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Dear Dr. Robert,

My name is Jessica. I have a problem. I don't know if it is depression, but there is something wrong with my mother. She is always so sad about everything and that's not how she used to be. She is always stressed out to the max now. She has these breakdowns sometimes where she insists no one cares about her and no one loves her, even though everyone in this house loves her, and they might not make it obvious, but I do. I always do.

She is working every chance she gets and she admitted to me that it is her escape. I want my old mother back. I don't know what happened to her. I want the mom who was happy, and normal, and collected. She complains all the time now about her finances, and her relationship with my father. I am only 18. I don't want her to let all her troubles out on me, but that is what she does all the time now.

Ever since I can remember my mom has been hurt physically. Her broken foot, stuff with her legs, ovaries, knees, other foot, and all she does is complain. She complains about everything there is possible to complain about and the person she is complaining to is me. During her meltdowns she lies to everyone about me and there's nothing I can do or say because they'll believe the adult.

I can't deal with this heavy burden anymore. I don't know how to release the pain. Please email me back.

Yours truly,

Jessica B

Hello, Jessica B--

Sorry to be so long in replying. Sometimes my mailbox is jammed.

Anyway, since you already are eighteen, I think you should begin to think about getting away from your mother—perhaps not immediately, but as soon as practical. Judging from what you have written, your mother is troubled--possibly, as you suspect, by depression--but this is not something with which you can help very much. She needs trained counseling, and would have to choose that path.

Now this is a hard thing to learn in life, and particularly difficult when applied to someone you care about and love, but sometimes one is simply powerless to change things. Or to put this another way, things are just as they are, and nothing much you can do will change them. At times like that, the best advice is to try to maintain your own peace of mind—keep breathing—while simply doing the little, if anything, that you can. In other words, you must accept that your mother is troubled and that you are not the one to help her, or at least not very much. Hard, I know.

Tell your mother that you love her whenever it feels right to speak those words.

Start to think more about your own life and what would make you happy.

Move onward towards your own destiny.

Be well,


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page last modified October 11, 2007

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