Saturday, 24 January 2009


My Parents

Life has a way of landing all problem's on your plate at one time. Thing's have been tough this week as you know but I am very proud to say I am totally back to how i was. The anxiety has gone and I have been going on long walks and have been back out driving again. I think it is a great sign to see how quickly I got back on my feet.

Whenever I have had problem's in the past the first post of call has always been my mother. She is my mother, my safe person and my best friend. I am lucky in that I have a fantastic relationship with my mum and we can talk about everything and anything. Sadly though my mum is going through a tough time. This week I made sure that although I was having a problems, I needed to keep her completely out of it. For the past few weeks my mum has been battling with demon's of her own.

I think my mum has always struggled with her nerves and has had to deal with bouts of depression. If anxiety can be passed on in the gene's well I would say that I have taken it from my mums side. At the moment she is going through a major depression and I am doing everything I can to help. I used to make my daily walk alone but now i make sure that my mum comes with me. I think the walk and the fresh air does her good. It is a struggle, I want to lift the cloud that is over her head but right now I feel helpless. I suspect that all i can do is support her and give it time. I worry because the doctors are doing what they always do.... throwing all manner of drugs her way. She has her anti-depressants. They gave her a beta blocker, tamazipam and Valium. Some day's she is fine and seems to be coming through it and then on other days, like today, she just sits and cries.

I guess I am looking for advice. Is there something I am missing here? I tell her to rest while I take care of the house. I try to make the meals and settle her on the sofa to watch movies and relax. I take her walks, i sit with her, keeping her company when she doesn't want to be alone and I talk to her about what is causing her unhappiness. At the moment the source of the problem is a combination of things. Her step mother died a few months ago and although they weren't close, she worries about her father who has been left to fend for himself at 75 years of age. Her friend likes to have a drink on a Saturday night and sometimes turns up at our house. Being a non drinker my mum doesn't have issues with alcohol but she worries that on one of her friends walks to our house she might fall. Her friend is in her late 60s and can get into a pretty bad state when she's been drinking on her own. My mum takes on everyone problems and when she can't solve them she can get very upset.
The final problem is probably the one that has had a more lasting effect. My dad was made redundant a few months ago. We have never struggled so much with money in all our years as a family and this has been a tough time. It has gotten so bad at times that we have literally had no money in our wallets and have struggled to make ends meat. This week I have offered to pay for the family food shopping, which I have never had to do, but feel it is the least I can do to help. On a postive note I think that she may start to get better soon. My dad initally contacted the job centre when he lost his job and they told him that he was entitled to about £70 a week (around $50) to support himself and my mum. This doesn't even cover the mortgage. It has been an absolute joke to be honest. The good news is that the job centre have put him on a course where he will get his license for driving heavy goods vehicles. Having been in the building trade all his days, I think a nice driving job would be a welcome change. He is in his 50s now and the last thing he needs is the heavy duty back breaking work that he is used to. This also came as good news as we didn't really know WHAT he should do. Where does a man in his 50s turn when he has only ever known one career, has no computer skills etc. Something else i found very VERY difficult at this time was job hunting. Everyday I would be online looking for any new vacancies. I typed him up a CV and applied for jobs left right and centre. That was the easy part. The hard part was trying to convince companies that at 54 year old my dad isnt 'past it'. He has worked so hard to provide for us and ,in all his years in building, probably only had 2 or 3 days off due to sickness. This is my dad's role within our family. It may be old fashioned but he is very much the head of the house, the bread winner. To see him struggle was heartbreaking. He would go to the pub at the weekend and come home looking totally bewildered. I think it is the first time I have ever seen my dad looking frightened. Thank goodness he went on the driving course. The course ends in February and I have been online looking for HGV jobs already. And guess how many I have found??....None! I havent had the heart to tell him that yet. We will cross that bridge when February comes.

So what is the answer? I do see a light at the end of the tunnel, I do see her improving. I have explained to her that although she has bad days, the good days she is having are becoming more and more regular. Surely this is a good sign. What a pair my mother and I make haha. Both caring for each other. I just feel a little helpless.... suggestions???
Would you believe that about 5 minutes after I posted this my mothers friend turned up at the door pissed as a fart! She hasnt done this in weeks. What a day for her to choose. Thankfully it went ok. I actually find her very funny so we had a little drink with her then I walked her home and got her into bed. Now it is my turn to sleep! x


Angel said...

I think you are doing the best you can lynn. Its great that she has a daughter like you. I guess you have to ask yourself what would advice you would give if it was my mum? you are doing a great job. maybe her seeing you getting out and about a bit more makes her start to think about her life she probualy just needs somthing new and interesting do do to pick herself up. Hope she feels better soon xx

Caz said...

I also think you are going the best you can Lynn - there really isn't much else you can do. I guess the only advice I have, and feel free to ignore it, is that, while you can do everything you possibly can to help them, it may be better if you can find small tasks that they can tackle themselves. I should imagine that both your mum and your dad's confidence and self-esteem are pretty low right now and need a bit of a boost. They may feel they are achieving more if you can find little ways for them to do things as well - even if it means trying to think of things that they could do better than you to try and convince them. It might just help them feel they can still contribute too, rather than being looked after.

I don't know if that makes sense, or is a fair comment, but I do know that with depression it is very easy to learn to feel helpless and useless, and trying to gently show them that they clearly are not, and that they can still contribute so much to family life, may help boost their spirits a little bit.

Good luck with the job hunting - it's a difficult climate to be searching in. It probably doesn't help much but you could try really selling your dad's experience and strengths - it's illegal for him to be turned down due to his age, but unfortunately many companies still ignore this.

Caz x

Lynn said...

Hey Caz thanks for you comment. I think its a good idea that you suggest giving my mum tasks. My dad is actually doing ok now that hes been on his training course. It was worse when all he did was sit around the house all day, hes just not used to it. My mum has been complaining that the world is moving way to fat for her and that she cant work computers or even send a text, so when she is feeling a bit better i am going to look into a night time computer class. Its nothing too difficult, just held at the local school but it will teach her the basics and she wont feel so left out.

diver said...

Great idea Lynn (computer class); as was your offer of a financial contribution. It must be so hard for your folks to be facing financial uncertainty at this particular time of life as well as in these difficult economic times.

The only practical suggestion I can think of might be to encourage your mum to cut out news and current affairs ... it's such a downer at the moment with all this economic doom and gloom talk - every word of it probably hurts her.

All the best to your family Lynn, fingers crossed for you all through this (hopefully brief) tough phase!

Lynn said...

Funny you say that Diver... it is actually very good advice. Only today she mentioned that my dads alarm clock woke her to news of war and death. Now a great wake up for anyone never mind someone struggling with depression!