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MollieMcdoodlesMom

Depressed Husband and Daughter - Gathering Insight

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Hello 

I’m new to the forum so please allow me to introduce myself. My husband deals with seasonal depression but also depression due to his having a muscle disease which limits his mobility. We have a soon to be 20 yr old daughter who deals with depression and anxiety. I have joined this forum to offer encouragement but also to gain insight so I will know best how to work with my family. 

Best Wishes and Much Respect 

Frances 

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Welcome! I am a seasonal depression suffer and the mother of three (19 yo boy, 17 yo boy and 10 yo girl). Both of my sons have been diagnosed with depression. There is so many mental health issues in my extended family that I will not detail it here. If I can offer you any insight - please feel free to PM me ;-)

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Welcome to the DF. We are glad you reached out here.  It is a great place to receive support and give support to each other dealing with depression or family members struggling with depression.  I personally have struggled with depression and anxiety for over 20 years.  My husband also has struggled with depression.  Both my girls have dealt with depression for a short period. What has helped all of us is seeking professional help by getting the right counseling and taking the right medication to help with the chemical imbalance. It takes a while to find the one that works best for each person.  Recognizing that depression is a disease was an important step and seeking help is the next. Then learning what the triggers are and being aware of them. We also believe faith helps heal. I pray daily and journal my thoughts and concerns. Knowing that I am not alone helps me feel better.  I will be praying for you and your family.  God loves each of us and does not want us to suffer. My daughters are both young adults now and are doing well from the depression. Being aware of how we see a situation and changing our perspective is helpful to feeling better.  I have some great resources to encourage those dealing with depression.  pm me if you would like me to share them with you.  Hugs and Blessings.

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Welcome to DF, Frances!  :hugs:   I hope the stories and experiences here can give you some insight into how to help your husband and yourself.  Taking care of yourself is part of taking care of your loved ones, even if it may not seem like it. 

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If you would like some helpful articles please pm me.  I found some that can help you understand more about depression and how to help a loved one that is struggling. I will continue to be praying for you and your family.

Edited by caring2018
forgot something

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Welcome Frances! So nice that you want to understand and support your family. I find that healthy distractions help me yet if there are too many of them I'm overwhelmed. I need to pace myself and do one thing at a time with breaks, lower my expectation, and not compare myself to others. I also have a good therapist and psychiatrist that help a lot. I think one can learn a lot by reading other's sharing's here and maybe your family members can join us and not feel so alone.

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Thank You all for the warm welcome and understanding of why I want to be present on this forum. My daughter has not openly talked to us about her depression and anxiety until recently. I just knew something was going on with her emotionally - I suspected depression and anxiety. It mostly came out when her friend, who also suffers from these illnesses, forced to her to talk with me. She still did not reveal much so I have to be very observant and take mental notes. 

Currently both my husband and daughter are on a low dose of Sertraline. We have a more open relationship as mother and daughter for which I’m very thankful. I remind her that if she’s having a difficult time to let me know so that I won’t attribute it to being disrespectful or stubborn. I really want to help her because frankly, I’m frightened if I am not aware of how she feels. I’m beginning to trust her again but new changes in her life always gives me a cause for fear. 

@JessiesMom - my husband also has seasonal depression on top of his depression from being immobile for the most part. Can you offer me any suggestion on what has helped you? What helps your sons? I appreciate your feedback! 

@caring2018 - Our Daughter did seek professional help for several months when she first told us about her anxiety. She still has not opened up much about it except the therapist thought she was able to work things out and didn’t really need visits as frequently as before. I think part of it was that she tried to “ be available” for her friends who also suffer from depression. She had too much emotional weight to carry - hers and theirs. When she stopped the excessive worrying about them, her sessions were reduced. Like you, we are Bible Students and feel that having a measure of peace comes from the wise counsel and advice found therein. I’m not saying that it removes all her problems or makes them instantly go away, but it has a soothing affect on her heart and mind. Thank you for the prayers on our behalf. It is greatly appreciated . 

@20YearsandCounting - Thank you for the warm welcome. You are correct! Already I’m finding helpful suggestions from the stories and experiences of others here on the forum. For sure, I must also care for myself as I’m my husband’s primary caregiver. Sometimes I have to remove myself from a negative episode and retreat to the quietness of our bedroom to refocus and recharge. This is not the way life is suppose to be but we’ll try our best to work thru it. You are so kind - thank you for thinking of me and reminding me that I count too. 

@BeyondWeary - what you described is almost like watching my daughter. She likes trying new things and is very creative but it makes her manic sometimes. She has to keep busy with something and I am grateful that she does want to stay occupied with something. She is currently trying to learn another language - she learned some Punjabi, ASL, French, and now Russian. She also is able to work some for a friend and volunteers her time teaching others the Bible.  But often, it seems like she can’t relax and must always be on the go. Perhaps it’s the Sertraline or just a phase. I honestly don’t know. Thank you for the insight - it will come in handy. 

Thank you all again for reaching out to me and offering me a heart felt welcome. I will come back again and probably PM on occasion. I need to be alert to changes in both of them. Please be assured that I value what you have to share with me. 

Best Regards,

Frances 

 

 

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It really depends on what the cause of the seasonal depression is. Was there some kind of traumatic event in the winter that leads to it being a difficult time? For example, my husband's brother died on New Year's Eve a few years back - so the time leading up to New Year's is always difficult for him. Christmas can be a difficult time for people for various reasons - and getting to the bottom of those reasons is important. 

My seasonal depression is caused mostly by the shortening of the days in the winter here in Minnesota. This is actually more typical. A good thing to try is some kind of full spectrum light. I have something called a Happy Lamp (no, I am not kidding) on my desk. It is recommended to use it for no more than an hour every day and I can testify that it really works. One time I turned it on and forgot to turn it off for several hours. I could feel myself speeding up and getting more antsy. Start with lower intensity and shorter periods  - but it is well worth a try. 

My sons are very different - so I will address what has helped them individually. Your daughter actually sounds a lot like my younger son. He is very introspective and caring - to the point where he has taken on a quasi-parental role with his 10 year old sister. 

On 11/30/2018 at 6:37 PM, MollieMcdoodlesMom said:

.She still has not opened up much about it except the therapist thought she was able to work things out and didn’t really need visits as frequently as before. I think part of it was that she tried to “ be available” for her friends who also suffer from depression. She had too much emotional weight to carry - hers and theirs. When she stopped the excessive worrying about them, her sessions were reduced. 

 

This sounds quite like his experience with therapy. He has seen three different therapists - but they never really connected. What finally helped was me saying to his doctor, "I think that he might be depressed. Can we try an anti-depressant?" He went on a low dose of prozac and it seems to have made a difference to him. He indicated that he noticed a lessing in his anxiety about doing new things. Sometimes the symptoms of the disorder make therapy difficult - if trust is a big issue, opening up can be hard. I have recently started to try to connect with him on the things that he likes, and it gives him an opportunity to connect and me an opportunity to understand him better. Much as I do not really care for old school heavy metal (Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, etc.) - letting him play songs that he likes for me  and talk about the bands that he likes has given me a chance to see the thoughtful sensitive young man inside my sometimes surly boy. 
 

My older son is a different case. He has always struggled with perfectionism and self-expectations (he expects a lot from himself). I remember even back in elementary school telling him, "sometimes good enough is good enough" - meaning that turning in a less than perfect assignment is better than trying to make it perfect and never getting it turned in. He was a high achiever in high school and was highly involved in robotics and even TS'd a freshman science class. A few of his coaches gave him a "World's Ok-est Boss" coffee mug - because they said that he kept them on track and moving towards the goals. The difficulties started at the end of his senior year. He was struggling to keep his grades up, run the robotics team and finish his Eagle Scout project before the end of May - and he started to have some problems sleeping and he had bouts of anger. The summer was pretty low key - but Freshman year in college he discovered that he was having a hard time coping with everything.

Because he is who he is - he made an appointment with his doctor and got a perscription for prozac and sought out both the on campus counceler and an off campus therapist. Finding a good fit was difficult - because he is a unique mind. You either get him or you don't. There is no in between We started having lunch once a week to connect and that seemed to help too. 

Both of the boys have dealt with some trauma involved with their relationship with their Grandmother, my brother-in-law's death, my brother's drug use and in my younger son's case the death of my Grandfather - who he connected quite closely with. 

Anyway - I would say that your daughter's therapist was not really connecting with her as much as she thought that she was. She might consider trying another one out to see if it is a better fit. Also - there is always the option to try bumping the med dosage, but this is something you would want to discuss with your doctor.

Whew - talk about a wall of text.

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@JessiesMom

You hit the nail on the head on several points.

For my husband, I believe it’s the shorter days too. We live in Central Illinois and because he has a disability, he doesn’t always get out on dark, cold, or wet days. He relies on his wheelchair and prefers to stay indoors during bad weather. I can’t blame him. He does manage to get to our garage thru a breezeway and he can work in short spurts before coming back inside for warmth. He is accustomed to being more active from Spring- Fall. And logically,  his disability causes frustration which no doubt contributes to his depression.

Thank you for the info about the lamp! I’ve wondered how effective they really are. I try to encourage him to get as much sunlight as possible, but he doesn’t always appreciate how important it is along with providing Vitamin D. I will definitely look into it . 

On the therapist for my daughter...because she doesn’t have to allow us access to her medical history, I don’t exactly know how well the therapist connected to her. I do know that our family doctor is very much aware that we want to make sure she’s getting adequate mental health care. The therapist invited her back anytime she felt overwhelmed. Maybe part of this is because she finally accepted that she can’t do more for her friends then their doctors. She has been on a low dose of Sertraline for several months now. I have to admit it was hard for me to accept that she really needed medication. I thought because she had so much contact with these friends that she maybe thought it was easier than trying to understand her emotions. We live in a culture of “ here’s a pill for everything under the sun” . I also didn’t want any doctor to use her as means to profit off prescriptions. But she openly tells people that it helps her and I have to trust her judgement on this because typically she hates going to the doctor for anything. 

Thank you for sharing your experiences about your sons. The things you mentioned are the same things we do. I feel that was when we turned the corner on our relationship. Some kids despise their parents when it comes to personal or sensitive subjects. After Mollie began her prescription, she was less angry with me and opened up more. Like your younger son, we listen to similar music. It does test my patience sometimes but she is willing to share that bit of herself with me and I’ll gladly take it. 

The same with your older son. Because much of our attention is on my husband or our work, we take time for a “girls day” every once in while. We meander to a destination and have a meal or just window shop. There is no arguing and it’s relaxing for both of us. We laugh more and she converses with me instead of just tolerating my presence. 

I’m sorry your sons have had various traumatic events in their lives. Losing a loved one is very hard on adults, let alone young persons. My mom lived with us for 6 months before passing away. I know this made Mollie upset as it meant a change in our rountine and living arrangements. She felt guilty that she wasn’t as close to my mom than I was, but I never blamed her for feeling that way. 

Again, thank you for your words of wisdom regarding the therapist and for giving me some feedback. Never worry about a wall of text. I like reading the posts more than once. And look, mine is probably just as long 😝 🤗☺️

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I had the same feeling about taking medication, but I finally realized that thete is little difference between my husband's blood pressure medication and my anti-depressant. Depression is a disease and if medical technology can help me live a better life - I should avail myself of it. 

 

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9 minutes ago, JessiesMom said:

I had the same feeling about taking medication, but I finally realized that thete is little difference between my husband's blood pressure medication and my anti-depressant. Depression is a disease and if medical technology can help me live a better life - I should avail myself of it. 

 

Friend, you are exactly right and no matter what people might say you

have todo what is best for you 

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1 minute ago, MollieMcdoodlesMom said:

I agree, medicine certainly does wonders for persons and I wouldn’t want to prevent persons with a real need to have access to them. I just am cautious because of what we have personally experienced. 

I hope I didn’t sound as if it was out of the question. 

 

No, my friend I totally understand and medication should be a alternative when

other things do not work to make the depression and anxiety to go away

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Dear @JessiesMom 

Hello! 

I wanted to tell you that I’ve found a therapy light that I think will work well for our family. It also has negative ion therapy which I’m excited about about as  my husband hates having fresh air. I open the windows every chance I get but he’s more concerned about heat loss. I showed it to my daughter and we will get one for our anniversary next month. She is apparently interested in trying it too. Thanks for the info, it’s much appreciated! 

Hope all is well with you and your loved ones.

Frances 

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