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Depression and moving forward


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I realize there have been many threads regarding depression. I am still having problems in this area and I'm wondering how those of you afflicted with this, are coping? What is it, in yourselves, that keeps you going and motivated?

I'm on several anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds and seem to be on a back-slide. I know that my home circumstances; lack of job, medical care, etc... aren't helping my situation but feel stuck as to make certain changes due to financial problems. I haven't been able to become gainfully employed and I'm barely able to contribute to the household finances. I know that there are so many people out there whom are suffering from far worse than I, and this makes me feel bad for whining about myself!

I have moments and times where I feel good and thankful to be alive. I can easily encourage others and am empathetic to their plights, but I'm unable to do this for myself most of the time. I have suffered with depresion for MANY years prior to the SAH, but was able to function quite well - had medical care, counseling, etc... I have read hundreds (yes hundreds!) of self-help books, been part of different support groups and the like. So I do know the things I should be doing on my own, but lack the motivation and support to do such at this point. I'm not looking for sympathy, but maybe some experiences of others who've found some relief and been able to turn their lives around.

I am inspired by so many people who've been able to move on and live fulfilling lives, while at the same time living with devestating disabilities. What is it that keeps you/them up and moving forward?

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hi winter

im not going to carry on ive been depressed many times since lins had her bleed but one thing i have learnt even before this happened to lin and that is do get down get angry this seems to help me come to terms i would do anything to get lin back and over the last few weeks i have had bad news and more bad news in respect to lin so i get angry in respect of that which gives me the boost to source other types of things i can do to try and help lin i only hope this may help dont get down get angry and hope that it may give you that little boost take care hugs and cuddles xx

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Hi Carolyn!

Having no healthcare benefits must be huge weight on you and an obstacle in your path toward feeling better. Are there any services available free of charge to help you with analyzing your current meds and provide more counseling? Is there anything like 'Headway' available to you? Overtime our hormones change and I'm wondering if the natural chemical mix and the mix of pills needs to adjust accordingly? This is an unknown area for me, I just hate to think of you out there managing your health needs without professional support.

I wonder if something like what Lynne is doing would help you too? Where you do some volunteer work as you feel up to it building your hours when you are ready and building your confidence at the same time? Is there something like a volunteer organization for people who don't have healthcare benefits? You have a nurturing background with your registered massage therapy and you recently took on the job of helping people in the nursing home. I wonder if helping others in your situation would help you?

Sorry if I'm way off base, just throwing ideas out there.

We don't have Headway here. The Brain Injury Program that we do have is something you need to be referred to and their resources are so limited they don't want to see people like me because I can walk, talk, and feed myself.

I don't have a magic formula for remaining positive and I've certainly had my downtimes. I do make a conscious choice to seek the positive in everything but I don't think that comes easily to everyone. You've suffered with this for years so it was with you prior to your SAH. There are all kinds of thoughts about mental health and how to feel better and lots of them are good but you also need the help of professionals

who are trained in this field.

I see from your posts that you are continually trying to feel better and you do things such as your garden and trying out the nursing job so I'm not sure that there is lack of motivation. It's more like you just aren't well yet.

I'm glad you have begun this thread, I think you will get lots of support from our BTG friends.

Sandi K. Xoxoxox

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I realize there have been many threads regarding depression. I am still having problems in this area and I'm wondering how those of you afflicted with this, are coping? What is it, in yourselves, that keeps you going and motivated?

I'm on several anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds and seem to be on a back-slide. I know that my home circumstances; lack of job, medical care, etc... aren't helping my situation but feel stuck as to make certain changes due to financial problems. I haven't been able to become gainfully employed and I'm barely able to contribute to the household finances. I know that there are so many people out there whom are suffering from far worse than I, and this makes me feel bad for whining about myself!

I have moments and times where I feel good and thankful to be alive. I can easily encourage others and am empathetic to their plights, but I'm unable to do this for myself most of the time. I have suffered with depresion for MANY years prior to the SAH, but was able to function quite well - had medical care, counseling, etc... I have read hundreds (yes hundreds!) of self-help books, been part of different support groups and the like. So I do know the things I should be doing on my own, but lack the motivation and support to do such at this point. I'm not looking for sympathy, but maybe some experiences of others who've found some relief and been able to turn their lives around.

I am inspired by so many people who've been able to move on and live fulfilling lives, while at the same time living with devestating disabilities. What is it that keeps you/them up and moving forward?

I keep going becauseI'm still alive, a husband, son and father and I owe it to myself to give me and my familythe best life I can and not drag myself/them down. Are you on antidepressants and having any form of therapy? You need to talk to your GP about this, you don't deserve to live like this. CBT therapy can be very good at helping you fight these demons - ask for it.

Plan some "be good to yourself days"; go somewhere nice with friends and family, invite friends around. What you put into this you will get out. Your mood and anxiety can be managed by you. Give yourself worry time if you need it - promise yourself not to worry or think about anything negative until that worry time. I aim for 4pm each day and put all bad thoughts off until then; not easy but it does work. Make sure you are talking about worries to people who care about you and listen to their problems too. Just be you and let your inner light shine through. it's in there, I promise you!

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A very interesting thread Winter on which I can only give my own personal perspective. I think it’s an area we need to take really seriously.

I know it’s very much on the increase so we need to protect ourselves against all unnecessary stresses, such as news! I have not watched the news as I feel this definitely impacts negatively. The world has changed to really bad stuff happening. I also abide by the principle that it’s much healthier to open up about what’s on my mind and to look forward. I am very privileged in being able to help cancer patients in their recovery, which certainly puts my life in to perspective. It has reinforced my motivation to do good and to reconnect with the spiritual side of my life. I also walk religiously, some days with friends. In fact, a walk is not complete without taking a coffee afterwards and having a good chat. I find walking rids me of anxiety as well as giving me energy and motivation to face the day. Restoring ones health is central to rejoining life!

The key is not to rush things or create anxiety for yourself. Dealing with a sah forces us to confront some strong emotions, which can leave us with the sense of not coping at times, especially if we are on our own. If you are feeling isolated contact a close friend and invite them to visit. You need to build on this connection as your confidence returns and arrange to catch up with other friends. By reconnecting with your social life you will feel stronger as an individual. I think to get involved in the voluntary sector is a positive step towards finding gainful employment. But make sure its in doing something you enjoy!

As SK mentioned, the drugs don't seem to be working as well which could be a result of hormonal changes. Maybe its time to have some blood tests.

Having medical and financial worries must weigh you down but the price of friendship and the advice they give is free at least! Just make sure you always look after No 1!!

Anya x

Edited by Anya
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Hi Caroline

I never realized you were having such a rough time. When i met you in Florida you looked so well, just shows how we can hide whats going on inside. I know you said you had problems with work, i can relate to that a bit. Im hopefully going to start some volunteering work 1 day a week for 4 hours at a elderly home. Im hoping it will help me get some confidence and stamina tostart work. as far as depression goes, ive had it in the past when charlotte was born and had tablets fo a few months. I seemed better after that but have always been a bit on the negative side. I did start some tablets earlier this year as i was very low and had anxiety. I have stopped them now and seem to be coping ok so far on my own. I seem to have got to a point where i have accepted what happened and can see a new life for myself. This seems to be pulling me through.Another way i think i cope is through charlotte, watching her deal with so much pain through the years and keep smiling, makes me carry on.

I do so hope you find something or someway to help you cope. You have such a lovely personality and way about you, im sure your get there. Maybe you just need a bit more time.

we will send you lots of encouraging thoughts your way. Then when we come back next year your be feeling a whole lot better.

I suspect most of us on here have some sort of depression at some point for different reasons.

Take care and keep smiling

Traci S xxx

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Momo

Just saw your thread. The part about problems seem bigger than they are. I have noticed that too. Little things that go wrong feel so big and bad to me and sometimes i get them out of proportion. I end up ranting and looking like a fool.

Traci s xxxx

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Hi Caroline,

I'm sorry to read you feel so down just now. I suffered very badly from depression for years before the SAH too & spent time in hospital having ECT. I felt for a long time after the SAH that it had cured the depression as I was just so glad to be alive but since leaving work, losing my licence & my son being so ill, I have really struggled over the last 7 months. I think Sandi's advice is great and the others (sorry, I get to the end of a thread & forget who said what).

Someone mentioned making use of friends & going out walking help. I agree with that but I know sometimes you just want to shut yourself off from people. I think getting over that & being with friends and exercising really do help. It is hard though to make that all happen when you don't feel so good inside.

We all survived for a reason & hopefully one day we will all understand what that reason was & find happiness. (On dark days I sometimes wonder if I survived so I could be tortured some more.....I'm sure that wasn't really the reason :wink:

Hope things get better for you soon,

Michelle xx

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Hey gorgeous! (Love the new avatar!)

I was in a really bad place last year. I had never really experienced depression before. The experience taught me how it is not possible to simply possess a positive attitude to get you through it. It is an enveloping, oppressive feeling.

In complete fairness to us, the environmental factors around us post SAH are stressful. Not only are our brains injured, (the very thing we use to process our emotions,) but we are dealing with a life changing event which has resulted in losing a job, friends and life as we knew it. To feel depressed about this, I think, is a normal reaction; so do not berate yourself for feeling down.

Try not to feel guilty for feeling depressed because you perceive others may have worse circumstances. The thing is, stress is relative and we react to what is happening to us. So although other people are going through what we may consider ‘worse’, we cannot feel what they are going through; we can only feel what is happening to us.

Not once in your post did I think you were ‘whining’ as you described it. You were just articulating your feelings and it is better that you do this rather than bottle it in. Expressing your feelings is a good thing.

I am pleased that you have episodes when you feel good and I am so glad that your depression is dispersed with these lighter moments.

Advising others is always an easier process than advising ourselves, so that is why you cannot apply the help you give to others to yourself. We always see other people’s problems with more clarity because we are objective and cannot ‘feel’ what they are going through. With ourselves, we are subjective and we have our gut feelings to contend with as well, so things become more confusing for us.

I am sorry that your depression has plighted you for years. If this is the case, maybe it is the stress of the SAH which has turned your depression from one you could function with, to a feeling that you are now overwhelmed.

You have an excellent grasp of the methods which should help with the depression, i.e. the medical care, counselling and support groups. Did you find that these helped you before?

It is a horrible feature of depression that a person lacks motivation. It can be an enormous struggle to do things which another person may consider straightforward. And so I do understand how seeking support/ counselling can be overwhelming for a person with depression.

In situations like this, I find it easier to turn and ask others for help. I used to be a very independent person and it took a long time for me to realise that I could do this.

Is it possible that a family member or friend could make the initial effort to sort out some group sessions/ counselling for you? Maybe they could even accompany you; just as a method of bridging the gap between where you are now, to a place where you could receive help.

I also find that being in the company of positive people is helpful.

If counselling helped you in the past, maybe it could help you again, but maybe on this occasion, someone needs to make the arrangements and accompany you.

I am unsure if you can get counselling for free in the US, so if there are costs, could family members help? Instead of asking one person, maybe a few could contribute and share the costs between them?

The thing that keeps me going is counselling, meeting people at my charity; and voluntary work, which has given me a sense of purpose.

If I am suggesting something in this post which is not possible for you, let me know and I will reconsider what else can be done.

L xx

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Hi there its only looking back now feeling how I feel that I realise how depressed I must of been I actually now enjoy going into work again now ( when I get there ). And I must say it as all been because of my children that it lifted because yes I nearly died but it wasn't my time and when my time does come I want my kids to remember lots of happy times which is the only reason I dragged myself out of that hole and I very rarely feel down anymore.

I hope you come out the other side soon too.

There is an online course you can do called

Epp online

It really helped me.

Hope your feeling better soon. Jess.xxx

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Thank you all, so very much, on your thoughts, caring words and suggestions. I do know that all of the health concerns and lifestyle changes (post SAH) have made the depression worse. And yes, sometimes even the smallest things are blown out of proportion (doing the dishes, getting the mail, etc...) I do walk daily - good thing for my dog, too! I meditate and say positive affirmations in effort to help myself. I do get together with friends when their schedules allow - they all work full time and have families. When we do get together, those are high points for me and I'm thankful for them :-D. And my daughter, truly, has been amazing and my rock!

I've had the medication adjusted, which was helpful for a while and I did have blood work done about 7 months ago - hormones good, just deficient in Vit. D (strange for any Floridian!! :lol:) and B12. So I'm taking supplements for those as well.

As I haven't before qualified for any free health care - as I was working, I've had to pay out of pocket for the few Dr. visits and CT scan I had done in Feb. The discounted rates for uninsured came to just under $500 :shocked: 1 of my medications costs $185 -my cost with special coupon is $65 -still not cheap. Health care in the states is absolutely ridiculous. At this, Paul, I can be angry :mad5:

So far, I haven't found any "free" support groups in my area. There are some in Tampa, which is the nearest large city - about a 45 minute drive, depending on traffic.

I did call the social security disability office this a.m. and now have an appt. for May 16th. This is probably similar to your ESA medical hearings. So I will be gathering up dr. reports and the like for proof of my health conditions. Most people are denied numerous times, but I will remain hopeful for possible help - let the fight begin.

I have "planned" on looking into volunteering and also taking classes w/my dog so he can be a therapy dog - I haven't actually done these things yet. Always have good intentions, but have been unable to get off my butt and act on these.

I have always put on the smiley face - fake it 'til you make it, so most people have no idea how I really feel inside. I was brought up to not show emotions and keep your problems to yourself! It's not that i'm trying to fool anyone, just old tapes that still play in my head!

Thank God for all of you and BTG - you've been my lifeline this past year. I know things will be better at some point - I will get there.

Love to you all!

Carolyn

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Hiya Carolyn,

Sorry to read things are tuff for you at the moment. I too was brought up in a house where you put on a smile and did'nt talk about how you truly felt. I've learnt from this SAH that this no longer works for me ( don't think it ever did ) i now say im not feeling up to it today or i feel depressed, this has been hard as it goes aganist all i have ever known. I now tell my kids to talk about how they truly feel and since then my two eldest are going to couselling because what they have been through ( they found me in the bedroom in a seizure when i had the SAH ) .

Keep fighting, knowing we are all thinking of you and sending our best to you xxx

Take care Rhiann

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Dear Carolyn,

My heart goes out to you... it just s*cks to feel like this! I hope you got some good inmput and suggesttions from you brave post!!

There's a few things I'd like to add myself (some things already mentioned by others)

  • I don't watch the news. I used to be an engaged watcher, politically active and the works, but now it makes me cynical and upset.
  • I have a new arrangement where I schedule the day I open any mail that looks official. It has brought on too much panick if I do it by myself and the moment it falls on the doormat. It has ruined too many days.
  • Every day I try and think of something that makes me feel proud about myself. It can be 'I brushed my teeth before I went to bed', or 'I started translating my blog'. Just as long I had to 'work' for something and did it! (I have learned to do this myself when I was in a state about 10 years ago, and ever since I have taught it to many of my patients too. For me it works. It is very positive and gets easier as you do it more)
  • I am open about how bad I sometimes feel. (I dó pick my moments and persons though.. I can tell my sister that I really feel bad, but try to spare my husband at the moment, for he seemes to have reached the end of his rope himself.

Aside from that my sister pointed out yesterday that I always feel depressed 2 days after I overdid something. I rush up my adrenaline to go somewhere.. the day after it still lingers and the day after that I collapse into a big hole...

I hope any of this helps. I wish you were here, so I could give you a big hug!

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Yes, Nessie, that happens to me too - well, I think it's happening less and less, but every time I overdo it and end up in a heap on the floor, I get very depressed about it.... Now that I'm pacing myself more, planning ahead and resting even though my brain is saying "you can do it", I'm a lot better. I'm sure it'll come with time and patience. Take care!

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I've dipped in and out of depression over the last 5+ years ... sometimes there is no reason for it and I can just wake up in a low mood, that can last for a week or two. It's hard to find motivation and to push yourself forward, especially when the fatigue is still ongoing and you're not feeling up to par ... so I know how you guys are feeling.

All I can say, is that you have to focus on the positives and go through the motions of day-to-day life and focus on what you've achieved, no matter how small you may consider it .... everything is a bonus .... I've still not been able to find the magic answer and sometimes I wonder whether this is a chemical imbalance rather than psychological...

Love to all xxx

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Again, thank you for all of your responses filled with love, comfort and excellent suggestions! I truly am grateful for all of you at BTG. It's heartwarming to know I can come here and feel understood and cared for in these situations!

I know I'm not alone in this - I'm sure all of the help you've given me, is helping others here as well. It's amazing to me that just by opening up and letting it out, help comes pouring in :wink1: You're an amazing bunch of people with hearts of gold!

Love to you all,

Carolyn

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Hi Carolyn,

I think you are so right - you posted something that many people feel but perhaps didn't want to post themselves and the suggestions & support offered to you after your post will be invaluable to many other people on here.

Thank you for doing it! I hope you are feeling a bit better.

Michelle x

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi to all you wonderful people,

Depression is the hidden consequence of a Stoke/SAH and something that ,I think, we all have in common. I find that people misunderstand what depression is. It's not feeling sad or a bit down, or a bit under the weather or any of the countless other temporary negative feelings that apply to "well" people. It is an all- encompassing shroud that surrounds every aspect of your life and isolates you from the people who love you.

I remember waking up day after day feeling disappointed that I hadn't passed away in my sleep. I hid my feelings from my family for months and eventually came to the point where I refused to get out of bed. I did't see the point in anything. My wife tried to protect me and made excuses for me (at my request) but it only came to head when one of my oldest friends insisted on seeing me and when he did , he was shocked at what he found. Amongst the things he said to me was; "your being selfish" (his fiancée died in 1990 of a SAH) " you refuse help, your too much of a coward to kill yourself. Now get dressed and get yourself down to the pub and come and be miserable with the rest of us" He then added the one phrase that lit my fuse, "cheer up". I just burst into hysterical laughter and laughed and laughed until I started sobbing uncontrollably. It went on for a few minutes until I realized that for the fist time in months, I actually felt alive.

The point of all this is that the depression, in my case at least, had cut me off from my feelings both good and bad, it was all just a long, grey, pointless tunnel.

The huge outpouring of emotion seemed to release me in some way to feel again. Since that incident I have never suppressed the need to cry (or laugh) and though it is embarrassing sometimes, the people who care about me understand and don't make a big deal about it. I still have the negative feelings but seem to live along side them now without letting them rule my life. It took years to reach that point but I feel I hit the bottom and bounced up a little. Let people love you and tell them how you feel. You may never be the chirpy person you were before your event but you can re-invent yourself into a more sympathetic, empathetic, philosophical person.

I hope this is of some use to someone.

Good luck to you all.

Billx

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Hi Carolyn

I'm nearly five years down the line now and always felt that emotionally if not physically I had managed to deal with what happened to me.

I was referred by work for Counselling earlier this year because of the stress caused by my daughters Bi-Polar Disorder, she had a major incident in January this year which was her second one in less than 12 months.

Having to deal with the fall-out caused me some major issues, lack of sleep, visiting and having to sort out her total disregard of important legal and financial issues concerning her and her son.

The counselling sessions were a real eye opener and perhaps one of the biggest things to come out of it was the fact that after listening to me open up about my life and the impact Claire's illness was having on me she told me that I was still in "shock" from my SAH.

I had six sessions in total spread over about 8 weeks and I found it very useful. I think in spite of trying to think positively about the limitation in my new lifestyle I do suffer from mild bouts of depression and obviously with Claire's illness to factor in I know that in future I may need more counselling in order to cope.

I sincerely hope that you get accepted for help with your medical costs as worrying about affording the medication you need is an additional worry you could do without.

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You have all beaten SAH, We are alive to talk about our ups and downs...That's a positive

thing and another is "We Are Here."....Shouting it

I haven't been depressed yet......!!! ....I feel so lucky to be alive and what makes me feel happier is to know my family loves me ...I get on their nerves but if anyone shouts or moans at me I just blubber...and I say a few choice words !!!!.

I think it has been more traumatic for my family than me...My sister said to my hubby how ill he was looking when I was out of it...tears welled up in his eyes..that got me blubbering and my sister started also ..lol

Keep Smiling all of You and try to keep your chins up and I'll keep my 3 chins up lol...Now Winter cheer up and listen to Sandi x

Regards

WinB xx

Edited by Winb143
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  • 3 weeks later...

It's late now and I'm here, wondering if I should post at all.

Lately, lots of things have been really good in my life. Work is good , family are doing well, I have every reason to be happy.

Yet,I just feel like I'm at beginning of the long, dark tunnel again.

I don't know why.

It seems to come from nowhere, there is no reason for it.

Normally I would have just kept these feelings to myself, but since June, when I joined this site, I have somewhere to register these feelings.

No-one in my family knows what I am feeling, they don't need to know.

It claws at me from the inside, robbing me of my future.

My eyelids are heavy and double vision robs me of balance.

I know it's just a temporary trough, at a least I hope it is, and have know way of knowing if this anything to do with my SAH, or if it's some other underlying problem.

It just seems to overwhelm me sometimes.

Thanks.

Bil

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It's awful isn't it!

That's how I feel when the fatigue rolls in. Like it's a sorry reminder that I'm not all better and how dare I even consider that I might get better!

Geesh, it is a long tunnel Bill. Everything feels heavy, all tasks seem so large and impossible, vision doesn't work right, can't find your words.

I always forget its temporary and I'm always surprised and so very joyful and grateful when it goes away again!

I sat around a fire outside tonight with old friends. I almost forgot I had a brain bleed. The only difference was I wasn't drinking alcohol and I would have had a few before. It was nice to laugh over old stories and forget all about my head! It started to tighten up by the end of the night but that's ok. :-D

Bill, I hope you rest well and the temporary wave rolls back out soon.

Sandi K.

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I had/have depression off and on for half my life, and yes sometimes find that medications are necessary, but sometimes when life is going better I don't need them. Bill, I found that the first few months after my SAH that I was more depressed than normal and did some research about brain bleeds and the location of mine I think was in the emotion part of the brain. It said that heightened emotions should be expected, and I believe that also added to the making mountains out of molehill thinking. I found it very depressing not being able to do anything for the first few months without aggravating the bleed and then the ensuing painful headache for the next day or so. And not being able to exercise didn't help either, because then you start getting out of shape on top of it all. Luckily for me, the brain bleed resolved itself and life is better since then, even with almost no headaches. Sometimes we just need to remember to be kinder to ourselves and have patience :)

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