Depression and Anxiety:
Help Me and My Mom...

by Luna
(Puerto Rico)

Hello.


I'm a 20 year old who is very concerned for her mother. Mom has always been a happy strong person but she has been acting strange for about 6-7 weeks, almost if the person I knew was no longer there.

Mom hasn't been sleeping well for the past month, turning to panadol PM, clonazepam and, even, Xanax for a good night's sleep. She says that she would wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air and having to get up and walk it off (which happens 4-5 times a night) and her mind doesn't really "turn off", as she says. During the day she is really sensitive and she will cry at the slightest provocation and everything she does is quite robotically. Other small things have changed as well like: she has always liked her long hair but she recently had it cut really really short, she has lost a lot of weight since she seldomly eats, she has lost her love towards her work and does it simply because she has to and sometimes she warns me of the strangest things like not to trust in anyone and warning me not to be like her.

I do know that she has been having a rough time. Like she has been having a lot of problems with my Father, thanks to him she recently got demoted in her job, I am moving to Korea soon, among other stuff.

I'm not sure if to think of it as depression or anxiety... I don't know how I can help her. She doesnt want to go to a psychologist (or rather Father doesnt want her to go). I'm just really worried for her and wish to help her. Any advice you can give me?

Thank you so much!


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Luna,

Thanks for reaching out. It sounds like you have many reasons to be concerned for your mother. The first thing that I wondered as you describe her sudden change in behavior was whether she has been through anything traumatic. For someone to show symptoms so suddenly, change they way they look, not eating, not sleeping and, finally, telling you not to trust someone..... I would be concerned that someone has traumatized her is someway. Have you asked her?

Also, you elude that your dad might be somewhat controlling. If he is, and something happened to your mom, that did not stem from him, perhaps she is afraid to come forward?

In any event, it does sound like she has some comorbidity, which is when depression and anxiety co-exists. She really needs to find someone locally that she can confide in, get diagnosed and begin treatment. Having anxiety OR depression is bad enough. It can be very serious if they are experienced in tandem.

The lack of support from your father is certainly problematic. She'll have to decide what is best for HER which may mean she has to make some tough, yet courageous choices. Have you seen my depression hotlines page? All kinds of resources for both you and your mother. They can provide immediate, anonymous support. They can also make suggestions on next steps so she can get the long term support she needs.

So how can you help her?

1) Refer her to an appropriate hotline

2) Express your concern and let her know you are there to provide support, encouraging her to tell you what's going on.

3) Get her out and about...take a walk on the beach with her, go shopping, go to a bookstore and browse, play cards together.

4) Be patient, loving and supportive of her on this journey that she is on.

5) Please come back here if you ever need anything!

I'll pray for the two of you!

In love and light,

Dana

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