Depression and Self-Love.

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I discovered recently (and was totally shocked by it) that my mother hates herself. I took the opportunity to ask questions and listen to her emphatically and she spilled her guts: She acknowledged she had never thought of the future and the negative consequences of not taking care of herself. When she was left paralyzed from the neck down after a car accident and two years later recovered partial movement and learned to walk again, every doctor told her she needed to be as thin as possible to make it easier for her to support her own weight. Instead she never dieted or care for her meals and became obese. Obesity brought many health problems. Now she is useless and feels guilty of "ruining" my life and make me a prisoner because I am her only care giver and depends 100% on my attention. After a rather long talk I realized that Depression originates from not loving oneself enough to take good care of our whole being: mind, heart, body, and soul. We let ourselves be carried away in the stream of life without ever being consciously aware that our actions have consequences that eventually we end up paying up very expensively. Now I am facing not only the huge responsibility of caring for my mother, but now I am painfully aware that if I do not take care of myself lovingly my health will also deteriorate and I will end up like her: paying the consequences of my actions. She is depressed. I am depressed. So how can I find the motivation and inspiration to love myself and therefore take good care of my whole being? The future looks so unappealing because my mother is only 77 years old and she comes from a family of longevity, so she could live another 20 years because I take care of her so well she does not have life-threatening illnesses besides her physical limitation and emotional depression. I make every effort to find motivation but it just does not come to me! She does not speak English and therefore I cannot find help (we cannot afford it either). I feel hand-tied. I am financially dependent on my husband who left me three years ago for another woman and he only provides because he does not want to lose the respect of our three sons, but he humiliates me and makes sure how much he hates to have to give me his crumbs (because he hardly gives me enough for food and gas). My sons support me emotionally but they cannot help physically or financially and feel bad about it.
Things are very challenging and yet my soul yearns to heal. Every time I fell into the depression I make huge efforts to get up, dust myself up, and keep going. But it is very tiring and exhausting to battle every day and what frustrates me the most is to realize that all my problems could be solved with money. Money to hire full time in home care so that I can find a creative and productive job part time and then come home to spend quality time with my mother and work together to forgive ourselves and love ourselves so that we can once and for all win the war against depression. I wish there were institutions that would give grants to people like me to raise like the Phoenix and become happier, healthier, and productive individuals who can give back to society for the help given!
What do you all think?

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Hi Everyone! I still don't know how people start following certain trails of discussion or if everyone just jump from one to another. So I don't know how we can share with people who have followed a story. Anyway, here is my attempt to communicate with people who have been kind and offer their moral support.
I took a "Savvy Caregiver" course locally and I learned so much, I want to encourage all caregivers to find if wherever you are you can take a similar course. All the concerns, worries, feelings, etc that we share in this site are addressed in the course. It is the job that we never applied for. It is the job that does not pay. It is the job for which most of us are not even qualified to do. It is the job that requires nursing skills, mental health skills, nutritionist skills, physical therapist skills, legal skills, financial skills, etc. etc. etc. And we are doing it without any formal background or academic knowledge. Now more than ever, I realize that Knowledge IS power. The more we learn, the more we educate ourselves, the more skills we acquire, the easier our job is.
We got the job (as unwanted as it might have been) and we train on the job, we learn as we go and honestly we do the best we can given our limitations. But the more we learn the better job we do, as in any other job. Think about it? Would you ever be hired to work in a law firm as a lawyer if you did not have a law degree? Well, would you hire anyone to take care of you knowing that the person you are hiring has NO skills or the knowledge they need? Yet, we are sort of hired by our loved ones without being asked for a resume and without having any credentials! Granted, we are what they have and they have no choice. We have no choice either (well, most of us anyway).
So I decided to educate myself and I am very happy I did. Things are much better now. It is like I am turning into an expert and that is making my Mom and my life so much easier!!!! Things that used to be a big drama around here are NOT anymore because I learned the best way to handle many different situations that seem to be actually very common for all of us, because after all we are humans and our behaviors get to be very predictable when we reach certain age or suffer from certain disease. If I had the resources I would create an online academy for caregivers! not just a place like this to vent and reach out for support, but a place where courses were offered. Valuable courses to learn about the different stages of mental deterioration, to learn skills to deal with all the different situations we deal in an everyday basis, etc.
One valuable lesson I learned is that as in everything else in life: organization is a KEY for success. Even though it seems that we cannot schedule our lives, much less our elderly, senile, demented, Alzheimer loved ones I found out there are ways to work around them. I learned that attitude is a most important skill to learn. So I have become more savvy, more practical, more efficient, and the stress I used to bathe with everyday is no longer present!!! I believe most of the stress come from our constant worry, the amount of work we do, the non-existent freedom, the not knowing what the heck are we doing. We are required to think in our feet constantly but we don't have the knowledge to make wise decisions and choices. We are overwhelmed because we truly don't want to have this huge responsibility.
Folks, our elderly are not doing anything on purpose just to make our lives miserable. They are truly ill and their behaviors is just a reflection of their illness. I was shown a number of videos of typical behaviors and I was amazed to find them so similar to some of the issues I was facing! and it was so simple to learn how to deal with those issues!!!! I wish I had taken this course before my Mom came to live with me!!! I would have saved myself from so much grief!!!!
So please, I urge to seek locally and find out if there is a course you can take.
We are all in the same boat and the difference between being overwhelmed and well adjusted is simply KNOWLEDGE.
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...I would add, to be persistent in contacting and asking help from agencies.
SOMEtimes, the 1st contact is not clearly presented, and the Agency does not understand. It takes persistence, repeated contacts, sometimes, and re-wording your needs. Sometimes, it takes contacting a different person in that agency, to find better answers the 1st few didn't know.
Keep at it!
You can do it!
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Do contact the agencies mentioned here. Call your local mental health association, too. They can help and support you through the steps you need to take to get help. You CAN do this...you are strong and able...and remember to pray, thanking God for life, laughter and love. There is always SOMEthing to be thankful for. I know assuming an Attitude of Gratitude has changed my life immensely. I was on anti-depressants for years. I weaned myself off them slowly over the course of a couple of years. I actually feel better. Even though I am facing a new and difficult challenge with my husband's Parkinson's and dementia, paranoia and strange behavior, I am able to cope because I have found something, no matter how small, to be thankful for each day...bright sunshine, a cooling breeze, a beautiful flower...even if it's just for a moment, a smile can make a difference. Don't give up...you CAN get help for both you and your Mother. You are not alone...but you have to take the first step. These agencies aren't going to seek you out; you have to seek them. Once you do, you will get the help, guidance and support you need. I have...and I am better able to deal with the sadness of the situation. Go for it, Sister! fight the good fight!
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AnaGina,
This might run long..so get comfy, and take notes if you want...
I will try to put it into the short nuggets--but that might mean the "nuggets" could be a bit harder to grasp.
It's OK to ask questions.
=How we see ourselves, from the inside, has been instilled in us from childhood.
=One or both parents has had problems like how you feel, even before you were born, otherwise, it wouldn't register in you so strong.
=You CAN reprogram/change how you feel.
=The poor self esteem your Mom feels, can be related to how she grew up, age, illness, malnutrition, life events, genetics, and/or exposures to chemicals, habits, etc.
ANY combinations of those, can cause major depression, which can appear as, or include self-loathing.
=When a person is down in the pits of depression, it is virtually impossible to see anything but that pit...and the negative ideas keep playing like broken records.
It takes help to get up out of it.
=People tend to stew over episodes in their lives that went badly, or caused pain: the "woulda-coulda-shoulda" thoughts--which NONE can change, and keep a person stuck in the past, unable to move forward or change to get better.

Things that cost little or nothing,
can have BIG helpful results:
=5HTP has been shown to boost seratonin--it has even been featured on Dr. Oz's TV show. This can help reverse depression.
=WATER: proper hydration can sometimes help, or sipping cool fresh water, can break a cycle of recurring thoughts.
=CONTROL what MEDIA you listen/watch: keep it educational, keep it light, keep it as pleasant as you can.
=Supplement Vit. D3 + Vit. K2. These are cheap; D3 OFTEN needs several thousand i.u.'s per day to catch up, and a few thousand per day to maintain. K2 is probably 100 to 200 mg per day, average.
When a person cannot make their own, does not get it in their diet, lacks adequate sunlight, or other conditions that block getting it, the body and mind suffer.
=Kill the "A.N.T.s" Automatic Negative Thoughts are those which keep repeating, skittering about in our brains, telling us lies about hjow worthless we are, how badly we screwed things up, etc. FIRST we have to recognise them as they happen. SECOND, we need to challenge them: how dare those thoughts tell us such negative things? Are they really true? How? THIRD, we must actively replace them with positive memories, and truths: What did I do really, in that instance? What else have I done in my life that did GOOD? What have others told me about myself, when I did good? IF a person's parents programmed a child with negative thoughts about themselves [and unfortunately, it does not take much], they tend to believe those, and the GOOD words people speak, start seeming so soft, so far away, so few, those do not register in the memory banks unless we go deliberately looking for them, and restoring them to their rightful place.
=JOIN/get involved: Volunteer with local groups you are interested in: Friends of the Library, a museum group, a book club, church group, Senior lunches at a local church, a soup kitchen at a local church, Local senior citizen groups, church quilting or sewing groups, theater groups, local school volunteer reading with kids, a local Food Co-Op----check your area to see what is there, that you might get some enjoyment, perhaps helping others,...at least diversion by participating.
This helps get you OUTside, INvolved, HELPing others [not family] in far less stressful, or at least, different, ways.
MANY people have done this, simply to keep in contact with humanity, because cloistering at home w/elder, or otherwise "not getting out", makes depression FAR worse!!!
=FIND or revive hobbies previously enjoyed , or that look intgereesting or fun.
=Write down the positives on one half of the paper, and down the other side, the negatives....then challenge the negatives, to make sure they are true or not--gotta have actual evidence. IF there's evidence to prove a negative, then it is a "problem" and "problems" and generally be solved.
=FIND free resources: Area Agency on Aging; a local college that might have helpful resources, even the Suicide Prevention phone line [it's free, and when one is really down, and feeling utterly hopeless, it helps to talk w/someone!]
=Find a small mirror--if you don't have one, use the bathroom mirror.
Look deeply into your eyes with it. As you do this, study your eyes deeply.
Then say to yourself: "I love you!". Repeat it.
The greater the emotional pain as you do this, the greater you need to hear your voice telling yourself you love youself, siply for being a child of The Creator.
=SING. It does not matter if you can carry a tune in a bucket----sing.
It is a gauge of how you are doing.
If you can sing a song through, things are improving--when one is extremely depressed, singing is nearly impossible. Getting your mind to start the process of singing, makes it start healing.
=Listen to music--classical, jazz, whatever kind used to make you feel great, or feel like dancing--and if you can, dance to it!
=Take a walk, smell flowers, appreciate the breeze, be thankful as you do it.
Find WONDER in your world, and connect this with Creator, being thankful.
=GET exercise, even if you can only get a tiny trampoline, and walk in place on it enough to get winded, take a break, and do it some more.
=WHILE you are doing some heavy breathing, MIND your THOUGHTS:
Talk to yourself in the most positive ways you can muster: Put the thought in the "present tense" as if it has already been done, and go to that place and feeling inside you that remembers and calls up actual feelings of gratitude:
"I am so grateful for being paid abundantly to be myself! "
"I am so grateful for glowing good health"
"I am so grateful for being abundantly provided for"
and while at that, include being thankful for whatever else you already have: roof overhead, hot and cold clean running water, food, indoor plumbing, electricity, education, ability to communicate well, friends, warmth in winter and coolness in summer heat, trees, flowers, the ocean, lakes, etc. etc....

Every time I get in my car, I say "I am so thankful for this wonderfully reliable car that keeps running reliably for 300,000 miles, and has a fuel tank that keeps replenishing it's fuel!"
You know, one of my cars has 300,000 miles on it and is still running!
And somehow, we have managed to find gas money.
And maybe it's a coincidence [after waiting over a year...], but, only 2 days after I started repeating that one about thankful for being abundantly lavishly paid for being myself? yeah--my DH got a call, finally from SSDI announcing that he won his case, and they were sending a check for the back pay--it was not a huge amount, BUT, SOMEthing, and it's a start!

Does the "thankfulness in the present", immediately fix everything? No.
But it DOES help feel better, because it immediately sends feedback to your SUBCONSCIOUS mind, which is what registers everything we tell it.
The subconscious mind ONLY hears positives--not negatives, and it acts upon them.
IF you say: "I don't like pain", the subconcious mind hears "I like pain", and guess what?! Compliance!!
If you say: "I don't like that", the brain hears "I like that"
Starting to make sense?
The more effectively we can frame what we say, think, and do, in positive/present ways, the better things turn out.
This has been taught for thousands of years in every tradition--but being fallible humans, we keep regressing to the same negativity we've been mired in.

Gratitude, alone, is a great healer. It is free.
So is forgiveness.
Anyone can start by expressing gratitude, any time of the day or night, out loud, or silently.
One might have to start with just one sentence per day. Make it a different one daily, or repeat the same one...just be careful what you wish for, because you may get it!
Forgiveness is not necessarily about telling the other person you forgive them, or getting them to forgive you in person--no.
It IS about you processing those thoughts in your mind, to get closure, to be able to move forward.
No matter how bad the situation had been, I had to forgive some people who caused pain/harm. NOT to their faced, but in meditation/prayer, or just thinking it. Because it allowed me to keep safe from those, yet, cut myself loose from the repeating pain of those memories--it didn't take the memories away, but it has stored them more safely, less painfully. Certainly one can do forgiveness and/or thaknfulness in person--when that is the right thing to do, it is good.....but sometimes it is NOT safe to do, or, the other person ahs died, or is too far away to reach.
It can still be done.
Your spouse did you a dirty turn. He is out-of-balance. He is not the 1st nor the last to pull these sortws of tricks....BUT, you are better than that. You can pull your bootstraps up, despite him, and reinvent you, better. Right now, you are dependent on his $$--but you need not be, or, that can become turned into a different perspective, one better than where you are right now.
Perspective. We can each change how we see or understand things, by learning more, by striving to do better--because you already ARE.

CAUTION: beware of any who try to make you think you can cure it by giving them money. Many have fallen for those traps. You are in a fragile state of mind and heart, and there are those who can spot that a mile away, and guilt you into giving what you cannot afford. Walk away from those.
Be modest in your spending when times are tight; give instead of your time and talents, as able, if you wish to contribute.
Smiles are free--the brain is kinda silly with them...even sticking a pencil in your mouth sideways, to make it apper as a smile, it still triggers the same muscles, that cause the brain to produce Dopamine, which is also a mood elevator...even if you use your fingers to pretend a smile--do it often, and it lifts mood!!!
==SMILE! it's free, and it helps ALL those around you, even if they do not understand--because your smile, lifts their brain chemistry up, too! :-))

I dearly hope you can make use of some of these.
These have helped me, and many people.
Please help your dear self, first, in order to be the best you can be, and in order to be able to keep helping your Mom.
Please keep us posted on your progress!

{{{hugs!}}} Chi
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My mother has been unable to care for herself for about 2 1/5 years. At first, I tried to take care of her according to how she wanted things. I realized that both of our needs need to be considered. That means that she has to go to bed earlier than she is ready sometimes because I am not a "night" person. She also has to have her hair washed even though she doesn't like to get wet. Its easier for me to plan times to cook rather than cook when she tells me she is ready. Even though she is unable to do for herself, she still has to consider the needs of others.
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Last resort- if your 'present' attorney drags his feet too much longer and keeps Charging you... look into a "Public Defender." Some of them do even better jobs representing their clients... and, would be just the best if you were able to get a 'woman' public defender too!
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Wow! I had not have the time to get online and today I was pleasantly surprised by all the comments you have generously written. I thank you all and each one of you! Each comment is very valuable as is your emotional support, your hugs and prayers! This definitively will motivate me to get online more often, read other people's situations and offer my two cents of wisdom.
I must tell you that my situation is somehow unique because as I mentioned, we are immigrants. I am a U.S. citizen, but my mother is only a "permanent resident" and she does not have eligibility for any Government help such as Social Security or Medicare until late June this year, when she will have been 5 years resident. So from here to June I cannot do anything to find the kind of help I need. I pray everyday that she does not get sick because we cannot afford to pay any doctor, medical tests, or expensive prescriptions. Like I said, I have been relying in healthy eating, packed with sound nutrition to keep her healthy and so far it has worked wonderfully. Silly me will take excellent care of her healthy eating but I was not eating well at all. In the past two weeks I am doing better and I have begun crowding out all the unhealthy foods and eating healthy, whole, fresh food and I feel much better. You know the adage: "we are what we eat" and "let food be thy medicine" well, it is totally true. My spirits have been lifting tremendously, my fatigue almost gone and I seem to have very good energy levels to meet all the demands on my day.
Also, financially, I am tied down because I am still legally married. My husband has told me that he will drag the divorce until my youngest son is 18 so that he does not have to pay child support. I have tried to apply for help but I have been turned down because I am married and he files still jointly and you know every agency asks for the last income tax to see how much you make and unfortunately my husband is a professor and makes very good money, so I am not eligible for anything! I have done pretty much everything you guys have advised here and encountered close doors because of my legal situation. Sometimes people are misinformed about what can we get and how. After knocking at so many doors I realized that it is horrible to be an immigrant because basically you do not have any rights or benefits that citizens take for granted and think it applies to everyone who lives in the country.
Now the irony is that I cannot even think about going back to my country because the law says that if I move away from where my husband lives the law DOES NOT require him to give me any alimony. That's right. The law is trying to protect children by not exposing them to travel alone between two cities, states or countries and they way to enforce that is to make both parents live in the same town. This is great for children but terribly awful for the parent who depends financially from the one who is supposed to pay alimony.
You have no idea how much I have learned about laws and eligibility for government help. Unfortunately I have not found the loop hole for me, which makes it really frustrating. Like the adage says: "the innocents pay for the sinner's trespassing"
Another news is that I am taking a 6 week course to become a "savvy caregiver" with a caregiver coach. It is a free course that I found in my area and I am learning a lot. I love it because there are 15 of us in the course and we are taking care of a loved one who is becoming challenged in his/her mental abilities (from mild cognitive impairment, dementia, to Alzheimer's) The coach is also a caregiver, so I am excited about the local support and hopefully they will direct me to the right sources locally to get some kind of help with my Mom.
Right now the biggest challenge for me is her hygiene, her lack of motivation, her apparent apathy, her crazy schedule (she never goes to bed at the same time or gets up at the same time and she never wants to eat at the same times everyday), it has becoming increasingly difficult to bathe her and move her. I got a crane and it is not easy to use. I have injured myself more times that I can account for. So I guess there is a lot for me to learn. I realized that knowledge is power if I want to make things easier for me. Not easy. Sometimes is just one minute at a time, not even one hour or one day, but one minute!!!!
Sorry for the length of my reply. I just felt compelled to share more with such a wonderful group of people!!!!! THANK YOU AGAIN!!! God bless you all!!!!!!
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You need to commend yourself for figuring things out. I think the reason you were really able to hear what you mother was telling you is because you want to take a different course. Maya Angelou said, famously "When I knew better, I did better". Your past is your past. Your choices are your choices. You only need to attach yourself to that by your own choosing now. Remind yourself daily that you are choosing and decide to choose well.
Another quote I recently read "I thank God for the difficult people in my life for showing me what I do not want to become". Everyone has their own story and you find when you really get to know others' that we all slog through life with some kind of burden.
I come from a very cult-ish family. My parents sent us to Christian school and we went to church together when I was growing up, but at 57 I know really that is them they want to be worshipped, not God. I am the scapegoat for the family and my mother has run a campaign of destruction against me all of my life. She has successfully convinced people that do not know me that I am a terrible person. The lack of self love and self esteem that was ingrained in me from the start ran deep. I married two abusive men - one abused me and the other abused himself, with drugs and alcohol, which ended up hurting all of us - myself, and my children. It took so much work and so many fall backs to finally get it and in my case, cut my family loose. It isn't easy when you are the 'one' who is bad while everyone else is apparently good. But without getting into details, as I say, the effect is cultish. I had a skewed view of others and myself.
Once, 27 years ago, after discovering that my first husband (my three kids' dad) had been in a nutshell cheating on me from the start and manipulating our money and my mind, I was crying in my minister's office. I said "I do not deserve this!" Huge pitty party, which I felt totally justified to have. He said to me "Life is not about deserve, neither the good or the bad. We do not deserve the enormous blessing of Christ dying for our salvation, most of all. But we tend to pat ourselves on the back when good things happen for us, believing often that we do deserve them, due to hard work, etc". This was eye opening for me because any time since, when I have begun to go down the road of 'why me?" I turn it around and think "why NOT me? Why should it be someone else?". We contribute, all of us, no matter how unloved, or hurt, or devastated we have been at one time or another, to our outcomes. We all are going to suffer loss and pain while we exist on this earth. Divorce can be devastating in every way, being cheated on can be terrible, being lied to the highest betrayal. But we also have to ask what role we played in this 'happening' to us and how we could make better choices and decisions in the future. OK! Sometimes the
'blame' seems to be more like 80/20 but we are partakers in our lives. Feeling like a victim is a terrible thing, one of the most awful things, because then there is nothing you can do to ever have a different outcome. Awful things will continue to 'happen' to you.
Your mother has blessed you with a gift here. She has showed you what you do not want to do for your own future when you are elderly. Things like accidents we can't control. But whatever hand we are dealt, we can play it the best way we know how. Cut your ex loose and get on with your life. Care for your mother, but don't be her slave. Make the very most of the life you have left. God bless.
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Hi your story just pulled at my heart strings. Then I saw some of the wonderful advice here from the forum and I felt hope. When I am in the midst of depression I must take some action. There are programs to help but you have to put in the foot work. Sounds overwhelming but as the previous posts said start with something easy and work your way up. Remember that you are not alone. I wake in the morning with that pit in my stomach. Sometimes it goes away and sometimes it does not. You and your Mums are in my prayers.
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Yes, 'Medicaid' will pay 'You,' although not much, monies to care for your Mom. Afterall, it saves them from paying 'thousands' more if your Mom were in a nursing home! Call Medicaid, it's easy, and by the time you walk out of their office, it'll be done! Also, sit down with a 'Church' member or ask if one can come by your house (if you can't get there).. They have 'Volunteers' who come and sit, maybe have tea together, and are wonderful and trustworthy companions for your Mom, while 'You' get out for a couple hours! And again, this is Volunteering! It won't cost you a dime and... do 'Not' worry about any
language barriers either. Love and compassion Speak the Same language and you will also see that after the first visit, your Mom will welcome the new and added one on one attention they will give her! Lastly, Call Unemployment! You do Not have to be collecting unemployment to have them help you get started on a new career or a job search. They will help you get a job, part or full time. And, I also believe they will pay for any education should you need it if you're
wanting to learn something new. And so you have it, 1.) Call the Medicaid office at your local county office and ask them if they have the program to financially help 'caregivers' who are at home taking care of a loved one. 2.) Call and ask the Church (I am Sure you don't have to be a member either!) and ask them for their help, any help!! The church has SO many resources. Explain and have some one on one time with them in regards to the depression too. You'll feel SO much better!! 3.) Call Unemployment! Explain that you're out of work and you need their help, and if not now, then when You're ready!
Good luck to You! "One day at a time, and sometimes- just one Step at a time..."
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