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to think that someone with depression can walk a dog!

(199 Posts)
madmacbrock Wed 19-Feb-14 17:19:21

I am not ignorant to the plight of people with depression and recognise that it is a serious illness. However I am 7 months pregnant with 2nd child and suffering really badly with back and pelvic pain, I cannot walk to the kitchen without the aid of a crutch let alone walk my dog. She doesnt need to much walking as she suffers with athritis. I asked my MIL, (who was diagnosed with depression in June and has been constantly saying she needs to get out of the house and do something) if she would walk my dog for 20 mins twice a week whenever she felt up to it just so she can get out and my husband can spend a bit of time with his daughter as he comes in from work at 6.30 she goes to bed at 7.30 and if hes walking the dog misses out on that time. She said no she didnt feel like it. I feel really bitter about it as myself and dh have bent over backwards past few months to help her out and she cant even do this one little thing for us. Should I talk to her or just ignore it and put it down to frustration and pregnancy anger and forget it?

mrsjay Wed 19-Feb-14 17:32:59

yes she said she needed to get out of the house*

Varya Wed 19-Feb-14 17:33:30

I believe some depressed people can benefit from exercise but a commitment to do so might be too great a challenge just now.

zeezeek Wed 19-Feb-14 17:33:33

Whilst you do show a complete lack of sympathy and empathy for someone who is suffering from an illness, there is something in the argument that spending time with a dog (or cat, or whatever your persuasion) can help people with depression - not cure it, of course, but maybe just give them something to smile about for a couple of minutes in a day. Obviously they would have to actually like dogs!
However, the responsibility of making this arrangement with you, might just to too much for her to cope with at the moment. Why don't you ask her over to spend some time with you or why don't you ask your DH to call in and see her when he's out with the dog and ask her if she wants to join them.....she might realise that she enjoys it so much that she wants to take the dog out herself.

whossauhnafuffafwayay Wed 19-Feb-14 17:34:10

YABU. Routine like this is exactly the sort of area of your life where depression hits you.

Depression is, among a host of other things, knowing there are things you should be doing, wanting to do them, and without a glimmer of laziness, not actually ever doing them.

Viviennemary Wed 19-Feb-14 17:34:17

It is your dog and your responsibility. YABU to exect this from somebody especially a person with depression. She may not feel up to this kind of commitment.

Sparklingbrook Wed 19-Feb-14 17:34:34

I imagine when she said she wanted to get out of the house she meant a coffee at the garden centre not a trudge round with someone else's dog scooping poop on the way. sad

YoureBeingASillyBilly Wed 19-Feb-14 17:35:34


I suffer from depression and although i am now betyer than ive been for about 5 years i still wouldnt commit to this yet. I would get extremely anxious about it throughout the day building up to it and end up letting you down by cancelling which would add to my anxiety and feelings of being a let down. There are still days i cant go to work.

madmacbrock Wed 19-Feb-14 17:35:36

Ok I feel I need to defend myself a little here Just to be clear I am not ignorant as I suffered with PN depression after my first child I recognise that it may be different but have also witnessed family members suffer with anxiety which again is different but as stated am not utterly insensitive. I might also mention that she still manages to bend over backwards for BIL who has done nothing to help her over the last few months with babysitting and doing his shopping for him. she has also been told by a doctor that she must take exercise (she has not) and start to push herself into doing things she feels uncomfortable with (again she has not).

SauvignonBlanche Wed 19-Feb-14 17:36:33

YABU, she may be physically capable but that doesn't mean she is mentally.
Have you thought about a dog-walker?

LookingThroughTheFog Wed 19-Feb-14 17:37:23

OP, it wasn't unreasonable to ask her at all.

I've been depressed for the best part of 15 years. Sometimes I can't even get myself out of bed. Actually dressing and brushing my teeth was beyond my ability. But there have been other times I've been much more able to get out and about.

The past four years have been a particularly difficult time, and the thing I've struggled with most, is simply not knowing how I'm going to be from one day to the next. There have been many, many times when I've been unable to do something planned.

It might be (not saying it is) that this is what your MIL is struggling with. The commitment of two days per week might simply be frightening.

When I've committed to doing something, even something small, I'll usually feel anxious for a few days before hand. I need routine - getting up, going to work, doing the school run, collapsing in a heap. And this is during my good times. During my bad times, that's not even possible. If there's something extra, that needs planning. Sometimes it needs valium.

So in your position, I might be able to say 'I might be able to help, but won't know until the actual day.' But I wouldn't be able to commit to say, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

After the first couple of times, I might be able to do more, but there still might be a crisis and I'd end up letting you down, and I'd then feel worse and want to bury myself somewhere...

You see how it goes.

I'm not saying this is how your MIL is - it's just one way that depression can take a person. But in that sense, having depression might well rule out being able to commit to twice a week.

NaffOrf Wed 19-Feb-14 17:37:34

OP, I wouldn't want to be stuck walking someone else's dog twice a week and I'm not even depressed.

Weegiemum Wed 19-Feb-14 17:38:06


When I was depressed I would say I needed to get out because people wanted to hear that.

What I could manage was staying in bed with the covers over my head.

Gruntfuttock Wed 19-Feb-14 17:38:36

Is there anyone who can accompany your MIL on these dog walks? That might make all the difference. She will no doubt benefite form a little exercise and the company will be an encouragement to her.

I'm speaking as someone with depression who very rarely leaves the house, but I know I should go for regular walks, so I'm able to see your MIL's point of view btw.

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 19-Feb-14 17:39:33

But, forgive me ... you're making out you're doing this to be helpful, because her doctor told her to exercise, or because it'll help her depression - but you're quite obviously wanting her to do it to help you.

Fair enough to ask, but don't dress it up as concern for her health. When her refusal has made you this cross, it clearly isn't that.

It sounds as if you're angry with her for a separate reason, to do with BIL, so don't let it get mixed up with how you feel about her depression or you'll put yourself in the wrong.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Wed 19-Feb-14 17:43:35

Fwiw OP i understand how frustrating it must be for the people around me when they just dont 'get' how i can be singing down the street one day then hardly able to manage full sentences the next. It frustrates the fuck out of me too. Much like my back pain does when it is gone for weeks then suddenly reappears and i have to cancel plans. Depression is an illness just like my back pain is.

Punkatheart Wed 19-Feb-14 17:44:10

Oh dear. So many people have explained it to you and you still don't understand. Depression is a serious and debilitating illness. Yes a doctor may suggest things to help but a person with depression may still be paralysed by the illness and be able to face/tackle certain things.

My daughter is suffering from depression and some times cannot function at all. She cannot work or attend college. It is very hard on both of us. It is your dog and your responsibility. Whatever she does for your BIL then that is her business and entirely irrelevant.

Good wishes to everyone on this thread too who are suffering. There needs to more understanding.

I hope you get your dog situation sorted out, OP but being angry with a woman who is ill, is not the answer.

VenusStarr Wed 19-Feb-14 17:44:22

I think you've had a bit of a harsh time on here. Walking is one of the best things someone with depression can do. You mention the GP, but has she had any type of therapy? CBT would help her to understand what things she does which help her mood and what other things she might be doing which might not be helpful. Going for a walk is a great, immediate way of improving someone's mood. Setting a goal such as walking the dog is something which may give her the motivation. However, that said, goal setting approaches are not for everyone and she might find it too much pressure at the moment.

I'd suggest she revisits her GP to see what support is available, ie talking therapy and maybe for now see if someone else is able to walk the dog.

Cravey Wed 19-Feb-14 17:45:55

Could you and mother in law not do it together ? Just a small walk. May do her some good.

NinjaCow Wed 19-Feb-14 17:47:57

YABU. That would stress me out. On my mind all the time. Getting out of the house is important - but often impossible- and is often easier if there isn't the expectation/routine behind it. Because you feel more pressured- you know you can't escape it iyswim, or it will be stressful to not go if you can't cope. If it's irregular and to your own timetable, then if you honestly can't cope (which could be very often) you feel less pressured, which in turn usually means you cope better as you have an escape route.

Sparklingbrook Wed 19-Feb-14 17:48:00

Walking is indeed good for depression, on a good day when the sun is shining, and you feel up to it. Not so much with a dog and poo bags in February in the rain.

jammiedonut Wed 19-Feb-14 17:48:58

Yabu, my first bout of depression at university I was able to function and appear fairly 'normal'. Pnd crippled me to the point I couldn't wash, contemplate getting out of bed in the morning or do anything that would make me feel better according to my doctor. Just because you've had depression doesn't mean you understand your mil experience of it. Why can't your dh walk the dog at 7.35 by the way?

SaucyJack Wed 19-Feb-14 17:59:57

She doesn't want to take your stinky dog to do toilet. Her prerogative. YABU to make it about her depression, but actually YANBU to feel resentful that she's all take and no give.

Floggingmolly Wed 19-Feb-14 18:01:46

You still haven't explained why the dog must be walked before the witching hour of 7.30?? confused

Cranky01 Wed 19-Feb-14 18:04:23

It would piss me off that she helps bil, but depression is difficult to understand and action are difficult to apply logic.

Hopefully the new baby will give her a bit of a lift

WorraLiberty Wed 19-Feb-14 18:05:08

No don't put it down to pregnancy and anger, put it down to ignorance.

Also, ask your DH to walk the dog after 7.30 or send your child to bed a bit later.

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