Dear Hope: My Mom is Depressed
My parents are divorced and I live with my mom. I see my dad every other weekend. My dad and I get along great and everything is fine with him. It’s my mom that has a problem. She is really depressed. She lays in bed a lot. I have been worried, but thought it would get better. I have tried and tried to cheer her up, but nothing works. It’s been about 2 months and I have been skipping my time with my dad so I can take care of her. I even missed a day of school. I don’t know what to do and I’m scared. I’m afraid if I go to my dad’s she will not take care of herself or she will think I don’t love her. How can I help her? Please help me I’m really worried.
I’m sorry that you are going through this. This is a lot to handle. It’s too much for you to be doing by yourself. Your mom is depressed and she needs professional care.
Everyone has bad days. Days when you feel sad and don’t want to get out of bed. Normal sadness “depression” can last up to two weeks. If it persists longer, it can require professional help. Depression is an illness. With the right care, it is treatable.
This is not something you can cure for her. As much as your mom loves you, you won’t be able to cheer her up. Depending on how severe her depression is, she may not even be able to focus on you right now. She cannot see past what she is going through. It’s not fair to you or her to keep living this way. You need help.
Can you talk to one of you relatives on your mom’s side? Maybe a grandparent or an aunt? Let them know what is going on. They can aid your mom in getting help. Tell your dad. He needs to know what you are going through. He is there to support and take care of you. You cannot and should not be going through this alone. If you are feeling too overwhelmed it’s ok to get some counseling for yourself. Depression can affect the entire family.
Sometimes loving someone enough is knowing the right way to help them. You have been so strong and trying to do it all, but it’s time to take care of yourself, too. Ask for help.
This will be a new journey for you and your mom. You can still be there for her and still keep trying to cheer her up, while she gets the help she needs. Thank you for reaching out. I know how hard that can be and it shows how much you love your mom. You have done a great job taking care of her, but now it’s time for both of you to get the care you need.
When a parent has depression:
1. They have an illness and you cannot cure it for them.
2. You are not to blame and you are not responsible for their behavior.
3. Don’t take it personally. A person with depression may say things that upset you. They might be acting differently than they used to. Remember the illness is making them behave that way. Your parent still loves you.
4. Depression is treatable.
5. Ask for help. This is so important because you cannot fix the problem.
You can always call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or go to their website. They are there to listen and offer you advice on how to get whatever help you need. It is not just about being suicidal.
National Suicide Hotline (24 hours)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Thank you for being brave and sending in your question.