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Depression and being a carer - Page 5 - Carers UK Forum

Depression and being a carer

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
Hi there jenny
Thank you for your kind words they are really appreciated x
Hello all,
I have been following this thread for sometime and have absorbed all the posts. I feel so much better, thank you to all of you for writing about what it is like for me.
I haven't been 'right' for a good three months or so. I am just not myself, not thinking the same way I normally do. Not sleeping, feeling tearful all the time, don't want to leave the house. I am just so tired, eating loads and can't stop. I have finally admitted that I am unable to change things by myself, went to the GP and was given a diagnosis of depression. I suppose I had known it, but didn't want to admit it. I have been prescribed Citalopram, and am terrified of taking it but have tried self-help and its not working. I am two days in to the drug regime, so far, so good, no real side effects. I feel shocked at having to take them, don't know why.......I wonder if they will help?
All your posts have given me comfort and a feeling that I am not alone, although I feel that way a lot of the time. My Hubby is not a good person to talk to. He gets upset if I am low and withdraws from me, becoming very distant. He is always like this when there are difficult feelings around, including his own, and it's not helpful. This just leaves me feeling more isolated, so listening to you all on this thread does me the power of good.
Thank you all again,
Jayne, I know antidepressants can be scary -we think 'Oh gosh, this is the slippery slope to addiction and dependency' and we can also feel guilty that we are 'resorting' to artificial chemical help - but look at it this way....

If we'd broken a leg, we'd use crutches to help us walk. With depression, our minds are 'wounded' and can't function properly and so we use pills to help it work more the way it should.

I'm a great believer, personally, in 'stepping stones' - if the river we have to cross is just too deep and too powerful and will sweep us away to oblivion, then ADs can be stepping stones across to a better place. We are fortunate, after all, here in the western world, and in this period of history, to have such helpers available to us.

Yes, no one wants to 'have' to use ADs, and I'm sure no one wants to be on them 'for the rest of our lives'....but I would say that, in your situation for example, the stress on you is, after all, 'temporary'....

I know that sounds absurd - you have a father with dementia, and a mother with advanced cancer to deal with - BUT I mean 'temporary' in that you are odds on favourite too outlive both parents. So 'temporary' in the sense of 'at some point' in the future, the stress you are under now will no longer be there (yes, there will be a period of grief at bereavement, that is part of the essential tragedy of life, that we lose those we love to death at some point, or they lose us, whichever happens first), but that 'future without stress' IS there.....and at that point, you won't need ADs any more.

My SIL lived on Prozac and a bottle of wine a night for two years while her mother slowly died of dementia....it was a nightmare all round. Now, two years on, SIL is free of all dependency and addiction. The booze and the pills were her 'stepping stones'. Not ideal - but they got her across the river to the other side of stress....

So, to me, if those pills help you cope with what you are coping with - the hideous double whammy of your father with dementia and your mother with advanced cancer (and her difficult personality and emotional battering of you to boot....)) - then I'd say 'yup, take them!'

All best, and hope your mood lifts and your mental strength returns.

Kind regards, Jenny
I took them for four years after my husband died and I had a very serious car accident in a three month period. I needed to function as a carer for a son with SLD and a disabled mum. Without sleep, I was a danger on the road. So I took the pills to help me get my head round everything, to get some sleep, to be safe, and do what I had to do. Sometimes, we get so used to the caring role that we simply forget that what we are doing is very much outside normal life. We've had no training; no preparation at all; no option; we're just thrown in at the deep end Is it really so bad to need a small swimming aid?
Hi there
To all of us taking antidepressants - all they do is put back the chemicals we are missing. They are not " happy pills" but they help with the mental pain, just as painkillers block physical pain. Stick with them and I really do hope you are feeling a change for the better.
"They put back the chemicals that are missing" - Corinne, that's a brilliant way of looking at it. Thank you!

(And I do appreciate that 'essential' depression, the type I think it sounds like you have - where you could be in paradise and still depressed - may be different in treatment from 'reactive' depression, where we have some tragic or difficult or distressing life event that is causing our depression)(or, of course, for people like you, who are landed with BOTH types....not fun, no, not fun at all....)

Interestingly, there is also the possibility that ADs help us via the placebo effect (as well/instead of chemical???). I think it comes from the psychological turn-around we can hopefully experience when we feel we are starting to get on top of the situations that are overwhelming us, and the reassurance that can come simply from knowing that 'help is out there' - (even if it's in a packet of pills)

To me, one of the most interesting avenues for treating depression is the 'Appreciation Therapy' (my invented term by the way!) in which people are encouraged to look on the bright side, and every day write down five things that are GOOD about their lives (and we can ALL do that - only those tragic souls stuck in Locked in Syndrome have no blessings to count - unless it's possibly they are still capable of nice dreams and pleasant fantasies, even though their life is a living hell on earth).

One of the things I tend to say to myself 'Depressed? OK, shut your eyes for thirty seconds. Count to thirty. Now keep your eyes shut for the rest of your life.....'

Going blind is one of my terrors, and simply opening my eyes and realising I'm not blind, fills me with abject relief and gratitude....

I'm not trying to be trivial, or discounting the burdens we carry (and I carry a VERY light burden compared to many here....), but it does remind us that 'Things Could Be Worse' (!)

The other avenue I find interesting is that of Philanthropic Therapy (again, my term!),where we attack our own depresssion via helping others. Helping others makes us feel better (but it has to be truly voluntary - I think, myself, one of the greatest sources of stress in caring is that for so, so many of us it is 'involuntary'....but BUT that's a very, very difficult and contentious thing to say, as after all, even those who are the most cheerful and willing carers in the world would obviously not WISH their carees to NEED their care, however joyfully bestowed!).

Finally, I usually resort, myself, to Work Therapy, which derives from my mum saying to me 'If you're feeling down, get some work done, and then even if you still feel down afterwards, at least you've got something useful done' - work usually cheers me up (afterwards!!!!) and I suppose it's linked to a feeling of achievement (providing it's not 'pointless' work - which, sadly, is what so much of things like housework is - WHY is the ratio between the EFFORT it takes to hoover etc, and the BRIEF time that the 'clean house' lasts before getting mucky again, is so damn LOW!)

But, all of the above I suspect really only deals with 'shallow' depression, not for what those who have long term, endemic, essential depression that is so, so, so hard to change (if possible at all?)

All the above is just my amateur thoughts, please don't take any of it as being anything else!!!!

Kind regards to all (I'm off to start working my way down my very busy list of To Do Today!)(best of which is Keep Weeding the Garden, which I save to last Image )WHY is gardening, manual labour after all, SO much more enjoyable than housework??????????????!!!!!!
Hi there jenny
I'm glad if the" chemicals that are missing" helped any. It was explained to me comparing it to diabetes , if your body for whatever reason doesn't produce insulin then you have to regulate your diet, take tablets, or inject. So it can be with depression, exercise might help, if you're too bad CBT can help , but if a low level of serotonin is the problem antidepressants are the things we take. Or chocolate !!!!!
Hi There Corinne, Yes I do know what you mean about ''knowing there is someone out there'' (previous posts previous pages) that is a really good way of putting it ''isolation & the carer'' ''depression & the carer'' etc. But yes know that there is always someone out there thinking of you sending you strength healing & as I tell myself everyday ''courage'' .

I always ask God or whoever each of us draws strength from for me it is God we have spiritual beliefs but whoever each of us draws strength from. Wisdom Courage & Strength - are my daily prayers - I say to myself as it were... But yes the knowing someone is out there I am glad that helped. Anyway waned to add to that & simply reply - TTFN.
Corinne, not sure if you saw it, but a recent episode of Holby City (not this week, I think last week's- I record them so can't quite remember which week it was) had a patient whose erratic behaviour finally got him a diagnosis of Pick's disease.

Interestingly - revealingly????? - at the end, over the credits, there was the usual announcement of 'if you have been affected by any of the issues raised in tonight's episode you can find more information and help lines on our website'....but it ONLY mentioned the other plotline of domestic abuse - Picks didn't even get a mention!

Before you posted, I'd never heard of the disease, so it clearly has a very low profile.

Maybe (being cynical??) it needs a 'famous' patient. I'm sure very few of us would have heard of the nightmare of Motor Neurone Disease so much had it not been for Stephen Hawkings, who 'put it on the map'.
Hi I am new to the forum, well a couple of weeks, I keep coming on and reading lots of brill advice in lots of subjects. My username is because we got chickens last year which are so friendly they sit on my daughter's lap, she has Spina Bifida and is a wheelchair user, gorgeous and always smiles, never complains so I feel awful for feeling low!
Its hard being a carer full time, my husband has cancer so we are coping with lots of things for that too, he is doing really well, very sticky for a time but doing great now.
This may sound nuts, but it does work as much as counting to ten. I read a book years ago to my shame cannot remember who by or title, anyway the main character was a vicars wife and to the most part coped with his role and things expected of her but sometimes it was too much, sound familiar? When this happened she would get in her car drive somewhere in the middle of nowhere and scream at the top of her voice, drive home and carry on. I have done this in the bathroom, silent screaming makes your voice hoarse for a while but no red eyes from crying, I am not a pretty picture when I cry and of course everyone can see you are distressed or losing it, yet in films they look no different!!!!
Really hope this is not going to offend anyone and apologies if it does. Someone once said to me when my OH was diagnosed you will sit on a higher level in heaven as you are so special and chosen as you are able to deal with all life throws at you, well I just stopped myself from saying well I will be lonely looking down at everyone. OH laughed, not very politely!
Sorry to have gone on, love the forum thank you Image