I think my MUM is depressed. I need some advice please.

@maddysmommy (16243)
United States
July 24, 2008 1:27pm CST
As some of you may know already, my Mum, two Aunties and Uncle visited us recently and even though my mum has been very fragile since her Dad passed away quite a few years ago, I've realised she still hasn't gotten over that as well as many things she encountered when she was growing up. Her Mom died at the age of 7 and she became the so called 'mom' of the house with 8 brothers and sisters to attend to. I know it must of been very hard for her at that age and with a new step mom and more siblings to take care of, it must of felt like hell at times. I noticed when she arrived she had lost a lot of weight in a very short period of time. She was bubbly and cheery, and then next thing you know she was moody and scolded me because I was asking her if she was alright. I took her swimming one morning while Maddy was having his lessons, and I think she may have overdone it. That evening, she went to bed early and slept late the next day. When she got up she was grumpy, and mumbled things to all of us and we just left her alone. Everytime I tried to help her with something she scolded me. The next day she was fine and dandy as if nothing had happened. She was bright and bubbly and ready to go. She gets very anxious too and always has to be doing something, if not walking, the laundry and I mean everyday. My Aunty suggested to her through a casual conversation whether she had thought of talking to someone about her past and helping her to let go. She wasn't having it and my Aunty thought it was because she saw it as a sign of weakness. My other Aunty who was divorced and had a stroke 6 years ago, told my Mum that she went through counseling and it helped her get through her divorce too. She also suggested anti-depressants because of her mood swings but my Mum hates taking pills (she is already taking some for high blood pressure). She is in denial and gets very defensive when anyone tries to offer any type of advice or help. She's 61 by the way and I'm worried about her and I know I can't force her to do anything she doesn't want to do but how can I get her to understand that talking to a professional might help her to let go of the hurt and pain she holds onto so tightly?!?
4 people like this
13 responses
@Sherry12 (2475)
• United States
24 Jul 08
It sounds like it would be very helpful for her to talk to a professional about her past. What helped me to realize I needed some medication for my panic attacks was when Tipper Gore was on TV and talking about taking them. It kind of made me realize that it was okay and not something to be ashamed of. I would think it would have helped that your sunt told her about her going thru counseling. You might try to find some magazine articles about women being helped with counseling and medicine. If she sees and hears enough about it, it may convince her that it isn't a bad thing.
@maddysmommy (16243)
• United States
24 Jul 08
I know that she was surprised to hear that my Aunt went through counseling and I think it got her thinking a little, but not enough to want her to do anything about it. Sending her information, books and magazines is something I can do. Really appreciate your response.
@nasohail3 (356)
• India
25 Jul 08
hey friends i have read your stories and my suggestion is just pray for god and ask them to help him god only the one and one to help us
@Margajoe (4721)
• Germany
30 Jul 08
Hi! You cannot help her by bringing her to a professional. (unless she chooses it by herself,give her time and space to make that decision by herself.) I know this kind of situation. And it is more difficult for the outsiders, like you, then it is for her. Sure she has her mood swings. She has been through a lot. But remember she is strong. The only thing you can do is act like a professional your self. You do that by listening, listening and patience. When you have the right moment, ask her questions. But never judge her, always stay positive.Respect her choices. (As much as possible). This is what a professional does too. And with you it is even better, because you have a bond together. A Love and trust thing, that no professional can replace. But, it won't be as easy as it sounds, still I think that is what she needs. Patience and room to be herself. Let her talk and talk and try to replace yourself in her situation. So you will understand her better. Good luck, and take care. Margajoe
@maddysmommy (16243)
• United States
30 Jul 08
Thanks Margajoe. I'll be there for her as much as I can. It's hard now that she is back in New Zealand and I am in the US, but still, I can be there for her when she needs someone to talk to and such. I think my siblings have learnt to be patient and listen and just let her be when she wants to be. It's actually been ongoing for years but she does seem a lot stronger from the last time I saw her. Thanks again for your support.
1 person likes this
@Margajoe (4721)
• Germany
30 Jul 08
Hi! Glad to hear she seems stronger. Sounds to me like she is very strong. Success, Take care, Margajoe
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@jairgirl (2879)
• United States
24 Jul 08
hello there maddysmommy, sorry to hear about your mom's situation, i know that it is very hard as my mom used to be like that when i was growing up but we managed. my mom-in-law is a bit like that though she is not having some depression problem it is more of moody i guess and she's been like that since my man can remember. anyway, some help is great but if the person dont show any interest of it it may be harmful than a help in the end. what i mean by this is, i have met some people in the past that the more you drive them to be this and that then the more they pull away and becomes worst. i think the best thing to do right now is to communicate with her often and feel what mood she have in a day and relate to that by saying something that has something to do with you. if you feel she is upset and or need some outlet you can share all your problems and that might help her to share her own and that will help her talk and ease whatever is there. if she is happy - then just talk about happy issues and just enjoy the moment. dont let her moodiness affect you, if she really wants to be left alone then try to ask her when is the right time or day to call her back. i dont know how far they live from you but maybe since it is vacation time you can drive there and spend more time with her once in a while. do things that you think she enjoys or ask her to come visit again or just make her feel you need her and her help and maybe that will help her. you can also try to call her and come up with a story that you are wondering if you can help your friend who is having the same problems as hers and maybe you can get an idea on how she will handle that and get that idea a try to her but be subtle LOL i have lost someone i love in the past and it is not easy, i became more aloof with people and tend to shy away with anybody. but i have persistent friends who will come over and just hang around till i am ready to talk and that sure helps me out a lot. btw, does she likes to read? there are some great books that dont have to be psychological ones nor have to be something that deals with her pain so she dont have to feel like you are prying on her. i think "a new earth" and or "love by leo buscaglia will be a great one to have. i have not read a new earth yet but i have heard a lot of great reviews about it so that might interest her. sorry my knowledge bout this is not much just basing it on my previous experience that is all. have a good one!
@maddysmommy (16243)
• United States
24 Jul 08
Thanks jairgirl, I appreciate your comments. She's been this way for quite some time now and just seeing her over the last two weeks, made me realise how vunerable she really is and that there is more to her than just mood swings and sorts. I think she has a lot of the past she hasn't let go of and I think seeing her two sisters and brother after so long, has probably triggered several not so good memories and that's why she acted the way she did during the time she was here with us. I still think she is depressed though and I know all I can do is be there whenever she needs me, to listen and let her be. I just want her to know that there are options out there for her that could really help her move on with her life and release all that she has carried for so long. She currently lives in NZ and I live in the US so it's difficult to know how she is doing on a daily basis, unless I ask my siblings. I'll make the effort though just so she knows we care and love her. The book you mentioned "A New Earth" I actually have a copy of that and will send it to her. I have read bits and peices and found some of it useful and others not so useful. I have not heard of the other book "love" by Leo buscaglia - I might just go and find a copy at the library and read it myself. Thanks my friend!
@jairgirl (2879)
• United States
25 Jul 08
you're very much welcome, yes it is not easy to have the past flashing back again i know exactly what it is like so i cannot blame her - having someone to talk to helps a lot and the fact that the person wont judge me nor make me feel guilty about that feeling helps me to accept the past. does she live with other relatives back in NZ or just by herself? any plans for her to move here so you guys can be near together and may help her resolve any issues she have or just stay with you longer than few weeks. depression is not an easy thing to have, my husband was diagnosed with it and he used to take a medication for it but since i told him that i feel more relax if he dont have to rely on it. medications help BUT there are a lot of side effects and that is not something i am wanting so i am happy that after so many years he finally says that i am done with it. if he is having depression all i have to do is hush as i know he prefer it that way but i make sure that he knows that i am there whenever he needs me, that works well and so far there is no need for him to go back to his medications. btw, have you heard about regression? i have read and heard in the past that it is very useful for those who are having stress and depression problem, she might like that as long as she knows that she is safe. i am wanting to have one but dont know one here so maybe i just wait when my area decided to have it LOL do you have a road runner as a service provider in DC? they have an international fix phone calls to a lot of countries $19.99/month it is pretty useful but i am not sure if you guys have that service or not but if you like you can inquire them. i also know vonage supports a lot of european countries and they are pretty cheap as well. i was about to suggest talkster.com but when i check it they dont support NZ on their list. my sister lives in finland and i can used this site for free but havejt tried it yet coz they are out for vacation. oh i see, so some is not that useful (a new earth) i guess i have to read further about the reviews of it. i just watched part of it and i think it is good. regarding the book of leo buscaglia- i love it coz it is all about LOVE and how to see both sides and let go of the pain. if you cant find it in your library im sure borders or barnes and nobles have it. i dont have mine as i gave it t a friend who is in so much pain so i cannot gave it to you. keep me posted when you get a chance to read it. takecare
1 person likes this
• Philippines
24 Jul 08
hello...let me introduce myself to you first. i am vida from the philippines. well you see...as we grow old, things that happened in our earlier stages in life comes back. some of them we regret they happened and some of them we are happy and satisfied by them... i think what your mum is going through now, is that when she feels low and grumpy and "touchy" that's the time when she recalls all her negative things that happened to her and suddenly, changes her mood?...well, it's because of ...after thinking those negative things, at the back of her mind, she thinks and still thankful for where she is right now.... and not to mention her happy times where she was satisfied in her life flashes back. you know, as we grow old, our moods changes and there's nothing a professional can do about it...because inmy own experience, yes, you could take her to a professional help...buut, after that, as you walk out of the room...she would still insist on what and how she feels... the best way for you to do is do just what i did and worked.... first, i always ask for guidance from "him"...i always pray to him..it is the best thing to do... second....stay with her moods...ride with her...if she gets grumpy,then just listen with your left ear and let it pass through your right ear...elders are more prone to changing their moods especially you mentioned that your mum is taking medications for high blood pressure... when she gets grumpy...try to calm her down...telling her : "mum, you wouldn't want to go talk to a professional right? it would be better if we just sit here and you tell me stories about us (her kids) when we were kids?"or.... join her walking.... you don't need a professional for your mum to let go of her past experiences that put her down... you yourself can be a professional to her...because, you are her family...you are the only one who's been through her since you were born...right? professionals would just ask for experiences...and give her advices...but that's it...but "you" as her family is the nearest professional that could help her... just understand her, for she is old and elders are more prone to mood swings... and don't forget to ask for guidance from "him" i hope this worked....and by the way... the money you'll be spending for professionals?....if i were you??? i'd spend it where i think my mum would be happy with....
1 person likes this
@maddysmommy (16243)
• United States
24 Jul 08
But the thing is, it's all to do with when she was a kid, not when I was - before I was ever born. I can't relate to a lot of what she went through as I had a different upbringing. She was brought up in the Islands and I was born and raised in New Zealand, totally different culture and country altogher. Her family experiences are not what I had or went through so how can I help her get through her childhood if I can't relate to it at all? She lives in New Zealand and I now live in USA, we are thousands of miles away from each other, so how can I help to counsel and support her when she is there and I am here? Her views of "God or a higher being" are very different to what I know and most of the time I can't comprehend what she says about "her God" ... so how can I help her there? my walk with God is on thin ice too and even though prayer does work, I'm not sure if I am good enough to even help her in this area either. I think talking to someone who is NOT family might be the way to go, I don't know. It certainly has helped many other family members that I know of. I just know that I am not the right person to counsel her nor do I have the experience or knowledge to help her get through this. It's beyond my comprehension.
@maddysmommy (16243)
• United States
24 Jul 08
I also think it's more than just being elderly and prone to mood swings. I think with everything she has kept inside her through all these years has taken a toll. She actually almost had a nervous breakdown when her dad passed away and has never been the same since. There's also menopause and not being treated for that maybe causing her mood swings and sorts too. She also had an hysterectomy which she had to deal with on her own and other medical issues as well. I think a professional is better suited here. Thanks for your response.
@theprogamer (10543)
• United States
2 Aug 08
You're facing an uphill battle Maddysmom. You are contending with someone's past, their stubborness and a growing health concern that is very likely influencing judgment... Each of those alone would be hard to deal with in another person, combined it could be insurmountable for your purposes. You could keep communicating your concerns in hopes it changes her mind. Another possible solution is to wait for her to come to grips with both of her problems. Third thought, some people don't want to admit weakness. Sometimes its their own pride but other times they do it because of people in their lives (children, spouses). It can get to the point of self destruction, not really full-blown or obvious... but gradually. In any case, perhaps it could be a point of discussion between the two of you.
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@maddysmommy (16243)
• United States
8 Aug 08
Thanks theprogamer and sorry this reply is late as I haven't been online much. I think it might come down to waiting until she comes to grip with her issues. There's only so much I can say to help or support her and I suppose all I can do is be there for her. I know my Aunts had a heart to heart with her so hopefully that helped a bit. I just worry that she may never ever get over her past you know?
@squaretile (3835)
• Singapore
28 Jul 08
i think some of these things come with age and menopause. my own mum shows such symptoms at times. and i feel that it's almost paranoia. and the thinking that people are out to get her, that food is not clean. it's very stressful when you see your parents becoming like that. sometimes i try not to let it get to me, but it does some how.
1 person likes this
@maddysmommy (16243)
• United States
29 Jul 08
Yeah I think it's got a lot to do with menopause as well. Everything seems to be coming to a head so even though she is a lot better than she was a few years back when I last saw her, I can see she is still having trouble dealing with that and everything else. Because she doesn't see herself as "not being well" other than her high blood pressure, it's hard to talk to her about getting some help. It's hard.
@snowbitz (487)
• Philippines
25 Jul 08
I think you should play some soft music too because when my mom had a problem with my dad he was always in a bad mood .We play soft music to calm her down and some times talking to her anything except the problem let her in her own time tell you about it.And don't opposed to what she say don't give negative comments.Me i'll just listen and i always take her side that time to let her feel that their is someone with her with this crucial stage.
1 person likes this
@maddysmommy (16243)
• United States
27 Jul 08
Thanks showbitz. We all have told her we are there for her whenever she wants to talk, or just be. I just worry about her mood swings - changes very quickly so we feel like we always have to tread carefully around her. That's hard not knowing what she is going to be like as soon as she wakes up every morning. I just think there is more to what we are seeing.
@marciascott (25557)
• United States
25 Jul 08
Do something that please her, give her a hug and a kiss and tell her that you love her and that you are there for her no matter what! Take her to luch or dinner, spend some quality time with her if you don't have any money, go and make her a meal. I bet that will please her!
@maddysmommy (16243)
• United States
27 Jul 08
Yup, did all of those and much more when she was here visiting with us. She came with her two sisters from New Zealand. She is now back home. I know she spends a lot of time with my siblings and grandkids, which keep her busy since she's been retired for several years now. Dad works but doesn't really make time for mum. I'll just have to keep in touch with her more often. Thanks.
@Hatley (159318)
• Garden Grove, California
25 Jul 08
hi maddysmommy did you ever wonder if your moms mood swings'could be a sign of bipolar disorder. in bi polar one day you are up the next you are in deep depression but you keep swinging back and forth. your mom sounds like she is up and then down. I would get her to her doctor and have her checked out as there'are medications for that that will help her lead a normal life but she has to see a doctor for that.She should be seeing her doctor anyway and just suggest bipolar, bubbly one minute, depressed the next it sounds like a classic case. get her checked out.
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@maddysmommy (16243)
• United States
29 Jul 08
You know I am not sure about that. I know of a few cousins that have bipolar. I know she is scheduled to see her regular doctor in two months (for her high blood pressure) so I might get my sister to tag along with her since she is now back in NZ and I am here in the US. Thanks Hatley.
@kimbers867 (2541)
• United States
25 Jul 08
I'm so sorry to hear about your mom. She does need to talk to her doctor, and start there but it is going to be hard if she is in denial or resisting. When she is home, who does she live with or dos she live alone?
@maddysmommy (16243)
• United States
27 Jul 08
She lives with dad but he is always working. She has been retired for some years now and spends her days walking and the occasional volunteering. She lives a few hours away from my brothers and sisters. They visit them often and I know she often babysits for the grandkids too which she enjoys.
@gemini_rose (16194)
24 Jul 08
It is really hard trying to persuade someone to go to the doctors when they do not want too. I have had depression on and off since being 16 and each time it was the doctors and health visitors around me that realised I was depressed and gave me the help I needed. All you can do is encourage her to see that there is something wrong and just be there for her. I would say though that if she has been bottling it up for a long time then the fact that she is acting strange could be a sign that it is all about to come out of her anyway. I am sorry, I am not very helpful really, but I hope that it all works out and that someone else can give you more helpful advice. Xx
1 person likes this
@maddysmommy (16243)
• United States
24 Jul 08
Thanks for sharing Gemini. She actually has been like this for a few years and after seeing her with her sisters and one of her brothers while visiting here in the US, I think it may have brought out a few not so good memories of her childhood. I just feel that if she was able to let it go or at least attempt to let some of it go, she can begin to heal. She is a lot stronger than she was when I saw her two years ago though, so maybe her own therapy in walking, and self talk, doing what she likes to do is probably helping. Maybe this recent visit sparked up a few skeletons in her closet. Or it could also be that I'm over reacting and it's something minor. Thanks for your input though, really appreciate it.
@besthope44 (12146)
• India
8 Oct 10
I use to manage depression, listening musiq, playing violen and i like chocolates, and i feel i get refreshed after having my chocolates. And best remedy is Meditation, try breathing exercise, it will help you balance and handle depression.