Hi there, I'm coming onto this forum because I seek help for my mother who has been diagnosed with Major Depression for about the past ten years.
Some basic background info to help you guys understand the situation she's in....She's 55, quit her job 1.5 years ago, and lives with my dad. My parents, for my entire life (I'm 26) have lived almost entirely closed off from friends and family if they could. They always kept appearances, but are extremely judgmental and I grew up thinking I was trash until I went off to college and realized that people don't all see me that way. I mention this only to help you all understand how self-conscious both of my parents are and how this has become their reality for the past thirty years. They will go to a church for awhile and then stop once someone starts asking too much about them (ie: "Why did you miss church last week?") and just disappear altogether. My dad is the worst. He is emotionally and sometimes physically (not as much anymore, but still..no excuse) abusive but my mom has been his puppy since I can remember. They fear judgment because they think people judge as much as they do.
Sorry for the huge background story, but I think it's important when I mention what's been going on lately. For the past few years, my mom has been having a really hard time. For weeks and up to a month at a time, she won't do anything but lay in bed, sleep, and eat maybe a piece of bread a day. It's been hurting her physically and of course emotionally. She often stops taking her medication that she would otherwise always take during these times. But she has been trying Asian herbal medicine and she has been to a psychologist for therapy once with me (after incessantly pleading with her) last year. When we got there, she wanted me to go in with her so of course I did. I didn't talk at all but when she spoke with the doctor, she lied. She talked about things that hurt her in her childhood but made no mention the abuse she receives at home. She even lied to her brothers and sisters about quitting her job and told them that she still works there. She told the doctor that she quit her job, but made no mention about feeling guilt or shame from it. She always wants to run from her problems and always asks why this happened to her and how she is the unluckiest person in the world. Then her depression fades away and she is good again, but a few months later the same thing will happen.
I never approach my mom with anger, but I do express my frustration to her in the best way I can without hurting her because I know she holds a lot of trust in me. My little sister usually lashes out to her and she will never open up to her about anything, so I make sure to really be as sensitive as possible. But I don't know what I can do anymore. I live almost 100 miles away and am a full time student and work full time, so when my dad begs me to come home to help my mom, I can't always drop everything. I do try my best and she sometimes does get better because I just try to tell her that it's OK that she feels bad but that she shouldn't feel guilt about it. I tell her that no one thinks poorly of a cancer patient because they have cancer. I tell her the same about her depression. But I don't think I can always console her like this. I'm not enough to help her long term. I don't know what to do because she isn't doing anything differently and has no desire to because of her fear of being judged and feeling shameful...but I truly don't think she can think any differently especially when she is always around someone like my dad who belittles her and everyone else around him.
Is there any advice anyone can give me as to what I can do to help my mom? I'm so sorry this is such a long post, but I really want someone to understand and hopefully help me out...