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Supporting Depression

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by skt107, Aug 2, 2012.

  1. skt107

    skt107 New commenter

    Hi all,
    I've posted before about this in the personal forum, but really feeling in need of some support this evening so I hope people don't mind me posting again. My Mum has suffered from depression for as long as I can remember. She is very accepting of it and has recently stopped taking anti-depressents and had been seeming a bit more positive.
    Tonight I came back from an afternoon out with my friends to find her in tears. She kept saying how much she hates herself, how I don't understand how she's feeling and how she is sick of being strong. I don't feel that I handled it too well as I too got upset, which just upset her even more and she has now decided that I am better off without her. I told her this is not true and that I want to help her, but neither of us know how to make it better. She wants a quick fix which will make it disappear but we both know that this isn't possible. I know that part of it is the symptoms of coming off of the medication but I hate to see her in this state.
    My fear is that I usually live away from home so I really don't know how best to support her. I had made plans with friends this weekend which I am now tempted to cancel because I feel guilty enjoying my life when she needs me.
    Sorry for the rant, I have a friend who I have told and she's been great but I don't want to lean on her too much. Thank you if you have taken the time to read this, I really do appreciate it :)
  2. Your mum obviously needs to continue with professional help. She has very low self asteem at the mo doesn't she. Does she flip between being very low and very high? Perhaps she has bipolar but hasn't been diagnosed properly, (just her lows treated).
    Perhaps your mum could be encouraged to sit down and make a list of small steps to improve her situation. i.e. exercise, (gym, dance DVD, wii fit, walking etc), healthy eating, self asteem classes, alternative therapy (I personally love reflexology but others get results from other alternative therapies). Maybe get a pet? Sorry, I know nothing about your/her situation, just trying to think of positive action! Hope this sets of some ideas.
    Thinking of you... let us know how things go. [​IMG]
  3. skt107

    skt107 New commenter

    Thank you Jollyjo!
    Interestingly after she'd calmed down tonight she said that she felt it could be bipolar. I told her she needs to go back to the doctors and she said that she will but is convinced that nothing they can do will help.
    Everytime I mention exercise to her she just accuses me of calling her lazy and says she hasn't got the time. It's a sore subject. I offer to help out with the house where I can but she'll always find more to do. She works full time so has always said it wouldn't be fair to keep a pet, and she isn't a particularly big lover of animals anyway to be honest.
    Thanks for the advice - it's just nice to get it all off my chest to be honest so thank you [​IMG]
  4. Just offering my support. It must be so difficult to support someone you love with depression.
    It is such a horrible disease. I hope your Mum goes back to the doctors she obviously needs more support and perhaps medication.
    Sorry not much help but thinking of you x
  5. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    For what it's worth I think you should go out with your friends. I have been on the end of a close relative's depression for many years and know how debilitating it is for both the sufferer and the people who try to support him/her. You must take time off to keep yourself healthy, and it seems that your mother came off her medication too soon. She must go back to her GP to seek advice. Many depressives are also manipulative and try to make other people feel guilty. This is probably part of their illness and misery but it is very insidious and harmful so you must not let it get to you or it will suck the heart out of you. Be supportive and practical but be sensible and think about your own life.
  6. I've got depression. I was diagnosed in January of this year while working as a year 5 teacher. In March I had a meltdown and subsequently left my job. I'm only 22 by the way.
    I got support from an NHS therapy service. I don't know where you are in the world but I'm in Hampshire and the service is called italk. If you're elsewhere, look up the NHS online and find out if there's something equivilent in your area. italk was done over the phone, which gave me some distance, made it easier somehow.
    In my experience, don't make her talk, don't push her to exercise or make plans, don't ask questions. Let her come to you in her own time, the more you push the more she'll close up. You say your Mum has accused you of not understanding how she feels, well, you don't. No one who has not experienced depression, however hard they try will ever understand what it's like. So don't kill yourself trying, don't worry that you can't. When she tell you again, say yes you're right, I'll never understand but I'll do my best to empathise. Don't panic when she expresses dark thoughts, it's not her, it's the depressive her. I thought things like hating myself, hating living with my parents, hating life, and at one point I did consider taking an overdose. Having these thoughts did not mean I meant them, I was depressed, that's why. Oh, it's sooo hard to explain!
    Also, I write a blog about my experiences, she may want to have a look and I suggest you do to, it may help in some way. www.blackdoggeoffrey@blogspot.co.uk if you want to have a look.
    Buy these books: I Had a Black Dog and Living with a Black Dog, both by Matthew Johnstone. Short, with illustrations describing how it is to have depression and what it's like to live with someone who has depression. they are essential for both you and your Mum, trust me.
    I would disagree with this advice. Depression doesn't change the way your mum behaves, it changes the way she thinks. That's bigger. I'll give you an example, when I was ill a few months ago, It was a huge struggle for me to eat tea with my family and doing the washing up was harder still. So, I agreed to eat downstairs but then went back to my room (my safe place). Yes, it would have been easier for Mum if I had stayed to clear as she had cooked but I just could not do it.
    Don't push things, there are no quick fixes and mental health takes time to clear and takes its toll on the sufferer. However hard you're feeling, believe me, your Mum is feeling it harder.
  7. skt107

    skt107 New commenter

    Thank you craftyangel for your wonderful words of advice. I am so sorry that you are suffering from depression too, but it has really helped me to hear it from your perspective so thank you. I will definitely have a look at those books, they sound perfect! I know I don't really understand and I have told her that but I really do try and I've been there through it all with her so I'd like to think I'm more understanding than others. I admit that there are times when I haven't handled it as well as I could though and for that I feel terrible. I just really wish I knew what I could do to help.

    Thank you for the link to your blog too. I really want to find out as much as I can so this is a great help. I hope that you get all the support and love that you need...it sounds like you're doing a wonderful job of trying to fight it do keep at it :) xx
  8. skt107

    skt107 New commenter

    Thank you Yirg. I know she does appreciate it, I just don't always feel I do enough. I don't think the words were meant inconsiderately but I can see exactly what you mean. My mum does find it very very difficult to change her lifestyle habits but we both know deep down that there are certain things she could do which would help her condition (eg exercise etc), but I also know that this will come only when she's good and ready. Like I said, it really is helpful to hear from other people who have been diagnosedsl thank you so much. It helps me to get some insight and hear it from her perspective :)
  9. emmadrg

    emmadrg New commenter

    Depression is horrible and knowing how to deal with and support someone suffering with it is definitely not a "one size fits all" idea.
    I've been suffering with depression for the past 13 years. On medication for the whole time, varying doses and I was getting better. Then I had a massive setback in terms of work and now I feel like I'm almost back at step one. I have fits of crying at pretty much nothing, days when I don't feel like getting out of bed, lack of energy and enthusiasm, and thinking about it, it must be very frustrating for those around me to know how to handle it. Fortunately I am in a position to know how to deal with it myself.
    However, my fiance also suffers from depression, and his circumstances are very different to mine. I try my best to be supportive and I can understand what he is going through. He is looking for work, and I know what sort of work he is seeking. I find some jobs during my own job search that he might be suitable for, so I email him the details. He turned around on Sunday and said "I can do my own job searches, thank you!". I wasn't trying to force him into anything, just alerting him to what I had found and maybe he might like to look at it.
    You sound like you are doing your best to support your mum, but don't be surprised if she snaps at some minor thing ("you didn't buy the brand of bread I like"). It's not her fault and having to deal with my fiance is teaching me a hell of a lot. I realise now how difficult I must have been to my parents when I moved back home and how frustrating it was for my poor mother when I didn't put all my washing in the basket as soon as it was dirty!
    Baby steps, in terms of lifestyle changes. Trust me.

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