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Trying to help my mum with depression



New member
Dec 28, 2017
Hi everyone,

A couple of months ago my mum was diagnosed with depression. She's always been an extremely sensitive and easily influenced person, so the depression kicked in after a couple of bad experiences. I work abroad, and a few weeks ago I came back home to spend the holidays with my family and take care of her. She's on pills (Paroxetine) and she visits the therapist every couple of weeks or so, and even though she's starting to feel a bit better, I feel really lost about what to do or how to help her whenever she has a bad day or a meltdown.

Whenever this happens, she starts crying and no matter what I say to her or how hard I try to encourage and support her, she just won't listen and keep repeating how useless she is, how tired she is of all this and how guilty she feels for being like that. On top of this, both my father and my sister are acting like complete assholes, as every time my mum tries to talk to them about her situation they just won't listen and instead, they usually make her feel guilty and say to her to "stop acting like a 5-years old child", and the situation at home right now is unbearable.

I've tried to talk to both of them about it with no success, so it feels like I'm my mum's only support, and I don't really know what to do to best help her. Whenever she has a good day I always try to be with her and do stuff together like going for a walk, doing some exercise or going shopping or to the movies. However, these constant breakdowns and the whole situation between my mum and dad/sister is also starting to have a negative effect on my psychological health (i.e. anxiety as I don’t know what to do to make things better)

In a couple of weeks I also have to get back to work, and I'm honestly scared of how the situation is gonna be once I leave my mum alone with my dad and sister.

Any help/advice/kind words would be really appreciated


Well-known member
Aug 17, 2012
The West Country
Oh gosh, that sounds incredibly stressful for you. :hug1:

It can be really difficult when people don't seem to have much compassion or understanding for mental health issues.
Do you think your dad and sister just don't get it, or do you think they may be taking this attitude because they've got to a stage where they've given up trying to help?

The things you do with her on good days could be very helpful on bad days. She might not feel like going for a walk or watching a film, but distraction can only be a good thing.
If she can push herself to act then it might help change her mood or interrupt her negative thoughts.

It may be worth talking to your mum when she is having a better day, and to ask her if there is anything she can think of that might help her when she's distressed.
You could create a list and she could keep it with her and get it out when she needs it.
It's very difficult when you're low to think of anything that will help you, but when you're a bit better, you're more likely to come up with some good ideas.

You are obviously very caring and that is a lovely thing. But I would just say that you also need to look after yourself. It's not cruel to have boundaries, it is essential.
They say you can't serve from an empty vessel which is why it's important for you to keep yourself 'topped up' with nice things. Take care of yourself. :hug: