Dealing with a morbidly obese, bi-polar diabetic with chronic depression and suicidal thoughts?
April 19, 2010 6:11 AM   Subscribe

Dealing with a morbidly obese, bi-polar diabetic with chronic depression and suicidal thoughts?

My 50+ father is in bad shape, all around. In addition to the above description, he has few social connections, no job, is unable to control his sugar, or read to a certain degree. We also think he's secretly eating (this is probably new, in the last 6 months).

We don't know what to do with him. He lives with my mom. He's only about 450 or so and about 6'3", so he's not like drastically bigger than contestants on "The Biggest Loser". He won't make an effort to begin an exercise program of any sort. He can walk, though not more than probably 200 feet at once. He will not make lasting changes in his diet; he doesn't even eat properly for a diabetic.

His condition is exacerbated by his personality and lifestyle. He does nothing except eat, sleep, play video games and web surf. Due to his bi-polar nature, he is un-open to any form of criticism, if not hostile to it. My mother may be partly to blame with respect to food that is available in the house, however, they have more than enough healthful options in addition to unhealthy ones, and he will eat fast food with money that he gets from various sources.

He openly told me that he's given up on life and that he's ready for it to end. He says he's tired of being in pain and feeling bad. He hasn't done anything to significantly alter his lifestyle. Even if he could afford to have a stomach altering procedure, he'd probably never lose the initial weight that is required (10% or something?).

As his weight has increased, and the duration that his diabetes has been present, his medications have become less effective. Further, his weight is negating the effects of his anti-depressants. It seems like an unsolvable vicious cycle.

Is there anything we can do? Should we have him Baker acted since he's made somewhat suicidal comments? Is there a mental health facility that we can send him to so that he can stabilize his mood and diet?

This is in FL by the way.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't know if this will help, but high blood sugar can cause lethargy. It might be worth telling him that the way he's feeling isn't his intrinsic personality.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 6:29 AM on April 19, 2010

Get him to a sleep specialist or ENT and have him evaluated for sleep apnea. that may need to be resolved first.
posted by pocket_of_droplets at 7:02 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

If he doesn't want to make a change, you can't force him to. Find a way to be at peace with yourself about not being able to control his life. I know it's hard, but someone has to desire to make a change before one can be made. The people on Biggest Loser went through a lot to get there. They made the decision to change, which makes all the difference in the world. Trying to hold your dad up against them is only going to disappoint you.
posted by stoneweaver at 8:51 AM on April 19, 2010

Would it help if he were to see other people who were successful in changing their lives? Have him surf over to or some other site that has success stories. Maybe he'll be inspired that way.
posted by CathyG at 10:49 AM on April 19, 2010

Call his doctor and discuss your concerns with him.
posted by filmgeek at 11:42 AM on April 19, 2010

You might want to ask him if he'd be willing to see a home health nurse, and find out if his insurance would cover a visit like that. Sometimes people need to hear the facts from a professional that they're not emotionally involved with, even if that nurse or doctor says the exact same things that the family has been saying for years.

Have you considered how his conditions have affected you, and communicated that to your dad? Everyone is different, of course, but for some people that helps. Some people won't look after their health for their own sake, but if he finds out his daughter is terrified he'll be too heavy and short of breath to walk her down the aisle at her wedding, or that his grandkid was really hoping he could come to graduation next year, or whatever is true in your family's case, that can offer some motivation. People sometimes forget that they matter, so it's up to the people who love them to remind them.

Unfortunately there is no guarantee that that will work either. It's a difficult tight-rope to walk, letting someone know that you love them at the same time you wish they would make changes for their health. Hang in there.
posted by vytae at 12:27 PM on April 19, 2010

Tell him you love him, that you're grateful for all the love and effort he put into the family and raising you in particular, that you need him for his wisdom, experience and counsel, that you remember happier times in the past and want to help him work things out so that you can have more happy times to come.

Tell him you'd love to have your grandchildren be able to meet him (assuming grandchildren are a possibility here).

Remind him that his health matters to people besides himself, that there are people who care about him now, who want to interact with him now, and want to see him in a well and happy state to enjoy future time together.

Maybe all of that isn't true for your particular case, but I bet some of it is. Say the stuff that you feel.

A reminder that he is valued and that there might be stuff in the future that he'd enjoy being around for certainly can't hurt.
posted by de void at 1:04 PM on April 19, 2010

nthing what de void just said.

He doesn't realize fully that he is loved by others who will be hurt when he is gone.

The health issues and depression can be dealt with once he resolves it's worth it to make the effort. He doesn't care about himself; however, his loved ones should be another matter.
posted by Xoebe at 1:22 PM on April 19, 2010

« Older Corporate Dysfunction   |   Two teenagers and a toddler - recipe for chaos? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.