I’ve never dealt with a severely depressed person before. I need advice.

As I’ve discussed before, my mom is dealing with a lot of issues. Mostly it’s pent up issues from her childhood, and her whole entire life I suppose, that she’s never dealt with. She’s experienced lots of family drama and she is now suffering from health issues as well, which I believe stem from all of the issues and anxiety she’s be dealing with for years. So anyway, today my mom sent my brother and I a long email detailing her issues so we could understand and support her — while also asking for leeway to have her “venting” episodes (which basically means explosions and rudeness to those she loves most). I am glad, though, that she’s finally opening up. That’s definitely a step forward.

My mom is a master manipulator, by the way. Best of the best. The example above of playing the woe is me card, while asking for room to be a bitch is only one of many. She’s trying to blame her entire emotional state on one event that happened this summer, which is totally not true. She’s been suffering like this for about a year. But boy is she good at making you think something else.

My dad and brother both cater to my mom because they’re dealing with her in person every day. I don’t have that issue since I’m hundreds of miles away. I think she needs a bit of reality, but I don’t want to push her further down her hole.

I’d like to reply with a candid email. Essentially saying that it’s hard for me to support her. I’m her child. I’m not ready to have to take care of my parents. Plus her life is so full of her own issues, I can bring her in on mine. She’s rude to those around her. She explodes on a dime. She’s extremely over-medicated. She’s extremely unhappy. She’s lucky my dad is even still married to her.  I want to point out to her that her issues are too big for her to deal with alone. I’m not equipped to help her. No one in my family is. I have no idea what it’s like to be severely depressed and I have no idea what it’s like to have decades and decades of issues pent up. She needs professional help. She’s against it (she’s a nurse) because I think she thinks she knows everything they know. Basically I want to say that I want my mom back and the only way I think she can do that is through professional help.

Will that put her over the edge? Are there other ways I can be supportive AND honest without making the situation worse? I definitely don’t want to talk to her on the phone. She never lets you say anything. She pulls the “you don’t understand” card.

Should I wait to say anything that could remotely rock the boat until after this cycle? I have no idea what the outcome of an email response from me would be like and I certainly don’t have room for more stress in my life.

Any advice? This is awful.

7 responses to “Advice

  1. Ah, crap, I’m so sorry that you have to deal with this. I really wish I had some advice or experience that I could share with you, but I’ve never had to deal with depression. I can only imagine how difficult this is, particularly since the person is your mother.

    I’ve used an analogy when I’ve had to face some difficult decisions with family…When you’re on a plane and those emergency instructions are announced and they say to put your mask on first before helping someone else. Well, that’s because to really be able to save someone, you have to stabilize yourself first and foremost or else both of you are going to go down.

    Anyway, that long-winded statement is the the only advice that I feel even remotely able to provide. You should protect yourself first and foremost. With your cycle just around the corner, you should be making sure that you’re healthy and unstressed as possible.

    Please hang in there.

  2. Sarah

    I have a mentally ill sister. She has depression, addiction, probable narcissistic pesonality disorder and is diagnosed bipolar. Most people tiptoe around her to avoid her explosions which are horrible. I avoid her like the plague (not the best solution.) Any type of candor on my part was met with an explosion. One thing I’ve been told, though, from multiple counselors and advisors is that I always have a right to tell her how I feel as long as I do so without malice or hatred or accusation. If you are candid with your mom, she might lash out and say some really horrible things, including preying on your weaknesses. You have to weigh whether or not you want to deal with that at this time.

    But – nothing you do will push her over the edge. You are not responsible for your mother’s behavior. She is. No matter what she says, how she blames, or spins it there is nothing that you do that can dictate her behavior. She is a grown woman responsible for her own behavior. As adults we learn that circumstances should not dictate our behavior. Sometimes people with depression and addiction are emotionally child-like.

    Anyway, please never feel responsible for her behavior. You have a right to how you fell always. Your feelings are never wrong because you can’t change how you feel.

    And best of luck to you on this cycle. I’m a long-time lurker first-time commenter but am sending good thoughts and prayers to you.

  3. newlife

    I’ve been following your blog for a while and have never commented but I thought this was important.
    My mother was also in the medical profession and self prescribed.
    As the Daughter of a manic depressive, The only advice I can give you is that:
    1. it’s not your job to fix her. You’re her daughter, you’re too close to the situation and as you’ve already experienced she’ll use the “you just don’t understand” card.
    2. Your mom needs professional help. as you said, you have no experience with a depressed person and unfortunately no matter how hard you try , you can’t fix your mom’s lifetime worth of issues, only she can, nor is it you responsability to.
    3. I agree with sooz, You need to make sure that you take care of yourself or you’ll be no help to her. You’ve worked way too hard to get to this point to let anything distract you now. The one thing you can do is listen to her when she wants to talk but don’t enable her in her destructive behavior.
    Speaking from experience, please also give support to your father and brother. Being so close to all the drama can be extremely painful and stressful. Encourage them to not enable her.
    I’m sorry I can’t be more positive but I’ve had a great deal of experience with this issue and it can eat you alive if you let it. You are doing a great job keeping a strong and positive attitude. You’re doing everything that you should be doing to stay sane. Don’t let your mom distract you. You’re almost there.
    If you have any specific questions or just need to chat please comment and I promise I’ll reply.

  4. Circus Princess

    I think your reaction to her email is sound and that you should indeed be honest with her. Catering to a person who is dependent/abusive/depressed won’t do anybody any good. And from the sound of things she already has enough yes-men in her life. You’re fortunate to have some perspective because of your distance and might be the only one in your family far away enough to be candid with her. One suggestion is to look up somebody she can get in touch with to get help and add that information to your email. If it all seems too much to deal with before this cycle, try writing the email and save it. Your child/ren deserves a healthier grandmother! Sending you lots of love and cheers, you rock!

  5. cgd

    This is very hard. I know you are aware of what my profession is, so I am going to give you the best advice possible. You need to manage your expectations of what you can do here. I understand that you need to speak with her and let her know your feelings and your beleif that she needs professional help (I am sure you are more than correct). However, based on what you said before, I think you need to be aware that there is a good chance that she is not going to be able hear you. Now, I see the value in saying it anyway, but I think you just need to be prepared for her response. We cannot make others get help, as much as we want them to.
    I hope your mother does listen and can start her recovery process. I hope you, your brother, and your father can all lean on each other right now, you certainly need each other.
    Hang in there.

  6. I don’t have any advice I just wanted you to know I am here and sitting with you as you figure this situation out.

  7. Julesnicki

    NNN, thinking of u and following here. We are overdue for a conference! Love u boo. Hold off on the family drama until you’ve succeeded on your baby mission. I agree with all the wonderful women chiming in. You need to ‘sharpen the saw’ as they say (airplane reference). Xoxo

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After nearly 3 years of TTC and the help of ART, we got pregnant on our 5th IVF/FET transfer after IVF #2. Our beautiful fraternal twin boys were born on 7/15/11 at 37w0d.

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