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Can anyone advise me on how to help my dad

(8 Posts)
Weissbier Thu 21-Mar-13 08:30:55

My dad's had depression for about five months. It may have been triggered by coming off some tablets he'd been taking for something else, he's never been depressed before. He went briefly psychotic and was threatened with sectioning, but this has calmed down and he is no longer delusional. The problem now is he will not take his medication. He's been told by so many doctors he has to but he'll take it for a day, then some side-effects will kick in and he will freak out and stop. He won't take medication prescribed for the side-effects, like constipation.

I understand why he feels medication is the root of all evil after everything that's happened, nor do I expect it to fix everything. But all the doctors agree he needs it and the side-effects should wear off if he could just stick to it for a few weeks. We're at our wits' end, my mum's life is on hold because he doesn't like her leaving him alone. He spends most afternoons giving her a monologue full of remorse about what a bad patient he is but he won't actually do anything to change this.

Now he's no longer delusional we're all wondering if it is time for him to take some responsibility for his treatment and if we should be tougher. Has anyone got experience of this sort of situation? How can we persuade him to let himself be helped?

Teachercreature Thu 21-Mar-13 11:51:40

Try a CBT counsellor. They're very good. GP should be able to refer you - best of luck!

AgentZigzag Sat 23-Mar-13 02:28:04

It is difficult watching someone you know so well go through something like depression but not to be able to be able to encourage them to do what you think would be best for them.

Five months isn't a long time with these things, and there can be a fine line between gently pushing them into taking baby steps to help themselves, and forgetting they're desperately ill and you can't make the same judgements about their behaviour than you could have when they weren't ill.

My dad has depression and there have been times when we've worried for his life tbh, but as with any adult with MH problems, you can only tell them how you see the situation and how worried that makes you for them, you can't physically force them to take the tabs/get out of bed and want to face the day/think more positive thoughts and dig themselves out.

It's not really a case of your dad deliberately not helping himself and being selfish making your mum put her life on hold for him, he physically can't do it, just like someone with two broken legs can't get themselves to the toilet.

There's nothing definite anyone can really say or do to flick that switch, (although tabs can help ease the way) I would say it's more about supporting them regardless and being there until they find what helps them the most.

Weissbier Sat 23-Mar-13 12:24:47

Thank you both, wise words. Agent, yes, we thought he was getting more to the point where he could start taking some responsibility but he's had a set-back and been sectioned now. Hopefully with the hospital support he will be able to get onto a stable regime of treatment.

Teachercreature Sat 23-Mar-13 12:50:58

Very sorry to hear that Weissbier - must be very hard on all of you, but I'm glad to hear that he is now getting the right support. Wish you all the best!

AgentZigzag Sat 23-Mar-13 22:53:05

I'm sorry to hear that too Weiss, two steps forward and one back eh?

I was thinking about your thread last night and hoped I didn't come across as critical of you or your mum, that wasn't my intention at all.

My mum found it very difficult living with dad when the 'black dog' came on, and they ended up getting divorced just recently (and the depression was a contributing factor), so I know that living with someone with depression all the time is different to an adult son/daughter who can to some extent escape the situation when they go back to their own home life.

It's easier in some ways because you can 'get away' from the immediate effects, but harder in others because you're at a bit of a distance and feel powerless to help.

With it being brought on by stopping the tablets, do 'they' think it's a permanent thing now? Or will there be a point when it'll subside?

Weissbier Sun 24-Mar-13 12:16:20

No Agent, I didn't take it as critical at all, I was asking for advice and that's what you gave! Thank you! You are right that it's not possible to handle my dad's behaviour like you would someone with a non-mental illness. He had been having delusions which stopped once the first lot of tablets were out of his system, and he seemed really a lot better - which is why we were asking ourselves if it was time for tough love. But he went right downhill again suddenly, the delusions haven't come back but Mum says he started to be ill in a different way - like he makes no connection between words he says and what they would normally mean - and he took less and less medication. What triggered the sectioning was that unfortunately he started to be physically aggressive towards my mum. That's totally out of character, it was almost like a cry for help.

Generally his prognosis should be good, he was told all along he might get depression when he came off the tablets and then that would need treatment. But he's not been able to handle the fact of that treatment at all, for example he gets 2 days into constipation from side-effects and says his bowel will never work EVER again and stops the tablets immediately, and it's all just kind of snowballed.

He's in a right state at the moment but he has only been there three days...I hope he will get into a routine with his tablets, that is the point of the sectioning (section 2).

AgentZigzag Thu 28-Mar-13 22:17:05

How's your Dad doing Weissbier?

And you and your mum?

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