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Caregiver depression

Posted Sep 22 2008 4:36pm

I was reading the article, Am I Depressed? The Tricky Face of Caregiver Depression at Mothering Mother and More, thinking it would be a good topic to highlight here.

As I read through it, realized that uh-oh, I can answer “yes” to several of these. Not the ones, that are more dramatic, but the seemingly innocuous ones. I really just considered them side effects of the whole caregiver thing.

I still tend to wake up at all hours of the night since my mother died over 2 years ago. I spent a lot of time in the hospital with her and night time was the worst, I went days on end without sleep as she was up frequently. Yes, this could be due to my advancing age, but shut up. I’m sensitive as I’m turning thirty-fourteen tomorrow.

I also had this for a long time, but it’s getting better:

Are you so antsy, so anxious that you can hardly stay still? You stay on your feet, clean, talk, eat–all to avoid something you can’t even name?

The weirdest part is that I still can’t really sit down and read a book, anymore. Though I spent hours on end at the hospital, I never could read a book because she needed things frequently, and I did a lot of jumping up and down for weeks at a time and it was impossible to read. That one never left me.

Carol goes on to give some good advice about combating caregiver depression, but I think an important point is:

It’s okay if you can’t be a full-time caregiver any more.

It’s kind of like the elephant in the room. People don’t usually discuss it, but sometimes you just can’t do it anymore, yet society tells us it’s our noble, self-sacrificing obligation to be caregivers. This notion has got to be a huge contributor to depression, and you just have to decide what’s best for you and your family.

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