Dealing with (Someone Else’s) Depression

TearsSpending another weekend with my mom and, although I really, really try to be supportive, the negativity and depression is really getting to me this time.

In a way, part of it is that I am feeling sorry for myself. I have a limited number of days off for summer and I work a lot of weekends during the school year and I have spent a majority of my weekends here since getting off for the summer. And although she says she “likes” to have us here, we spend half our time sitting in a dark and dingy living room with her in tears about something or other.

And if the things she was crying about made sense, I would be fine with it. But, they aren’t.

For example, she just started crying and when I asked her why she said it was because she was worried she had made the wrong decision to bring my dad home at the end of the month. This is a decision she made almost six weeks ago and is moving him from a place she HATES. It also means that she will not have to hire an additional caretaker to drive her back and forth to visit him twice a day as they will have someone here 24/7 and she will not need to go anywhere to see/visit with my dad (who is on hospice now).

When I asked her why she was upset about it, she said that the “room” which my sister has repainted and is almost done replacing the trim and baseboards in, where the caretaker will sleep, is “too much.” When I said it was almost done (seriously, two pieces of trim for the walls, one baseboard nailed down and the top of the window frame and it is completely finished other than moving in the twin bed that they found at a yard sale this weekend and putting on the sheets that I got for her on sale this past week), she said, “No it isn’t.”  And it is so matter-of-fact that there is no argument – and then she cries again.

I took her grocery shopping to a new store in town this morning and about three minutes after arriving, she was complaining about the produce not being as good as the other store and the prices not being as good as the other store. So, I said, “Let’s go to the other store then.” And she says, “No, its too far and will be too crowded.” then spends the rest of the shopping trip complaining about this store.

It is like she is stuck in this negative funk and can see nothing good. She refuses solutions when I offer them (like going to the other store, which I would have been more than happy to have gone to). She gets herself into these funks and can see no good in anything or anyone. And then she starts to project that on to her entire future. It is exhausting. I know why she is exhausted. And it makes me exhausted. But, she refuses to go to a support group because she says “she is no good at that kind of stuff.”  She takes anxiety medication, but she can’t take it all day everyday. I used to think it was the chemo, but she has now been off of chemo for over a month and nothing much has changed. She just shifts her negativity from her health onto other things.

So, I don’t know if I am seeking advice or seeking empathy or seeking sanity, but I just really felt the need to vent. It is not as if this is a new experience but I feel like it gets harder and harder to come here and spend days like this when the whole purpose is supposed to be because it makes her feel better. It doesn’t seem to make her feel better and it definitely doesn’t make us feel better. I want to be here for my mom (and my sister, which I guess is part of what has kept me coming even though I don’t think my mom is any less depressed when we are here), but it gets hard sometimes not to get totally frustrated with her, the situation and the total lack of positives.

I think part of what is making this weekend worse is that I’m exhausted, PMSing and really wanting a day to deal with my own stuff – which I have a lot of …and then that, in turn, makes me feel selfish and guilty. It is a vicious cycle.


7 thoughts on “Dealing with (Someone Else’s) Depression

  1. Avatar of PegiPegi

    All you can do, is what you can do. In spite of your mother’s negativity, I’m sure your sister greatly appreciates the company and/or break. I hope venting has helped, we’re here to listen. Hoping you find some peace, and make that time for yourself.

    • Avatar of SueSue Post author

      Thanks Pegi! I am sure my sister appreciates it and she really does deserve it, so I am now thinking of extending my stay one more day even so I can help her finish the bedroom off on Tuesday.

  2. Avatar of IlIl

    I wonder if you would like a response from someone who is dealing with Depression/PTSD? I can see both sides. Let me know if you do and I’ll expand. il

  3. Avatar of IlIl

    Sue, I can understand your rationality and your frustration with what might not be understood or ‘negative’. It’s just that as someone who ‘has depression’ it’s not something I ‘choose’, it’s a physical thing that is invisible. I cannot control it. Alot of times it controls me or it seems to. Richard’s blog is amazing per this. He’s right. The invisible illness is unbelievably frustrating albeit ‘physical’ (e.g. I think in his case back pain?) That in itself will cause emotional reactions. For me my family gets angry with me and I get upset in return. Again, Richard’s blog I think he mentioned get upset then ‘educate’ . . forgive . . forgive me Richard if I misquote you.
    With ‘mental illness’ I don’t use that term I use the word I’m strong. I have a challenge. Please be patient. Like right now I’m dealing with 2 parents with dementia and I don’t want dinner right now but they do . . that creates hormone induced stress. Make sense? I hope so. Enorphins create stress. Create Depression.

  4. Mary

    I really feel your pain. I feel like I am in defcon5 overload most days. I am a very optimistic person and always feel blessed for even the smallest gifts in life but since I had my mom fulltime in my home I feel so hopeless. My mother complains about everything, says very mean things to me, and generally has dragged me in to her hell. My husband works hard and tries to be supportive but even he has hit his limit.

    I really don’t think there is much we can do but carry on and pray. I clearly understand that most of the time they don’t realize how much complaining they are doing or how difficult they can be.

    As far as the remodeling the room for the caregiver, we learned that one the hard way also. My in-laws house is falling down around them and they complain all the time about it but if we try to do anything about it they come unglued and complain about how much things cost. You will never win any argument with them because I really believe they have lost their ability to see things logically.

    It is really sad because we should be able to enjoy the time we spend with them, and I think that makes me the saddest……


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