The coffee decanter shattered on the floor in dozens of pieces echoing my shattered emotions. I was very anxious about my mother’s upcoming doctor’s appointment that afternoon.
What if the doctor didn’t realize what was going on? I didn’t want to steer her to make a diagnosis. I was sure what was going on but didn’t want to influence the doctor on the outside chance I was wrong. I knew this was probably the most important office visit I’d ever had with my mother. What would I do if it didn’t go the way it should? I couldn’t take much more frustration.
Please read “why some people won’t get better for a better understanding of what my thinking had been up till this visit. I was about ready to throw my hands up and quit trying to help her.
As you know, I am a Christian, the kind that believes in a God with whom I can have a personal relationship. I read a Proverbs every day along with my usual Bible study routine. I had been praying for months for wisdom where my mother was concerned. It seemed in short supply recently.
We went to the doctor. I prompted my mother to tell her doctor exactly how she’d been feeling.
The doctor took a few minutes and carefully examined her records. She looked at my mother and told her in a very direct manner that there was nothing physically wrong with her and that all her symptoms were consistent with a diagnosis of depression. It is what I had hoped to hear for I was pretty sure it was depression but I hadn’t been able to convince my mother. She needed to hear it from her doctor. She’s of the era where the doctor is always right. The interesting thing is my mother has been on anti-depressants for years! She just wasn’t willing to admit that all her physical problems originated from depression.
I wondered how she would take it. Would she buy into this diagnosis? Would she try to make some changes? She had not tried very hard in the past. She had let depression consume her. I witnessed it my entire life (which might be the very reason I was so adamant to learn how to manage my own depression). The doctor took it a step further when she declared, “Your daughter can’t do this for you.” I felt my heart starting to meld back together.
But I did have a suggestion for the doctor. Could she be deficient in vitamin B-12? Would an injection help? I had read that a B-12 deficiency is very common in senior citizens. The doctor hadn’t thought of that but she felt it was worth a try. If it works she can have them every month.
That was last week. Before, she was sleeping about twenty hours a day Now she’s getting out of bed and getting dressed. Before, she was maybe eating a piece of toast a day. She’s eating now. Before, she showed absolutely no interest in anything. Today she agreed to visit a friend tomorrow. She’s even doing a little cooking.
For the first time in months, I feel some hope where my mother is concerned. At the same time, I feel like it’s out of my hands and I think some part of me preferred thinking there was yet something I could do. Now I know there isn’t. My mother’s future remains totally within her. I’ll continue to do my best for her but her ultimate freedom from depression is up to her.
Can she change at her age? Yes, I believe she can. Since a week ago, there have been some setbacks and I’ve tried to overlook those and focus on the progress I see her making even if it is one step forward and two steps back. I see her courage and willingness to face this head-on which is pretty remarkable after a lifetime of using her depression as an excuse.
Time will tell. If you have a loved one struggling with depression, I hope this post gives you hope. And I hope you can accept the fact that you cannot “undo” someone else’s depression.