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Supporting mum

(13 Posts)
Hevava Sat 22-Mar-14 09:32:37

Hi All,

Not sure whether this is the right place to post but I suppose it's kind of relationship based!

I'm really worried about my mum. I'm fairly sure that she's suffering with depression and I found out yesterday that she's been self-harming by picking at scars on her arms and neck and not letting them heal. My parents are still married and living together but their relationship has broken down and I believe this has quite a lot to do with the way mum is feeling. They've had lots of problems in the past and have done several lots of counselling but seem unwilling to seek help together at the moment. So this leaves them as effectively civilised (at best) housemates.

Mum doesn't really have a network of friends and is very isolated, her family all living some distance away. She doesn't leave the house much except to go to work.

I'm really at a loss as to what to do. I've passed on information to her about free counselling that's available but she won't admit that she's 'bad enough' to seek proper help and has in the past just self-treated with St John's Wort tablets. She doesn't want to burden me with problems in her marriage because I love my dad too and feel stuck in the middle but I feel like I'm the only person who knows what's going on and if I don't help her then she's completely alone.

Its so awful and I don't know what else to do :-

bluepen Sat 22-Mar-14 16:56:42

Does she see her GP?

Hevava Sat 22-Mar-14 17:40:55

Hi bluepen,

I don't think she's seen the GP for depression. She's been back and forward a lot recently as she's had DVT but I don't think she's sought help for anything else.

bluepen Sat 22-Mar-14 17:53:21

I presume that she wouldnt think about seperating from your dad. Not divorce, but literally him or her living somewhere else. Or even dividing up rooms in some way?
That may give her some peace and serenity?

TheShimmeringPussycat Sat 22-Mar-14 18:41:52

How old are you all roughly, and do you have any siblings?

I am in early 60s and divorce cured my depression. And I am not being flippant.

Would you be able to initiate a conversation along the lines of "things don't seem to be too good with you and dad" ? Or is that too scary or inappropriate?

TheShimmeringPussycat Sat 22-Mar-14 18:42:34

*divorce was 2 years ago, 2 DC grown, btw

Hevava Sun 23-Mar-14 19:44:17

Mum is in her mid fifties and I'm in my late twenties. I also have a sister but she's living abroad and has her hands very full with 2 little ones.

Yes, I've often thought that they might be better off separating but they're both creatures of habit and I think the idea of a complete change in living situation is so scary/ inconvenient that they've never had the difficult conversation about it. Their lines of communication have completely broken down and I don't think they'd manage without a mediator of some sort.

They've never really got on that well- at least not in my memory. There has never been a time I've seen them respectfully resolve a conflict so sadly it's not a new situation. It's just SO frustrating seeing them both put up with it and live miserably rather than make a positive decision either way!

bluepen Sun 23-Mar-14 20:47:54

Do they have seperate bedrooms - I dont mean to pry.

Hevava Sun 23-Mar-14 21:53:55

No, so far as I can see they still share a bed

bluepen Sun 23-Mar-14 22:58:47

Perhaps you could help her to seperate a tiny bit at a time?

princesspeach84 Mon 24-Mar-14 20:39:15

Hi, this situation sounds similar to my parents. Except the self harming. I'm sure my mum has depression and have thought it for a while. Her and my dad don't get along really. It's sad, she does everything for him and any little thing and he raises his voice at her. They barely communicate and I've thought for years that they should get divorced, but I think at that age (late fifties), there's a lot of fear in separating and starting fresh. Also, my parents are religious so don't agree with divorce! I also say that if they weren't Christians, they'd have got divorced years ago.

My mum won't admit she's depressed though, she just says she has a lot on her plate.

So I'm sorry, I can't offer much advice, but I hope it helps to know that you're not alone. It's really tough seeing a parent unhappy but not able to help.

Hevava Wed 26-Mar-14 08:33:28

Thanks ladies, it's good to feel I'm not alone.

Princesspeach- sorry to hear about the situation with your mum and dad, it does sound very similar. My parents also take their marriage vows very seriously but I wonder whether they're using it as a bit of an excuse not to take the scary path of separating :-/ It's hard to know how to broach the subject when your mum won't admit she'sgot a problem or doesn't think it's particularly serious.

I think the worst thing is the prospectof the unhappiness continuing on into the future, I just wish that they'd bite the bullet and get counselling or separate. At least then they could try to move on rather than being stuck in an unhappy situation.

On a happier note, dad has been away this week and mum has been pretty cheerful- she's even inviting some friends around this evening which is big news :-D

TheShimmeringPussycat Wed 26-Mar-14 10:01:08

And now let me tell you about my DM. I knew she wasn't happy in her marriage all through my childhood - I believe DF has AS (am awaiting result of my own assessment, at 60+, which I asked for). When her own mother died my DM kept her small inheritance as a running away fund. And at 55 she bought a tiny house and moved out. She and DF are still married, but live separately. They get on much better and DF has improved his social skills somewhat, and they still do Family Gatherings etc. and sometimes do things together as friends rather than husband and wife. DM now has the social life she so wanted.

All I could do at the time was try to be supportive to both DM and DF (who was devastated at the time). DM (and all of us) only have one life, I am so pleased she managed to do what she wanted, and that on the whole it has worked out so well.

So in a way I have repeated DM's life, although my own EX was not like DF, he was an entitled cocklodger but I couldn't see it for years.

Sorry for the essay, hope your own DM can find a way forward.

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