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Your father has symptoms of deep depression. He must be made to understand that this is a treatable disorder.
The official criteria for diagnosis (from the DSM-IV psychiatric manual) is as follows:
Major Depressive Episode
DSM IV Criteria
A) Five (or more) of the following symptoms have been present during the same 2-week period and represent a change from previous functioning; at least one of the symptoms is either (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or pleasure Note: Do not include symptoms that are clearly due to a general medical condition, or mood-incongruent delusions or hallucinations 1) depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, as indicated by either subjective report (e.g., feels sad or empty) or observation made by others (e.g., appears tearful). Note: In children and adolescents, can be irritable mood. 2) markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day (as indicated by either subjective account or observation made by others) 3) significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (e.g., a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month), or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day. Note: In children, consider failure to make expected weight gains. 4) insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day 5) psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down) 6) fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day 7) feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt (which may be delusional) nearly every day (not merely self-reproach or guilt about being sick) 8) diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day (either by subjective account or as observed by others) 9) recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide B) The symptoms do not meet criteria for a Mixed Episode C) The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. D) The symptoms are not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., hypothyroidism) E) The symptoms are not better accounted for by Bereavement, i.e., after the loss of a loved one, the symptoms persist for longer than 2 months or are characterized by marked functional impairment, morbid preoccupation with worthlessness, suicidal ideation, psychotic symptoms, or psychomotor retardation.
This can be treated with talk therapy (psychotherapy) or medications, or a combination of the two.
You must explain to him that his condition and associated behavior affects not just him but everyone around him. If he had pneumonia he would get it treated because it was a burden on everyone else and it was just not about him.
It is the same thing with this disorder. It is treatable but it is hard to get the motivation to seek treatment when you are depressed. Don't be afraid to tell him that it is hard on you and he needs to think of you (and any other family members) as well.
You can get a depression workbook and offer to work with him to get hims to understand how therapy works. These books can be helpful.
Perhaps he has given up, but you cannot.
And that's just the spot where I have difficulty, telling him how hard it is for me to be going through it too. I feel afraid that it'll just add to his hopelessness. Where I'm really the only person he has. He has no friends or anyone to talk to about things.
You cannot let him back you into the corner and make YOU responsible for his caregiving without him giving something back.
If you indulge him he will never move out of this slump.
You adapt his "hopeless" point of view.
That makes perfect sense. And I believe he knows that he's put a lot on me. And I have certainly done nothing but enable him to crawl deeper inside himself in fear of pushing him over the edge. i've made it worse, not better. and part of him still sees that he's really put me in a spot. and he feels guilty.
You can be a bit tougher on him and still show him love. It is like a toddler having a tantrum. Someone has to be in charge and if it is the toddler then he learns a bad lesson.
Try one of these two books. They may get him interested in therapy:
and/or (I think you should have both to have a choice or attack the problem in more than one way):
Depressed individuals usually respond to treatment and as a result greatly improve their quality of life. We all have a limited stay on this moral plane and we need to maximize our feelings of ease, joy, and comfort while trying to care for others. It is our duty to take care of ourselves and not let ourselves be a burden on other.
I'm sure that your father does not consciously want to do this to himself or you or any other family member so he must take responsibility for his attitude and behavior for the sake of the greater good.
You're right. he doesn't want to do that to me. I know he doesn't. or himself. As he says, he just wants some peace. But he has to let me guide him to the right direction.
You must try to be a bit more forceful. Having the workbooks to guide you will help a great deal. You already take a certain role of listening to him. With these books you will be able to refine your thoughts and speak with more authority.
Thank you for all your help, I really appreciate it. Gives me a good place to stop being so passive and start convincing him that he deserves happiness. because he really does. we all do.
I shall keep him, and all of your family in my prayers. You can harness your very loving persona and direct him and help lead him out of his deep state. I know you can make a start and keep it moving forward.
thank you so much