How to help myself before I help someone else

Hi, I really want to help my loved one. I had a feeling for a while now that my mother is not mentally well. She is very paranoid and thinks that everyone is ganging up on her and she starts scolding and saying nasty things about others when no one is actually doing anything to her. She would take every little things from what people say to what they do as a sign and that they are doing it to her and she would start saying nasty things about them even if she doesn’t know them. She also keeps bringing up the past again and again and is always angry and talk ■■■■ about everyone else and thinks that she’s the only good one. She is also very superstitious, she doesn’t like it when buying anything and someone packs it with a black plastic bag and anything black she finds fault with it, if my father brings home a black plastic bag she would scold him and start saying vulgarities and nasty things about his family and other people as well.

On good days, she is a little more tolerant and is a nice lady but she takes everything she hear to heart and will keep bringing it back up again and again.

I live apart from her for quite some time, we live in different countries and I would go to visit her once a year. She lives with my father and he is aware of these conditions as well, but have no way of convincing her to see a therapist. I do love her very much, but everytime I goes to visit, we would have a huge fight and she would behave crazier and crazier and it stresses me out a lot.

I don’t think I’m doing anything helpful for her, and it only makes things worse everytime. I tried to tolerate the way she talks and berate others, but I couldn’t hold it back and ultimately I snapped. I know that I am supposed to be more understanding and empathetic of her but I cannot bring myself to do that when I’m constantly hearing nasty things about other people when they have done nothing wrong. She would blame the whole world for their bad and she have even physically hurt others in the process of her rage. I know that it might not be her fault but I don’t understand why she would do this to others who have done nothing to her. She would also start scolding my father and say nasty and dirty things and she shows no respect for him and also her own family. It is really saddening for me to see this happen to my mother and I really want to help her but I don’t even know what is wrong with her. how should I help her?

I feel that on the side, I feel really stressed and tired of this situation. I myself may have been affected by all this, because although I made a decision to meet my parents every year, I feel anxious about it as I’m not sure when she would act up. I would really want to kill myself everytime this happens because I don’t want to feel, hear and think anymore. I really just want to end myself once and for all so that I will be rid of all these. I know this is not a very healthy thought, and I shouldn’t think of ending my life but I cannot help it. I reflected about how I had reacted to her fits and I unknowingly conflicted harm to my ownself and this may have hurt her feelings as during the whole situation I noticed that she was very rude but she sounded really sad. That’s why I would like to know how do I help myself first and how do I help my mother.


Hi @greentea

Thank you for sharing your struggles and frustrations with us, I commend you for your courage.

To be a caregiver and manage your mother’s current mental health struggles is truly difficult, and it makes sense to feel stressed and confused about how to help her. I’m really sorry to hear that you’re going through such a difficult and challenging situation in your family. I want you to know that you are not alone, and there are ways to seek help and support for both yourself and your mother.

  1. Encourage Professional Help for Your Mother: While it’s challenging to convince her to seek help, perhaps expressing your concern and explaining how her behavior affects you and the family may be a starting point. Offer support rather than judgment. If possible, try to involve your father in this conversation to create a united front.

  2. Contact someone from the Community Outreach Teams (CREST – Community Resource Engagement and Support Team) & Community Intervention Teams (COMIT): They can help to assess your mother’s condition at the home itself if need be. Do reach out to them for direct assistance. This is the list of providers - do take a look at see which one is nearest to your mother’s home. You can read more here: How and Where To Get Help For Mental Health Conditions - Agency for Integrated Care

  3. Take care of your mental health: Explore self-help strategies to manage your own stress and anxiety. This may include mindfulness practices, exercise, breathing activities, and seeking support from friends or a mental health professional.

Last but not least, I understand that it might feel overwhelming sometimes, so please do keep these numbers and contact them in case of emergency or in case you find yourself in crisis:

SOS: 1-767
SOS whatsapp: Share on WhatsApp
-IMH - 63892222

Remember, you are not responsible for your mother’s actions, and seeking help for both of you is an important step forward. I hope you will consider seeking support from a mental health professional (see the list again) to help you in this difficult time.

Let us know how you’re coping, and share with us more so that we can continue to support you. Hear from you soon.

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