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When taking care of myself as caregiver backfires ...
Just a tidbit for you. I've been through depression on many different levels. I have also dealt with cancer and at one time could barely get myself out of the house. I learned that there are meds you can use off label that can take you out of that downer pretty quick. I'm am not advocating for recreational use or anything, but I have a NP that gives me a script of 5mg of Adderall XR that is used as needed. I have made a script of 30 last two years in the past.
I am not sure if you are on an anti-depressant now, but if you have a doctor who would be willing it may help. I learned about it during my cancer treatment and even during all this mom stuff, when things were really really rough, I used it for a couple of days and then felt balanced again. YMMV.
Taking care of yourself hasn't backfired. You have relaxed enough to recognize a problem of which you were unaware. Now you can deal with it.
Depression is a potentially fatal illness that can be treated. As a fellow sufferer, I urge you to see a doctor for an antidepressant and a referral to a clinical psychologist. It worked out well for me.
I started on that route during my first meeting with a new (to me) physician soon after my son died. I was telling her I wasn't "all that depressed" and became aware that a tear was running down my cheek and she was looking at it. Treatment started that day, and I am better for it and more help to my living family.
I too struggle with depression. Self-care is so important...a walk at the beach, a coffee with a friend, a massage...whatever it is that makes you feel better. It can be hard to find the time, but even more so, it can be hard to find the emotional and physical energy, even though you realize objectively that it will make you feel better. And if you have a down day where you can't get out of bed (and it is the rare occasion that you don't have to get out of bed), you ultimately feel worse. It is a vicious cycle.
Medication may help...a low dose of an SSRI might get you over the hump. St. John's Wort was popular a few years ago as a "natural" alternative to prescription medications. Exercise releases endorphins, which make one feel better, but it is hard to summon up the energy when one is depressed.
Hang in there. This is hard.
Oh, how I understand! I hope this trip does bring some healing for you.
Iamnumberfour, I know your response was meant for paperrockscissors, but I want you to know how much it helped me, too. Your words about the body realizing it has down time and can afford to be sick, and the emotional burdens we are under hitting home when we there is a break in the action, hit home for me. I have noticed for quite a while that weekends are the worst, for me. While most people look forward to Saturdays, I dread them. Sunday is not a day of rest. It is a day of catching up on what I didn't get done all week and preparing for the week ahead. While my mom has been the person most in need of my assistance, my MIL has been displaying more and more visible signs of decline. My husband's short term memory seems to be going from bad to worse; it seems that all his physical, mental, and cognitive skills are spent on sustaining his work life, and he was recently diagnosed with degenerative disc disease.
There are days when I could very cheerfully crawl in a hole and hide for a few days. Just a few; I don't want to be isolated, but some alone time would be wonderful! This morning I looked at my hands and noticed what bad shape my nails are in. Just being able to sit and give myself a manicure (or get a professional one) would be heavenly!
I will say that I have been exercising a few mornings a week and I am taking a couple of online classes. While these things are time-consuming, and are part of the reason I have little time, they have also helped me maintain my sanity.
God bless us all on this rocky road we are traveling! --Deb