I can’t take my mum’s depression!

Dear Suzie, i live with my mum, her boyfriend, my older brother and my baby brother, since my baby brother has been born my mum has had to take anti-depressant pills, in my opinion they’re not working, over about a year she’s had serious depression and starts crying over little things like me and my brother not tidying our rooms. we’ve done all we could, helped around the house, kept everything tidy, done our school work, but then still she just says she cant cope with everything and starts crying again, hearing her cry is like nails on a chalk board to me and i dont have a clue what to do about it. just yesterday our dog had to be put down and shes been upset even more, then today she just said to me and my brother, i need to go away for a few days i cant live like this anymore, ring your dad and stay with him. ive rang my dad but cant get through, my mums boyfriend takes care of us fine and i dont think hes done anything wrong its just her, should i try talking to her? or just let her be and see what happens? please help

This is such a sad situation and I do sympathise so much. It sounds as if your Mum is suffering from post natal or ‘after a birth’ depression. Pills can often help to tide you over the worst but counselling and support are what people mostly need. Both her doctor and her health visitor should be helping her but it sounds as if they are missing how desperate she is.

But – and here’s the big but…it’s not your responsibility to look after your Mum. I know you love her and care for her and want to do your best by her. But she’s the parent and you’re the child and you simply shouldn’t have to take this on your shoulders. You must have your own sadness about your dog, and your own fears about your mother so who’s looking after you?

Have a word with her boyfriend – I’m so glad he seems to be supportive and caring. Tell him you know she’s in a bad way and it’s scaring and saddening you but you can’t do any more than you are doing. Ask him to talk with her doctor or her health visitor and impress on them how very depressed she is and how much she needs help, and how much it is affecting you too. There is lots of help available for mums with past natal depression – as well as her own doctor she or he can contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647 and Parentline Plus on 0808 800 2222.

Then, get some support for yourself. When you can get through to your Dad, will he be helpful? Do you have a teacher you can trust? Or another relative? If not, call Childline on 0800 1111 for someone to talk to – you deserve a shoulder to lean on! Good luck!

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