View Full Version : Depression Revisited
Ok, it's "that" time of year again. All of your family and friends have the perfectly decorated tree, with perfectly wrapped gifts underneath. They're perfectly dressed and dashing off to holiday parties every night. They actually laugh and have fun at these events! I almost remember what it was like to laugh. We used to go to these same parties. I guess our invitations were lost in the mail this year. Not that we could go anyway, but it would have been nice.......
12-20-2001, 05:40 AM
Our first Christmas after my son's accident was spent at Kessler Rehab; not a very pretty picture!
Now it's our third Christmas post-accident, and things DO get better. No, we don't party like we used to; and folks don't send us all the invites, either; company parties are attended by either my husband or myself, never the two of us together. But - I find myself not even liking being around a lot of partying folks anymore - seems like there's a lot of triviality that just doesn't apply to me anymore. Once, Christopher Reeve was on David Letterman - Letterman looked at him, and said, 'You've been places the rest of us never have'. I think that's true - for our family members, as well as us. We've been through the battle zone - seen things most folks will never see - have emotions most folks will never have. All else seems petty in comparison. I don't have time anymore to listen to office bickering - or petty politics - or which movie star is sleeping with which rock star - what does it matter???
This Christmas, we'll open our presents, have coffee and breakfast, and be at peace with one another and the fact that our family is more important than anything else in the world at this moment in time.
I know you have a difficult situation with your husband - I read your past posts - maybe it's time you just start reclaiming YOUR life, separate from his; when my son was hurt, I felt like I was joined at the hip to him for about 1 1/2 years; slowly, I've been regaining my own sense of self and self-worth and identity other than 'Matt's mom'. I wish this for you, too, and all the other caregivers; find peace within yourselves, and you'll find peace with your situation.
Hope I'm not sounding preachy - this was all kind of 'stream of consciousness' stuff. Have a peaceful holiday. Jackie
12-21-2001, 05:48 AM
We go to less then we use to but I like the brake and change of pace especially with good friends. They don't have to be where I am. They may not even be able to relate but thats Ok with me.I think doing different things is important. I play racketball 3 times a week as well as golf when I can. Adding some diversity helps to keep me from sliping into funks.But I can certainly relate to both of you. A wish and prayer from me to all you precious folks who are caring for loved ones."May the Peace of Heaven fill your hearts and minds this holiday season and may this next year be the year of breakthrus for cures of the body and healing in our hearts. God Bless us one and all!"
W. Justin Martin
12-21-2001, 06:30 AM
I know what you mean. I am not familiar with your injury, you past, etc., so I don't know your situation.
Like marmalady, I was in the hospital the first Christmas after my injury. I am in a new situation at a grad school, so the people I have met have been very nice and open to companionship from the likes of me (thats a joke, a joke I say sion). The higher the education, the more open people are, in my experience. I have been included in all the parties- sanctioned by the school or personal- and people don't mind helping me up the occasional high threshold.
Caution, the paragraph below has some though that might be harmful if you don't deal with reality well.
I don't know what is keeping you from going to parties. If it is physical barriers, friends will make an effort to make you comfortable, I have found. If it is the lack of invitations, maybe you should get some new friends as that doesn't seem too friendly to me. If your situation is keeping you from being happy, I don't know how to respond other than you are responsible you the vast majority of your happiness, in my experience.
I don't mean to be such an egotictical prick, but I can only view your situation through my glasses.
12-21-2001, 04:39 PM
To W. Justin Martin,
Is that your real name?! Quite a moniker! We do find our own happiness - firstly its that happiness has been redefined for us - things that were 'up' for us before, aren't so important now; secondly, since my son needs 24/7 supervision, if my hubbie and I want to party, we're stuck with finding someone who can hang with Matt so we can have a few free hours. We DO find our own happiness, like I said, it's just a different sort of happiness.
Merry Christmas! jackie
12-21-2001, 07:25 PM
Justin, it's truly wonderful that you are in a supportive environment at school and that you have obviously adjusted very well. I'm sincere in this -- no sarcasm intended. I don't know how long you've been SCI nor how long it took you to make these adjustments, but you've obviously done well. However, I think (or hope) as you mature/age, your tolerance level for other people's pain will increase. Yes, it is exceedingly hard for all of you with SCI. Harder than we caregivers can ever know. However, we caregivers also have to make adjustments. I don't know about MJ, but this is our first Christmas since my husband's accident. The differences between this year and a "traditional" Christmas are too numerous to mention. My husband is 52. He's not physically able to go partying and I can't and won't leave him alone while I do. He's probably not going to go to grad school and make new friends. And as far as my "happiness", between 24/7 caregiving, I don't really have a lot of time to "work" on it. So, unless you want to give me a lecture about learning to be happy in my new 24/7 role, try to show a little tolerance.
12-21-2001, 08:06 PM
I do hope my post wasn't insensitive to some of you folks. I forget sometimes the different caregiving situations folks are in. No ones situation is the same.I'm truly sorry about your situation MJ.I caretake my oldest of 5 children who is C5.My wife works full time and I work part(switched roles 3 years ago). We just lost our aid for a few weeks but he should be back in about 2 weeks. Justin gets out with his friends sometimes and my other children help so my wife and I can have some breaks together.We do have some great friends and that helps alot.But we all work at trying to be at peace with our situation and sometimes it's just downright depressing.I thank God for free time and simple enjoyments.Another thought: These threads are really ment for caregivers to express themselves and have the liberty to let it all hang out. Its Ok for those we care for to see the things we're chatting about and even comment if they so choose but please realize this is where we connect and sometimes it may seem off the wall the things we share, please try not to take it to personally. Alot is just our venting thru tough moments.Like I use to say during my days as a hippie"peace baby"
12-21-2001, 09:25 PM
I can only speak for myself, but I didn't find your post insensitive at all. We're all in different situations and if you are able to "get out" and add some variety to the days, that's wonderful. It probably also helps you to be a better caregiver to your son, a better father to your other children and a better husband to your wife. I didn't mean to imply that no one should enjoy life or be happy. Quite the contrary. Only that in some cases, the answers aren't quite so simple as they are in others. And this time of year is an especially difficult one for many.
As an aside, if insurance companies would understand the need for at least parttime PCA's or even respite care, it would make life a lot easier for many.
W. Justin Martin
12-22-2001, 06:54 AM
I apologize. I was trying to be supportive, but it was taken as being accusatory or as a slight to someone. I would still like to urge people to take control of their own feelings without seeming like a prick, if that is possible. Whatever Christmas is in your eyes, I hope it can be the best Christmas possible.
Martha, as far as your comments about insurance companies and PCAs, I heartily endorse your feeling. Insurance companies are in the money business, not the people business. My insurance wanted top pay for 14 days of hospitalization and rehab. At 14 days I was still in a coma. There is a broken wagon, and I don't have any idea as to what could fix it. You can't necessarily legislate PCA care- the whole capitalist thing is the ability to shop around, but if there is NO company that sees a need, the situation is never addressed. And, as you well must know by now, private help is eith inept, undependable, or too expensive, or a combo of the three.
Merry Christmas to all.
12-22-2001, 08:50 AM
I really didn't think you were that off the wall. I think I just wanted to take the occation to communicate what we'd like to do as care givers in terms of our need to be open and honest on these threads.Love to all!
12-24-2001, 10:00 AM
If the attendance numbers on this forum are any indication, most people have been occupied with family and friends during this holiday season. If so, that is wonderful.
Normally, we get 800-1000 visitors, 8-10 new registrants a day, up to 20 new topics, and as many as 100 new postings a day. All these numbers have halved in the past weekend. This is the way it should be.
Family, life, care and cure. My heartfelt wishes for much joy and peace.
[This message was edited by Wise Young on December 24, 2001 at 02:08 PM.]
12-24-2001, 11:29 AM
Family, life, care and cure. My heartfelt wishes for much joy and peace.
Wise, you seem to be such a lovely sincere man with a mission that makes you near saintly in my estimation.
The things you mention are so entirely absent in my life. Also absent is love, though you didn't mention that one (or is it implied in the "family"). What is present is apathy, guilt, depression and self loathing for the first three mentioned. I wonder why bother to go on. At least my life insurance would take care of him for a few years if he was careful and prudent with his spending. Wonder what ever happened to Max, by the way? Is he still around or did he succumb to these unbearable urges also ...........
12-24-2001, 11:58 AM
Love and friendship are gifts. Family is a gift we are all born with but must work to keep. Life is worth living. Care is what we do for ourselves and others. Cure is achievable.
You sound really depressed. Please, please, please take care of yourself first. You know, when an airplane decompresses and the oxygen masks drop from the ceiling, the instructions are to put the mask on yourself first before attending to the person next to you.
You must take care of yourself or else you are no good for yourself or for others. If it feels overwhelming, go right now for some help. You cannot do it alone.
Hi... i only post here on rare occation, and it is usually to give advice. I have just recently admitted to myself that I am depressed. I am SOOOO tired. I have my own personal problems, as well as dealing with my hubby(WHom I love more than life). I am at the age i suppose where everything from your childhood and teenage years comes back to you. I realized I was more or less raped. My relationship with my father is difficult.... etc..etc..etc.. as soon as I fix one problem a bigger one rears its head. my hubby and I have been having some problems.... and I am so tired... always tired. I could sleep at any point during the day ( i don't , but could). It's 1:00 o'clock in the morning where I am and I am drinking, which I never do.. no need to worry . I'm not normally a drinker...; I'm just having a moment! needed to talk to someone. sorry for the bother. I am normally not like this..! Just tired.!:(
Thanks for being here... I read the posts most every day... they are helpful for me and keep me up on the latest for my hubby (C-5).
Merry Christmas all!:)
12-24-2001, 11:18 PM
msks, I know what you mean. If you want someone to talk to, drop me an e-mail. I'm usually up till all hours.
12-25-2001, 02:47 AM
Please, please listen to Wise's post; nothing is worth giving up; if you've hit the bottom of the barrel, just know that the only place you can go is up. Get some help for YOU; if you can't/don't want to see a therapist, then just open up and talk to us here. I have been where you are - you feel like your life is over, what is there left - but just know that it DOES get better.
I know this sounds corny, but this is the season for rebirth, and new beginnings. Meditate on the wonder and peace of the season, and think of the coming new year as one of hope, not despair. Find one thing - just one thing - that you can grab onto, and hold onto that and keep it in your heart. Nourish it, and let it grow. Find a way to nourish your soul, your life - even if it's a small thing, it's a start.
As Martha said, email her, or me, or anyone, but just talk to someone. Wise is so wise; we all need help at some time to get us over the hurdles. Peace to you. Jackie
12-25-2001, 07:04 PM
We've almost made it through this "happy" holiday. Thank goodness we get a little break before having to face New Year's -- that other time when all is supposed to be happy and hopeful. At least we're not assaulted with constant "New Year's" decorations and music, so it's much easier to hide.
Thanks for everyone's concern and well wishes.
12-26-2001, 05:22 AM
Janedoe, I am so glad that Christmas is past. Isn't it silly? In this season, when people are supposed to be happy, I think that more people are unhappy than at other times. The webs of obligations, niceties, and gift-giving paradoxically generate feelings of guilt, depression, and more bizarre of all a sense of loneliness even while surrounded by family. This may be because the cheeriness is forced and you have to be something other than yourself. As a child, I use to dislike Christmas because it was always more stressful than pleasant. On the other hand, New Year's always seemed to be a more meaningful day, even though it is only marking one more revolution of the earth around the sun.
that everyone here wants you to be happy. I have been on both sides of the fence and know about the sort of feelings you are having right now. As a young man I was the caregiver to a woman with uterine cancer which had metasticized. Her oncologist gave her six months to live when I met her. With loving care and dogged determination that she do whatever it takes to go on we fought to keep her alive for her two children. We passed the oncologist's deadline and with the help from her friends (her family wrote her off) she lived for four more years before succumbing to cancer.
Today I deal with a T4 SCI and brain damage. I know how essential it is to need a caring person to help me. My wife could have walked away when this happened to me. Many ask her why she did not leave. Her response is "My marriage vows did not say '...for better or for worse unless something terrible happens...'. Our marriage is forever". We are now approaching our 7th year anniversary of my accident and we know life has gotten better. Our lives together has not ended, it has only changed. I am able to give her occasional respite which she cherishes but day to day life now focuses on my needs. This is the way of the caregiver. You cannot give up without losing part of yourself in the process.
I know/understand your frustration with life, albeit, from a different viewpoint. Please take to heart that we are here for you to vent at when you are feeling down. Whenever you feel frustrated I ask that you repeat this mantra.
"Frustration is the mind killer. When you are frustrated you become angry. In anger you make mistakes. Mistakes cause frustration."
Please do not get caught in this vicious circle.
"And so it begins."
12-28-2001, 01:06 PM
Thanks for your continued concern. I've seen all sorts of statistics posted on this forum. Are there any statistics on caregiver suicide? I'm not sure why I ask, but am curious.
12-28-2001, 02:17 PM
Maybe it would help if you could share your story with us. Sounds like your in a pretty deep funk. I hope not but if I was saying what you are and truly feeling that way, I would definitly be looking for someone to help me, no shame in that. I've done it a few times since we entered this journey we're on.These threads can be a great help but there's nothing like some real human touch.We need people who will love us enough to empithise as well as kick us in the butt( I call it speaking truth). Take care kid, and hey we're in this together. http://sci.rutgers.edu/forum/images/smilies/wink.gif
12-28-2001, 08:15 PM
I agree with Joseph sharing your story might be helpful!! . . .
Unless of course you're inclined to try enjoying (like moi) a couple glasses of a good (or even not so good) chardonnay, turning the mussak up (rather loudly) at the same time as reading all this sage advice we offer up . . . or not! Either way, you're here and that's very very good . . . for you (and me) and the rest of us!
By the way Joseph I'm an old hippie too!!! http://sci.rutgers.edu/forum/images/smilies/rolleyes.gif
12-29-2001, 04:34 AM
Okay, truth time - just how many of us are 'old hippes' out there ??! http://sci.rutgers.edu/forum/images/smilies/cool.gif
12-29-2001, 09:04 AM
I was only a hippie "wanna be". http://sci.rutgers.edu/forum/images/smilies/frown.gif
12-29-2001, 01:17 PM
For the Redwoods of Calif.when I was 18. Lived on a freeland commune in Medocino. I had a little 10 by 10 shack biult with teepee polls, canvas for a roof,a little wood stove built out of a 10 gallon drum,but managed to put some nice windows in the front so I could look down on the valley below. Shared my food with the racoons and mice who really enjoyed my Italian cooking(hehe). Lived off the land for about a year. Then went back to NY my home town with a french gal I was living with at the time and promoptly blew all my friends and family away. Went back to No. Calif where I hung out in a Large Redwood stump and then moved into more comfortable quarters of a teepee. Ah, the simple life. No money, no worrys. Living off the land wasn't easy but it sure was satisfying.The people I met and the storys I can tell usually draw very wide eyes and lots of laughs. I can't believe half the stuff I did myself. http://sci.rutgers.edu/forum/images/smilies/rolleyes.gif
12-30-2001, 04:46 AM
Joseph, your 'story' sounds like an Arlo Guthrie song! Never lived in a teepee, but lived in two communes, one in Cambridge, Mass., and the other in western Massachusetts. Had anywhere from 6 to 40 folks at any given time; the western Mass. was a farm -we grew everything we ate, had the most bizarre flock of chickens - they all looked like they ingested too much of - well - psychedelics! Was in Boston for the peace rally on the Boston Common, and actually got tear-gassed during the Harvard 'student riots'; no fun at all!!
Wonder how many more of us are 'lurking' out there?!! http://sci.rutgers.edu/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif
12-30-2001, 05:24 AM
I visited a commune up in that area during my hitch hiking travels back and forth across the country.That was after my car was stolen in San Fran and all I had to my name was a pair of bongos. I think it was called Spirit in the Flesh or something like that.