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Depression and being a carer - Page 4 - Carers UK Forum

Depression and being a carer

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
Hi there x I was already diagnosed with clinical depression a long while before my hubby was diagnosed with picks disease. Thankfully I am on medication which takes the edge off. Thank you for your replies and suggestions I will give them a go mad let you know x ttfn
What were you depressed about? Or were you just depressed?

This isn't a 'trick' question, but quite genuine, for the following reasons -

You may know (sadly, from personal experience) far, far more about depressive illness than I do, but I've read that there are two basic types of depression - one is (I paraphrase), 'reactive depression' - we are depressed 'about' something (eg, the way life is treating us, eg, having to care for an ill relative, or some other life trauma) and the other is (again I paraphrase) 'essential' depression - ie, you could be living in paradise and you would still be depressed.

The former is (theoretically) far more treatable - ie, remove the cause of the depression, and it goes away (the ill person recovers, and voila, your mood lifts!)

The latter is far, far more intractable, as it is 'caused' by chemical/neurological problems in the brain itself, of which the depression is a symptom (as opposed to 'reactive depression', in which any alteration of brain chemistry is a symptom - 'expression' if you prefer - of your depression.)

Worst of all, perhaps, is if someone has 'essential' depression, and then has 'reactive' depression on top of it (ie, added depression from a dreadful life trauma)

That's why I ask.I would surmise that until and unless there is a clear comprehension of just what has caused your original depression, and how the current traumatic experience you are going through with your husband's illness, it won't be possible to find an effective means of countering it. If one is even possible.....

I may, however, be completely wrong in my general analysis, and am quite willing to stand corrected! It's simply what I've read so far about depression.Depression is, without doubt, a very, very difficult, complex and distressing illness to have.

I wish you all the very best possible, and in my own book, 'whatever helps' is valid, and if it works for you, that is all that is necessary.

Kind wishes at such a difficult time in your life - Jenny.
Hi there. I was diagnosed with a chemical imbalance fifteen or so years ago. At the time I didn't know that was depression , I cried with relief at knowing I had something and wasn't going mad ! It was only later I found out its depression. X thank you . You sound very knowledgeable .
Dear Corinne, I have just found your comments about depression. I have long term severe depression. I am 56 and my husband is 61. Two years ago he had a brain infection and operation which left him with aphasia (speech problems) and cognitive problems (not understanding, poor memory, lack of emotional intelligence, not recognising objects or people or places). I have phoned helplines which deal with only one of these problems at a time! And of course they do not deal with my problem of depression.

I had not heard of Picks Disease, but have googled it and see it concerns the temporal and frontal lobes. My husband had a large part of his temporal lobe removed, so there may be some similarities here. I find it so very lonely, I miss the man he was. I still love him but I look at him and my feelings are so very mixed. It is so very painful. We cannot communicate in any meaningful way, and whilst I have good friends to talk to, no-one really understands the awful combination of my depression and his cognitive and speech problems.

I was sorry to hear how you are struggling, but believe me, I am too. It is hard enough being a carer when you are well, but to be depressed too... I am having counselling and medication but I still wonder how to go on. My husband is glad to be alive and really, I am not.

I am sorry, I don't suppose this is helping. I just wanted you to know that I think I share how you feel. But with a bereavement to cope with as well. My heart goes out to you. All we can do is carry on, as you say. But for how long and just HOW? I don't seem able to find any answers.
Dear Jenny

You do sound knowledgeable about depression! Like Corinne, mine is clinical and, since being a carer (or with anything else very difficult in life) reactive depression adds to it.

Yes, whatever gets you through. In my case chocolate and cake! I have put on about 4 stone in the last 2 years and for the first time in my life I really cannot find the will to care. Trying to cope with my husband's almost death and brain damage was the worst thing I have ever had to go through and it just about destroyed me. I was just hanging on day to day, waiting to see what would happen to him. I try to live day to day still, but, well, I hate it. It takes so much energy to keep my own spirits up, without having to cope with anyone else. I don't think I could live with myself if I left him. I often consider suicide as an option, but it isn't really. I did think of it when he was first ill, when I was as usual watching my weight. I had a friend who did the same, and she committed suicide, so I then thought, well, its a bit pointless dieting if I am going to die!

Sorry for going on..I am new to this and it does help to tell other carers how it is for me.
Thank you for listening!
((((hugs)))))) vicki
The sense of loss is something that many of us struggle with. If your caree has had brain injury, or a stroke, dementia or any other problem where part of the brain is lost, then they will never be exactly the same again. My hubby has a temporal lobe injury and I have a friend whose husband has picks disease, so I am aware of the similarities (though the cause is obviously different). My son is now the same age that hubby was when we married and he is the spitting image of his dad - even has the same mannerisms and turns of phrase. Image It constantly reminds me of what I have lost. This topic is about dementia, but the feelings of loss are the same viewtopic.php?f=32&t=22828

Im glad you are having counselling - I have found it does help. I burnt out quite soon after his accident and I also considered leaving him, or suicide, and even (to my shame) wished that he had died in the road accident. You need to make time and space for yourself too. I work part-time which I think is my respite and I also have a little bolt - hole that I disappear to for a day or two when it all gets too much.

Feel free to send me a message any time.
Hi vicki
Thanks for getting in touch . I too am very lonely. Our lives are totally devastated aren't they? I must be honest I've thought of suicide myself , especially when hubby started to disappear in front of my eyes. I am so afraid , probably others share these feelings? Any time you need to talk I will look for you on the forum. They are all a good supportive bunch on the forum someone will always answer any post. Take care , we have a lot in common sadly it's all the impossible to cope with things. Ttfn
Hi Corinne , Hope you okay - sending you strength - healing - have you thought of having a pet a cat or something similar ? We are not allowed pets where we live but the benefits of them are very good as I understand it. Anyway reading your last post I do hope you are okay coping - finding a way to get through each day - be strong - you have a lot on your plate at the moment - . Only wish I could say something of use ... can only think of adding to what others may have said - but do ask for help the Drs or help the aged as you are also looking after your mum .. don't take on too much even though it seems you already have. Anyway know others are thinking of you - sending you strength - you are not alone although god knows it must seem like it at the moment... please do phone the Samaritans when you get very low - I have done as much they are amazing really amazing any time night or day - please don't struggle alone. God bless TTFN.
Hi there bradstonian
I do have a cat and that does help.you did say something of use- just your reply made me feel better. It's the knowing that someone is out there and cares. Thanks x
Corinne and Victoria - sorry for not answering sooner, I lost my password (!). I'm sorry to hear about your chronic depression - it's such a vile disease of the mind, and turns the world grey and joyless, even without all the 'bad things' happening as is with your poor husbands.

I hope with spring coming your spirits may lift a little, though sometimes it can be hard to see the outside world brightening, when the world we have to live in has such difficulties and sorrows.

With kind wishes to you both, Jenny