View Full Version : HoW to help someone with depression and anxiety


Fuzzy12
12-03-16, 06:30 AM
So my mom is going to stay with us for a while and she's going through a bad bout of anxiety and depression. I'd like to support her as best as I can and so far the plan is:

1. Be patient. Be nice.My mom drives me crazy when she's like this especially because her anxiety means that she insists on me doing nothing (she gets scared when I drive, etc.. )

2. Get her involved and helping out with lil fuzzling (my little baby) as much as possible so she feels needed and useful. I'm a bit worried about leaving fuzzling with her as she's very absent minded at best of times (eg won't always respond inmediately when fuzzling is crying, etc.) So I have to see what she can do without disadvantaging fuzzling jn any way.

3. Make her feel good and validated. Talk to her.

stef
12-03-16, 08:51 AM
if you go out and she doesnt come with you, bring her back a treat. idk a muffin or something! lol i have no idea what mrs fuzzy could like

let her be alone if shes really anxious ( although it seems this is not " a thing" in your family)

if theres some movie or show she likes, watch with her or rent it, etc.

Fuzzy12
12-03-16, 03:56 PM
Thanks stef. Good ideas!! I'll try the treat and movie idea. She hates being alone though. It makes her anxiety worse. Exactly opposite of me...:rolleyes:

The problem is when she's like this she hates everything. 0When she's in a good mood or hypo she is super qctivr and up for everything. When she's depressed she neither wants to do anything herself nor does she want me to do anything.

So I'm thinking maybe I'll just take her places saying that I need her help with managing fuzzling. I don't want to put too much pressure on her but at the same time I think it will help if she keeps busy and more than anything if she feels useful. Her self esteem hits rock bottom during these phases. I need to find the balance though between making her anxiety worse by giving her too much responsibility or bullying her about and helping her by keeping her gainfully employed.

I'm quite worried though about leaving her alone with Fuzzling so I'll somehow have to give her something to do that I can supervise.

The cold weather doesn't help though.

I hate how she's been plagues by depression and anxiety. It's more than 20 years now. She's lost too.much of her life to this.

I know I can't cure it for good but if I can make her feel a bit better or help her create some nice memories thst she can treasure I'm happy. It's super difficult creating nice memories though for someone when they can't do anything because of anxiety.

Little Missy
12-03-16, 04:12 PM
Very true, very true. Way too true.

I mean, I know I have depression and anxiety also, as did my family members, but it is when they suck the happiness right out of you. This long, slow draggy sucking tug and...oh geez, my parents were never that bad, its LOL. :eek: She is wearing me out. At least your mum will get in the car.

I think it sounds like you have things covered pretty well.

ADDon1
12-03-16, 04:37 PM
So I'm thinking maybe I'll just take her places saying that I need her help with managing fuzzling.

That's great!

Don't forget yourself. Help yourself first before you help someone else :)
Do things with her that you too like, so you can enjoy both <3

Fuzzy12
12-03-16, 04:54 PM
Very true, very true. Way too true.

I mean, I know I have depression and anxiety also, as did my family members, but it is when they suck the happiness right out of you. This long, slow draggy sucking tug and...oh geez, my parents were never that bad, its LOL. :eek: She is wearing me out. At least your mum will get in the car.

I think it sounds like you have things covered pretty well.

My mom won't get into the car unless she absolutely has too and she won't let me get into the car either.:eyebrow:

It's really bad actually. E.g. When we went on holiday together when i was pregnant she went absolutely crazy because I walked along the beach. She thought it was too dangerous and was furious with me for ta king risks. I didn't even go into the water. Shallow water in which toddlers were playing. :doh:

:(

That's why I'm planning to take her to stuff I need to go to like fuzzling's weighings and health appointments. She will come with me because she will want to help me. Maybe we xan work up to more fun stuff.

Fuzzy12
12-03-16, 04:56 PM
That's great!

Don't forget yourself. Help yourself first before you help someone else :)
Do things with her that you too like, so you can enjoy both <3

Yes thanks. I normally go crazy when my parents are here but I'll reallly have to try and remain patient. And nice. Reasonably nice.

I can actually Do with some help though so I just need to remind myself thst this is good for both of us.

20thcenturyfox
12-03-16, 05:12 PM
Since physical exercise is supposed to be good for both anxiety and depression, if there's someplace nearby that offers babycare while mums exercise, is that something you two could do together?

ToneTone
12-03-16, 11:14 PM
It is truly hard to deal with people with serious anxiety and depression.

I mean, God knows how people dealt with me ... I tried to hide my depression around my family and of course, looking back, I'm not sure I did a very good job of it.

I would say set the bar lower ... Give yourself credit for allowing her to visit and give yourself credit for every good thing you do, every good idea you come up with, every moment of patience you show her.

Focus on you doing your best with her ... and see if you can let go of the results. I know that's nearly impossible. But you know: anxious and depressed people don't necessarily need people eyeing them closely and saying/thinking, "does this make you happy? Are you enjoying that?"

But if you can show love and kindness and patience, you will have done an extraordinarly wonderful thing for your mom--no matter how she reacts.

A friend of mine recently visited her mom out of town ... her mom is really ailing and on oxygen and depressed and homebound. My friend found out that hospice will enroll people for longer periods these days, and so she got her mom into hospice care, which means her mom will get visits from hospice workers focused on minimizing her pain and discomfort.

My friend then did something truly amazing: she realized her mom was lonely (her husband/my friend's dad has been dead a decade now) ... and she wanted to give her mom some human touch. So she got into bed with her mom and spooned her. She said she felt her mom's body relax with the affection.

So even simple hugs can be wonderful. Getting her food she likes. Finding music she likes. Letting her stay inside if she wants to ... and allow her to watch favorite shows and so on ...

Good luck.

Tone

Fuzzy12
12-04-16, 06:11 AM
Thanks. Love, kindness and patience are key. It's difficult for me to control my emotions but I guess I will just have to. Otherwise at the end of the moment we are both going to be depressed anxious wrecks.

sarahsweets
12-04-16, 10:28 AM
Fuzzy- first of all the bipolar me wants to say thank you for being so willing to understand depression and anxiety and being open to help. So many people are unwilling to understand or learn about how they can help.
I dont know if I can really add anything to the suggestions you have or have received but definitely the love you have is your best trait.

Unmanagable
12-04-16, 10:54 AM
Every time I try to think of how I can help others in their struggles, I'm promptly reminded of something a friend shared with me several years ago.

At the time, it didn't really register in my brain because I was too deep in my own struggles to ever get a clear picture of how badly others were struggling. But now I think I finally get it.

He said, "You can't take others somewhere you haven't learned to get to yourself." Hence, the saying of "the blind leading the blind". There's still no guarantee whatsoever that you can take anyone anywhere they aren't ready or willing to be, most especially self, for whatever reasons.

I always tried to make everything better for everyone else in every way humanly possible, but eventually found I was more often than not leaving myself behind and totally exhausting myself in the process. A recipe for certain disaster. The more I tried to avoid unpleasantness, the more it would show up.

Once I learned to put myself first so I could sufficiently and sustainably fill my own love cup, I was better able to pour some out for everyone else and have enough to more comfortably go around.

Otherwise, it ended up being a lot of really good intentions tossed around with no way to genuinely quench the thirst of all the needs that filled the space, and eventually, much resentment began building and emotions became overwhelming for everyone involved.

Best wishes for more comfortable space sharing and some hopeful happy faces.

Fuzzy12
12-04-16, 10:57 AM
Fuzzy- first of all the bipolar me wants to say thank you for being so willing to understand depression and anxiety and being open to help. So many people are unwilling to understand or learn about how they can help.
I dont know if I can really add anything to the suggestions you have or have received but definitely the love you have is your best trait.

Thanks sarah. I guess it helps that I get depression and anxiety as well though my mom's is more severe and a lot more disabling.

Little Missy
12-04-16, 11:00 AM
Thanks sarah. I guess it helps that I get depression and anxiety as well though my mom's is more severe and a lot more disabling.

Yes. You are doing so well with this. Love can be so crippling and yet so freeing. :)

Fuzzy12
12-04-16, 11:52 AM
Yes. You are doing so well with this. Love can be so crippling and yet so freeing. :)

Freeing?? How?? :eek:

No it's just crippling!! ;)

Fuzzy12
12-04-16, 05:54 PM
So we didn't get off to the best start. My sister insisted on discussing my mom's mental health in front of my mom though apparently my mom had explicitly asked her not to. So my mom got annoyed and felt embarassed and ashamed. My sis has the diplomatic skills of a rhinoceros.

My patience is already wearing a bit thin because everyone is talking
to me at the same time . I thought we could go for walks daily to get some exercise but she's already said she doesn't want to do that and she doesn't want me to go for walks either because it's too cold.

Oh well tomorrow is another day.

jkimbo
12-04-16, 06:08 PM
So my mom is going to stay with us for a while and she's going through a bad bout of anxiety and depression. I'd like to support her as best as I can and so far the plan is:

1. Be patient. Be nice.My mom drives me crazy when she's like this especially because her anxiety means that she insists on me doing nothing (she gets scared when I drive, etc.. )

2. Get her involved and helping out with lil fuzzling (my little baby) as much as possible so she feels needed and useful. I'm a bit worried about leaving fuzzling with her as she's very absent minded at best of times (eg won't always respond inmediately when fuzzling is crying, etc.) So I have to see what she can do without disadvantaging fuzzling jn any way.

3. Make her feel good and validated. Talk to her.

I think your plan is excellent! I commend you! I run a mental health group for bipolar and borderline people and of course we deal a lot with depression and anxiety. I can't tell you enough how rare you are! The most common complaints we get on our group is that our friends and family do not take is seriously or try to down play what we are going through. Your plan is perfect!

Fuzzy12
12-04-16, 07:54 PM
Thanks. I guess I'm wondering how to make her feel validated abd boost her self confidence.

Talking about depression and anxiety will achieve the opposite.

I try to be appreciative of the things she does but she doesn't like that because apparently it makes her feel as if I'm treating her like a stranger. She thinks taking her for granted is a sign of closeness and familiarity. :scratch:

In other news I'm obsessing whether hubby wished my parents good night or not.

I'll really have to learn to not sweat the small stuff if I want to keep my sanity.:umm1:

ToneTone
12-04-16, 11:03 PM
Having urged you to just focus on your actions and being patient and all of that, I want to loudly endorse Unmanageable's view. Totally on the money.

I also used to put other people's wellbeing first ... it was like a reflex ... and I kept wearing myself down ... I would worry about other people and put them first even when they didn't want me to put them first.

So since you mention your own depression and anxiety issues, let me encourage you to create some good time away from your mom. How about some exercise? Walks? Time when you let others stay with her and not yourself? ... Don't lose yourself in her visit. That's a totaly recipe for disaster and anxiety and resentment on your part.

So take care of yourself ... Literally see if you can schedule and plan for some real fun activities away from her. Taking care of yourself is great ... because well, we're valuable human beings and because the energy of taking good care of yourself can be really helpful to other people.

And deep down, almost all parents really want the best for their children--even if they drive us crazy when they visit us.

Tone

Fuzzy12
12-05-16, 01:51 AM
The strain that my parents place on me is purely mental. They'll do all the cooking now and my mom usually knits on doing all the cleaning 5as well. So I might get some time to myself. If I'll be relaxed enough to enjoy I'm not sure. I do get very stressed out when my parents are here.

Is it terrible of me that I'm planning to use fuzzling to cheer up my mom? I feel quite guilty about that. I just think that helping out with her grandchild might be more fulfilling than cooking and cleaning and she'll be able too see tangible results of that help. Also it's difficult to not feel at least momentary joy when fuzzling smiles or laughs. I am still super worried that my mom will drop fuzzling but I guess not being allowed to hold her grandchild would be terrible for her self esteem apart from a gross over reaction.

Fuzzy12
12-06-16, 08:12 AM
Am not able to send as much time with my mom as I was planning to as fuzzling isn't well at all. The weather is lousy as well and. I'm basically trying to get her to help me out as much as possible but a lot of the time that just consists of me asking her to do little brainless tasks. I'm not sure how to give her more challenging work to improve her self esteem. Also I have to reject a lot of her advice regarding fuzzling because I just don't agree with it. I try to do it nicely ajd she's used to thst from me anyway but still..

Thankfully she isn't as bad as I thought she was. Or maybe she's better already staying with us.

Fuzzy12
12-06-16, 09:39 AM
Not sure if it was wise to involve her so much with Fuzzling. Now she's being anxious about fuzzling's health.

Fuzzy12
12-06-16, 12:35 PM
So much for patience. Just snapped at my mom. Uggh.. :(:(:(

She's already driving me a bit crazy.

ToneTone
12-06-16, 03:14 PM
Chill. Just don't assasinate her and you're fine.

Of course, the stress of parents--even often good parents--is mental and psychological.

There is no "right" way to do this ... Be gentle with yourself ... You can't make her happy or peaceful or any of that. If you could you would have done so long long ago! ... All you can do is do your best to be kind ... while taking care of yourself.

Tone

Fuzzy12
12-06-16, 03:22 PM
I have to try. Nobody else can, not even herself. I'm struggling though even just to be kind. Maybe I am just not kind.

Fuzzy12
12-09-16, 10:56 PM
My mom's anxiety is so bad that her blood pressure has shot up. I'm really worried.

Hubby has also found out that she's stopped taking her anti depressants. So thst explains why her depression and anxiety are so bad again. This happens every time
. Whenever she feels slightly better she stops her meds and then crashes. Well she's spoken to.a psych tonight and I hope she'll start taking them again tomorrow
I'm not sure how to monitor it as she feels so embarassed talking about it.

She also does'nt want to discuss anything with me as she's worried about stressing me. It's worse though seeing her so hard on herself and not being able to help.

Doesn't help either thst except for huns abd me no one really understands depression. My dad keeps calling her weak, etc, my sister keeps asking her to just be strong (she does it kindly but I believe it just adds to the pressure) abd her own brothers with whom she talks daily on the phone keep putting pressure on her saying she needs to do more stuff for me. No point talking to any of them. Ive tried. Dad and sis just won't understand.

In trying to find a balance between letting her be so she can relax and encouraging her to do stuff so she feels better about herself. I don't have a lot of time as fuzzling isn't well and needs constant care.

I try not to tell her to not feel anxious as I know that doesn't help and I'm just trying to be very appreciative of what she dies do but it's difficult when she tells me off for being appreciative. She thinks because she has the opportunity to help me but isn't (in her view) that she's worthless. She just won't believe anything positive I say.

I hope she'll start taking her meds again. At this stage there's no getting through to her I think. Maybe the meds are thr only thing that can help now.

I'll need to ask her about the meds but it's difficult when she hates discussing it. I feel that I should respect her wish to not discuss it but what if she doesn't start taking them? ?? I almost feel like she's too ill to make this decision for herself

I'm sorry this is so long. I'm jot just venting though. I really need some advice.

kilted_scotsman
12-11-16, 02:33 PM
Bt the sound of it there's all sorts of stuff flying around, which is normal in these situations.

It's important to realise you can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped. There are several indications that your mother is unlikely to change and in a strange subconscious way is probably quite happy spreading waves of anxiety around her as it fulfils various subconscious needs and reinforces beliefs about herself and her place in the world.

This is all about the difference between "content" and "process" in communication..... unsurprisingly its not what people say that's important it's how they say it, when they say it, to whom they say it etc etc.

Try to filter out what is being said.... and calm your reactions to it.... because it's not the important bit ......Pay attention to the process part and you will learn stuff, and avoid being dragged into the drama.

stef
12-11-16, 02:52 PM
Meds, absolutely!
my mom finally understood this and never stopped taking them, faithfully with her blood'pressure meds every morning.

jkimbo
12-11-16, 02:57 PM
When I get in one of my moods, my close family understands and cuts me some slack knowing this will pass. They basically ignore me then. Hey it works :)

Fuzzy12
12-11-16, 05:14 PM
Bt the sound of it there's all sorts of stuff flying around, which is normal in these situations.

It's important to realise you can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped. There are several indications that your mother is unlikely to change and in a strange subconscious way is probably quite happy spreading waves of anxiety around her as it fulfils various subconscious needs and reinforces beliefs about herself and her place in the world.

This is all about the difference between "content" and "process" in communication..... unsurprisingly its not what people say that's important it's how they say it, when they say it, to whom they say it etc etc.

Try to filter out what is being said.... and calm your reactions to it.... because it's not the important bit ......Pay attention to the process part and you will learn stuff, and avoid being dragged into the drama.

The problem is that my mom has very little self awareness into her illness. She knows she's anxious but she doesn't realise that the thoughts of fear and panic that she's having are generated by the anxiety. She thinks they are real and expects us to act on them...Eg she doesn't want me to go out because she thinks it's too cold (it's about 13C here..so not cold at all). The thought of me going out in this weather scares her but she doesn't see thst it onky scares her because of her anxiety..and not because there actually is any danger.

For once I think I'm doing a fairly decent job of not getting worked up. At least so far. It doesn't seem to help but then neither would snapping.

So.I'm. N8t trying to argue with her or make her see reason and I'm trying to be respectful and validating but it's tough especially because it doesn't seem to make a difference.

I know I shouldn't expect it to make a difference. Shes started her anti depressants. Maybe thst will make a difference. .eventually.

Fuzzy12
12-11-16, 05:16 PM
When I get in one of my moods, my close family understands and cuts me some slack knowing this will pass. They basically ignore me then. Hey it works :)

That approach works well for me too. N8t for my mom though. She gets scared and panicky when left alone. She is seeking company.

kilted_scotsman
12-12-16, 04:12 PM
THere's no point in trying to make her see "reason" because her brain is locked into a particular way of thinking... which is "reasonable" to her.

It takes the patience of a saint to live in the situation you are in, however for your own sanity it's a good idea not to live by her rules just for a quiet life.

It's the way she is.... just go out and do your thing....even if it's cold or your near the sea or there are cars around.... whatever......

the reason is the Fuzzling..... because even very small children pick up on anxiety..... if they sense their mother/father being anxious about something they will assume there's something to be anxious about.... and lock on to the thing that's most obvious to them.... which makes for some funny anxieties later in life.

This may be what happened to your mother...... one of her principal carers when she was quite young may have been someone who was anxious about "stuff" and she "learned" that the world was a place one should be anxious in.....

and then she passed it on to you

If that sounds possible it's your job to imbue the Fuzzling with a sense of adventure, fun and possibility!

enjoy

Fuzzy12
12-25-16, 07:24 PM
Yes kilted that's what I need to do. She's surrounded by anxious people. None of us are easy going. Not even hubby. We need to change that. For her sake.

Having said that i don't remember my mom bring anxious when I was a child though she had much to be stressed abd depressed about.

Anyway she seems to have deteriorated again. It's impossible to have a conversation with her. The frustrating thing is that her whole personality seems to change. When she's normal she's jibd tolerant and generous. When she is in this state she hardly manages to be civil to anyone except to her kids. She also siesbt want us to do anything for anyone else. Not even the littlest thing. Like she'll object to us giving a friend a box of chocolates or somethibg like that but then when I explain to her why I'm doing it it seems to jolt her out of her state as if she suddenly realises that she's acting silly and it's Ok. It's like her default state is one of extreme and exxagerated self preservation and she just can't afford anything neither a thought nor anything material for anyone else...except her kids.

Fuzzy12
01-18-17, 09:21 PM
I've gone from wanting to help my mom to just trying to tolerate her eith out blowing up. Somehow somewhere I forgot about helping her. She seems to have deteriorated in the last few days.

I tried to speak to her about it but she just said that she's fine. She hates talking about it.

I wish I could do something to help her manage the depression better. I still suspect that she's bipolar but she won't see a psychiatrist. She's been taking the same tricyclic for 20 years or so because 20 years who nothing else helped her. I know I should speak to her prescribing gp nut she is a family friend amd I hate discussing my mom with her. So I dont under the excuse thst m mom doesn't want me to get involved.

However something has to be done. I hate the thought of my mom suffering from depression and anxiety for thr test of her life
She's already suffered too much.

I could speak to my dad at least. Explain to him what depression is and tell him that he has to treat her nicer. That it's not her fault. But I've told him before..it just doesn't teach him. It's very difficult to
Speak to ny dad.

So.basically i dont wany yo do anything. Is there anything else I can do??? Anything that doesn't involve talking to people???

Little Missy
01-18-17, 09:42 PM
So.basically i dont wany yo do anything. Is there anything else I can do??? Anything that doesn't involve talking to people???

Yup. Give her a big hug and a kiss and just look at her with love and a nod. :)

ToneTone
01-19-17, 12:06 AM
When my mom got really depressed, I talked to her GP ... and the doctor prescribed the antidepressant. The thing that made it work was that my mom's short-term memory was gone, so she didn't exactly know all the pills she was taking. She would just take them ... And her mood improved a lot!

Like it or not, we're in a parent role when our parents fall ill or get sick (and depression is s sickness).

So relax: you're not doing anything wrong to alert the doctor that your mother might need a change in medication. That's like one phone call and probably an increase in dose and you might get lucky ... and see a significant difference in her mood.

Also there could be something else causing the depression ... and that's important news for the doctor to have ... my mom had a thyroid condition that messed with her mood, for example.

Hang in there ...

Tone