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Depression...

My mum has bad depression, and recently she has been crying all the time, and I heard her talking about how she wants to "throw herself under a truck".  It makes me really worried. My dad gets annoyed at her and makes it even worse. My mum bought him a gift for Christmas and he said that he won't open it so that he can give it to someone else. I don't know what to do...my dad is no help - actually negative help - and I feel as though I should do something to help my mum. I feel like I am really stupid and unhelpful because I just sit around and can't improve her situation.
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Sam

Hi there,

Thank you for writing to me, I can see how much things with your mum have been affecting you and how your dad being a negative help has made you feel like you’re alone in everything. It’s brilliant that you are talking here about what things are like for you though.

When somebody you care about is depressed it can really make you feel responsible to be able to try and make them feel better, especially when they’re saying scary things like wanting to throw themselves under a truck. At the same time, it’s really important that you remember that your mum feeling this way isn’t anybody’s fault. Neither you nor your mum has done anything wrong, and it really sounds like you’re taking on an incredible amount of responsibility to try and make her feel better. You’re certainly not stupid for not knowing what you can do to help her.

I can see how unhelpful your dad has felt to you at the moment, at the same time it’s important to remember that everybody copes in different ways. Sometimes when someone is worried or isn’t sure what to do, they can get frustrated and even take it out on the people they care about. While it’s not okay to do that, sometimes it can help to think about what’s making your dad frustrated, and what it might be like if you were to tell him how bad things have been making you feel.

Sometimes when the whole family is affecting you, it can help to think a little about what might happen if you were to talk to somebody outside of everything, like a part of your extended family or even a teacher that you feel like you get on with. Sometimes having that person to talk to can really help you think about how to best support your mum and help you realise that you’re not alone in all of this.

It can be really difficult being able to put things into words sometimes, and it can even be scary thinking about what might happen next. It can sometimes help to put how you’re feeling into a letter, so that you can see how it feels saying it and decide then if you’d like to talk to that person or even just show them the letter.

It would be really good after you’ve read this to think about talking to a ChildLine counsellor as well. ChildLine is here to support you no matter what, and to give you a space to talk about how you may be feeling and what things have been like for you at home. You can contact them by email, through the 1-2-1 chat online (which works a lot like MSN) or even by calling for free on 0800 1111.

Take care,

Sam

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