Hi! I’m new to the forum. first post. I’ve been looking around the internet for advice on helping my mom who has paranoid beliefs and some psychotic episodes. She doesn’t have a diagnosis and certainly doesn’t believe she has a mental illness. Her paranoia has kept her homeless, living in her van and not eating well. I’ve been really concerned about her current situation and want to help.
In summary, she is a first gen immigrant from China. I wasn’t raised by her, so I have limited insight into what her life and personality has been like for the past twenty years but I do know she was never good with people and always had a lot of pride, never accepting any help or criticism and often getting into heated arguments with others. Most importantly, she has always been one to isolate herself from society and has not made a single friend or had regular contact with anyone for years. She wander’s constantly, driving to different parts of the country based on her own personal logic. I think it will be really hard for her to see any faults in her delusional beliefs since that’s all the company she’s had for so long. Ever since I got back in contact with her she has been trying to convince me to drop out of school and follow her along her illogical schemes with the promise that she knows she will become a god and control the world someday. She gets extremely angry and lashes out at me when I tell her anything contrary to those beliefs and says I must be being corrupted by evil. She can speak English but not comfortably and I’m sure language as well as cultural barriers will be an issue in finding appropriate care.
I’m taking some time off from graduate school and I have money saved up from work that I was hoping to use to rent her a small apartment and buy food but she always refuses based on her bizarre beliefs. Now I’m thinking that mental health treatment may have to come first before housing. Unfortunately, she is very skilled at keeping up a facade of normalcy when she believes that will benefit her. She was seeing a family doctor regularly when she lived in Chinatown NY last winter, but she doesn’t tell him the things she tells me. For example, he didn’t know about her being homeless until I told him and he didn’t want to address the psychiatric issues. She was admitted to a hospital overnight a month ago for having numbness in her hands and feet but no mental health assessment was made, and even if it was made she could probably fake her way through it. I have considered applying for guardianship but other than my word I don’t know how to show that she needs help. Since she is always moving around, sorting out legal things between different states would be difficult.
Anyway, sorry to ramble so much. The biggest issue right now is that she hasn’t been eating well due to her belief that most of the food she encounters is poisoned. To be honest, since I’m sure she’ll lie to any psychologist or psychiatrist who evaluates her my goals for her were mostly to settle her somewhere comfortable and give her money so she can shop and cook her own meals. She’s capable of basic self care, she just doesn’t have the means and won’t accept help from me. I haven’t been able to convince her to let me help her though. I’m sure that involuntarily committing her anywhere would greatly traumatize her, especially since she has no understanding of or cultural context for psychiatric care. So any advice is welcome, including suggestions for ways of talking to her, steps to take for getting someone involuntary psych care (I have no idea how to convince her to get any care short of physically forcing her into it) or sharing your experience with a family member. If you made it this far, thanks for reading a long post and thanks in advance for any comments and contributions!
As an asides, I am her only child. I have a dad and stepfamily who are supportive of me but have a very sour relationship with my mother so I’m the only one who can interact with her. Rest of the family is in China still and we haven’t talked for decades.