Any suggestions for a chronic depression caregiver?

This is a wonderful idea! Thank you to the organizers. I try as best I can to be a support source to a family member diagnosed with Chronic Depression, ie multiple admissions to the St Boniface psychiatric ward over the past 2 years. The family member, a sister one year older than me, refuses to make any recommended changes suggested by her medical caregivers eg use of a mental health care worker making regular visits. She is heavily in debt ($60,000) but refuses to consult with any money management agencies for directions. Her hospital admissions are triggered when one of groups she owes money to contacts her to request payment. In her world, she thinks she's hidden from them, and when they find her it's to traumatic for her to handle. She goes through about a 60 day program. I visit her everyday. She's stronger when she leaves, but since she won't make any suggested changes to her lifestyle, she's become a regular returning resident of the ward. Over the last few years, with the help of people from ADAM, and other agencies I've learned that you can't change people who don't want to change. So I'll continue to be as supportive as I can, but there are no signs that this ongoing cycle will end. It's like watching a slowly sinking ship. Suggestions?

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  • I personally battle Anxiety and not depression, but I'd suggest to anyone that's a "care giver" or a "support person" to anyone with any type of mental disorder to be patient. You say your sister doesn't want to help herself, but I don't think that's true. It sounds to me that she prob just doesn't believe that the suggestions will work... or maybe she has some OCD that prevents her from (mentally) being able to make the suggested changes? Maybe not, but I'd have to know more of what her "excuses" are before passing judgement. Either way, depression is a lifelong disorder and the goal is to manage it, and to be patient with it (from what I understand), so if you're hoping for a complete overhaul, you'll prob be disappointed. Does she take meds? If so, do you see an improvement? Not all people can tolerate the side effects of meds, so maybe she doesn't take them?

    I wish I could be of more help, but I guess I'm just suggesting that you love her for who she is, be as patient as you can and try and support any change that she even attempts to make for the better.

  • Thank you for your insight. A ''complete overhaul'' is the last thing I would ever expect. She is prescribed meds, but from what I understand stops taking them when she starts feeling better. There's no one to make sure she's taking them. The hospital recommended she set up a weekly in home visits with a mental health worker but for the past 24 weeks she keeps saying she's ''working on it''. Her common phrase is that she ''wishes she was like she used to be''. She's 64 years old...I'm 63. I try to tell he as gently as possible that we'll never be like we used to be when we were 44 or 54. There are still great opportunities to enjoy life ahead for people our age, but you've got to want to take advantage of them Thanks again.

  • It does sound frustrating for you to stand by and not see your sister seem to make any changes recommended for her. It's hard for us to know if she's capable or not. As you've said, you know you can't change someone who doesn't want to. At least there's a place for your sister when she's an inpatient and if you need a break, you know she's taken care of during that 60 days and you don't absolutely have to visit her daily if you need to skip some days. Maybe you need to take a break in there somewhere? Hopefully you or another loved one isn't responsible for your sister's debts at her death. Then you can relax as far as her debt accumulation is concerned. I hope you find a way to live with these frustrations that will allow you to be at peace with them.

    Blessings...

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