Depression & OA

Good Morning Everybody,

I hope everyone is keeping well and had a good and restive Christmas.

I have posted about this before, but i was wondering if anybody has any tips and hints they can share.

Between the lockdowns, Christmas and continual pain my depression has sadly reared its head again. I have been treated for this in the past, but have been put back onto anti-depressants to help me cope. This is fun considering the mountain of medication i am already on for my OA.

I have been practicing mindfulness on YouTube, listening to music, reading and doing as much fun activities as i can to try and lift my mood. I had planned to use some annual leave and take some time off to myself, however lockdown has put me in the position of home-schooling while wfh, which is another layer of stress to add.

The problem I'm finding is that although they distract me, I'm still back to square one which is, I've done everything the doctors asked, changed my lifestyle and I'm still in pain all the time. Its just wearing me down now.

How do other people cope knowing that the pain you are in everyday will not disappear and is what is dragging you down?

Apologies for the rant, stay safe all

Comments

  • Mike1
    Mike1 Member Posts: 1,759

    I have a cat!

    This is not a flippant comment at all; I have widespread OA (as well as other musculo-skeletal issues) and have been diagnosed with Clinical Depression and PTSD which I refuse to take medication for. I live alone, use a wheelchair, have had my driving licence withdrawn on disability grounds and rarely get to leave the house (at least I get to see my Home Help once a week). Despite being on ever-increasing doses of morphine I am in constant pain which continues to spread and continues to get worse. I have often wondered what is the point of carrying on despite being only 62 BUT I have a cat to look after who is non-judgmental when I talk to her and I could not bear being without her or wondering how she would cope without me. I read a lot, watch TV a lot and have a few hobbies that I enjoy; distraction is a primary way of trying to ignore the pain which the majority of forum members will agree is the way to go. It is much easier to go down and down when depressed rather than picking yourself up, the way to do it is to focus on what is good in your life and how lucky you are compared with others.

  • Shell_H
    Shell_H Moderator Posts: 393

    Hi Historynut,

    I get where you're coming from. I've had many issues with depression over the years, and I can say that the thing which worked best for me was to try to look at what I could do, rather than what I can't. Depression - with or without pain - can make it hard to do anything, and being in pain can make it worse. It means that a lot of things you used to do you can't any more. I've had to learn to look and think about what I can do. I've got some hobbies which I do - painting models, playing musical instruments, gaming, reading - all of which I can do and bring me pleasure. While it's hard, I can still go for walks which are both good for me and can be enjoyable. There is housework I can do, which makes me feel productive. There is studying and work on the computer I can do, which keeps my brain active and makes me feel useful.

    It's not quick, but affirming what you can do, what you have succeeded at, what went well, can help. And as Mike said - distraction for the rest of the time!

    homeschooling and WFH both at the same time are stressful without being depressed and in pain, so make sure to cut some time out just for yourself. Everyone needs time to themselves - with no interruptions from kiddies or people who need things - to de-stress. You're in a position where you need to make sure you give yourself this time. Would you / your employer be in a position where you take advantage of the furlough scheme given you have childcare requirements too? I believe the furlough scheme can be utilised on a full time or part time basis, but it would be a pay cut, and not every employer will offer it - your circumstances will determine if this would be a possibility for you.

    Do let us know how you're doing. Depression is hard enough without you having to think you're going through it by yourself!

    Shell

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,271

    Hi historynut,

    I read this today. It's written re covid but actually excellent practice at any time for any negativity. I fyou read it thoroughly, not just look at the headers, things are well-explained and it all makes perfect sense.

    One thing I'd add re arthritis. - don't try to get away from pain as you'll be doomed to failure. Aim to find a level you can tolerate and function OK with. It will be nowhere near where you'd like it to be but you'll feel a lot better if you're not trying to do way too much. Exercise little and often and laugh a lot. It's a proven therapy.

    "The deeper sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain." Kahlil Gibran
  • stellabean
    stellabean Member Posts: 303

    Hi historynut, This is life as we have to get to know it, be realistic in your goals pain free life is something we are never going to experience and as Stickywicket says find a level that allows you to function in a way you can accept. Don't get me wrong I have far from accepted what I can't do and there are times I launch on a self destructive route to come back to earth battered and bruised. I am learning to focus on what I can do and enjoy, and try to concentrate on distraction rather than destruction I tried anti depressants but due to side effects and the fact I felt they made dealing with the pain more difficult they were stopped.Good luck hope you find something that works for you.

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,318

    Hi historynut, I’m sorry to hear you’re at such a low point. Double whammy of constant pain plus lockdown stress won’t be helping.

    I’ve been on antidepressants for years, I simply couldn’t function much without them. I’m lucky that I’ve found ones that agree with me and the benefits far outweigh the few side effects, but even so the old black dog still bites at my ankles, some days worse than others.

    A couple of times the docs decided I “needed” to try different types of meds but each time it put me under the quilt for weeks on end and I felt like someone was trying to rewire my brain (which is basically true), it was a horrendous experience.

    But during those times, or when the black dog raises his head at any time, I simply have to accept that I was unwell and take the pressure off myself. Whatever tiny tasks I could do at my worst were an achievement, even if it was just getting dressed. I knew if I really needed to I could rally and put on an act of “normality”, but that’s not the same as getting better, and it’s not a solution. I still needed to treat myself as a patient awaiting recovery. But I have also learnt over the years that recovery does eventually come, and sometimes it just takes patience and self care.

    I think everyone’s experience of depression is different, and it sounds like you’re already doing a lot of the right things to get through it. some of the suggestions others have made have worked for me to varying degrees at different times, but giving yourself time to accept your current limitations is important, recovery doesn’t work to a timetable. I can’t help feeling that you are trying to force your recovery, and that may be part of the problem. Ask for help and support in the same way that you do for your arther, and that may make things easier for you until you can rebalance and get back on an even keel again. Sometimes it just takes time to work it through. Xx