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Grief or depression and how do you tell the difference?

CraigC

Registered User
Mar 21, 2003
6,632
London
Hi and thanks for all your wise and kind words.

I really don't feel depressed just tired obviously. But take on board comments about blocking it all out during the day and then getting hit with it all when I finally relax at the end of the day. It brings me back to the funeral when all I could think about was that line from Gone With the Wind (mum's favourite movie of all time) "I can't think about that now, if I do I'll go crazy, I'll think about that tomorrow after all.......' sure I don't need to finish that one off for you all.

So you avoid tomorrow for as long as you can, well I do anyway.

Hazel, I don't mind admitting that I shed a tear once in a while. Still happens every time I get in the car after visting dad leaving him all alone looking so vunerable. Had a lot of tears over the years and 'car screaming' so know it helps to let it all out. Car screaming and pillow sceaming was passed onto me by one of the old moderators sheila - it works wonders and is a great release.

I put off thinking about mum last few year as there is just too much to take in, not just the death but mum's emotional situation before she died and knowing how sad she felt about dad. Something she never managed to come to terms with before she died. We touched on it a lot, but mum never had time to grieve or get any closure and that right now is too hard to think about. I see no point in torturing myself with things that cannot be changed and it is hard to remember the good times right now.

We are looking into scattering the ashes over the next month so that will probably help. All a process that you can never prepare for. You just find yourself leaping from caring day-to-day for someone you love and being full of worrying to a very empty place. It is such a contrast without an imbetween space.

From my experience and following many on talking point, time is the only healer and this is never a short process.

Kindest Regards and thanks again.
It is good to talk and that is one thing I'm very good at ;-)
Craig

Edited: Mameeskye we cross posted. Just to say thanks for your comment and reassurance regarding the broken sleep. Good to know it is normal. I'll give it another couple of weeks and see the GP.
 

zonkjonk

Registered User
Mar 1, 2007
290
Melbourne, Australia
hi craig, after my dad died (6 years ago) it took me at least a year or a year and a half to defeat the insomnia.
but I was drinking heavily , which didnt help matters.(but it did get me to go to sleep in the first place)
I would wake up in tears about 1.30 - 2.00 am and not really get back to sleep properly.
now my mum is stage 7 dementia, and FIL just diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, and I could sleep 12 hours if anyone would let me.
I put off thinking about mum as there is just too much to take in, not just the death but mum's emotional situation before
trying not to think about everything is a good coping skill.my DH doing that now with his dad.
 

christine_batch

Registered User
Jul 31, 2007
3,388
Buckinghamshire
Hi Craig,
I started of this message with grief/depression. Then I changed it because you have had so much good advice.
There is one thing that all my family swear by and that is a bowl of hot water with lavender oil in it. Sprinkle some over the pillow.
I did use it when Peter was first diagnoised with AD and it calmed him and helped him sleep.
I wish you all the best.
Christine
 

CraigC

Registered User
Mar 21, 2003
6,632
London
Hey thanks so much Christine.
I'm sorry but your advice on lavender tickled me. I absolutely hate the smell of lavender, I don't know why but it makes me run for the hills :)

But as it is you, I will give it one try.

thanks
Craig
 

christine_batch

Registered User
Jul 31, 2007
3,388
Buckinghamshire
At least if you run for the hills, no mobile phones.
Just sit at relax. If you do fall asleep at least I know the lavender worked in a round about way.
Take care
Christine
 

daughter

Registered User
Mar 16, 2005
824
Hi Craig,

I had always assumed my insomnia over recent years was down to my age, (It strangely didn't occur to me that it could have been about Dad and Mum!) As I assumed it was just a phase, and not worth going to the doctors about, I decided I wouldn't just lay there worrying about getting back to sleep.

I know some people advocate relaxation etc but I found it didn't work for me.

When it happens (less now than before) I get up, make a cup of tea (yes, wrong thing to do with the caffeine I know, but tea comforts me); do some Sudoko; look at teletext or night time Open University programmes; go on TP; revel in the fact that I don't have to work the next day; listen to the dawn chorus. When I AM working the next day that's a bit harder, but I still manage to get through it (with some big yawns).

Eventually I usually go back to bed and back to sleep, and usually I sleep right through the following night. I hope you soon find some things that help you "make it through the night", that you discover the peacefulness of the early hours, and that you'll soon have some good nights' sleep!

Love, Hazel.

P.S. 3am: It was easy saying all this during the day, now it's 3am I just wish I could sleep!
P.P.S. 4:30am: Ah! there's the lovely dawn chorus.
 
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Skye

Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
17,000
SW Scotland
not just the death but mum's emotional situation before she died and knowing how sad she felt about dad. Something she never managed to come to terms with before she died. We touched on it a lot, but mum never had time to grieve or get any closure and that right now is too hard to think about.
I can relate to your mum's feelings, Craig. Grief at the loss of a relationship,anger that this has happened to someone who least deserved it, guilt at not being able to care for them, envy of couples who are allowed to enjoy a happy retirement -- they're all there -- not all the time, most of the time I accept and do the best I can, but now and again, particularly when things go wrong ------!

But you're right not to worry about that, Craig. I'm sure your mum accepted that that was her problem, and not one that she expected you to take on. You were such a loving son to her, and now you're caring for your dad, just as she would have expected you to do. You're a son to be proud of.

All a process that you can never prepare for. You just find yourself leaping from caring day-to-day for someone you love and being full of worrying to a very empty place. It is such a contrast without an imbetween space.

From my experience and following many on talking point, time is the only healer and this is never a short process.

Kindest Regards and thanks again.
It is good to talk and that is one thing I'm very good at ;-)
Craig
Absolutely right! Nothing can prepare you for the experience, because it is never the same for any two people. There are common factors, but no-one can say 'you should be feeling this at this stage', you feel how you feel, and it will take as long as it takes.

I expect to be making that leap in the not too distant future, but my leap will not be the same as your leap, or even like leaps I have made in the past.

You're doing fine, Craig. Keep talking.

Love,
 

jenniferpa

Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
39,448
I feel I should update this. Firstly I suppose I should say I don't have any advice for you Craig: my problems with sleep and depression have been the reverse i.e. sleep 12 hours out of every 24 (or more).

After I made my initial post I struggled on for several more months with some good days, some OK days but more not so great days. I tried all the things that are suggested elsewhere: getting more exercise, getting more fresh air, watching/listening to things that made me feel good, making sure my nutrition was sound. I'm not saying they may not have made a positive effect but it simply wasn't enough - I got to the point where my default state of being was "why do we struggle on and what's the point". At this point I realised I needed to return to my psychiatrist. He started me on Celexa again (10 mg/day as a divided dose, to minimize side effects) and I moved to 20 mg a day after 5 days. Now I know we are told that it can take several weeks to feel the effects of these meds, but personally, I could tell the difference before I even reached my final dose of 30 mg a day. I can't say I leap out of bed full of the joys of spring, but I can, for example appreciate the scent of the lilac that is blooming and I do feel there is some point in continuing. So, while medication might not be for everyone, and this particular medication might not be suitable for all, it's had a very positive effect for me.
 

Cate

Registered User
Jul 2, 2006
1,370
Newport, Gwent
When my GP suggested to me after numerous tests at the Cardiology department, that only showed I have low blood pressure, that I was clinically depressed I nearly laughed at the absurdity of it. Me depressed, out of the question. My symptoms were: fainting ( never fainted before in my life), shortness of breath and emerging agoraphobia, which was worsening day by day, early morning wakening or total insomnia. There were no tears, and I didn’t feel particularly miserable, well not all of the time. I work for a Consultant Psychiatrist, if anyone would know they were depressed, it was me!! In my view this was something medical.

So I arrive at my first appointment with the Psychiatrist thinking I will be out of here in 10 minutes, I’m not depressed.:rolleyes:

To cut a very long story short, some of which I have posted before, I saw the Psychiatrist for 10 months on a weekly basis, trying numerous medications, and finally finding that Moclobemide 600mg a day helped with my symptoms. It was a long way back and sometimes a very painful journey. I am still on the medication, although I have managed to decrease the dose by 125mg a day.

Mum is very poorly, and her doctors have told me I could lose my lovely mum at any time now.

The doctor has recommended that I don’t consider a further decrease in medication for the time being. The agoraphobia totally took over my life, without the reassurance and company of friends and family I was even unable to step outside my back door. I cannot go back there again.

When it comes to grief, I don’t believe there is any short answer; one person’s grief will be totally different to another’s. I was told by my GP at the time my father died that I should give myself 2 years to come to terms with his passing, and all the emotions and tears I was shedding were ‘normal’. I remember a car passing me after my dad died, it was car just like my dad’s, and I flashed my lights and waved!! Grief creeps up on you when maybe no particular thought process is going on. I truly believe that you don’t ‘learn to live with grief’ I believe you simply learn to live along side it.

I do think though that when certain ‘symptoms’ (for want of another word), are pervasive enough to impact on day to day living, that this should be checked out with your doctor, in any event, what harm can a trip to the GP do even if its just for a chat.

Love
Cate xxxx
 
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