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Feeling depressed - Carers UK Forum

Feeling depressed

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Hi all,
Haven't been in touch for a while, just wondering if anyone else is going through this.
I have cared for my for years, I'm fine for quite a few months, then out of the blue, I get a bout of depression that's last 3-7days, leaves me feeling really low and depressed and cry a lot, struggle to get things done, then suddenly it clears and back to my old self, I'm on antidepressants which help a lot, but it's these bouts that I have no control over
Does anybody have bouts like this and they deal with it :pinch:
Mark
Hi Markie.

The official figures used to show that carers were something like twice as likely to have depression. The longer you've been a carer, the more likely it is. I've never been treated for depression, but I certainly do have low spells when I feel that bit less willing to talk to people. I found those days particularly difficult when I worked at a carers centre because you have to overcome those feelings and set them aside. Reminded me of Billy Connolly, who said the hardest job in the world is to be a comedian, because no matter how shit you feel, you're there to make people laugh.

There are a lot of jobs like that, and I very much include carers in that - we often have to set aside our pain (physical or emotional) to provide care and support to our loved ones, but there's a price to pay and that's part of my problem, I think. I learnt as a child in a caring situation to hide my feelings, to use humour as deflection. It proved useful in my work, a lot of the time, but it wears you out emotionally, and I had to learn that there were times to let it all out, in a safe way. That was hard.
If you search for "depression" there are all sorts of symptoms given, and you just can't snap out of it.
I suspect most carers could qualify?

However, there should also be another category "utterly fed up". When you've done too much for too long for others who can't or won't see that you just need a break.

Having been a multiple carer, 5 people in the family disabled in various ways, 3 deaths, husband died, brother died, mum in and out of hospital to the outside world I was depressed. Then soon after mum went into residential care, I went on holiday to Greece, in 2014. My first proper holiday for years.

I thought the "old" me had gone forever, but actually, given some sun, some dresses, some peace (I slept most of the first week!) the old me emerged again, much to my surprise. I learned to live and laugh again. My friends at the hotel often say that I'm so different now from the way I was on that first holiday.

Away from all my problems at home I could relax and just be me. I was watching Shirley Valentine last night, after she went to Greece she says that for years she was someone's mum or someone's wife, there she was just Shirley Valentine. This made me think about carers.

Does anyone see the "real" us?
To most, we are seen as the person who does things for the caree. The medical profession only see us as the person to give tablets, the person who they can bully to take a caree home from hospital to get their bed back. Most of the time we live a sort of parallel life. We hear about others going to the cinema, parties, pub. Carers simply don't have the time or energy left to do things like this. It can take weeks of planning, plans which may all go up in smoke when we are let down at the last minute.

In Western Australia, whre my friends live, they have guaranteed respite care. Isn't it about time we had the same in the UK?
When I'm depressed? Nothing. Absolutely nothing, except scrolling. Endlessly scrolling through my social media, while I feel trapped inside this loop. I find myself watching videos I don't even like watching.

When I get sick of it and I'm pulling myself out? I watch comedy. I sing out loud. I force myself to physically do something I need to so I can say I did something. Like washing a dish. If I'm not too neurotic and stuck in my head, I'll talk to a friend about how I'm doing. Sometimes I just message a friend about anything else so I can distract myself.

I also go through a mental checklist of things to make sure it's not just emotional. I ask myself when was the last time I: drank water, ate something, saw the sun, took a shower, slept. If it's been too long, I force myself to do something about it, or at least make a plan to fix it.
Depends on the situation. I always remove myself from the situation first, then cry if I need to. I usually have racing thoughts, so I let them go, but make sure that don't get too extreme. When I no longer feel a need to cry, I wash my face and calm myself down. I remind myself of how far I've come and reassure myself of many things (combating the negative racing thoughts from earlier).

If the situation involved another person, I wait for them to calm down if need be before I approach them again. I always try to reassess the situation and consider, depending on what happen, what circumstances the other person is facing and how that would affect their judgement. Granted, nothing is an excuse, but no one is perfect. I accept it, revisit it if need be. I just move on after.

If the situation doesn't involve another person, I just calm down and try to assess where the depression is coming from and once that's identified, I work on that.

I have a habit of snapping at people when I'm on the verge of feeling depressed, so I've calmed down, I typically approach them and apologize. I let them know what's going on, as a way of understanding, not an excuse. Depression is never an excuse to act a certain way or be rude, so I always take full responsibility for my actions, clouded or not.
markie123 wrote:
Mon Jul 04, 2022 8:14 am
Hi all,
Haven't been in touch for a while, just wondering if anyone else is going through this.
I have cared for my for years, I'm fine for quite a few months, then out of the blue, I get a bout of depression that's last 3-7days, leaves me feeling really low and depressed and cry a lot, struggle to get things done, then suddenly it clears and back to my old self, I'm on antidepressants which help a lot, but it's these bouts that I have no control over
Does anybody have bouts like this and they deal with it :pinch:
Mark
Prayers
It will get better
A complete lack of emotional investment in other people. I lost interest in friendships, not because I didn't like my friends, but I just couldn't bare to put up with other peoples emotions, and deal with my own.

All time lack of energy: I would just lie in bed all day, always tired and lethargic. The snails pace analogy is correct. You hear people say "I wish there was another hour in the day", well I felt like my 24 went for 48.

Most of all, it was definitely the overwhelming thought of doing anything. Lying in bed, want to take a shower? You mean I'd have to get up, walk to the shower, take my clothes off, wash myself, dry off, put new clothes on AND get in bed? But I'm already in bed... Same went for making dinner, planning things with friends/family etc.
Hi Mark

I'm sorry to read that you have been doing it tough lately.
I have periods when I get down and annoyed and resentful with my caring situation, but going back about three weeks ago it was different.
Usually I feel bad for no more that three days, but this spell lasted for about two weeks. I had no energy, very short tempered and was very bitter, some of it directed at my Mum, which is inexcusable. She understands. I always apologise, but it's still a terrible way to behave. The situation is not her fault.
I have had two courses of CBT and was on sertraline for about a year or so.
I won't use therapy or meds again. Therapy seemed a little patronising to me and sertraline could have been my gateway drug to something much stronger as it's easy to get meds from doctors in our situation.
Being a carer is by far the most challenging thing I have ever done and every carer on this site will have their own story, some easier and some much more difficult than our own.
During my two week crash I stopped all exercise and concentrated on caring for my Mum. Just tried to be calm and I very slowly improved.
I hope that things pick up for you and you are very welcome to DM me if you feel like a chat.
All the best.
Yes same here. I find going for a walk helps a little just to clear the head and have some space but don’t know if that’s possible for you.