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Okay, so I live with my mom and my grandparents. My mom is going through some serious stuff right now.

A couple years ago she was in a back car crash where a little car pulled right out in front of her van and she broad sided them. It gave her serious whiplash problems with her neck. (Luckily, the other drive was ok).

About a year ago, she fell and hit her head really hard on the corner of our concrete step (right between the eyes). We took her to the emergency and about half way through the visit, she started acting really loopy (wanting to get out of bed and wander around, super cheerful, wanting to stay to look at the art after she had been released (we had been there around 5+ hours at this point, it was around 3 or 4 AM).

I've noticed over the past 5 or so years her mood has progressively gotten more and more unpredictable. She'll sway dramatically from being super upbeat and positive about the future to thinking everything is absolutely horrible and breaking things and throwing stuff.

She's been unemployed for around 8  years now, but she has a masters in speech, a 4 yr in occupational therapy, and a 4 yr in social work, so it's not like she can't function and apply herself. But my uncle died, and then all this stuff happened, and she basically fell apart.

it seems like it's been getting progressively worse for these last few months. She holds some serious grudges against my grandparents for things that happened when she was a kid/teen/young adult, and even though they give her a roof over her head, don't make her pay rent, and let her eat their food, and basically make a mess out of the house at times, she still acts as if she's been seriously wronged.

I know I can't relate to where she's coming from since I didn't have the same situations as she did growing up, but I hate when I get placed in the middle of things, even though she claims she doesn't.

The most recent thing that happened, was she consulted a chiropractor, that said that he would be able to help her with her neck. Her neck injury is so severe that she can't lift or lower her head, and has to keep it at a... 90 degree angle from her neck, if that makes sense? Basically it's looking straight forward, and not up or down at all. We found out that a few of her neck vertebrae are so bad that they are basically flipped and completely out of alignment. Like, one is completely tilted the wrong way, or something.

Anyway, my grandpa asked how much the chiropractor visit would cost, and she lost it, since money is a sore spot for her. I know my grandpa was just trying to plan a head, but she took it completely the wrong way, and from that point on, it's been like walking on egg shells around her. She's started saying she won't take another cent from him, despite the fact that he's told me he doesn't mind helping her financially at all, it's just that he needs to know a head of time the price of things so he can plan his budget accordingly.

I just feel completely useless and helpless in this case. I love both my mom and my grandfather dearly, and there's just this huge gap that's widening between them right now and I can't do anything about it. I keep telling my mom she needs to talk to a counselor, and not me, who is someone from her family and not removed, but so far she hasn't taken my advice.

I just feel... so drained. I'm already stressed because of a full load of college courses that suck up 70% of my time, and an internship that sucks up the other 5%, so I have hardly any free time to just calm down, and usually when I do have free time, my mom is stomping around in a pissed off mood which then sets off my anxiety and i end up with a minor anxiety attack over it.

My mom also has taken to self diagnosing herself. I keep telling her she needs to get diagnosed by a professional and she keeps saying she will, but she never does. First she thought all her symptoms were from whiplash, then it was PTSD, and now it's bipolar/manic depression.

I just don't know what to do. I feel so bad for my grandpa. He doesn't deserve to have her yelling at him all the time. And I also feel really  bad for my mom, because of all these issues she has. I just wish there was something I could do to help someone.

I just feel so useless.
 

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Honestly, where the head injury took place, and you are saying she had fairly immediate behavioral changes: it's entirely possible this could be a result of the head injury.

But she should probably start with a neurologist, not a psychiatrist, due to her history of head trauma and the related behavioral changes. The neurologist would be knowledgeable enough to be able to direct her to a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other appropriate specialist.

Damage to the frontal lobe can affect impulsivness, personality and irritability [as well as tolerance for frustration]. It can also affect executive functioning... basically getting your shit together to do anything more complicated than breathing.

This is just pure, out right speculation based on the area of head injury and information you've provided regarding her behavior surrounding the incident. But it's probably not a bad place to start.

If you are interested in probably the most well-known case of frontal lobe injury, look up the case of Phineas Gage [my spelling might be a bit off], the track worker who got a spike through the head and survived. [also looking up anything about the frontal lobe of the brain will give you info on damage effects and things it controls.]

Also keep in mind, I don't know what the hell I'm talking about.

So definitely: neurologist or GP for referral at least.

One more thing... whatever it is, your mom is likely at least as frustrated with her behavior and overreactions as the rest of you. She's likely a little confused by the relatively recent change in attitude or perspective or ability to cope, and maybe even a little pissed. I'm not saying she should walk all over everyone and be condoned for it, but try to look at it from that perspective and maybe her behavior will be a little more understandable?

I find it easiest to cope with difficult people/behaviors, when I figure out their motivations.

Edited by Josie

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When I had my concussion my personality flipped. I went from being known for being nice to being angry, frustrated, and full of rage. I knew I was "off" but couldn't fix it, which just fueled the anger further.

I needed my brain to heal. I thankfully didn't also need to learn to adapt to living with a disability. I imagine that that is very hard.

If money is a sore point for her, maybe suggest that she apply for SSDI. Not being able to move your head sounds like it could qualify. That way she has to go to a doctor, but it puts her in control of that process.

This all sounds really hard for you. What are you doing to make it easier on yourself?

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i totally agree with the TBI thing (traumatic brain injury).  it can, and often does, make people behave exactly like your mom.  if this is what's happening, she likely has no insight at all about her behaviour.  it can make the sweetest person violent, even (not saying your mom is or ever will, just illustrating how drastic the change can be).  definitely, absolutely get her to a neurologist.

 

i'm sorry you feel put in the middle of all that.  it must be really hard.  i hope your mom gets treatment soon that will make things easier for your whole family.

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Thanks so much for the thoughtful replies. I tried talking about it to her earlier and she's in a state where she doesn't want to hear anything I have to say. I'm not sure if her brain was injured from the car crash or falling on the step or both, but now I'm worried that since a few years have gone by since those things happened, it would be harder to get SSDI for it. I mentioned SSDI and she said it's just a tiny bit of money and then started talking about how my grandpa had discouraged it three years ago and now it was too late, or something. I'm not sure, I was getting stressed out and now she's shut herself in her room and Im back here in the den.

 

I don't really do anything about the stress of it for myself, and I try to look at  it from her point of view, but feeling like I'm walking on eggshells 24/7 whenever I'm at my house just drains any energy I have. I honestly feel like just going back to bed at this point.

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I don't think SSDI has a time limit. If you're chronically disabled, you're chronically disabled. But then, I'm not in America, so what do I know?

If it were interesting to you, you could look it up. We have members here on it.

You can't look after someone else if you're not looking after yourself. Try focusing on you for a while. You don't have much to lose by doing since your opinion doesn't seem to hold much weight anyway. Self-care is so vitally important. Do you know how to do that?

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Thanks Rose for that info. Gosh, I meant to reply earlier but my life is so busy with school and my internship. I have like no down time lately.

And thanks for the tip about looking after yourself. It seems like a no brainier, but honestly I think it's super easy to just shove yourself into the back burner and worry about everyone else first (for me at least. lol) Especially if it seems like the other person is worse off than you.

A few weeks ago, my mom blew up when my aunt suggested a way she might be able to get disability. I know my mom has her mood swings, but she was stomping around calling my aunt a little bitch, among other nasty names. Now, I don't get along with my aunt at times, and she's done some crap in the past that really almost broke our relationship... but I think my mom was way outta line for calling her a bitch.

But then I think... I probably don't know it all, and I'll bet my aunt on some level is getting a power trip over this whole thing. (As kids, my aunt was the chubby one and my mom the pretty skinny one that got all the guy's attention, dunno if that has anything to do with it, but my mom says she has a grudge and I can see that possibility. Cause now my aunt has a husband and is skinny and my mom's alone and is turning into a wreck. I don't know though. The relationship between those two is just way too deep for me to understand, since I wasn't even alive for most of it and all.)

Well, earlier tonight, she exploded at my grandpa. This happened when I was in the den. Apparently, she had begun to make some baked beans and hot dogs on the stove, and the time happened to be when my grandpa would get his supper reader (usually his and my grandma's). Well, (in his words, after the fact) he made a joke about how he'd have to wait, since there's not really enough room for two people to be in the kitchen at one time, and I guess my mom took it completely the wrong way and blew up at him. I was in the den at this point when I suddenly heard her screaming and my grandpa raising his voice, and I went out with that feeling of dread you always get. She then rushed past me, yelling about how she feels unwelcome in the house, and how she wasn't eating any of the food she was preparing, and that it was JUST (emphasis because she put emphasis on that word) for grandma and myself. She then rushed past me and into her room.

I came out to try and comfort my grandpa the best I could.. because he honestly had no idea he was stepping on a landmine and I felt horrible for him. I also feel horrible about how upset my mom feels at times.

My mom has also started this physical action, where she says side to side on her feet when she's standing up. She used to do it when she was listening to music and excited, but now she's doing it nearly all the time. When I told her I was getting dizzy, she said it helped her calm down, so I said it was fine.

Her mood swings are also just as bad if not worse. She can be in a great mood, and then suddenly in a horrible one where I can hear her mumbling loudly to herself about how stupid she is over something, or how someone (usually online) is being a 'fucking asshole'.

She's also become obsessed with facebook. I think this is because she doesn't really have any real life friends, but it's gotten to the point where she's gone off and on it like 6 times because something happens that upsets or embarrasses her, and she deactivates her account. I don't know if the facebook thing  has any relevance, but I thought I'd throw it in as well.

She also has a severe problem with organization, something she never had 15 or so years ago. She loses things, misplaces them. Well, I misplace things... but it's way worse for her, and the fact that she didn't have that issue years ago. She said she feels like she never really 'moved back in' (she was staying in an apartment for about half a year several years back -  she lived off her savings, not a job), and as such, maybe her problems with organization stem from not having things have a proper place.. or our house being so small it's hard to fit everything into a proper place.

Lately she's also been obsessed with music. She'll play it really loud in her room and sing along. This is nothing she never did before. Could this indicate anything?

One last thing, do closed head injuries manifest symptoms soon after the accident? My friend thinks that they do and otherwise it's probably something else, but I thought sometimes they develop gradually or maybe several years later. Does anyone know the answer to this?

I think I covered everything briefly. There's more, but it's just so much to deal with. But, if anyone else has seen a friend or family member with these types of reactions, or seen it in themselves, I'd really appreciate some advice.

 

Thanks for being there, people of CrazyBoards. You've been a rock at times for me.

 

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