Depression

TNJJ

Registered User
May 7, 2019
1,054
cornwall
Counselling would be a good option. My GP gave me details of a local counselling service, but I can’t leave my husband and can’t take him with me to counselling, so I was limited. It’s not a question of paying for carers, he won’t have them and he has also refused to go to Day Centre.
Dad was the same but in the end he had no choice. I couldn’t cope with it. I was eating,sleeping (or not)dementia!
 

theunknown

Registered User
Apr 17, 2015
396
Linda, my advice is to think about antidepressents as a positive thing. I've taken them on and off for most of my adult life. In all that time I never once had a problem with withdrawal or worried about becoming addicted. This applied whichever SSRIs I was taking. The ones you'd be prescribed are known to be largely non-addictive and to not cause problems when you stop, if you follow your GP's advice for coming off them. Their actions are nothing like tranquilizer side effects, such as valium, etc. I've never used those types of drugs and wouldn't want to.

I'd come off my last course well before my mum went into a care home with dementia (five years ago) and I didn't go back on them. This was largely because I had previously had a short course of CBT (after being on the waiting list for two years) which didn't actually help me, but made me start to think that my problem was hightened anxiety and psychological problems stemming from my childhood rather than depression. Despite this, antidepressents certainly have helped me in the past by enabling me to cope with the day to day in a way I wouldn't have done without them. They do take a few weeks to kick in, and it's not a sudden 'Oh I'm feeling so much better now' because you don't suddenly get a massive lift in mood. And remember, just because you're prescribed them doesn't mean you have to carry on taking them if they don't suit you. It'll just be a matter of gradually lowering the dose over a few weeks and then stopping. And if it's a very low dose (I was usually on the average prescription of 20mg per day) it'd probably be a lot less than that. In the meantime I'm glad that at the moment you're still able to keep up some outside interests and hope that this is able to carry on.
 

nae sporran

Volunteer Host
Oct 29, 2014
6,354
Bristol
I will go and talk to my GP. I have a son and daughter and some good friends but I am very independent and don’t voice my concerns to them. This is probably my problem, I bottle up my emotions. My OH can still be left at home watching the tv while I escape to my art class for a couple of hours so I do get a bit of time away from it. I do find him watching out for me, so not sure how long this will last.
So sorry to read your post, Linda. I have suffered with depression off and on for years and looking after a loved one as dementia slowly takes them away is so hard to do anyway. My GP referred me for counselling and that helped to express emotions bottled up for years, while the dementia wellbeing service (not available widely I don't think) set me up with CBT. That gives you coping strategies like a positives diary to write down something good that happened before going to bed, and thought diaries which are supposed to help put thoughts and feelings in perspective. The CBT therapist has worked with people with dementia so she knew some of what I was going through.
You should definitely see your GP and consider some kind of therapy.
 

Linda G

Registered User
Oct 23, 2017
55
I would like to thank you wonderful people for you taking the time to respond when you all have your own problems. When I tried to book a doctors appointment, I was told that they had nothing for three weeks. That meant that I probably would just forget it. That situation changed later when I had a blood pressure review. After a particularly stressful morning, I saw the nurse and my blood pressure was very high. At that point I had a bit of a melt down. She immediately arranged an appointment with a doctor for later in the day. The doctor was very caring and helpful and spent a lot of time talking to me. As suggested by many of you, he doesn’t think it is depression but more tiredness and unhappiness with the situation I find myself in. I wasn’t keen on medication but he has given me lots of thoughts on how to be kinder to myself and stop trying to cope with everything single handed. I have taken on board all his suggestions and aim to and improve the situation. He has left the door open and I can go back any time and we can rethink solutions. Thank you once again.
 

Vitesse

Registered User
Oct 26, 2016
150
I would like to thank you wonderful people for you taking the time to respond when you all have your own problems. When I tried to book a doctors appointment, I was told that they had nothing for three weeks. That meant that I probably would just forget it. That situation changed later when I had a blood pressure review. After a particularly stressful morning, I saw the nurse and my blood pressure was very high. At that point I had a bit of a melt down. She immediately arranged an appointment with a doctor for later in the day. The doctor was very caring and helpful and spent a lot of time talking to me. As suggested by many of you, he doesn’t think it is depression but more tiredness and unhappiness with the situation I find myself in. I wasn’t keen on medication but he has given me lots of thoughts on how to be kinder to myself and stop trying to cope with everything single handed. I have taken on board all his suggestions and aim to and improve the situation. He has left the door open and I can go back any time and we can rethink solutions. Thank you once again.
So glad that you saw the doctor, and so feel better about things. Meltdown seems to work, they start to listen then. Good luck! Keep us up to date.
 

White Rose

Registered User
Nov 4, 2018
353
I would like to thank you wonderful people for you taking the time to respond when you all have your own problems. When I tried to book a doctors appointment, I was told that they had nothing for three weeks. That meant that I probably would just forget it. That situation changed later when I had a blood pressure review. After a particularly stressful morning, I saw the nurse and my blood pressure was very high. At that point I had a bit of a melt down. She immediately arranged an appointment with a doctor for later in the day. The doctor was very caring and helpful and spent a lot of time talking to me. As suggested by many of you, he doesn’t think it is depression but more tiredness and unhappiness with the situation I find myself in. I wasn’t keen on medication but he has given me lots of thoughts on how to be kinder to myself and stop trying to cope with everything single handed. I have taken on board all his suggestions and aim to and improve the situation. He has left the door open and I can go back any time and we can rethink solutions. Thank you once again.
That's great news @Linda G surprising how much better you feel when someone in the 'system' just listens to you, just a shame it takes a melt down to open doors x
 

Stayingalive

Registered User
Nov 24, 2019
23
I would appreciate any advice regarding depression. The further we go down this path of Alzheimer’s the more I find myself getting very weepy with the feeling that my life is over. I would like to know the opinions of others regarding medication from the doctor. I am fearful of getting addicted to drugs but know how depressed I feel. I have to admit that after a bad day today I found myself having a few sneaky alcoholic drinks to help with the depression . This worries me as I have seen alcohol dependency within the family and it frightens me to go down this road. My other half was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s five years ago and on the whole have been coping ok. The last few months I have noticed a deterioration in my OH and it is really hitting me hard. I would very much appreciate any thoughts and advice please.
I was referred to counselling because I was getting depressed because of my husband's Alzheimer's.After several sessions with a therapist I'm coping much better, she explained that I wasn't so much depressed as grieving for the life we used to have and might have had, my husband is effectively leaving me inch by inch so it's a slow bereavement. She also helped a lot with longer term issues and the fact that when my husband is aggressive I get PTSD arising from bullying 15 years ago. I don't think that medication does anything more than mask the depression and getting it all out in the open and talking it through no holds barred is a great release. Obviously isn't for everyone, but it made a great difference to me even if I spent the first 3-4 sessions just crying.
 

Littlebear

Registered User
Jan 6, 2017
81
I've recently been diagnosed with severe depression but I know that if I wasn't looking after my husband I'd be fine. My husband has frequent violent outbursts and although they aren't so bad since going on Mirtazapine & Risperidone they are still threatening & frightening. They tend to happen in the evening & I'm sure the adrenaline rush they generate contribute to my sleep problems - I rarely get to sleep until after 3am - after 4am today. I have recently started counselling - it's early days yet but it does help to talk. I feel lighter afterwards which lasts for a short while. The counselling has also got me thinking about my caring role & to ask at what stage do I prioritise my mental health get over my husband's?
 

Littlebear

Registered User
Jan 6, 2017
81
I've recently been diagnosed with severe depression but I know that if I wasn't looking after my husband I'd be fine. My husband has frequent violent outbursts and although they aren't so bad since going on Mirtazapine & Risperidone they are still threatening & frightening. They tend to happen in the evening & I'm sure the adrenaline rush they generate contribute to my sleep problems - I rarely get to sleep until after 3am - after 4am today. I have recently started counselling - it's early days yet but it does help to talk. I feel lighter afterwards which lasts for a short while. The counselling has also got me thinking about my caring role & to ask at what stage does my mental health get prioritised over my husband's
 

Bella Cleo

Registered User
Aug 31, 2013
14
Thank you for your response. I will definitely make an appointment to see the doctor. I have been fighting it as I was concerned about becoming addicted to anything, but realise that it is not worth feeling so miserable. It breaks my heart to see my dearly loved husband disappearing before my eyes, but like all of us carers we cannot change what is happening so need to find best ways to cope with it.
Hello thanks for sharing. I emphasise with you and know what you are experiencing is horrid. My mother’s Alzheimer’s has progressed since a mini seizure and is now living with me and my husband. I’m her daughter. I’ve had anxiety since then and nervous tummy. I’m on anti depressants and have been for a long time I could not cope without them. I don’t say I’m addicted I say they help me cope even though I sometimes feel on the edge. I don’t anticipate coming off them so don’t worry about this I know I need them so take them. Why feel rubbish if they help. All the best hope you go to the GP and please please don’t use alcohol it will only make things worse. All the best God bless
 

Anise7

Registered User
Jun 1, 2013
6
Chelmsford
I would appreciate any advice regarding depression. The further we go down this path of Alzheimer’s the more I find myself getting very weepy with the feeling that my life is over. I would like to know the opinions of others regarding medication from the doctor. I am fearful of getting addicted to drugs but know how depressed I feel. I have to admit that after a bad day today I found myself having a few sneaky alcoholic drinks to help with the depression . This worries me as I have seen alcohol dependency within the family and it frightens me to go down this road. My other half was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s five years ago and on the whole have been coping ok. The last few months I have noticed a deterioration in my OH and it is really hitting me hard. I would very much appreciate any thoughts and advice please.
I felt depressed and couldn't find any joy in life so I understand very well. My GP also prescribed antidepressants. I set about finding others in a similar situation, it took time but we are now 30+, we try to do normal things, lunch at the pub, visit garden centres together with our partners. We meet once or twice a week, we have a WhatsApp group where we chat. You need other people, you don't need loneliness and isolation. It takes courage but asking others if they fancy a coffee out might help, it's a start.
 

Michelle48

New member
Nov 6, 2018
2
Hi my dad had vascular dementia, even though I was very sad I never let him see it. It's very hard going and your emotions are up and down, but I found doing different activities for myself was an out of dealing with the over helming sadness and it got me through it. My mum now has dementia she is five years down. We laugh and joke with her which helps us and her. It's about remembering who you are.x
 

Herecomestrouble

Registered User
Dec 11, 2018
16
I would appreciate any advice regarding depression. The further we go down this path of Alzheimer’s the more I find myself getting very weepy with the feeling that my life is over. I would like to know the opinions of others regarding medication from the doctor. I am fearful of getting addicted to drugs but know how depressed I feel. I have to admit that after a bad day today I found myself having a few sneaky alcoholic drinks to help with the depression . This worries me as I have seen alcohol dependency within the family and it frightens me to go down this road. My other half was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s five years ago and on the whole have been coping ok. The last few months I have noticed a deterioration in my OH and it is really hitting me hard. I would very much appreciate any thoughts and advice please.
Dear Linda
Sending you a big hug, from someone who relates so much to what you describe and are going through. From all the responses you have had, you know that you are not alone with all this, and that can help a bit, but not when you are faced again and again with the relentless physical and emotional challenges of caring for a much loved husband, having to be the one who is coping and managing everything when you feel that you can’t and in the absence of the one person who you would normally have turned to for help and support.

I won’t go into my experience now, but wanted to mention some really helpful articles that I found via google when I searched ‘ anticipatory grief” ..It brought up The caregivers space” ( which really focuses on cancer) but describes to a tee what us carers go through, and the ugliness at times of that. Having what I feel described so well was hugely reassuring and made me feel more normal and less crazy, but putting practical advice into action is very much harder ( and harder than reaching for the bottle , of alcohol or meds, that is for sure...). Acknowledging that we are grieving a huge loss now ( and not just anticipating the one to come) , with all the anger, fear, sadness (“depression”) that that entails is a start.
Medication is such a personal thing..I have been on and off them for a while now, swinging between feeling I have no option if I am to cope, and feeling like I don’t want to depend on that ( except maybe my brain is wired in such a way that it needs it) . There are so many different forms these days but can take a while then to find out what works for you, both type and dosage, once you have decided that is a path you want to try.
They say that exercise is as good if not better..but not easy to find time or motivation . 5 or ten minutes brisk walk a day?
Time off/ out....take a break or breakdown, says Hugh Marriott in A Selfish Pig’s guide to caring ( the best best best book about all aspects of caring from someone who has been there and got the t shirt) . Again easier said than done. My OH used to go to a day centre on the two days I was at work, and didn’t like it at all. Now I have given up work, I still need a day off, but he really really doesn’t want to go back to it and I cannot help feeling guilty making him ( if I can), even though I know it is the right thing. Guilt because he is the one suffering and I am making that worse by my inability to cope without a break of some sort....
Need to go and help him get up ...
One step at a time...
Pippa x
 

Morganlefay

Registered User
May 20, 2014
76
Buckinghamshire
Dear Linda,
Your situation sounds just like mine. My OH diagnosed with Alz 6 years ago and has got worse very slowly, but that's now speeding up. You described how I feel so clearly and I have such sympathy. I tried antidepressants (my Dr says I have tried 6 different ones over the year ) but none of them have worked - so no fear of being addicted there ! I now don't take anything. I have been depressed on and off over the years and have tried CBT (I can see it makes sense but my brain just won't let it help) and a full 12 weeks of seeing a lovely NHS psychologist for counselling, which did work, but the effects have now worn off. I feel as if my life is over and that I only exist to look after him. Please go on talking to us on here - it is reassuring to know that we aren't alone, and there's so much good advice on here which your post has started. I loved the post from the lady who started a group of friends to share a bit of fun and 'stepping away' time with. Would it help if we messaged each other (really not wanting to intrude....
Best wishes, Anne
 

Shyness143

Registered User
Jan 23, 2020
23
cocoa fl
I would appreciate any advice regarding depression. The further we go down this path of Alzheimer’s the more I find myself getting very weepy with the feeling that my life is over. I would like to know the opinions of others regarding medication from the doctor. I am fearful of getting addicted to drugs but know how depressed I feel. I have to admit that after a bad day today I found myself having a few sneaky alcoholic drinks to help with the depression . This worries me as I have seen alcohol dependency within the family and it frightens me to go down this road. My other half was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s five years ago and on the whole have been coping ok. The last few months I have noticed a deterioration in my OH and it is really hitting me hard. I would very much appreciate any thoughts and advice please.
Not sure if this applies to this or not so, sorry in advance if it is not helpful. Here in the states we have medical marijuana, we originally got my nan her medical card as she had been becoming anxiety consumed about her forgetfulness. It has not only helped her anxiety but her depression an with her knee pain. We noticed within a few weeks that she doesn't stress as much an in turn that had helped with her depression. Just a thought.
 

Hazeybaby

Registered User
Apr 4, 2018
11
Hi. My dad has Vascular Dementia but suffers from depression as well. He was prescribed Mirtazapine for night time to help him settle at night. His moods have improved as well.Maybe seeing the GP for a medication review will help?
I would appreciate any advice regarding depression. The further we go down this path of Alzheimer’s the more I find myself getting very weepy with the feeling that my life is over. I would like to know the opinions of others regarding medication from the doctor. I am fearful of getting addicted to drugs but know how depressed I feel. I have to admit that after a bad day today I found myself having a few sneaky alcoholic drinks to help with the depression . This worries me as I have seen alcohol dependency within the family and it frightens me to go down this road. My other half was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s five years ago and on the whole have been coping ok. The last few months I have noticed a deterioration in my OH and it is really hitting me hard. I would very much appreciate any thoughts and advice please.
I know exactly how you feel because I feel that way too. I am on antidepressants and I must admit they do help.
I keep telling myself that it’s not his fault and he can’t help it, but neither can I help the frustration and feeling of helplessness.
I think we are at stage 5 and I cannot foresee any future for me.
If you can, talk to your friends and family about how you are feeling, don’t keep it bottled up.
I do try and get out as much as I can as I can still leave him alone, but feel guilty in doing so.
 

wit_send

New member
Jul 12, 2019
2
I empathise. It's not easy. Sometimes feeling terribly alone with the situation and seemingly no one to talk to. I went to a Coop annual meeting and spoke to an Admiral Nurse from Dementia UK (They support Dementia UK). She was so helpful to me, lots of sense and caring. She gave me a supportive list to take away and recommended I phone the Admiral Nurses helpline. It took me a while to take the plunge, but they are so supportive and helpful. Not many of them in the community yet, but numbers and locations increasing. Their helpline number is 0800 888 6678
 

Bolo

New member
Oct 5, 2017
6
My understanding is you do not get addicted to antidepressants ( as opposed to the benzodiazepine class of drugs principally used to manage anxiety, which are highly addictive). Antidepressants are useful and effective for depression.
 

Linda G

Registered User
Oct 23, 2017
55
Thank you all for your supportive comments. Since my melt down, talking with the doctor and reading all your helpful advice, I have been working very hard to improve the situation as much as I can. I had slowly been putting on some weight and was not feeling good about myself as everything was starting to feel uncomfortable. I went on a diet and during the last three weeks I have managed to lose 8 lbs which is making me feel better about myself. I know I will feel so much happier to get back to my old self. I also have spoken to my children in depth and they were very comforting and said they did not know as I always seem to be coping. How good are we at covering up! I also managed to get my OH to come along to an Alzheimer’s group which was very successful. We attended a group 4 years ago and my OH was not ready then but now fitted in well. This time he enjoyed himself and I had the opportunity to talk to other carers. I gained a lot of helpful information. All in all this positive approach to life has certainly improved my life. I know there are going to be plenty of challenges ahead, but now I know not to try and cope on my own bottling everything up. I hope others can find a way to make their lives more comfortable for themselves. My greatest respect is sent to you all.
 

White Rose

Registered User
Nov 4, 2018
353
Thank you all for your supportive comments. Since my melt down, talking with the doctor and reading all your helpful advice, I have been working very hard to improve the situation as much as I can. I had slowly been putting on some weight and was not feeling good about myself as everything was starting to feel uncomfortable. I went on a diet and during the last three weeks I have managed to lose 8 lbs which is making me feel better about myself. I know I will feel so much happier to get back to my old self. I also have spoken to my children in depth and they were very comforting and said they did not know as I always seem to be coping. How good are we at covering up! I also managed to get my OH to come along to an Alzheimer’s group which was very successful. We attended a group 4 years ago and my OH was not ready then but now fitted in well. This time he enjoyed himself and I had the opportunity to talk to other carers. I gained a lot of helpful information. All in all this positive approach to life has certainly improved my life. I know there are going to be plenty of challenges ahead, but now I know not to try and cope on my own bottling everything up. I hope others can find a way to make their lives more comfortable for themselves. My greatest respect is sent to you all.
So pleased for you @Linda G, a positive outlook goes a long way, not possible when you're depressed of course. Acceptance of the situation and sharing true feelings with others helps a lot too. Keep up the good work on the rollercoaster ahead!