My mother is bipolar and has depression. Her depression is very contagious. I suffer from major recurring depression. How can I be with her and help her, without going into depression myself? - AgingCare.com

My mother is bipolar and has depression. Her depression is very contagious. I suffer from major recurring depression. How can I be with her and help her, without going into depression myself?

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You need to take care of yourself or you can't help her in any way. Talk to your local aging services people about getting some paid help for her. Also, make sure your doctor knows what you are dealing with. If necessary, get your local social services involved. This could be a serious issue for you both.
Carol
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Wow, do I empathize!

I started to share my story, but that's not what you need. You need some support and options.

I agree, you need to take care of yourself (I don't do a great job of that myself). Now to move that statement beyond a platitude: Talk to your doctor. Decide if therapy, medication or alternative methods will help. Try to exercise 30 minutes, 3 days a week. Since my mom tanked, I have been really bad about this one (but I do try). This can be just a walk.

Force yourself to be with friends. You will enjoy it. Spend time in the sun as much as possible. I am a firm believer in the power of the sun.

Also, while I don't advocate food therapy, I do know that the act of going to an ice cream parlor with my husband once every week or so is a great uplifting experience.

Now, here's one idea that's hard to hear. Take a "vacation from your mom" and don't feel guilty about it. It doesn't have to be a long vacation. I am in the last day of a week-long vacation from my mother. It feels great. I feel selfish (in a good way).

Mostly, know you are not alone. Thanks for your courage in sharing your story.

wf
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