Caring for a family member with depression

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ilovemymama
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 4/30/2012 7:41 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi. I'm not sure what to do. My mother, who is in her 50's, is very sick. She had colon cancer about 7 years ago and has had mulitple surgeries and chronic pain since then. My step-father also passed away 2 years ago from cancer. This last surgery to remove more of her intestine (due to a blockage), coupled with the pain, has left her severly depressed and having long daily panic attacks. I feel so helpless. She refuses suggestions on how to improve things, sits in the dark, and has "given up". She is convinced that we are conspiring against her b/c we all agree that she is not handling things well right now (we're not criticizing, but we know she needs help). Although she still lives alone, we (my hubby and I) are her only support. She cussed at me the other day. My mother never cusses at me, but she is getting so short tempered...no doubt from the chronic illness. She has an aide that checks on her daily. We run her errands (she doesn't leave her house or go outside), and I call her everyday. I love her dearly and don't mind caring for her at all, but how do I cope with her refusal to even try to get better? How do I handle the ugly, accusatory way that she talks to me? When taking care of a parent, how do you help them understand that you're not being judgemental, but you have to get her help? Everything seems to be getting turned around in her mind as she ruminates on it, and I just don't know how to handle it. Thank you very much for any feedback!

getting by
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Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 42438
   Posted 4/30/2012 7:49 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi there,

And welcome to the depression forum. I am sorry for what you are going through. Is there any way you could get your mother to go to counseling? I think that would help her. And generally people with cancer get put on antidepressants. That might help her, and help with the pain too. Doe she have to use a colostomy bag? That is hard for people, often they don't want to leave the house in this condition.

Having cancer is so depressing. I totally understand where she is coming from, but I also understand your concerns. I would see if she would talk to somebody to help her feel better. Let her know it is for her own good. Maybe try to get her out a little each day. That might help.

I am sure that there will be others with most likely better suggestions than mine.

I hope you can get through this. Know that we are all thinking about you and we all care.

Hugs, Karen
Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia


fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression, allergies

ilovemymama
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 4/30/2012 8:04 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you for responding, Karen! I fight depression myself, and I know it is hard to battle. But once I reach out for help, things start to get better (with effort on my part). She is in a deep state of denial and blames everything on the physical pain. But with chronic physical pain comes emotional pain as well...I'm trying to help her realize this is a normal reaction and no one is judging her (i.e. no one sees her as weak). However, for her to get better, she's got to admitt to herself that there is a problem. In the meantime, I love her and am trying not to pull my hair out as she falls deeper and deeper into this depression.

getting by
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Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 42438
   Posted 4/30/2012 8:28 AM (GMT -6)   
Do you think that counseling for yourself would make this easier for you to handle? It might be something that you would want to consider. I go monthly, and have been for years. It really helps to check in and talk to somebody who is objective and compassionate. I know what you are going through isn't easy. I took care of my mother too. But ended up having to put her in a nursing home. It was really hard for me, but they could care for her better than I could. I hope it doesnt come to that. But if it did, with counseling, you would have help and get feedback. I sure do hope that you feel better soon. It is hard worrying about somebody who isn't taking steps to help themselves. One day at a time is my motto. Keep posting and know that we care.

Hugs, Karen
Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia


fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression, allergies

Jim1969
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Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 2042
   Posted 4/30/2012 8:29 AM (GMT -6)   
I know it is difficult but please try not to take the mean things your Mom says personally. It really isn't her talking but rather her illness and pain.

As of right now I think the best thing for you to do, other than doing what you can to support and care for her, is to speak to her doctor about her pain, moods, etc and ask the doctor what can be done and what you should do.

I don't know how you Mom is around doctors but if she is anything like mine and downplays her aches, pains, and problems it makes it very hard for the doctor to properly treat her. I took care of my Mom the last several months before cancer claimed her and I made sure to take her to her appointments and would make sure to either sit in on the visit and mention things that she wouldn't or corner the doctor and speak to him if for some reason he wanted to examine her alone.
2 confirmed herniated lumbar discs. Spinal Arthritis. Spinal Stenosis, diabetic peripheral nueropathy.
Moderator Depression Forum.

ilovemymama
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 4/30/2012 9:08 AM (GMT -6)   
Karen, I do see a therapist (a great therapist) :) I go tonight (thank goodness!) And it does help a lot; he also lets me call him whenever I feel overly stressed...which is a blessing. I can only imagine how difficult the decision was to put your mother in a nursing home.

Jim, thank you. I'm trying not to take it personally. It just seems like a slap in the face because I'm trying so hard to treat her kindly and be empathetic...I just can't let myself get down too. I feel like she wants pity, and I need to help her be strong so that she doesn't give up. I just need to keep reminding myself that this is not her talking.
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