kind of delusions popped up, except now she was convinced she was hearing them talk about her, and somehow she became convinced that the old neighbors knew the new neighbors. She was overwrought with anxiety a lot of the time. Finally convinced her to see a geriatric psychiatrist, but she bitched about it, because she didn't think that there was anything wrong with her, and she wasn't compliant with med.

So...I moved to another part of the country to start a new job, and because I was so stressed out from not being able to help from a distance I moved her up here too. First it took months to get her moved out of my house into her apartment (finally happened with something of a scene - she paid rent for four months without once sleeping in her apartment). Within a month, the paranoia set in again. Took her to a psychiatrist multiple times, but she incorporated the psychiatrist into her delusions. Moved her to a totally secure beautiful condo - doorman building, private garage, etc. - and she is convinced these neighbors are mafia and drug dealers and that they know the old evil neighbors. She thinks they are destroying her hearing, that they're trying to drill through her ceiling to abduct her, and that they are shooting lasers at her to make her blind (through the floor, ceiling, walls) but that aluminum foil can protect her.

She also had a delusion involving my aunts, so now isn't speaking to them.

This winter I caught her sleeping in her car to avoid the neighbors, took her to the ER, and she was committed for a short stay, but after 3 or 4 days when she wouldn't sign herself in, they let her out. Then a new psychiatrist, drugs that seem to do nothing, and she won't take anything that would make her sleepy because she feels like she needs to be vigilant all night.

She spends almost all day everyday at my house, which drives my husband and kids crazy because it is just one thing about the neighbors after another. It stresses me out and depresses me. I have no family to help shoulder the load on this. I hate it because she could be having a nice life, but she's making herself miserable for no reason. I know she's hiding things from me because she knows I don't believe people are out to get her - like she asked a friend to take her to a hotel last night to get away from the neighbors, or that she sleeps in her closet sometimes.

If you look at her, she seems put together - nicely dressed, pays her bills, drives, highly articulate and intelligent. She does have some short term memory issues the last year or two leading to a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment, but it is pretty mild.

I feel so hopeless. I can't help her. She doesn't get better. She is petrified of being by herself, but it is impossible to have her move in with us because it is so hard to hear the paranoid ranting all day. She called the police on the neighbors the other day, and I had to go behind her and call them the next day when I found out, to explain her diagnosis and that the people upstairs aren't actually doing anything wrong...

Sorry for unloading, it is just so hard right now. Anyone have advice? Or can let me know I'm not alone?

Thanks.
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Re: Mom has DD - Persecutory type and I am at a loss

Postby sanmom3 » Sun Jul 22, 2018 6:58 am

Hi TennesseeGal,

I'm sorry you're going through this about your mom. I know how it feels to have nearly that exact scenario and it's so unusual and heavy that you can't really talk about it to people because it's too much. My husband and kids are supportive, but I try to shield them from the responsibility and burden. Thankfully, I can call my sister to vent once in a while, but she lives very far away.

My mom is also in her 70s, and we've been dealing with her delusions for the past 9 years. She was married to a nice man, they'd been together for about 30 years. But suddenly she began to think he was damaging her furniture or knotting up the fringe on her blanket or scratching her paintings. Really weird stuff. Though, she also thought he was having multiple affairs with neighbors or even acquaintances of mine.

Three years into her delusions, during which I'd been conferring with doctors, elder specialists, and talked her into seeing a counselor, there was no change. Then she snapped and thought her husband was going to kill her. She called police and then was willing to go to a geriatric psych unit for two weeks. They, like previous doctors, diagnosed psychosis with delusions. But she refuses that diagnosis and won't take medications.

She is now divorced and living in an apartment. She has become more vocal about her suspicions, telling her friends that her ex-husband is stalking her, that he enters her apartment to damage her things all the time. She spends money on surveillance, cameras, and alarm system. She complains to her apartment manager and calls police occasionally about the 'break-ins', and the police have contacted us so we can share information. The police agree that she's got all her abilities - paying bills, keeping her apartment nice, etc. She's super smart, funny, very pretty, and stylish. This brain illness is so tragic.

She says she wants to move to get away from her ex-husband (who we still keep in contact with and help take care of, but in secret from her - so complicated). I know I can't stop her from moving to another city if she ends up really planning that, but I also know that wherever she goes, some delusion will be there always. Even if her ex-husband died, I know she'd still believe he's somehow hired someone to break in, or blow dust on her, even beyond his death.

The staff at the psychiatric unit where she was in 2012 let us know that we can set limits on what we allow in our house. So if she starts talking about her delusions, I don't engage and I tell her I'll have to take her home if she continues. I've talked recently with county elder specialists, and they, too, told me to guard my own peace of mind. The professionals said I cannot let my mom's upset affect my life, and that I can't ease her discomfort.

It's hard for me, because I really wish I could help her. I've tried so many ways, to no avail. So now I see her about once every 10 days, help her get groceries, or sort papers, or take her to lunch. We connect by text or phone every few days and I listen to her current suspicions because I want to keep tabs on her actions. She does keep secrets from me because she knows I don't believe her, but sometimes she lets something slip, like a new suspicion, or that she's filed a new complaint somewhere.

I used to think my mom could live with us when she got older, but not now. Her being so upset is unpredictable and troubling, and being with her is full of tension, with us guarding against what topic she's about to bring up. She's not violent, but I don't know what her delusions could bring her to do. When she stayed here for 3 nights recently because of a minor medical procedure, I locked my bedroom door at night (our kids are at college).

I feel for you, and it's helpful for me to hear that there are others experiencing this with a parent, too.
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Re: Mom has DD - Persecutory type and I am at a loss

Postby dmb » Thu Jul 26, 2018 1:59 am

When I read parts of your post, it sounded as though I had written it. My Mom has been dealing with DD for 3 years. It can totally stress you. I exercise at least 2 or 3 nights a week. I have found it helps relieve my stress. I have learned not to argue with her but rather try to distract her by going shopping, for a ride, or eating ice cream. I have a schedule. I visit her Wednesday and Friday after work and go to church, when she feels good, and out to eat on Sunday. It is hard on you and your family as well. I have no siblings. I understand exactly what you are dealing with.
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Re: Mom has DD - Persecutory type and I am at a loss

Postby colleen924 » Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:11 pm

I have delusional disorder and every thing you described is exactly what I experienced. My delusions became so bad because I believed people were trying to hurt me like your mother feels and I wound up committing a crime so I could get to a "safe place" where they couldn't easily get to me. I was very resistant to taking medication because my delusions were so real to me and know one understood that they were real so I became very secretive about it. I am on a regimen of Loxapine and Klonopin which help with the symptoms. I have been delusional free for two years now and I am trying to reestablish my life. The best advice I could offer is to get her a therapist to work with her. Someone that she can trust and talk to about what is going on. The worst thing is for her to keep it inside because the behaviors will escalate if she is convinced these things are going on. I was fortunate to have a good therapist who went through my delusions one by one and brought me back from over the edge.
I was lost for 10 years and destroyed my life but am in the process of rebuilding. Don't give up on her she can be helped. Delusional disorder is hard to treat because generally people deny they are delusional. Everything you described I experienced and it was a living hell to have those feelings.
Be persistent about getting her treatment. There are no support groups out there for this disorder so psychotherapy is your best bet. Shop around to find the right fit for her, someone she trusts.
That is the key because you are suspicious about everyone.

Good Luck
Colleen
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Re: Mom has DD - Persecutory type and I am at a loss

Postby gwensteroonie » Sat Dec 15, 2018 6:37 pm

Hi there

I previously wrote a whole reply and lost it so fingers crossed this time. Sorry to hear you're having such a hard time with your Mum. Unfortunately my situation is quite similar, but without the hubby and kids. My Mum is 72 and the delusional disorder started around 15 years ago. She has also always been a bit paranoid.

My Mums delusions are very similar. She thinks one of the neighbours has bugged the house and is harming her through the electrics/wifi (sending shocks etc). My Mum also believes aluminium foil or a baking tray can protect her.

My brother lives abroad so it's just me. It's very, very hard. These aren't my words, but they are from another carer for someone with a mental illness and sum things up pretty well. They described the situation as 'heartbreaking, isolating and testing to the soul'. The situation weighs very heavily on you and takes a huge toll. The paranoid ranting is very hard. My Mums issues were always 'episodes', but this current episode has lasted since May and is not going away. To be honest, the fact that her illness was episodic kept me going as I knew that the DD would eventually go away and there would be a period of respite, however brief. Also my Mum has started to get more 'manic' and irrational about normal thing and has a lot of mood swings. She got massively stressed out and irrational about cleaning the living room earlier. You'd think it was a cesspit, it isnt... She's also been quite mean recently....it seems like I do nothing right which is devastating when you're going through hell to support someone you care about.

My Mum has tried almost every antipsychotic out there and as soon as she reaches an efficacious dose the side effects (fatigue, sleepiness) become intolerable. I'm sorry I can't be more positive about the situation, but at least we're not entirely alone in this. I'm in the UK and would really like to get in touch with others dealing with this.

I'd really like to hear more about your experiences Colleen, but I'll write a separate post before I lose everything I've written.

Take care
G
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Re: Mom has DD - Persecutory type and I am at a loss

Postby Dtmriley » Sat Sep 07, 2019 11:42 pm

Hello everyone

Thank you so much for sharing your stories it greatly helps me to understand what is going on in my world. But it also saddens me that you are unable to find a solution for your mother's condition. Cuz I am in the same boat as you.

My story is I am 28 years old I just had surgery which requires to me to be in a wheelchair for extended time so I moved in with my mom while I recover. My mom is married but her husband and her do not live together they still talk and hang out occasionally and they never had the best relationship so fighting was a common thing between them. but after being here a few months I started to notice things were off with my mom, my mom is 55 years old. She is the same as yours well put together very smart outside looking in you won't even notice a problem.then she started talking about how her husband his name is Jason was spying on her bugging the house, writing random letters all over to mess with her, listening to her via the TV or a speaker, saying he learned all this stuff through international website that he translates with apps. At first I thought maybe he was messing with her in a certain degree and she wishes taking it out of context but then I started really digging into what she was saying and I would prove everything wrong and yet it still wouldn't resonate with her. I could tell her and show her what she was experiencing was just a app and that's what it does but she always correlated it to something he was doing against her. And now it is only getting worse she is convinced that he is planning something big in her new delusion is that he is trying to convince me that she is crazy so I can't even discuss that a possibility of her not being okay and needs help because she thinks that he is winning.the other night she knocked on my door at 1 a.m. and was super energized and said look I can show you I found them I got it and she was show me a piece of wood she was saying in that used to be part are they shelf and she was look look. She was showing me a blank piece of wood and she owes look right there look at those letters. But there was no letters there and this really shocked me this is when it really dawned on me this is more serious and I thought that my mom truly needs help. I'm a firefighter paramedic and I see psychiatric patients all the time but my job is to take him to the hospital I don't know what to do after this. I can't talk to my mom about this because she just thinks her husband is winning and that's what he's trying to do she is convinced and there's nothing I can say to help her. it breaks my heart so much that people struggle with this for so long without any answers or solutions. It seems to be like my next step would be tried to convince her to go get help which I do not know if that will be possible. Or even if it is possible for me reading post it seems like sometimes that doesn't even help possible now I am very torn on what do I do once I am able to get out of this wheelchair and go back to work and go back to my place. Do I leave her to deal with this on her own I can't imagine doing that to her but I don't know what else I can do to help her I am so lost right now.
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Re: Mom has DD - Persecutory type and I am at a loss

Postby Nmkim » Tue Sep 24, 2019 12:03 pm

I’m so sorry you are dealing with this. You can either remain silent and let her delusions continue to envelope you, or you can speak up. You can identify one of her delusions that just cannot be proved, discuss it with her, and ask if she thinks her brain is playing tricks on her.
You need to decide which route is least painful for you, because that’s what it boils down it. Me, I chose honesty and to discuss it with my DD husband. It’s now subsided at this time, but I suspect he’s hiding his thoughts from me.
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