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Aster's avatar

Can a person just get used to depression and stop noticing it ?

Asked by Aster (18187points) March 16th, 2017

My life has been so crappy for the last seven years. After my husband had his kidney removed and then half his thyroid and then fell down in the hospital breaking his hip and going through rehab I’ve had crazy ups and downs. I am happy he’s in no pain but our lives are television, naps and eating. That’s it. If I think about it I feel depressed but when I try not to I just feel “blah.” I don’t remember what joy or happiness feels like. I hope I get to feel it again someday. This morning I had a brief dream: an old, very large black car pulled up with a sign on the side. I couldn’t read it so I approached the car and it read, “Suicide.” I’m not nor have I been suicidal but what a terrible dream! The depression I had for a few years is gone. Could I just be used to this feeling? That is, could I be depressed and not even know it? I could join a yoga class but for some reason I don’t feel like it . Not sure I could handle being around smiling, laughing women.

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21 Answers

Vanzelouiz's avatar

No,i don’t hink so.
Getting used to depression is like getting used to walk with a broken leg,it would always gonna hurt and plus you can’t really walk with it,I don’t see also the reason why to ignore your depression. Depression is treatable, and boring life as well :)

JLeslie's avatar

I definitely think you can get used to being depressed. It can feel “normal” and you don’t even really remember or know what it was like to feel happier and lighter.

Mild depression is a way of life for many people. It’s kind of like being a functioning alcoholic. You can still do what you must do every day, but everything feels difficult, or that it takes a lot of effort. You might be tired all the time, or just never really feeling any joy.

My recommendation is plan something to look forward to. A weekend away, just an overnight, or even a few hours at some tourist thing and lunch out. A museum or scenic overlook, picnic, or even a show, anything.

Is there a St. Paddy’s Day parade tomorrow, or over the weekend, near you?

How about an exercise class like Zumba or yoga or something where you can have fun and even socialize a little.

Hopelessness, helplessness, and loneliness are some of the big three regarding depression. Looking forward to something reduces hopelessness. Planning can help you feel more control. Being out socializing can help with the loneliness.

Little steps. Every little thing can help.

Aster's avatar

@Vanzelouiz I’m not sure I’m depressed. I was and it hurt. This is more like just existing. If he had not fallen down in the hospital after major surgery we’d be able to go places and I wouldn’t feel I have to drive. I feel stuck in this house. Luckily, it’s a nice house. I just feel so tied down and so very sick of hearing Jeopardy and Star Trek from 8am to 5pm. I go in the bedroom at 4 or 5pm for a mini vacation from it all.

JLeslie's avatar

@Aster Can your husband leave the house at all?

Aster's avatar

@JLeslie. excellent suggestions and great understanding of how I feel with the exception of lonely. Each hour is predictable from month to month. If I felt like going anywhere, which I don’t, I couldn’t bring him with me because of my constant fear of him falling down to the ground again and feeling very nervous with the way he walks now. I can’t relax watching him. I see older people all the time using canes and every single one of them walk better than he does. But he refuses to use it.

JLeslie's avatar

I get it! I really understand it being difficult to be the bystander and watch him. I also understand the fear. I would fear him getting hurt, and fear making things worse than they already are, and having to live in even a worse situation.

He must start using a cane for long walking events. He is stifling the both of you.

I also say, stick him in a wheelchair when it makes sense! Many places have wheelchairs to use or rent. He has to practice walking to keep his legs functioning, but when out and about for an extended period there is no shame in using a wheelchair. Better a wheelchair at a museum, than sitting on the couch eating Oreos. You don’t need your own chair. You don’t need to be completely paralyzed to justify using a chair here and there.

When I was in my early 40’s I was having muscle trouble. We were at Disney for a day and after 6 hours of walking around my legs were really feeling very weak and painful. I had my husband push me in a wheelchair for a couple of hours. Afterwards, I still walked backed to the car. The two hours let my legs recouperate a little.

gondwanalon's avatar

I don’t know about getting use to depression but I’ve been diagnosed by 2 different doctors on two different occasions that I have an anxiety problem. They prescribed lorazepam that I refuse to take. I’m fine with my nervous personality thank you very much. This is who I am and I don’t need to be changed by taking harmful drugs.

janbb's avatar

@Aster yes, it is easy. I think my Ex and possibly myself lived with low-level depression for years. As @JLeslie has suggested, I think you have to find some activities for yourself and take care of the caregiver. You don’t have to be in the house with him all day. Take a few hours several times a week and pursue something totally enjoyable for yourself. It will make a big difference in how you feel when you get back to him.

cazzie's avatar

I have exchanged depression for just being angry and fucked off. I recommend it to anyone feeling depressed.

tinyfaery's avatar

For me, and what I know about depression, you never get used to it, because the pain doesn’t just go away. I know what it likes to feel numb about your situation. SSRIs make one feel like a zombie.

Your depression seems to be situational which means your actions can change your mental state. Maybe seeing a therapist can help you sort through your feelings. I also agree with @JLeslie.

BellaB's avatar

You can become numb to a low-level depression. That you notice it is a good sign.

Do make an effort to get out of the house on your own on occasion. Even once or twice a week is good. Interesting that you perceive yoga as a smiley/happy place. That’s not my experience of it at all. I actually gave it up as everyone was so serious at the two places I tried.

The stuff that is going on with your husband is something you can pay attention to once you’ve taken some care of yourself. When I worked actively as a counsellor, we used to have regular group sessions to remind us to take care of ourselves or we’d be no use to anyone else. Caregivers have to allow themselves to be a priority.

jca's avatar

What I think has been said so far on this thread – get out with your hubby, even for a while, even if he has to go in a wheelchair. Even going to the movies or a park – just get out.

If he is resistant, try to be firm with him.

Has he looked into getting physical therapy for rehabilitative purposes so his ambulating improves?

Also, maybe you can get out and leave him home. Join a group (book group, craft group, movie lovers group, tea drinkers group, whatever). You have to take care of yourself, mentally and physically.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I read the OP, but I have not read the thread.

I understand depression very well. I live with mental illness part of which can lead to repeated periods of depression. I have been in the black pit where no light shines and where there is no hope. It’s too awful to think about.

I highly suggest you find a therapist to talk to. I also suggest you find an outside activity to join. I have done restorative yoga and recommend it. It’s gentle. There are many different kinds of yoga, so ask around to find restorative yoga.

I also want to thank you for coming to us with your situation. It’s not easy to write about these things. I hope you’re able to find healing.

Aster's avatar

Thanks to all of you for your deep understanding. I know it could be worse, He could be back in the hospital or I could be in there!
Far as his wheelchair goes we’re dealing with the male ego. He would find it demeaning and/or embarrassing to appear disabled. Just how disabled is hard for me to determine. I mean, he can walk out to the porch and walk on the treadmill for five minutes but he asks me to bring him everything else like ice for his cup. He doesn’t sit there eating Oreos or chips. Just drinks diet soda. Its an addiction. He has lost over fifty pounds and doesn’t eat nearly what he used to. For instance, he’s happy with a pint of ice cream that’ll last two weeks. I know “unplanned weight loss ” is a cancer symptom and he had that in his kidney and thyroid. He dismissed the worthless physical therapists who kept coming here to type on their laptops and take his vitals. Oh, that really helped a lot. I was glad for them to stop coming.

funkdaddy's avatar

I’m sorry it’s been hard for such a long time. Really.

Your description sounds very familiar, not of the events, but the feeling. I don’t think saying “I understand how you feel” helps anyone much, but I can tell you how I felt and some things that finally did help.

There was a period where my wife and I lost three pregnancies, my parents got divorced without much good coming of it, three grandparents died within a short time, my brother’s life fell apart, and I just kept retreating back a little bit, thinking I’d recover and get back to living once things made sense again. I’d always been crazy positive, so I honestly never considered that I was depressed until someone brought it up. I was just numb. Numb and angry at myself for not doing better.

Part of me thought I could just wait it out, something good would come along, and that would spark some change on its own. I finally noticed that some good things were happening, they just weren’t sparking anything. I’d get to see old friends and I’d judge them as annoying, or clueless to what real problems were, or rowdy, and I’d feel more alone. I’d get a great client and I’d do subpar work, lack the focus I was used to, and question myself afterward.

Getting better for me started with just doing a few things I knew would help, but I wasn’t doing because they weren’t going to fix the big problems. Little things like showering first thing rather than letting the day drag, going for a walk every day, making sure I smiled at least once. It sounded like bs to me, it sounds like bs to people who aren’t depressed, and maybe bs to people who have experience with deep depression, which is a different beast (so I’m always hesitant to share what worked for me). But for me those little things reminded me I had some control, and some obligation to myself, to at least do the basics of trying to feel better.

For me, looking back, the control was what was important. I was waiting for some magical good to come of all the negativity happening to the most important people in my life. It had to work out, right? I had to realize whether that good came or not just wasn’t in my control, but a lot of other things were.

For you, it might be something totally different. Maybe break that schedule a little bit and see how it feels? Maybe yoga is a step too far right now, but an afternoon stroll isn’t? Maybe instead of TV change it up with something slightly more interactive like a board game or even video games? Are there small things you can do that you know will help, but don’t feel like the whole solution?

There was an old couple in my last neighborhood. I doubt they got out a lot, they were in their 80’s or 90’s, she was in a wheelchair most of the time, and he didn’t get around real well. They always shopped at the little grocery store a couple blocks from their house, so I’d see them there in the middle of the afternoon. Her directing traffic and making the decisions and him slowly gathering their food with the infinite patience of someone who doesn’t move very fast.

Back at their house they had two plastic chairs he’d put at the end of their driveway and he’d walk her down there, without the wheelchair, most nice afternoons so they could sit outside in the shade of their trees. I always liked to think that they’d found their “little things” to make it work when I saw them there. It made me feel like the little things can be enough.

JLeslie's avatar

I want to add a few things.

The crappy thing about depression is it can take away your enthusiasm to do things, and actually hamper your enjoyment while doing them. It’s a catch 22. People will tell you go out an do something you enjoy, but it’s hard to feel enjoyment. Here’s the thing, you sound to me like you would enjoy it! It’s your husband that I’m not so sure about. Sometimes with depression you have to fake it til you make it at first, and eventually you find you’re feeling better. That might apply more to your husband than you. You sound ready to get out and enjoy some things. Go and do some things yourself, and try to drag him along to some if you can.

Also, thyroid imbalances can cause depression. Are your husband’s doctors checking his thyroid levels very regularly? Every 2–3 months?

Lastly, you might have to start not being so accommodating to your husband. I’m guessing he should be doing more walking to keep his muscles strong. If he is embarrassed to be in a wheelchair, then he needs to use his legs more, even if it’s getting his soda to go back and sit down. Make your home as safe as possible. Does he have a walker to use?

jca's avatar

I think waiting on him hand and foot is not helpful to him (and to you). Make him get up and get his own soda or ice.

NormaPadro's avatar

Depression is very difficult to not get over. Mine has been through things that I had no control over. I suffered with sadness most of my life since I could remember. When a loved one is not healthy this makes things worse.
Maybe if you help him go to a rehab center where they can help him with getting his mobility back maybe this will work. There are some bands that can be used to help with rehabilitating the muscles of the body.
I have been exercising my body since I was a teenager. Even if I had health issues I still exercised for mobility. I have been very afraid of losing my mobility getting older. Maybe watching some youtube videos on physical rehabilitation can help you out with him. But he has to apply himself.

Aster's avatar

Yes, I’ve been telling him the past few weeks, “don’t forget to get your ice before you sit down.” And we bought a new treadmill two weeks ago we both use daily although I bet he slacks off before I do. I also “let” him go out and get the mail half the time but it really stresses me out since he has fallen twice in the yard. So I don’t know if it’s a good or bad thing to let him do it. If I say I’ll get it he accuses me of holding him back from improving which is the last thing I want to do. There is nothing in his line of movement that would cause him to trip and fall. I make sure of that .
Today he is going fishing in his boat with his friend. The last two times he did this were a disaster. Once, he fell down and couldn’t get up so he crawled to the car. The last time, a month ago, he got caught with one foot in the barge and the other foot on the dock with water (shallow water) in between because he didn’t have the leg strength to lift either leg. Scared him to death. HIs friend pulled him into the boat where he hit the floor and somehow got to his feet and to the car. This friend of his of over forty years has colon cancer, diabetes and his hands shake. He’s only sixty five but has lived under tremendous pressure for years taking care of his ninety two year old parents. I think that made him sick. So today I will be alone for a few hours which is a very rare thing but I won’t enjoy it that much.

jca's avatar

@Aster: If I were you, when I’m alone today I’d do something pleasurable. Take a walk, meet a friend for tea, do something to get up and get out.

With your hubby, don’t let him push you around. Get tough! Make him get his own stuff. You’re a wife, not a maid. Go out and leave him home alone. Just because he wants to be in the house and miserable doesn’t mean you have to.

Aster's avatar

I know what you mean but I really don’t think he’s miserable. He seems pretty content and is very nice and easy going. Thank God. Many people in his condition are tyrants.
He actually would like it if I said, “let’s go into town and eat !” but he doesn’t say it because he knows it makes me so nervous I don’t enjoy it. First, I won’t let him drive. I suspect he has had a couple TIA’s but I’m not positive. I cannot believe his reflexes are up to par with months in a chair or bed!
One thing I will do is talk to my girlfriend on the phone. She calls on Saturday mornings and we complain and laugh for over an hour. She has mini strokes quite often and is older than I am at 76. Her doctor actually told her , “your brain has shrunk.” How many doctors say that?
The other thing I’ll do is make vegetable bean soup. I’ve been planning on doing this for two weeks. Pretty exciting!

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