Depression Tried to Take My Mom. She and My Dad Fought Back.
time to change image of mental health conditions. two women viewed from behind, supporting each other

In their early 60s, my parents were empty nesters: Dad enjoying retirement and Mom, an extremely energetic and joyful person, continuing a 25-year teaching career. However, over the course of a few months, Mom noticed herself changing. First came increased worry and anxiety. She was convinced she had a terrible disease and sought out doctors constantly. Her stomach was in knots, she had no appetite, and she was losing weight, quickly. She was chronically tired and overwhelmed by work. Her joy was gone.

Mom didn’t accept that a mental health condition could be causing such physical pain. She had never experienced depression before, so why now? In addition, she was feeling scared and irritable, not just sad.

Mom eventually accepted that she may have depression, but convincing her to see a psychiatrist was hard. Mom is an educated and open-minded person. She believes in counseling and even worked as a crisis counselor in the past. But when it came time for her to see a mental health professional, she hesitated. She was worried people would find out and judge her for it. She was worried about losing her job. She was also wary of taking medication.

Mom’s resistance was so frustrating to me. Here I was, working in one of the premier psychiatric research centers in the country, and my own mother wouldn’t seek treatment.

I worried about Mom daily. Check-ins with Dad revealed she was down to skin and bones, had no energy, and was riddled with anxiety. She took a leave of absence from teaching. She cried often and was feeling hopeless. She was completely withdrawn. I was afraid for her life.

Read more at the American Society for Suicide Prevention.

Image credit: Time to Change

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