My mother continues fighting depression.

Started by

she has stayed in bed since 1994...Sold my home in 2008 and moved in with her. I am careful not to contribute to her depression. Getting her to bathe is a battle, and getting her to let me help with her finances. She does not want anyone to help her but me, her only daughter... anyone understand? She is 76


3930 helpful answers
Yes, I understand and so do many others on in this community. Your situation is extreme, but when someone you love suffers from severe depression, it can be like walking on egg shells to try to not feel as though you will make it worse.

I'm concerned about you. You've given a very long time to her and she's totally dependent on you. What if your health deteriorates? I'm afraid you'll have a battle to try to get her to accept the assistance of others, but it may be worth the effort to try to gradually work in some help.

I hope she sees her doctor regularly. She should likely be getting psychotherapy, as well. Hard to do if someone refuses.

Do try to take care of yourself, and please check back with us.
Mamatomama; How is she helping herself? How is this fair to you? She's been in bed for nearly twenty years? Is she on meds? Being seen by a psychiatrist? There are good and effective meds for depression, better drugs and treatments coming on line every year. If she tried one or two meds twenty years ago and they didin't work, it doesn't mean that there isn't one, or a combo, that will work now.
Sorry to point this out, but you are ENABLING her, not contribuing to her depression. But when a loved one is depressed, what they need, sometimes, is someone to help them take the baby steps to start to climb out of the depression.
Now that I am an adult, I realize my mom struggled with depression most of my childhood. The last few years, since she became 65+, it has become more and more of a hindrance to her living a "normal" life. She copes by drinking alcohol to excess and has cut off all family & friends (other than me). My parents live together and drink & bicker continually. Dad says she has a "bad attitude". They are both alcoholics, but haven't always been so. She rarely leaves the house anymore. She has become so weak she can't walk through the house without holding onto furniture as she goes. She is only 71. The doctor prescribed anti-depressants a few years ago but she refused to take them. She won't go to the doctor anymore. She rarely eats. I check in every day but there seems to be nothing I can do. Both parents say there is nothing left in life for them. I have run out of ideas on how to better their lives. Everything I try backfires. I have made peace this year by accepting I cannot make either one of them better, they have to find the motivation on their own. Outside of depression & alcohol, there are no health problems, financial problems, etc. So, the motivation to improve will have to come from within them. If they cross the line to "incompetence" there is the possibility to pursue forcing them into some kind of treatment, but they are not there yet...I wish you the best. It's hard to motivate someone who has given up and it can sure drag down your own life as you try to make it day-by-day.
My family's experience wasn't as extreme as yours, but my sister was my Mother's care taker and sounding board. It proved to be detrimental to her health. My sister died unexpectedly last Dec. Mother did not last at home, much longer, but she is better off at the Rehab facility where she can be cared for.
Through a state run program I was able to get mental home health to visit my mom at home. helped her tremendously. check with your mom's insurance or local medicaid to see if she qualifies for the service if it's available to you.

In the meantime... be sure you are staying healthy and getting respite. If you find yourself burning out quickly after a respite break, seek help for yourself.

Too little is given to family caregivers. We need more support.
I am taking my mother to the doctor today telling her it is about something else. I called ahead and told the dr. she is depressed ,angry ect. any idea's of what i should do or if this is ok
Depression is a clinical disease and one which medication can help. Get her to a psychiatrist or her own medical doctor. It may take many tries at each different med, but keep trying. You really cannot contribute to a depression that is a clinical depression. That is a chemical imbalance and if this has gone on for this long it probably will be cured with ECT (electric convulsive therapy). It simply redistributes the electrical brain waves and she probably can be helped tremendously. Keep trying...
when i was a young girl, my mom went to bed for ten years for depression, from the age of six - 16. she literally stayed in bed and i nursed her, washed her hair, changed her urined /messy sheets, fed her, and played mom to my two young step brothers. i cleaned the house, cooked the food and flunked school because of her constant needs. she got out of bed when i left home at 16 because nobody else would do what i did for her. i left home, and suddenly she had to sort herself out, which she did - remarkably, capably and overnight. (she now denies that ever happened, btw)

at that age i had no idea i was enabling her, but i was. she is co-dependant, monumentally narcissitic, but i was her enabler. i know this is a hard, harsh thing to say but ....stop doing everything for her. while someone else is her buffer there is no need to get better. while she can emotionally blackmail you into doing everything for her, there is no incentive to change her life.

much love, sorry if this is harsh. :-(

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support