Ask The Therapist: ‘I Have Been Very Depressed Because Of My Mother…’

Depression is a incredibly common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think, and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities you might have once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems, and can decrease a persons ability to function both at work and at home.

“Hey! I wanted some help. I have been very depressed lately because of my mother. She has had some mental issues since I was born and she says some things that make me want to cry for hours, and sometimes make me want to kill myself. I have been trying so hard not to think about anything like that. My parents fight a lot because of my mums mental issues, and my dad does not stay at home for very long either. I have a premature younger brother who also has some mental weaknesses and all of these things make me depressed. I have to do all the cooking and cleaning and also have to give 1st year board exams in two months, for which I am not prepared at all, and dont want to give these exams because I don’t know if I will clear them. I get anxiety thinking about everything that is going on around me, and can’t figure out life. I want to get therapy because I feel like I am going crazy day by day. I can’t even tell anyone about my depression because they will all make fun of me. Please tell me how to get out of this state and focus on my exams. I really need help!”

I’m sorry to hear what you’re going through. I want you to know, what you are going through is not easy. Amidst everything else you’re trying to manage, what you need to do first and foremost is practice self care and put yourself before anyone else. This may not sound like the easiest thing to do right now, but it’s what you need to do. 

Perhaps a short term goal setting plan will help you since you have your exams in two months. For that, you need to assess what your priorities are right now.  

Your exams.

What do you need to to do in this moment to be able to concentrate and be able to give your exams?

Perhaps delegate your cooking and cleaning to someone else for the moment, or hire some help up until your exams? Seek out a support system too! You need to be able to express and communicate to your father exactly how the situation is affecting your mental health, and how overwhelmed you’re feeling.

We often tend to feel anxious when we are fearful of the future. You have a lot of responsibility in the current environment you’re in, and the fear of your exams is clearly taking a toll on you. You need to tackle these concerns one by one and look at them through a solution orientated approach. 

Last but not least, seek therapy as soon as possible. You need a support system more than ever right now. I would suggest you try CBT Therapy (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). CBT is a form of therapy focused on problem solving and the present. CBT helps a person recognize their distorted thinking patterns and then in turn change those behaviours. If you have certain budget constrains and are looking for counsellors that won’t cost you too much per session, kindly contact me so I may refer you. 

I know the comments you hear from your mother are not easy to digest, but please keep reminding yourself that these comments are are result of her own mental health issues, and not a result of your actions. Reinforce this thinking until it takes root. With your mother being unwell and your brother being premature, it’s a lot to take on with your own personal stresses as well. You could be burning out and definitely need to reassess your boundaries (therapy will help you establish these if you cannot discern them yourself). 

Also, surround yourself with people who support you and uplift you, instead of those who make fun of you. Are there people in your life who are further taxing you emotionally? Consider cutting them out.

Real strength lies in being able to take care of you, and then being able to take care of others. No one can take care of you besides you. 

Sending positive vibes your way and I hope that this will be the start of your journey to self-awareness!

Depression is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think, and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and /or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems, and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.

Symptoms of depression can vary from mild to severe and can include:

  • Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Loss of energy or increased fatigue
  • Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others)
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Symptoms must last at least two weeks for a diagnosis of depression.

We at Mashion realize the sensitivity and widespread nature of issues like this, and have a committed interest in bringing more awareness and exposure to topics and stories like these. Haya Malik is a certified Humanistic Integrative Counsellor, and psychotherapist. She will be answering mental health questions weekly on Mashion, to send in your questions, email All questions will remain anonymous. 

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