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Mum has lost confidence, how to help her help herself??



New member
Jun 5, 2009
At the moment I am living back at home with my parents, I am 24 and because I have done quite a lot of travelling since university I haven’t had the cash or the stable job to move out.

My mum has manic depression; however she has been free from any major episodes for at least two or so years. Mum is constantly worried and anxious though. I will finish work and be a little late coming home and Mum will be half way to the bus stop looking for me! When ever I call her she will answer as though she is expecting the worst and I’m in a gutter somewhere.

I feel that she has lost so much confidence with her life. She has a responsible job as a manager of an old peoples day centre, however she has no hobbies or any 'things' to enjoy so to keep her mind active and not worry so much.

My dad and I have made suggestions to her so many times to have ago at new activities and not to be scared. we are always there for her and try and support her. I have suggested to go and see a counsellor once a week, or go to a group but she won't?! She seems to give up so easily and I can't see her ever changing, which upsets me greatly.

I feel like I just can't be bother anymore with her, I am frustrated and pulling my hair out :cry:
We do get on really well and I think that because we are so close, we arguing so much. I just feel that she has let me down, and she just won’t give anything ago.

Dad says to me just to let her be and said that he feels the same but you can’t change people, which of course is true. Am I not being understanding? I just want to help her!

I just want mum have the confidence challenge and help herself?? Any thoughts, please help?!?


Hi KitKat

I'm sorry you are so upset about your mums predicament.
I do not suffer with bipolar but I do have depressive episodes where I have lacked the motivation to do any activities outside of work and everything seems negative and bleak.
I can only make a few suggestions but as everyone is different I can't say that they will work for you mum.

First of all it helped me to think about why I didn't want to do something.
For example for me because my depression made it seem impossible to commit to anything that required my compulsary attendance every week it would prevent me from doing some activities because I didn't feel I could meet that requirement if I was having a bad day. So for me doing an activity I could dip in and out of was more appealing to me. Some people prefer having the commitment so your mum would have to think about what she wants from an activity and the barriers that may be preventing her undertaking them.

I guess for me what helped me get out and about more was when activities are suggested that they are specific. For example instead of my husband saying "why don't you start any activity?" which would only make it seem overwhelming because I had no idea what I wanted to do, he would have more success with me by saying something "like why don't you try a flower arranging class here in the paper on a wednesday evening?", or something similar. He made endless suggestions and one day, one particular activity appealed to me and I've been doing it ever since.

My husband would offer to go to the activity with me until I built up the confidence to go it alone and I had made some friends. This helped me alot.

I don't know if you have pets, but for me having a pet lifted my spirits and spurred on activities to do with the particular pet I had. If your mum is a pet lover there are many voluntary activities that require walkers or carers/assessors that can help people get out and about.

Maybe leave some college brochures out or read some of the courses out to your mum that you think might appeal to her.

Sometimes a recommendation from a friend can seem more appealing, plus it has the added advantage that she has a friend to go with her which can help alleviate some anxiety.

But ultimately it has to be your mums decision. She may find that managing an illness as well as working is enough for her at the moment and in my opinion you would just have to accept that.

With regards to negativity well it may be the nature of her illness or just her nature. Some of my family are very negative and they don't suffer with mental illness. They are not unhappy but just tend to look on the bleak side of things. For me when I was unwell and negative it would help me and lift my spirits if people were positive around me. In a way it was a breather from my negativity. But there is a fine line, sometimes if someone was overly-positive I found it annoying! I guess it helped if people did not get drawn into my negativity, they just respected what I said and offered an alternative point of few. But as I said everyone is different what works for some may not work for others.

If you find that ultimately she does not want to do anything you suggest, do keep on suggesting every now and then, one day a suggestion may click with her. But accept that in the meantime that you may not be able to change her, or the way she feels and try not to worry about it. She may be making a choice that she feels is beneficial to her, she may feel that doing an activity will upset a balance she has reached in life and in my opinion you would need to accept and respect that.

I hope that helps in some way.
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It must be distressing for you. Is your mother on medication - make sure she is taking it. Try to get her to see her G.P. You could ask for ahome visit although I understandthe G.Ps don't do many of these. Write to her psychiatrist and keep a copy of the letter. It may be that she needs a change of medication.If she is working in an old peoples home it is very tiring, but she needs to be fit for the job.
They should have noticed at the Home that she is not too well. If nothing else works ask their advice.:):)
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