Coping with mothers' depression.


Let me start off this post by saying that there is nothing anyone can do about this. But it's killing me keeping all this bottled up inside - and I need an outlet with some friendly faces who understand.. :(

My mother is nearly 70. She's always had a more pessimistic point of view (very very maudlin) and since my father died when I was 14 (I'm 38 now) has always talked about the fact that she would rather be dead with him and life is not worth living. She was suicidal from when I was 14-17 but eventually remarried, and lived relatively happily for a long time - until around 5 years ago when my stepfather started getting really really disabled (he has a genetic nerve disorder - was done when my mother met him but it has been deteriorating steadily - to the point where he can no longer walk unassisted or do anything complex with his hands). My mother has her hands full caring for him as well as occasionally caring for his grandmother (who has the same nerve illness). Since my stepfather has started declining, my mother's mood has been getting worse and worse. I can see her under pressure (for her, looking at my stepdads mum would be looking into the future and seeing just how bad my stepfather is going to get) and she is always talking about waiting to die and wishing she could just take an injection and end it all (apart from my stepfather's illness, she is also terrified of getting old). I know she won't leave my stepfather - she will stay with him until the end, but she won't get help/keeps convincing him not to go into a nursing home yet. I try and get back and support her as much as I can but I feel like there is a wall there - she just says everything is hopeless and when I talk about how I still need her, she just looks at me blankly and tells me I'll be better off without her. I told her to go see a psychologist, or see a carers support group or take up some hobby.. just to try to get some perspective or happiness out of something which is not related to family and caring, but she just tells me there is no point and there is no purpose to her life. I have thought about telling my stepfather to intervene but given that a large part of her depression is due to his family's condition, it's not an easy subject to raise - and I don't want to hurt the relationship between them.

Around 3 months ago I convinced her to come to Europe with me (basically I brought her a ticket and told her she would be wasting my money if she didn't go) and that's where we are right now - in Paris. And she is constantly sleeping. She doesn't want to eat, she doesn't want to do anything but sleep all day. She has also told me she has no interest in Europe - she only came to spend some time with me but given that she thinks she is a burden on me, she feels like we should break contact after this holiday is finished. I am really disappointed .. I know that mental issues are so complex and hard to fix but I was hoping that maybe going to somewhere as amazing as Europe might give her some perspective or at least be a holiday away from her pressures.

Anyhow - I find it hard to spend time with her. I constantly just want to scream at her to look up and see the beauty of everything and how it's just a tremendous waste of life to wish it all away but obviously I can't. And even though I know it's not about me at all, I can't help wishing that as a daughter she would see how much I love her and that somehow it might make a difference - but it's not.

Anyhow - I understand that there is no magical fix. But I'm stuck in this hotel room a million miles from home right now watching my mother sleep, everyone in my time zone is also fast asleep and everyone else who is awake is speaking French.. And I feel so incredibly lonely :(

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This is do very sad. Most of thime, depression is quite treatable. I guess your mom doesn't know this, or doesn't believe this.

Go out and enjoy Paris!

Many years ago, when my mom was proceeding along a really idiotic path in response to a diagnosis of early breast cancer, I said to her, " mom, you're too smart to do something this stupid". I was sngry at her. And I let it show. And i hung up the phone.

It took a couple of days, but she came around to getting better treatment. It's worth a shot.

I'm glad you came here to vent. I hope it helped a little bit. You are behaving rationally -- you are hurting and you are trying to find ways of relieving the hurt, even small temporary ways.

Your mother is not behaving rationally. She is not seeking help. It is the very disease that she needs help with that prevents her from seeking it! So very sad. And very definitely Not Your Fault. (Not hers, either.)

Know that there are people on this site who care and are willing to listen to you whenever you want to vent.

She doesn't care because she's too sick to care. Sick people need help. Your brother needs to adopt the thought that he needs to love her enough to let her hate him if that's what it takes to make her better. Tell her you need her to go. Your future life depends on it. Try to make her realize you can't give up on her even if she gives up on herself. You won't rest until she has a complete physical.

Rocknrobin - thanks for your reply. I know she has depression but she refuses to go. She keeps saying that there is nothing that can help her. I've tried researching whether I can force her - but legally as long as she is mentally compentent (*sigh) she is free to make her own decisions. I've spoken to my stepfather about this and he's more terrified of burning bridges and making her angry than being hard on her and trying to get her to go. The thought has crossed my mind that I just say that I won't see her any more until she gets some help but I honestly don't think she cares at this stage.

Please understand this about depression. It's not about you. You can't make her snap out of it any more than she could snap out of diabetes. All the sunshine, beauty and Paris won't do any good. Your mom, from your description, has depression. She needs to see a doctor and be prescribed a antidepressant. The thing about antidepressants is it can take a few weeks for them to take affect. It's hard to imagine why one would go on like this without seeking medical help but help she does need. Get out of that hotel room and see the sites. As soon as you arrive home, get her a doctor's apt for a full physical. Go with and tell the doc what's going on. You will need to take this by the horns. Get going. You can do this.

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