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I need some advice from sufferers


Concerned16

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I see that depression seems to run a pattern where you can have some days that you feel you can handle a few things but then there could be weeks at a time where you cannot leave your room and communicate with the world. I have a son who is going through this. He left school 2 years ago and I don't know if he will be able to finish up. He has been on some medication and has gone for some therapy. Some days he can communicate with us, friends, the world. But there are so many more days that he cannot. On the bad days he cannot get out for his therapy, he cannot even get out of bed and this can last for weeks.  I am trying to figure out how someone with depression can hold a job if they can show up at times and not at others or is it best to apply for ssi? He is in his 20's and I don't know what else to do for him to change anything. I know he cannot help what is going on and I don't want to put any stress on him to make it worse.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I think after much research I am starting to understand the patterns of depression. I wish I could take it away from everyone. 

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NeatFreakmom...Thank you for the reply...He is on Venlafaxine 75mg and Alprazolam at this time. He has been on many others. He has been going to a Bio Behavioral place but at this time cannot get out to go there. He does not like being on medicine. Do you suffer with depression too?    

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I do.  I have suffered with it on and off for many years.  It is managed through medication, therapy and my strong will.  If it makes you feel better, while I have suffered from depression/anxiety/panic for many years, I have always come out on top.  It hasn't been easy.  I was married twice, and have 2 kids.  I started back at college 2 years ago to get my undergrad.  I have worked, and cared for my children well...they are always first priority.  I have to be well for them.

I guess what I am tryiing to say is that I have made serious mistakes (2 marriages), but have managed to financially, emotionally, and in every other way support myself and my children, in spite of my mental illness.  Your son may have a bumpy road ahead, but know that it won't always be bumpy.

Have I made sense? I know what I am trying to say, but I'm having trouble putting it into words. 

I am here if you'd like to private message me, if you have any other quesions I can help with.  I am saying a prayer right now for you and your family. ((hugs))

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Besides therapy and medication, has he been engaging in his hobbies and passions? Perhaps that could be a key healing method for him. It's possible that once he finds what he's interested in, his love of that particular something will overpower his feelings of hopelessness, and spur him on to take that positive path instead. 

To be frank, it's easy to slip into this pattern of depression, but difficult to escape. Give it time, but aim to fill his bleak moments with joy and laughter as much as you can (but don't overstrain yourself! your own health is as important). Be with him when he wishes it, and encourage him to focus on the kind of life he can create for himself. More importantly, remind him of the power lying inside of him. If he wants to be less reliant on medication, he can work towards it by adopting other more natural methods, like taking strolls in parks, listening to favourite music, sipping a cup of his favourite drink in a cozy cafe, whatever it is that he most desires. Finally finding oneself is the product of many many baby steps, and though it may be exhausting and scary, it is doubtless rewarding for the individual.

Wishing you and your family all the best! <3

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NeatFreakMom...you have made me smile by your beautiful post. You are such an inspiration. My son also suffers with depression/anxiety/panic. That is what makes it especially hard to leave the house. You have made perfect sense. It sounds like in spite of everything you have managed to make a life that works. I hope he can do that too. I may have to pick your brain and private message you at some point. Thank you. 

swhm.. thank you for the response too. My son is a musician and plays many instruments... mostly the guitar. On his good days I do hear him playing...but on his down days it is quiet. He does not really allow us to be with him or help him but does come to us when he needs us. He has been doing some bio behavorial therapy. He does not discuss it but he goes when he can get out.  He is going through a down time now so he is in his room, the door is shut and the room is dark. Depression just breaks my heart....

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Quote

I see that depression seems to run a pattern where you can have some days that you feel you can handle a few things but then there could be weeks at a time where you cannot leave your room and communicate with the world.

It's all about perceptions. I had to by a new 'office' chair this week to use for my computer desk, since my current one broke. Nothing like cracking the metal base to make a person feel 'heavy'.  (sigh)  Anyway, I go to Wal-Mart and see one that I figured I would buy.  The box was 4'x3'x2' and weighed 55 pounds (about 25kgs).  Since I had only gone to 'look' I didn't bring a cart.  I was tired, and really didn't walk all the way to the front of the store, and then all the way back, only to have to walk all the way back to the cashier at the front.

I just sighed, pulled the box off the shelf, tossed it on my shoulder, and walked to the cashier.  This is a box with "use 2 people to lift" warnings plastered all over it.  Now I'm not mentioning this to boast or anything of the like, it's just that I was really tired and didn't feel I had the energy to walk back and forth to get a cart, yet somehow I can toss this on my shoulder and walk out?  So I had the strength to do that, but I didn't have the energy to get a cart? Doesn't make much sense.

This is why so many (unaffected) people have trouble understanding depression.  They see a person with a seemingly 'perfectly functioning' body, and they don't understand how the person can't get it to do things.  But without the brain, the body is nothing.  Sever the connection to the brain, and a person is paralyzed. 

All too often what happens is that perceptions in a depressed person's mind will make that person think that things aren't what they seem.  Need your son to mow the lawn?  While it may not seem like much work, his brain makes him think that you're asking him to run a marathon.  It blows it all out of proportion. 

I've been dealing with depression for over three decades. Done it all, including shock treatment. It sounds like he's in a deep rut, and I'm not sure what you can do for him other than work on getting him to his appointments. 

But what you can, and should, do is see if you can find any support groups in your area, for *you*.  While you made a good first step by coming here, it would be good if you could find a support group locally.  There are many groups for families/spouses of those who are depressed, and it can be helpful to meet other people who are going through the same thing.  Call up one of the therapy places that he goes to and ask if they know of any.  If not, try google and see if you can come up with something. 

If that doesn't work, if you like, send me a private message and I'll see what I can find.  I have a long list of resources.

Edited by Jehoikim
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Jehoikim..Thank you for the reply. I am sorry that you have been suffering for such a long time with depression. I certainly do understand what you are saying. What may seem like a simple task to me is so hard for him. Before I was educated on depression I couldn't understand it...I couldn't understand why he could not just "snap out of it". I did go to a support group through the NAMI organization. It was helpful. Have you been able to hold a job throughout the years? How does a person who has a few good days here and there but mostly days that they cannot leave the house hold a job?

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I think it's important to meet people wih mental illness or other crisis where they are at.  He may not be able to have a full time job right now so maybe having financial supports in place could help him get to the space where one day his illness is treated enough to work. Focusing on a treatment plan right now instead of work might be a good idea. I know for me something that really helped in the situations where I simply couldn't leave my home or bed to even get to a therapist or doctor appointment was to read a lot of self help mental health books.  You are not your brain by Jeffrey shwartz really helped me a lot.  Having those books helped give me hope that my illness was treatable and I didn't have to leave my home to recapture that hope.   There's also a lot of CBT worksheets available to free download online that I find helpful for anxiety. 

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Wrenn84...thank you for the reply. I think the book is a good idea. I know he listens to things on audio tape. I don't think he has the frame of mind to try and read the book. He has not let anyone know what he is going through besides his family and his therapist so he is not really willing to open up at this point about his mental illness. I am hoping with more therapy he will. 

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What could help, as it helped me.

Try to encourage him to tell other people that he is in depression, even if only anonymously on sites.

Do small chores, maybe together - like cleaning the computer monitor - I am serious

Find somebody-ies who went through depression and got well. Talk to them and if possible try your son to talk to them - forums are full of them. Just be internet careful.

Food - there are some reccomended food groups - please check them

Same for medical supplements - but always check them beforehand at reputable medical review sites, they exist.

Take VERY good care of yourself - you must have energy for two people and if you are not careful you can crumble. Go to medical check regularly, excercise at least a bit, if you start having mental tiredness, go to specialist. This is probably the most important part of my advice.

Good fighting and have at least small victories

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