Dear Annie: I suffer from terrible depression. My doctor has me on antidepressants and suggested that I seek therapy. However, I walked out on therapy because I felt that it was not for me and that it didn't help me at all.
I have no friends, so having anybody to talk to about what I'm going through is difficult. When I attempted to discuss my depression with family, they repeatedly told me it was just in my head and I simply needed to get ahold of myself.
I have turned to a few minor hobbies to help distract me from my depression. However, with the lack of support, it can be really difficult. I do not feel valued by anyone. I have contemplated suicide, thinking that would wake people up enough to realize how I feel. What do I do? — Blue Water
Dear Blue: Please reconsider therapy. It sounds as if you gave up too quickly. You want someone to talk to? Who will listen when you pour out your worries and fears? Who will be a means of emotional support? This is what a therapist is for.
Sometimes the first therapist isn't a good fit. It takes a little time to find one you are comfortable with. And "help" doesn't always appear obvious until you've been in therapy for a little while. We are glad you are taking appropriate medication. Now it's time to take additional responsibility by following your doctor's instructions to seek therapy. Please ask for another referral. We promise it will help. And if you are contemplating suicide, you can speak to someone immediately at the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (suicidepreventionhotline.org) at 1-800-273-8255.
Dear Annie: As an only child, I have the task of caring for my elderly mother. I am in my late 50s, and Mom is in her 80s. I have three children of my own, one of whom is a young teen, and I am also a grandmother. I love my family, but there is only one of me and I can't do it all. I'd like to offer some advice for parents who are lucky enough to have someone living close by who can help with their daily needs:
Please write down what you need. I will invariably walk in the door with several bags of groceries, only to have you tell me that you forgot to mention that you also need eggs or milk.
I have no problem doing your laundry, but please, if I say you need to throw away an old piece of clothing, trust me enough to agree. When I say you need a bath, believe it. All the denial in the world will not change how often you need to shower. Please wear your incontinence pads and change them frequently.
I am more than willing to do a lot for you, because I love you. But I will not bathe you or give you a pedicure. When you find that you cannot do these things adequately, please hire someone. You can afford it. For those who cannot, Medicare often can provide help for some of these services. It will make me less stressed.
I, too, am getting older and my husband is ill. My body aches and I'm in physiotherapy. Please listen with your heart. — Your Loving Daughter
Dear Daughter: Your suggestions are good, but please consider that Mom may need more help than you realize. It might be time to look into assisted-living options or live-in caregivers.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie on Facebook at Facebook.com/AskAnnies. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.