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Mother in Law Has TERRIBLE Anxiety and Depression

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This is a support forum for the family, partners and friends of those with mental health issues. This forum is intended to be a safe place to discuss information, give and receive support and learn about all the issues related to being involved with a person with a disorder. Whilst it can be healthy to express various emotions, please remember to be respectful about the disorder itself. This is a place for constructive discussions, not a venting forum.

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Mother in Law Has TERRIBLE Anxiety and Depression

Postby CCL052816 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:21 pm

Hello all! I recently joined this forum in the hopes that someone can give me some advice about this extremely difficult situation me and my husband have been going through. This is going to be a long post, so thank you in advance if you read it all the way through.

I dated my husband for 8 years before we got married in May 2016, so I have now known my mother in law for almost 10 years. She has always been a sensitive and easily offended person (she REALLY objects to "bathroom words" like fart etc., her kids would actually get in MAJOR trouble for saying them) and has always had a VERY strict parenting philosophy. Her kids were never allowed to watch anything with kissing in it and kissing before marriage was a no-no (my husband and I broke that rule in secret of course :lol: :P ). She was also always very strict about what they wore, especially her daughters. To her dismay, 3 out of 4 of her kids didn't turn out how she wanted them to: her oldest son is in his 30s and is still living at home with no ambition, her oldest daughter has been divorced and remarried, and her youngest daughter lives out of state with someone that she is not married to (all things she considers "improper"). Her youngest son is my husband who she is quite literally obsessed with, and she will do anything to see him whenever she can. Of the four kids, he is the one who would always do anything for her and he has always had a good relationship with her. I can recall a time whenever he came to my house to visit me after being away from me for two weeks (he went to college in a different state) and she called him asking him to come over to move a microwave for her. Being the good person he is, he dropped everything to do so. He frequently did things like this for her.

She doesn't and never really has had a good relationship with her husband, going by the 10 years that I've known her and what my husband has told me. They never communicate and he has no desire to do anything with her. He has also been to rehab for abusing prescription opioids and has relapsed twice. She has fought for years for her marriage, but he seems to not care and doesn't put forth any effort whatsoever to try and save their marriage.

Also, as a quick side note, she lied to me once and to me it was a very big deal: she had an outdoor cat named Jellybean who was SUPER sweet and beautiful. My MIL liked to read books outside and, being the sweet cat she was, Jellybean would jump into her lap and curl up for cuddles. For some reason, my MIL didn't like this, so she put the cat in her car, drove her down to a local river, and left her there. I know this only because my husband told me. When I asked her where Jellybean was, she simply stated that she'd ran away. This was VERY bizarre and twisted to me and, as an animal lover, made me livid. I never did confront her about it because she is very good at playing innocent and has 99% of people convinced that she is innocent in all situations, so I feared looking like a complete jerk.

Now that you've got some backstory, here's the current situation:

I found out I was pregnant with our now 6.5 month old son 5 months after we got married. When I got pregnant, my MIL just happened to start going through menopause and started telling us and several other people that she just didn't feel like herself. It started out mild, but fast forward to the present, and she has been living with her mother for the past 6.5 months (exactly my son's age) due to extreme and I do mean EXTREME anxiety and depression. She has went from a fully functional human being, to someone who is afraid to cook, drive, eat, shower, and be alone. She has driven twice since she's lived with her mother, but they were very short distances on low traffic roads and it took A LOT of convincing to get her to do it. Since all of this has been going on, and I am a stay at home mom, I have been volunteered to care for her collectively for almost a month, and it is HARD. She is very irrational about everything. For example, I had to go out to our barn to feed our animals and she FREAKED OUT that I was leaving her alone in our house, even though our barn is in our back yard and is visible from several windows. She questions ALL of my parenting techniques and tries to make me care for my son in different ways. He has reflux, so he spits up ALL the time, but she was trying to tell me that is was because I overfeed him (I have a VERY hard time getting him to eat the MINIMUM number of ounces he's supposed to eat). This is just one of many similar scenarios. She constantly asks when my husband is going to be home and follows him around everywhere when he does get home from work. It's very invasive to both of us, and my husband has spoke out to me about how this makes him uncomfortable. She has even walked into our BEDROOM in the mornings before we even got out of bed.

Well, she has now attempted suicide once by taking too much of her medication. She was hospitalized and they got the drugs out of her system and then she was put in the psych ward for a few days. She said she knew what she did was wrong, but it REALLY makes me nervous to have a potentially suicidal person stay with me and my 6 month old son while my husband is at work! Last weekend, her mother and stepfather went to go visit someone and she refused to go, so she stayed home alone by herself for the first time in 6 and a half months (this was 3 months after the attempted suicide). My husband asked her how she was doing and she said she was scared and asked him to come get her. He was busy so couldn't and asked if any of the other kids could. She said her oldest son was sick, but later we found out that she lied about that and he had offered to come get her, but she declined. She told us she took a shower (later we found out that that wasn't true either) and that she was going to try to stay busy and push through. I told her I was proud of her for taking that step and that we were cheering her on. Later we found out that she had been walking around in circles the whole time trying to come up with ways to kill herself. The next day she asked my husband to come get her because she could "do better with him." Oh and also, every time she stays with us, it is EXTREMELY hard to pull her away from our house. She cries and complains and says she doesn't want to leave. My theory is that she never really had the family that she desired, and us starting a family triggered something in her, so now she's clinging to her favorite son and desires to live with him as a sort of replacement for her husband, but we just got married at 22 years old and had a baby and this is just too much for me to bear. I can't take care of a mentally unstable person and my infant son. Her mental instability also makes me nervous for her to be around my son. Any advice?
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Re: Mother in Law Has TERRIBLE Anxiety and Depression

Postby realityhere » Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:38 pm

It's apparent that your MIL is leaning on the one person who is her only support system-- her son. Has she had a full evaluation by her doctor for physical causes that may be triggering her anxiety and depression since her episode in the psych ward? Not saying that she actually may have something physically wrong with her, but a doctor can refer her to psychological counseling which she really needs. You or your husband aren't trained to be psychologists, that's a job for a professional. Her son can talk with his mom's doctor's office (usually the doctor's nurse) about the problems you two are experiencing with her before her appointment. It's a kind of heads-up for the doctor so that he can ask the right questions come the time he interviews her.

Other than that, does your your MIL have any friends or a church pastor she can talk to? It seems she hasn't widened her social circle much, and perhaps her son or you can encourage her to join a club or church for other social contact. Hope you can find some solution, it's not easy dealing with an older relative who has a fragile sense of self-esteem.
AWAY from mod duties, please contact another moderator.
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Re: Mother in Law Has TERRIBLE Anxiety and Depression

Postby CCL052816 » Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:19 pm

Thank you very much for the reply! She has been having psychological counseling since she started living with her mother almost 7 months ago. My husband actually took her to her last appointment and he had a really hard time getting her out of bed and getting her to get ready to go. She had a very negative attitude about seeing her psychiatrist - she didn't get time to put makeup on and said, "Oh well, she'll probably make me cry anyway." It like she gives up before she ever tries. I just wish someone could get her to be more optimistic about her treatments. She is also currently taking
Cymbalta and is interested in trying Plexus (which is just a probiotic drink, but she says she has heard testimonials about it helping with anxiety, and if she thinks it could help her, it may by a placebo affect - we're willing to pay for it and try anything). My husband said at her last appointment, her therapist just encouraged her to "face her fears" more and try to beat the anxiety trick that has taken hold of her mind.

Also, she does go to a church, but she is not as active in it as she used to be. And she used to hang out with friends that she used to work with, but ever since she stopped working, she has pretty much ceased talking to them.
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