Depression is ruining my life.

You have your therapist, and your partner, so you are not alone. That should be a mantra for you, although just knowing that won't fix anything, I get that. Are you taking anything that could help with this process?

Nothing as of yet. Just working hard on mindfulness, being in the moment, exercise and sleep. All the go to things. They do help though.

I saw real benefit from a conversation with a psychiatrist. Anxiety from OCD and ADHD. Treated the OCD, the ADHD is a work advantage. But it still took my anxiety down to manageable levels.

Anyway, I hope you can work through things soon.

Arise, thread of depression and sadness. I've never posted to this thread, but I think the time has come. I have been through quite a lot in life, but for whatever reason haven't really experienced extended symptoms of depression until the last year or so. I think it's partly due to getting older (mid-life crisis anyone?) and a confluence of things like my father-in-law moving close to us for the extra help and getting up to a position in my job where I'm really just hating it. I started going to therapy in April, and have luckily found a good psychologist. I'll spoiler the rest of this because it's a lot.

Spoiler:

Right now it's my father-in-law. A couple weeks ago he had to be brought to the ER because he was found by my wife mostly naked and looking around in the middle distance, otherwise completely unresponsive. Since that day, he was admitted to the hospital and spent a couple days recovering apparently from alcohol withdrawal (we had no idea he was drinking that much) and possibly from a UTI, and they said he was dehydrated and malnourished. We had been stopping to check on him multiple times a week and had him over for dinner at least once a week, but he was so good at masking all these problems that we had no idea. Once he was recovered from those things in the hospital, he has done nothing but fight, argue, and yell to get out, sometimes literally trying to get up from the hospital bed. The doctors wanted to run every test under the sun, which took days (July 4th also messed things up), and following a week in the hospital he was brought to an assisted nursing place, where he is right now.

My wife has been experiencing essentially a constant total panic attack since she brought him to the ER two weeks ago. It's just debilitating anxiety, ALL the time. That really started two years ago when he moved to be close to us for our help, but now it's been turned up to 11. Yesterday he called her from the assisted nursing place to scream at her to get him out of there for about a half hour. She was driving at the time and when she got home she was inconsolable. On the floor and just wailing. Everything happening with her father is falling on her, and me, wherever I can help. Her mother is a few hundred miles away and won't do anything, and her brother is on the other side of the country. Her father is clearly experiencing some cognitive decline, but we don't know how bad it is, and the doctors are going INCREDIBLY slowly making their evaluations. I got a call this morning from the nursing place, and they told me he's trying to leave the building and they don't have security guards or locks or anything. They wanted me to have my wife call and talk to him to bring him down, but she can't at this point, she will have an even worse mental break. She told me she just can't talk to him anymore, for a while. All he will do is yell at her more, and there's nothing she can do to get him out of there anyway until the doctors make their evaluation. They said today, but hey, they said that yesterday too, and they also said it last Friday.

I don't know what to do to help my wife and it's killing me. She has started seeing a therapist, but it's only been four or five sessions so far. She luckily happened to have one yesterday after that call with her dad, which did bring her back down to the "regular" level of extreme anxiety she has anyway. She talks about wanting to be dead, a lot. I don't believe she will do anything drastic, but the dread I'm feeling is getting worse by the day. I'm just depressed and angry all the time. I have headaches every day now, and I only rarely have had them in the past. We've been looking at assisted living places, and we have an application and a deposit down at one, but they won't have an opening they say for at least a couple weeks. And, he will fight and try to stop it every step of the way, because to him, he's totally fine and needs no help, and he can live on his own perfectly well. I hate this, this living nightmare. I have a therapy appointment myself later this afternoon, the first one since all this started. I hope he can help me.

Any chance you can transfer him to a locked facility? He's an addict in cognitive decline. He needs special carers.

We could do that because my wife has the health care proxy set up, but it will require a doctor's recommendation and signature. We've toured three different memory care facilities, all of which look good, and two even have immediate availability. So there would be a place like that for him to go. It will all depend on the doctor's plan of action, which hopefully we get by the end of the day today. The doc might end up saying he just needs assisted living, in which case that's what we'd do. I would say it's unlikely they think he can keep living on his own.

My parents lived in an assisted living facility when they were high function. My father moved to a locked facility when his faculties became unreliable and his emotional and physical outbursts became a danger to others. His decline was permanent, due to dementia and psychosis and other long-standing issues; he became no longer able to even care for himself in basic ways like eating or hygiene. Your doctor will have to sort out what your father is experiencing and what is due to alcoholism and what to age or disease-related issues.

But in my personal experience, a lockdown facility would be helpful for the symptoms you describe (I am not a doctor). However frequent visits from family may be calming for him over time. That's something to take into account in your planning, and they will be difficult emotionally.

I wish you the best of luck in figuring this out and dealing with it. It's hard and stressful but it's a part of life that many of us experience, and it really breaks through family relationships in a surprising and often devastating way. I'm glad you have folks to talk to, who can help you with this new phase of his life and the changes your family is going through.

d4m0 wrote:

Arise, thread of depression and sadness. I've never posted to this thread, but I think the time has come. I have been through quite a lot in life, but for whatever reason haven't really experienced extended symptoms of depression until the last year or so. I think it's partly due to getting older (mid-life crisis anyone?) and a confluence of things like my father-in-law moving close to us for the extra help and getting up to a position in my job where I'm really just hating it. I started going to therapy in April, and have luckily found a good psychologist. I'll spoiler the rest of this because it's a lot.

Spoiler:

Right now it's my father-in-law. A couple weeks ago he had to be brought to the ER because he was found by my wife mostly naked and looking around in the middle distance, otherwise completely unresponsive. Since that day, he was admitted to the hospital and spent a couple days recovering apparently from alcohol withdrawal (we had no idea he was drinking that much) and possibly from a UTI, and they said he was dehydrated and malnourished. We had been stopping to check on him multiple times a week and had him over for dinner at least once a week, but he was so good at masking all these problems that we had no idea. Once he was recovered from those things in the hospital, he has done nothing but fight, argue, and yell to get out, sometimes literally trying to get up from the hospital bed. The doctors wanted to run every test under the sun, which took days (July 4th also messed things up), and following a week in the hospital he was brought to an assisted nursing place, where he is right now.

My wife has been experiencing essentially a constant total panic attack since she brought him to the ER two weeks ago. It's just debilitating anxiety, ALL the time. That really started two years ago when he moved to be close to us for our help, but now it's been turned up to 11. Yesterday he called her from the assisted nursing place to scream at her to get him out of there for about a half hour. She was driving at the time and when she got home she was inconsolable. On the floor and just wailing. Everything happening with her father is falling on her, and me, wherever I can help. Her mother is a few hundred miles away and won't do anything, and her brother is on the other side of the country. Her father is clearly experiencing some cognitive decline, but we don't know how bad it is, and the doctors are going INCREDIBLY slowly making their evaluations. I got a call this morning from the nursing place, and they told me he's trying to leave the building and they don't have security guards or locks or anything. They wanted me to have my wife call and talk to him to bring him down, but she can't at this point, she will have an even worse mental break. She told me she just can't talk to him anymore, for a while. All he will do is yell at her more, and there's nothing she can do to get him out of there anyway until the doctors make their evaluation. They said today, but hey, they said that yesterday too, and they also said it last Friday.

I don't know what to do to help my wife and it's killing me. She has started seeing a therapist, but it's only been four or five sessions so far. She luckily happened to have one yesterday after that call with her dad, which did bring her back down to the "regular" level of extreme anxiety she has anyway. She talks about wanting to be dead, a lot. I don't believe she will do anything drastic, but the dread I'm feeling is getting worse by the day. I'm just depressed and angry all the time. I have headaches every day now, and I only rarely have had them in the past. We've been looking at assisted living places, and we have an application and a deposit down at one, but they won't have an opening they say for at least a couple weeks. And, he will fight and try to stop it every step of the way, because to him, he's totally fine and needs no help, and he can live on his own perfectly well. I hate this, this living nightmare. I have a therapy appointment myself later this afternoon, the first one since all this started. I hope he can help me.

So sorry to hear you and your wife are going through all of this, and I hope you find a workable solution soon. You seem to be taking on the emotional brunt for both you and your wife. May I ask if your relationship with your father-in-law had always been good and so this is a drastic and shattering 180-turn, or had he always been quasi-abusive in some way but kept it under wraps? Are you seeing a completely different person, or the same one without any social filter?

As Robear said so eloquently above, this is such a tough time where declining parents are concerned. We middle-aged crew are just trying to keep our heads above water and then this is added to the mix.

So sorry you and your wife are going through this d4m0. It's awful. I just placed my mother in a locked facility (Alzheimer's) after we've taken care of her for over 7 years, but the toll on our health - emotionally, and consequently physically - has been terrible and will take time to heal.

Right now, you no doubt feel like you're under siege, but it will let up somewhat once you get him permanently placed and the care he needs - focus on getting that done and the rest will get better. Both you and your wife need to try to remember to be compassionate to yourselves. Mistakes will be made, but you are in an extraordinarily stressful situation that in an ideal world, nobody would have to go through.

It all sounds very generic what I'm writing, but I'm not sure if there is any specific advice I can give.

Also, it sounds cold, but your wife doesn't have to listen to him screaming at her if that's all he's doing. He's not in his right mind, and while it is an expression of frustration or fear on his part, it's not something she can really help with beyond getting him professional care - which has already been done. If he's just screaming at her, she doesn't need to stay on the phone. It sounds awful, but she needs to focus on self care.
To be honest, I'm not sure I could hang up either in the same situation, but it's important to at least try to protect yourselves from things beyond your control (the withdrawal/decline), so that you have the strength to act with compassion in situations where you can improve things.

Also, while I never managed it (probably to my detriment), but you could try to find support groups of others who are going through similar situations - it helped a family member of mine who went through more or less the same situation that I went through.

I hope something I wrote can be helpful for you. Feel free to send a pm if you need to unload.

Oddly, if you hang up and try later, they may not even process that they were angry at you, and be content to hear from you, and have to listen to them. It happens.

Thanks for the comments all, and I'm glad I posted here finally. I needed to hear from other people. Natus, to answer your questions, this is definitely a turn. I've known the man for almost 10 years and this isn't like him, and my wife has said he's never really been like this. I liked him before, we have the same sort of scientifically-oriented minds. More spoiler'd in case others have gone through something like this and have a hard time reading some details:

Spoiler:

He called my wife again yesterday evening just to yell at her to get him out of the nursing place. He said she was a terrible daughter and that she didn't care about him at all, and she's hurting him by keeping him there. She kept trying to say she can't just take him out of there, that the doctors are working on it. I have said to my wife that she should just not answer, or hang up on him, but she doesn't feel like she can. It's her dad. I'm just about ready to call the nursing place and tell them to take his phone away. I'm not sure if they even would.

The recommendation from the doctors did come, and it was that he definitely can't live alone, and probably should be in a locked facility. Assisted living could be an option too if he shows some improvement after leaving the place he's in now. We still literally can't do anything about this because the doctors still have not invoked the health care proxy for my wife. Hopefully that'll be today. Even then, he'll have to move to another location on the same nursing campus to wait until an apartment opens up at the place we've applied for. Hopefully a couple weeks for that.

My wife is unable to do much of anything other than cry and have panic attacks. When it isn't those things, she's just simply extremely anxious and can't think about anything other than this. I'm really, really struggling. I don't know how to help my wife other than being there to listen to her and to bring her down over and over and over. I know it helps but it is so, so tiring and stressful. My therapist did help me yesterday, it was good to talk to him. This is hitting at a time I was already experiencing extended depression for the first time, and it's just making things so much worse. I'm glad at least I have a professional to help.

I think you're on the right path, d4mo. My advise is to remind your wife that his personality and self are being stripped away, and it's not really him on the phone, it's his fear and upset at what's happening to him. She does not have to listen to that on the phone; more importantly, her father will gain no comfort from her staying on the phone while he abuses her. It does neither of them any good.

Maybe that understanding will help.

Thanks Robear - I have mentioned that sort of thing to my wife. Unfortunately it makes her incredibly sad in a different way, which is the knowledge that one of the people that raised her, who she has known her entire life, is not the same person he used to be. Now he's an angry, mean old man. And it IS really sad. He ended up not calling her yesterday evening as he did the previous two days, so there was at least some respite. Who knows how today is going to go.

After making that post yesterday, I made it about another hour at work and then I had to go home and essentially do nothing. I felt like I was going to break down at any moment (and did, later in the day), I couldn't think or do anything. It was like waves coming over me, throughout the day. I kept thinking, so this is what depression feels like. It sure f*ckin sucks, y'all. Final Fantasy 16 got me through the rest of the morning, and in the afternoon I went for a bike ride in the woods, which is really when I was able to turn for the better again, for now at least. I stopped for a while and just watched the water flow by in a beautiful spot. Nature, for me, really helps sometimes.

That is the sad that she needs to work through and process. And yes, nature is something any therapist will recommend, even a walk in your local park can do it. You instinctively immersed yourself in it and that's a great thing to do every day.

This is just another phase of life, and I'm kind of pissed that we are not prepared for this from childhood, but instead most families shield younger people from the far side of aging, and that means we have to discover how to deal with it on our own (or with our friends), rather than have social mechanisms in place that expect it and offer help.

Robear speaks truth that we are unprepared. I think maybe it's because we are the first of the generations that have really had to tackle this issue of prolonged life.

My wife and I are mutually suffering from the effects of patriarchy when it comes to my mother in law. My wife has been staying over there days at a time and is dealing directly with my MILs anxiety and inability to handle even the simplest of money matters and I am the natural dumping ground for the emotional overflow. She already has deep trauma and anxiety from being raised by emotionally unavailable parents and her sexuality and identity being way off the reservation in terms of what they could handle
Now, a fair bit of projection has been aimed my way recently, and as much as I am committed to sticking it out it's really hurting and exhausting. It is a trigger for me, as when we were married in the early days my life was ruled by the days when she was either herself, or the person her parents programmed into her. Now that she is immersed back in that environment she is regressing in kind of a scary fashion.

My suggestion is to get her out of the environment regularly. Go out to dinner, spend time together, even just talk on the phone. It's so easy to fall back into ancient habits but that's absolutely not the way to go.

Yeah that is basically the approach I have to take. We just got off the phone after a freakout involving the fact that none of the online passwords she has actually work, and her mom being busy yelling at her about setting up auto payments on some condo account. Fortunately she forgot her meds and is on the way home tomorrow instead of her original plan of Thursday. Thank f*ck for small miracles I guess.

It's all the more complicated because we have had an open relationship of various flavors for a long time. I have a partner that is one of the kindest humans I know and the childish part of me just wants to bury myself in her warmth and forget about all this bullsh*t. But I am better than that and they both love me because they both know I'm better than that. But the urge to escape is powerful.

Tonight I am going to see a movie by myself. Self care on point.

imbiginjapan wrote:

It's all the more complicated because we have had an open relationship of various flavors for a long time. I have a partner that is one of the kindest humans I know and the childish part of me just wants to bury myself in her warmth and forget about all this bullsh*t. But I am better than that and they both love me because they both know I'm better than that. But the urge to escape is powerful.

Don't let that urge guilt you into not leaning on your other partner for support, tho.

I've been on both sides of that coin, both the leaner and the leaned-on, and having that other person who's not IN the maelstrom with you, but is still close enough to see the storm was invaluable.

For me, it was work that triggered a really dark phase. I was clocking 12-hour days and completely burned out. When I came home, I had zero energy or mood to interact with my girlfriend. We barely talked, and when we did, it was super shallow stuff. She felt abandoned, started to feel alone, and even thought about breaking up.

njajr wrote:

For me, it was work that triggered a really dark phase. I was clocking 12-hour days and completely burned out. When I came home, I had zero energy or mood to interact with my girlfriend. We barely talked, and when we did, it was super shallow stuff. She felt abandoned, started to feel alone, and even thought about breaking up.

I've been there, though single at the time. That's incredibly rough. I solved the situation by quitting before my health took any more damage - was one of the better decisions in my life.

Well, I finally have confirmation for what I've been feeling these last months. I went to my doc last week for my yearly physical, told him all the symptoms I've been having, and I've been diagnosed with depression. At least now I know why I've felt so sh*tty since last winter. I really didn't know you can just "get" depression, in my case essentially just from getting older and my brain chemistry changing beyond my control.

I'm writing all this to ask about what I'm going through now, which is feeling some fairly rough side effects. The doc gave me a prescription for Lexapro, in the smallest dose possible, and I've been taking it for one week as of today. I felt nothing for the first four days, then I woke up Tuesday morning at 1:30am with my brain going 1000 mph and just not stopping. I never fell back asleep that night. Since then it's just been up and down, both very tired and very wired at the same time. This morning I woke up at 4:30am and I've been awake since then. I'm super restless and full of energy, unable to relax at the same time as being really tired. Right now I'm like buzzing, it's so weird. I've felt "off" all week. I already have pretty bad insomnia and this has gone well beyond that.

I've read that this kind of thing (among other side effects I've had) is common for the first couple weeks of being on Lexapro, and then they subside for most people. I really hope they do. I wanted to ask the thread though - did anyone else here experience this kind of thing too? How long did it take for the side effects to go away? I know everyone is different, but if these are common side effects maybe others have gone through this too.

Definitely see if it subsides, but know that it is common to try 3 or 4 meds before finding the one that fits you like a glove. I had to go through 2 anxiety meds (Lexapro and I think Prozac) before landing on Zoloft, which has been very good to me for the last - whoa! - 19 years. But if at any point you just can't take it, call your doc and explain, and he'll tell you how to get off of it. Then you can try the next one.

So yeah, this is a normal process.

(But speaking anecdotally, I'd call my doc and discuss what's going on with them if my symptoms were that bad from a minimal dose. No need to extend the discomfort if it's clinically not a good fit.)

I had that on Lexapro and it did subside after about two weeks for me. Well, the wired part did. Tired stuck around for longer. I started needing constant naps throughout the day and began going to bed at normal times instead of my usual late nights. Getting a full eight hours became really important, which has never been the case in my life.

That persisted for a month or so and then the need to nap went away and my Lexapro symptoms basically became needing to get a full night's rest and that's it.

I had a good experience with it, ultimately, but Robear is right in that for most people it takes a few attempts to find the medicine that works so if you aren't getting anything out of it aside from the side effects, don't hesitate to vary it up.

Thank you both! It really helps to hear it's pretty much normal. I did just write to my doc through their online portal thing to double check on it too. I'm sure he'll say just try to hold out another week and see how it goes, but we'll see.

That sleep thing is interesting. I'll have to watch for that especially since I've had sleep problems for years now.

For my wife, the insomnia lessened but didn't completely go away. Her biggest side effect is intense ultra real dreams.

She has also had some of the "electric shock" treatment which helped her quite a bit. It was only a few sessions though, not a perpetual regimen.

Definitely hang in there if it is not too debilitating. Work with your doctor. It can take a while. I've been on meds for about 20 years now, and while I don't feel completely normal, my mood is on more of an even keel.

I am an atypical case, but it took me literally years of trying various meds and combinations of meds before I finally landed on Wellbutrin (relatively high dose, extended release) and Lexapro (minimal dose). When I started taking that combination, it was magical. Night and day. I actually felt somewhat normal again.

I dropped the Lexapro after many years due to some side effects arising (can't remember exactly what). Last year I started up on it again after working with my VA psychiatrist for a while.

I'm so glad we've reached the point where people are comfortable talking about this stuff now.

Just wanted to drop in again and say thanks for the comments. And I agree with Robear, it's great that people are comfortable talking about these kinds of things.

I heard back from my doc a few days ago, and he said to try out just taking half a pill each morning for a week instead of a full one. The side effects seemed to be going down over last weekend, so I figured I'd keep taking full pills anyway. And then yesterday morning it was like I was back to the first bout of symptoms. Really, really rough. Today I tried half for the first time, and made sure to eat some breakfast with it, but that restlessness is coming through pretty hard. My body is just zipping with energy, even though I'm dead tired. I'm sticking to it though. Hopefully this weekend, and getting some good sleep, will help things.

What I really need is a whole week off work, just at home, to get as much sleep as I actually require and to take it easy. I think it's time to take a look at my vacation time left for the year.