Even if she refuses to speak about her past, perhaps some medication can help alter her negative mood. Another idea is for her to begin to address other subjects, which can lead to talking about her past in a more natural manner. Finally, exercise is the greatest anti-depressant. Maybe you can help your mother enroll in an exercise class geared both to people her age and in her physical situation. For instance, swimming is a recommended exercise for people of all ages.

Since your mother is not interested in joining a support group, possibly just getting her involved in more activities would be helpful. Other people surrounding her will likely help her. However, if your mother is indeed clinically depressed, getting her to do anything will be challenging. You need to prepare yourself for some resistance, as depression sufferers generally do not have any desire to do anything. This may force you to practically have to drag your mother to some of these activities, but remember that it will be well worth the difficulty if your mother responds positively and her mood begins to improve.

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Thank you for advising all of us to be appreciative for what we have. I wish you much hatzlachah with your mother, and I hope you have the zechus to help her unburden herself.

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Dr. Yael Respler is a psychotherapist in private practice who provides marital, dating and family counseling. Dr. Respler also deals with problems relating to marital intimacy. Letters may be emailed to deardryael@aol.com. To schedule an appointment, please call 917-751-4887. Dr. Orit Respler-Herman, a child psychologist, co-authors this column and is now in private practice providing complete pychological evaluations as well as child and adolescent therapy. She can be reached at 917-679-1612. Previous columns can be viewed at www.jewishpress.com and archives of Dr. Respler’s radio shows can be found at www.dryaelrespler.com.

2 COMMENTS

  1. As a Holocaust survivor myself I can relate to this problem, to talk or not to talk.
    I resolved my problem with seeking psychiatric help for many years since I suffered with PTS. I was fortunate to become a professional artist where I can express myself freely. I have quite few friends many very young people who regularly visit me. It is the most serene part of my life right now at 89 years of age.
    Shalom
    Holocaust survivor

  2. Dear people who still suffer. Take your hurts to G-d. Tell Him all you have suffered and still suffer and give them to Him. It is too big for you to continue carrying. It might not seem like He takes them, but once you have actually done it, refuse to listen to the thoughts that come about them — just say, 'They don't belong to me any more. G-d has taken them from me.' Then purposely do something to take your mind from them. Every time they come to mind, direct your attention elsewhere while acknowledging that they do not belong to you any more. Say these words out loud. After a while the 'enemy' will leave you alone. Direct your attention to the goodness of our G-d and ask Him to give you His joy. Nehemiah 8 verse 10.

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