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  1. My mom has been coping with major depression for the past around 6+ years vocally to our family. She is recently retired, and her depressive episodes have become more frequent in the past two years (around 2-4 a year). This past year, however, it’s been almost monthly. During these times, she is bed ridden for 1-2 weeks at a time. She hardly eats, showers, cares for herself or her family (living with my dad and younger sister). I live an hour away, but I make sure to FaceTime her every day on good and bad days (when she is able to pick up) to make her know that she is loved, appreciated, and wanted. I am her main source of support during the good and bad times. I’ve helped her break out of her depressive episodes almost every time this year (meaning only that I help her see some light in an otherwise very dark world she lives in during her episodes), and now my family is very reliant on me when my mom goes through these issues. She is consistently taking medication, and even changed her medication once earlier this year but not much has changed. She tried going to a therapist, but she stopped after a few visits. I can see that her episodes are triggered by feelings of worthlessness disguised as feelings of lack of accomplishment and jealousy, and I try my best to help her see her worth and not feel that everyone is out to get her. And don’t get me wrong, I am so so happy and thankful I can be of any help. However, I know I am not able to continue this forever once I am out of school. I also see and feel the toll it takes on me when my other family members who live at home are unable and almost unwilling to take care of her in the way she needs. I am trying my best and try my best not to show her that this is hurting me because that will add onto her guilt and she will shut herself away from me. I can’t have that because she has already shut herself off from everyone. I think she may be open to therapy again, but not now. I know this is a little selfish...but during these episodes my mom has, there are a few days that my mom decides to pick up my calls. I hear all of her self hatred and dark, dark thoughts. And it really affects me. I am unable to function for the rest of my day or even week at times. I get so stressed out that I have to take a nap and my mood is just so sad and I feel so low energy. I even end up snapping on my partner for no reason other than he is not doing everything in his power to make me happy when he knows what I’m going through. It’s selfish, I know. But anyway, my question is how can I learn to cope better? I have tried talking to my dad and sister and they do not want to hear the things I do to help my mom. They fully acknowledge that what I do is helpful, but they refuse to try doing the same things. My dad is entirely negative and my mom feeds off of his judgmental and honestly poisonous attitude. My sister is terrified to make things worse, and she has a job that has extremely long hours and is really stressed out too. I feel like I need my mom to see a therapist, but I don’t want to abandon or give up on her because I know she needs me. I’m just looking for any way to help myself be a little less stressed so I can continue supporting my mom to the best of my abilities. Any help would be so appreciated!!
  2. Hi SuZQ154. Thank you for your reply. I wish counseling was something my mom would consider. I would love to go into family counseling or just counseling with her, but she refuses. I think that's where the true trouble lies. She's just so afraid and ashamed of everything she does and of who she is. She doesn't want anyone to know anything about her because she really doesn't like herself...but she's very kind and caring........just so cruel to herself :( Also, as an update, I have reached out to both psychiatrists and psychologists since my first post...but it seems their professional opinion is that they could offer ME counseling to determine how I can cope with the situation, which I appreciate...but there's no particular way to get my mom help unless she wants help, herself. I wish she could just take those few steps to open up to someone who can truly give her the best advice...but I don't want to make her do anything she doesn't want to.....I guess I just have to come to terms with the fact that I can only encourage her and show her support...but nothing will truly change until she wants to get help...does that sound about right? I think I'm a little disheartened...but I understand that it's really up to her in the end.. Is there anything anyone can recommend for me to say or do to maybe help her trust me more? Or trust going to a psychologist or psychiatrist? I'd still like to try to at least normalize that idea for her? Not only is she afraid to open up to others, but she believes in the negative stigmas about mental health in general.. I want to open her to that idea without pushing her incessantly to go because I know that will only drive her further away from me...any help is appreciated..
  3. Hi Epictetus. Thank you so much for your kind and caring reply. I had never considered going to a psychiatrist myself...I didn't know that was a thing to do! I'm not sure if Your reply was definitely very considerate, kind, and helpful so, again, I thank you and will look into finding a professional for their opinion :)
  4. 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...