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Epilepsy South Africa
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Urgent Advice

I’m 26 years old and my mom has been diagnosed with Epilepsy 1st Jan. She lives with me but I find it hard sometimes as I’m Bipolar. We have been through 14years of abuse. Due to the abuse from my stepdad my mom became an alcoholic, and due to the alcohol abuse over the years she became Epileptic. I have been taking care of my mom since I was 6, always making sure she’s okay and has everything she needs, bathing her and putting her in bed etc. While dealing with the abuse from my stepdad. She eventually divorced him in 2001. She’s not been able to work over the years as she has been struggling with depression and alcohol abuse. She does receive a small maintenance from my stepdad because obviously he messed her up- he also caused a severe neck and shoulder injury therefore he pays for her medical aid and is “supposed” to pay all her other medical expenses as well but it’s a mission to get it paid or claim the money back we pay for.

I was diagnosed with Bipolar 2 years ago however I have been suffering with mood disorders for a long time (first noticed by others around age 13). I moved to Edenvale alone in 2014 for a better job opportunity inorder to help support my family, my younger sister was still in school at the time and lived with my mom. I lived there for 2years while struggling with my moods and emotions, it affected my work and social life. I had the worst breakdown ever and tried to take my life, I then realize I needed help. I then quit my job and moved back to my moms, my sister had moved out by that time. I was hospitalized (public hospital-I have no medical aid) but they over dosed me on Ativan, my mom then discharged me. I only started working again last year March since then my mom and I moved to Centurion due to my job at the time. I changed jobs in January because I couldn’t support us on the salary I was receiving.

We have been struggling with finances for a long time even though I changed jobs. I can’t afford her medication fee the medical aid doesn’t pay for and all my medication (cash). I can’t take on another job because I already work extremely long hours and when I’m not working I need to manage paying bills, household chores, shopping etc and in between I need to check on my moms, see that she eats 3times a day, drinks her medicine etc....

Since her diagnosis she stopped drinking and her depression is gone, she energetic and keeps herself busy around the house with small projects and gardening. However her mind isn’t all there anymore.

I have been managing my Bipolar and my moods have been relatively stable, and when I do struggle I try not expose my mom to it as I don’t want to cause her unnecessary stress.

Recently I have experienced 2 states of psychosis- brought on by my mom, last week coz she wanted to fight with a security guard for some stupid reason and didn’t want to listen to me- luckily i had a minor episode. The other one was last night, I caught her pouring a glass of wine, I struggled to take the glass from her as she refused to give it with the fighting it got thrown out. She then slapped me and persisted to be difficult, challenging me and refusing to listen and then I lost it...completely, I was throwing things around breaking things, I said alot of mean things, that was true but it was bad.... what made it worse she hid the car keys from me. I then took a walk to calm down and she went to bed.

In the past she knew how to handle me when going through a cycle however since her epilepsy she doesn’t.....

stress is running high at the moment, I don’t know how I’m going to pay rent this month theres no money. I’m trying my best but its so hard, I love my mom more than anything and I’m scared one of these days I physically hurt her during an episode of psychosis or cause her to commit suicide...

8 Replies

You have been through so much and really need help. It would be best to contact our Gauteng Branch on (011) 811-1590 or email assistantdirector.gp@epilepsy.org.za to set up an appointment soonest.

Don't wait - do it today. The sooner you can get help, the better.


Thank you I will definitely call tomorrow. Who must I ask for?


Generally the best person would be Sandra but I know that she will be in Cape Town from Thursday to Saturday. Kandas and Manini are both social workers who should be able to assist.


Hi - You have quite a number of issues to deal with and pray that someone can assist more.

My experiences are in dealing with epilepsy related issues. Whilst some people with epilepsy do drink alcohol, it should be done in moderation. I enjoy alcohol, especially with a nice dinner or socially, but I know my limits and don't drink daily. Everyone is different and have a different threshold. With your mothers history of alcoholism, every time she takes a drink, she opens the door to taking a serious step backwards in life. Alcohol will not sort out the problems of living life - it will only cost is money, and relationship with family and friends. She needs to know that her actions are having a serious impact on your health and well being. You or someone else needs, like a counsellor needs to sit her down a speak quite earnestly with her. In fact, I would advise a Counsellor mediate the discussion.

Also my advice will be to remove all alcohol from the house, even if you enjoy alcohol - it removes the temptation.

I can see in your writing that you are a good woman trying your best to achieve in life and managing your own issues but if these are continually being undermined by other actions, they need to be dealt with first.

Lots of good luck



Thank you so much for your kind words. I appreciate your understanding and advice.



Am so sorry to hear you have had and still are having a rough time with your Mum... You have been wonderful to support and stick by her with all the problems that have occurred. I agree with Tim and African's comments and know you will get help from Epilepsy South Africa. Please don't hesitate to contact them.


Good day everyone. I’m pleased to bring good news. I was admitted to Kalafong on the 16th of April to the psychiatric ward and was transferred to Weskoppies on the 26th of April.

Since I’ve been doing very they have adjusted very well, and soon eligible for discharge to become an out patient. I’ve been seeing a physiologist and will continue my therapy while being an out patient.

My mom has been living with my uncle and aunt since and been doing very well. Her health has improved and I’m getting her one of the medical alert bracelets. So I’m happy to say all things are coming together slowly but surely.

My work has dismissed me but still haven’t sent me my dismissal letter- my psychologist said they have no right to dismiss me as it’s discrimination and they were the one’s who told my mother to book me into Suicide watch at Kalafong. Therefore I’m taking them to court.

Thank you for your advice and I appreciate the time taken for everyone to reply to my message if I need anything more I will be sure to message again.


Sorry about your job. Congradulations for getting help 😀👍. Please update me about your court case with your employer. I need help to also take my employer to court. Tell me about the lawyers who are helping you. I was employed by the government .harrassed for being absent because of epileptic seizures. Called names made fun of. Now i am on medical boarding and i was not given all my benefits...they say that they have made sure that i must not work for other government departments again because of epilepsy.. All who have advises please help. I am 39 years old in Pretoria???


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