@ No. 17: I'm a 50 year old mum with a shopaholic, 75-year-old mother who spends £800 a month on TV channel clothing! My brother and I had to bail her out a few years ago for thousands of pounds. Now I know I might sound harsh, but apples don't sound quite so bad, now do they?
You are old enough to get yourself into school, or tech, go to one of the job centres near you or college office and see what they can do for you. There are agencies to help you catch up. A social worker will tell you where.
If you go to your doctor and tell him how your mum is behaving, he may be able to suggest a course of action, but because you are over 16, you sort of fall between the cracks in regards getting legal help. A social worker is probably of more use in those circumstances in the first instance, as these days doctors aren't so familiar with your circumstances, but they do have a legal obligation to recommend a social worker for you, i.e., you sort of bounce back and forth between them for services, O.K.?
Have you got any relatives or responsible older friends that would listen to you and support you? How do your Dad and brother cope with her? A lot of men seem to just ignore it, which is probably part of why she feels so misunderstood. It must be quite a lonely and confused place where they are in their heads, but I know from 40 years or so of trying that fluent communication comes and goes.
You may recognise this. At about 14 I realised that I was the adult and she was the child, in some fundamental way.
I have a friend with an agoraphobic mum, and we have helped each other over the years because there's always that nagging fear in the back of your mind, 'Am I going to do that too?' It's possible to repeat the behavior in yourself but it is not inevitable. At all. So don't be scared about that.
I'm a housewife whose husband goes to work early and gets home late so I do the housework and potter about with our cats and dachshunds. I only got on the internet for xmas and I've got the bug! Best wishes. --Jayne F.