“My mother in law was quite ill last year and as she was left feeling very shaky, my husband and I moved her in with us. Other than a couple of bouts when she’s felt a bit faint, she’s been fine, although she now has to take on-going blood pressure medication. She’s only 62 and, other than her blood pressure problems, is generally quite healthy, but as she and I have always got along well, I was quite happy for her to stay.
“Since she’s move in though, she’s changed – she’s lost her confidence and refuses to go out on her own. I wouldn’t mind that so much except she gets panicky and tearful if she’s left alone in the house. If we’re around, she seems fine and has transformed our garden with the hard work she’s put into it but, if we want to go out, she takes to her bed saying she’s ‘not feeling too good’.
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Self-care is about looking after yourself and your mental health. . The relationship you have with yourself is crucial to your own wellbeing. It also helps you create healthy and happy relationships with others. . Self-care can look like different things for different people. For some, self-care might be taking time to rest each week; for others, it may be sweating it out at the gym or going for a run outside. Self-care could be all about spending time in nature, or seeing or speaking to friends regularly. . ❓What does self-care look like for you❓ . Our research shows that almost half of young people aged 18-24 have felt so stressed by body image and appearance that they have felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. With the rise of social platforms such as @instagram, with easy access to polished images and filtered realities, the need for self-love and self-care has never been more important. . We’ll be sharing tips from influencers who took part in @boohoo’s Self-Love isn’t selfish campaign over the coming days. You can also read our practical tips on practising self-care on our blog: mentalhealth.org.uk/blog (or swipe up in stories today) . #mentalhealth #selfcare #selflove
“It’s putting a great strain on the whole family – especially me, as I am expected to look after her. When I agreed that she could stay I had no idea that she would become this dependent on me and, although I love her, I feel trapped and resentful. Is it wrong to feel like this?”
“No, it’s not wrong of you to feel trapped. You have every right to expect a life of your own, especially as nobody could have predicted that your mother-in-law would react this negatively to her condition. It sounds as though her problems are perhaps now more emotional than physical. She’s very young to be behaving like this and her behaviour is very selfish – although I’m sure she doesn’t realise it.
“From the behaviour you’re describing, I suspect your mother-in-law might be suffering from depression. Spending too much time in bed, together with tears and panic attacks, indicate she’s very frightened. She’s probably scared of being on her own and having another attack.
“If her only physical problem is blood pressure then normally this is controlled through a combination of medication, diet and exercise. There’s no physical reason why she should become so dependent on you. But – and it’s a big but – depression is a very real illness, and it may be she’s been affected by it for some time.
“I’m guessing she’s lived on her own prior to this – you don’t mention a father-in-law living with you as well. I don’t know if she was alone through being widowed or divorced, but it’s possible that her loneliness is at the root of the problem. Can you talk to her? I suspect she’s not been able to have a conversation with anyone about her emotional needs for a long time.
“She’s young enough to find another relationship if she wanted to, and it might be worthwhile encouraging her to think about getting out and about with a group of others. There are plenty of clubs and organisation she could join where she’d be made welcome and might make new friends. She could join a gym, a walking group or even find a job.
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For most of us, out local GP practice is the first place we'll go when we're unwell. It's there to help us with with our mental health as well as our physical health. In fact, around one third of all GP appointments are related to mental health. However, it's not always easy having that first conversation with your GP, someone you my hardly know. That's why we've made a guide on how to make the most of the few minutes you gave with your GP practice nurse. Go to mind.org.uk/findthewords for more info (link in bio)
“She seems to have a real interest in and talent for gardening – perhaps there’s a hospice or other charitable organisation close by that could do with her help. Trying to encourage her to feel good about herself again and feel she’s achieving things would be, I think, the root to building her self-confidence once more. Once she feels more positive, I’m sure she’ll be fine about you leaving her in the house on her own – she might even feel strong enough to move back to her own home eventually.
“You may also find it helpful to look at the website for the Carers Trust (carers.org), where you can find details of your nearest local group. Chatting with others who are facing similar problems might help you to cope with this situation better.”
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