- Jun 26, 2018
Hi, everyone! I came to this forum with hopes that some of you might be able to tell me if this situation is familiar to you, what you did about it, or maybe just clue me in as to what this could be called. I’ve tried Google searching anything I can think of and can’t find anything that matches up. So, to get on with it, this is about my 54 year old father who is declining rapidly. For background, he’s a hilarious, reliable, and brilliant man, been busting his chops at a nuclear facility for thirty years, and he’s been married to my mother for nearly as long. His younger brother died of cancer ten+ years ago, and over the last few years, he’s lost his older brother and his father. His mother is living, but verbally and mentally abusive, so contact is limited. Another traumatic moment for him was when my mother cheated on him once, about eight years ago (they aren’t exactly “happily married”). Over the years, he began to slowly change. He grew depressed, and developed pretty severe alcoholism, which resulted in a recent DUI and a probation period at work (he continues to drink heavily, while knowing he may be called for random drug testing at any given time at work). He began to make up/alter memories, although he doesn’t know it. For example, he says he has always called the newspaper a “fish wrapper,” yet he’s never used that term before in his life. He gets agitated when his false memories are challenged, yet he believes them wholeheartedly and comes up with them randomly, without any prompting. They’ve since become more frequent and more far-fetched. He picks up phrases he normally doesn’t use, like “no sh*t,” and uses them dozens of times a day in sentences they don’t exactly fit in. It’s to the point that when he finds a new phrase, other members of the family will know it within hours and begin to jokingly use it amongst each other, but he never picks up on it. He also doesn’t shower or brush his teeth, sometimes for weeks on end. My mother has to force him to do it and he grows extremely upset when told to. He wears his clothes several times before washing them, as well. At work, and especially in summer, it’s not uncommon to have to change clothes due to excessive sweating, or suffer from heat stress, so he and his clothes are often sweaty and become smelly rather quickly. He no longer does any work at home, such as mowing the lawn or cutting firewood, which are things he did religiously. He comes him from work, drinks outside in the garage, and passes out in the chair in the living room. We have all tried to change this behavior by encouraging him to do activities with us, or help us with some task that will keep him from drinking excessively, but he always refuses and becomes agitated when pressed. His latest episode happened when we were on a family camping trip, and scared my mother senseless. Most of the cousins and kids chose to go swimming near the falls, which was about an hour away, and my mother declined and stayed at the campsite with my father. While we were gone, they cleaned up the site and my father passed out in a chair by their tent. When he woke up, he looked at the tent and then my mother, and told her that they needed to buy a tent for when they went away. She asked him what he meant, as the tent was right there, but he kept on, saying how they needed a tent for when they had to get away. She thought he might be having a stroke based on the odd things he was saying, or perhaps sleepwalking, but he proceeded to get up, pee, grab a beer, and continue this same conversation. She said that when she asked him about this later, he had no clue what she was talking about. While he once talked to her about being depressed (he had to, as he openly threatened suicide around us and company several different times, typically after a fight with her), he has never again said anything to anyone about his depression, drinking problem, or whatever else is going on. When prompted that perhaps it’d be a good idea to see a professional, he becomes angry and usually storms off or ignores us, as he doesn’t believe he has any problems. I know that many of his symptoms come from his depression and/or alcoholism, such as the extreme lack of hygiene and loss of interest in former activities. But his odd false memories, such as us having changed favorites (for instance, he claims my favorite drink is vanilla cream soda and buys it when I’m home - I’ve never been a huge pop fan and had never tried that kind before, or the fact that my mother’s favorite movie is something besides Armageddon, which everyone knows has always been her number one) or his strange routines he always used to do (hauling the generator down the driveway in order to hedgetrim the edge of the woods, which has never happened, or cleaning out the barn every summer, which was done twice in fifteen years), don’t make a lot of sense. Neither does his sudden obsession with phrases that he repeats constantly for weeks, and quits using completely for no reason. The thing at the campsite, rambling about a tent that they already had and was set up right in front of him, was the strangest instance yet. I believe there is something else up with him, but I can’t figure out what it could possibly be, as nothing that I’ve looked at fully describes his behavior. I think that, perhaps if something could be found to explain it, he might listen to us and see a therapist/psychologist rather than grow very defensive and angry. I’m sorry for the long-winded speech, and thank you to anyone who reads it all! If anything about this behavior is familiar to you, or if you have any experience with this or any clue as to what I could research that might explain this, please let me know! Anything is welcome at this point, as we’re all at a complete loss as to what to do.