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Depression after stroke
Hello all and happy Thursday afternoon! My name is Wendy. My mother suffered an inschemic stroke in April of 2019 and ultimately has been left without use of her non-dominant arm and some struggles while walking. Prior to the stroke she was walking 1-2 miles a day, seemingly healthy and was working full time. She did the inpatient rehab route and has done inhome rehab and out patient rehab on and off for the past year. The main reason she has stopped rehab periodically is because Medicare won't pay if she isn't progressing so they pause her rehab, let her slide back for a few months and then she comes back and has to work to get back where she plateaus. Shortly after her stroke we had her evaluated for depression and she was put on an antidepressant, I'm not sure if she is still taking the antidepressant. Our struggle has been trying to get her to engage in any kind of activity. Since her stroke she spends most days sitting on the couch of their house watching tv or reading a book. Day in and day out. My siblings and I as well and aunt and ucles have all tried to buy different things that are adaptive to help her do some of the things she used to enjoy but she has no interest. From a home-exercise perspective, she generally will do the exercises she was assigned when she was still going to PT/OT but nothing more. We think she might benefit from talking to someone who has experience with depression after a stroke however have struggled to search the right terms to find someone who seems right. To make it harder, I know finding someone is only half the battle, the larger battle will be getting her to agree to talk to someone and actually go. Advice is greatly appreciated.
axnr911, August 27, 2020 5:40pm EST
Since I don't know your Mom I really can't say what she is feeling, but maybe another stroke survivor's point of view might help, First, it has only been about 1/1/2 years since your mom's stroke. I had mine 2 years ago, and I am still working on recovering. My friend told me that she didn't feel like her old self for 4 years . Although i can walk now and take a 15 or 20 min. walk every day with my husband,(it helps to have someone) and putter around the house, I am tremendously exhausted . The smallest job requires I sit and rest afterwards. To look at me on the outside I look and seem just like I did prestroke. But I don't "feel" the same. To my daughter it probably looks like I just sit around and read, do crosswords and watch tv. But that's all the energy I have right now. I zoom bible study and church to interact with others. This pandemic doesn't help the situation. It gets a little better every day, but is is so - o - o - o slow! I also dealt with anxiety and depression(perhaps not clinical}, which happens to many after a stroke. I saw a psychologist for about 3 months. It really helped. She gave me some tools to use after I quit counseling. Medicare pays for this type of help. I didn't want to go the drug route as I had been on so many meds. Sometimes they can make you feel worse and tired. Encourage your mom to get on this website to communicated with others in the same boat. And, I can highly recommend another one (My Stroke Guide) The people there are real nice, too. She won't feel so alone. I'll hold you and your mom in my prayers tonight. Love, Jeanne
Ilovedogs, August 27, 2020 6:25pm EST
Hi Wendy. Sadly, many people are plagued with depression following a stroke. Ironically, I had my stroke three months prior to my mother in law-both of us for different reasons. While I was determined to get better, my mother in law gave up and because of that fact alone, her recovery has been much slower. You mom may feel isolated and grieving her old life before stroke. We have all been there. Heck! I'm only 42 and went throught it twice! Your mom may feel less alone if you could get her to reach out to other stroke survivors. That is an if...I can relate so well with my experiences with my mother in law. She won't reach out because she just cannnot overcome what happened. Best of luck!
AHAASAKatie, September 1, 2020 11:11am EST
I am so sorry to read that this happened. Depression is common after a stroke. I can share this great podcast for your family, Identifying and Treating Post-Stroke Depression. Thank you, Katie
Nancyl1117, September 4, 2020 1:10am EST
Hi Wendy. My name is Nancy Sanders. Your mother sounds alot like me. I was very active, even for a while after the stroke. I had mine January of 2018. It seems the longer it has been the weaker my limbs are. I had been excercising and walking, but not lately. I take a 5mg of Lexapro. It helps some, but an increase in dose makes me wired, so I stick to 5mg. With the Covid going around, it's hard to see anyone or go anywhere. I miss my kids and grandkids. I feel very depressed and tired. At first, I was drawing and crocheting for my grandkids. It kept me busy, even though the results weren't quite like before. I've been looking into online therapists, that take Medicare. I too feel more depressed. I found a Christian therapy group that talks online, but still deciding. Someone that understands strokes would be best. If you or I find a good therapist, please let me know. It's very hard no longer driving. Best of luck with your mom! I pray all goes well with her.
Keita, September 5, 2020 7:14pm EST
greetings Wendy.... my heart is with you all. for me I realized that my management, or lack thereof, of life's stressors- internal and external- led to my body reacting the way it did. I stroked this year... b.c. (Before COVID). Immediately I started mental health counseling with a trained counselor. I also started an antidepressant, Prozac, which intake faithfully. Mindfulness meditation became apart of my daily existence. Only recently have I started to fall into a bit of optimism fatigue yet I am committed to doing what I need to live. For myself, family and 12yr old daughter.
I hate to say this but after caring for both of my parents until they passed, I realize that living, death and dying are personal choices. That as much as I hated to see my Dad give up, he was making the decision for his life. His preference. His choice. Not mine. I realize now that my role was to love him and support him despite what I wanted for him. And the same was for my Mommy.
I would encourage y'all to ask your Mom what she wants and let her take the lead. When she is feeling engaging, engage fully. There is no quick fix to depression.