I'm feeling so sad and helpless about my mother, who's in the hospital for her depression for what seems like the bazillionth time. It's at least the third hospitalization in the past year. My mother has been struggling with depression, to some degree, at times very severe, for the past 15 years or so. She's had electroshock therapy and been on a barrage of medications. She's been seeing the same therapist regularly for years. It seems like her medications are constantly being manipulated, because when they help with one problem, they cause another. Right now, for instance, she has been off of all of her regular medications for a few weeks in order to start on "the patch." Since she's been in the hospital, she's barely slept. Before they took her off her medications (after her last hospitalization), she was sleeping 18 hours or more a day. ARGH!
I just wish I knew how to help her, and I feel like "they" MUST be missing something! My mother has a whole host of weird ailments along with the depression, none of which the doctors seem to be able to help. She has pain in her eyes, mouth, and neck; EXTREME dry mouth, that makes her suck in her lips funny; severe pain in her hip that is NOT from arthritis, although she has arthritis as well; colitis requiring 18 pills per day....I'm sure there are other things. She tends not to tell me, even if things are serious.
I'm frustrated and sad. It's hard for me to visit her at the hospital, since she is my only source of childcare. I have taken my DD (3) to see her in the hospital a few times, but I don't like it, as the other patients are unpredictable. I hate being left to deal with my father when my mother is in the hospital because he....well, he's a special breed and likes to unload all of his negative emotions onto other people.
Mostly, I just wish I had my mother around. I with I knew what she could really be like, without this cloak of depression. I wish she could be a more reliable figure for my daughter, who she loves and cares for. I'm starting to feel that this might not end.
The doctor at the hospital sees her as having a long-term disease, meant to be managed, but not cured. I get that. But I also feel that they can't even get her to a point of balance that hangs together for more than a few months at a time. That's not really managed.
I'm posting this here, where there are so many with viewpoints about health and whatnot that are new to me, hoping that someone might have some suggestions about different paths to take, or something that might be overlooked in her current care.
Or maybe I'm just unwilling to accept that this may truly be "untreatable."
I'm sorry. I don't really have any answers. I truly believe that depression isn't something you can "cure" or fix. And I really do agree with the doctor that it's a lifelong illness that you can treat for a little bit but it will always rear it's ugly head. Maybe instead of having this same therapist for so many years she might need a second opinion. Maybe a breath of fresh air in her case would help.
Has she been tested for autoimmune diseases? Because many of her physical symptoms could be explained by that. Or by medication side effects.
Is she willing and able to try dietary changes? I'm not a "evil gluten is the cause of everything" person, but given the specific symptoms she's having, a gluten/dairy free diet would be worth trying.
Do you know what drugs have been tried?
Did the chronic pain come first, or the depression? Inadequately treated pain is depressing. I would not expect depression to improve significantly until the pain is treated.
Sorry for being so long to respond - we've been away for a few weeks. Thank you, though, for the responses. I believe she HAS been tested for Sjogren's syndrome, but I'm not sure what the results were. I might ask her, but she intentionally OD'd on Ativan last week and has been in the hospital ever since. I've suggested a "cleansing" type diet, like GAPS to her before. She seems bemused when I suggest it, but not necessarily willing to take it seriously. I think she thinks that with all she's already dealing with, shouldn't she at least get to eat her ice cream? I do know that she was frequently ill as a child, and has always had a very sensitive stomach, and used to be prone to migraines. I've been on this site long enough to know that food intolerances can have varied, severe consequences. I just don't want to lead my mother through a long path that ends up not having any result. But - especially with this most recent incident, I think we need to take a new approach, but nobody really knows what that is. The doctors are suggesting ECT again. I'm wondering if a naturopath or an accupuncturist might be able to see things from a different perspective. Honestly, I don't see a lot of light at the end of this tunnel if she doesn't make some sort of progress soon....not even the hospital seems able to help anymore.
Just sending hugs to you and your family.