My mom is so upset and rambles on the phone - what should I do?


She suffers from depression but now is fussing over everything. Today is TG, and all I've heard is fussing, and then she will apologize for fussing. (She stays in the bed - in pain for various reasons.) I can't even talk. I feel sorry for her, but there's not a lot I can do because I have three young kids and a job. My father is there, but he is wearing down. I am an only child, and I feel so overwhelmed, sometimes, with everything I have to do at home and worrying about her, but now, Mom is complaining and crying and can't get anything (phone, computer) to work for her. She knows what's going on in the world - can tell you all about politics, etc., but little things drive her crazy - and me, too. Help! What should I do?

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jackie, for sure your mom needs to be seen by her doctor, especially to rule out a UTI. Unless this behavior has been ongoing thing, there is some reason why she should suddenly become so agitated and frustrated with EVERYTHING. And I feel for your poor dad too, maybe getting someone to come in and watch mom while he gets away for awhile would be good. Also, who wouldn't be agitated and angry if all you did was watch TV constantly and see the stupid things people say and do to each other every freakin' day? Sometimes I think we all ought to pull the plug on the TV and stop the madness. Of course I say that while I'm watching TV right now. :) ♥
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How about a talk with her doctor; maybe in home care a couple of days a week so Dad can have some time to himself. With three young children and a job, you surely can't be expected to spend much time there.

Your first responsibility is to yourself and your own family. It may just be time to call in outside help for assistance before your Dad really wears himself out.

Best wishes.
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Is Mom's depression being treated? Does the doctor know about these new symptoms?

I think the starting place should be to see that her treatment plan is up-to-date and is being followed carefully.

Can you give her things to take her mind off things to complain about? Can your young children make thinking-of-you and seasonal cards for Grandma, that you can mail so they arrive one per day? Since she has a computer you could send her nice digital greeting cards. The Jacquie Lawson website has a fabulous digital advent calendar, with one fun card to open per day. There are many free or low-cost sources of digital cards. Order a nice musical CD from Amazon and have it delivered directly to her. It always cheers me up to get something fun in the mail besides and advertising and junk, doesn't it you?

Can the kids practice a song or poem (perhaps something one of them is learning in school or Sunday school, etc.) and then put on their best clothes and go to give Grandma a private show during one of your visits?

Don't get me wrong. I'm not naive enough to think clinical depression is cured by getting a child's greeting card. But along with a medical approach it might be nice if she had something to thank you for when she calls, in addition to complaining.

To help your feelings of being overwhelmed, can you set up a schedule of visits with Mom and try to confine your worrying to that schedule? If she knows that you will be there Wednesday evenings (while hubby has storytime with the kiddies) and Saturday afternoons and those are the times you will try to help her with the computer, phone, library books, whatever, maybe that would help minimize the phone complaining. "That's too bad, Mom. I am sorry that is happening. I don't know much about it but I'll look at it Wednesday and we can decide whether to call a professional repair service." And then change the subject.

This scheduled time might help your dad, too. Maybe he could have a quick beer at the local pub on Saturday afternoon, or go to choir practice on Wednesdays. The better rested and refreshed your father is, the better it will be for all of you.

You are in a tough situation. I think there may be more you can do than you think, and it doesn't all have to be major time commitments or effort. I wish you well!
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