My husband is becoming worried and I don't care. In fact I don't really care about anything anymore. I'm not eating properly, I sleep a lot, don't exercise anymore. Unless I have to I never want to leave the house The doctor has already prescribed an antidepressant which I take but I feel even worse since I started it. I feel like nothing really matters.

Could this be because my mom is in a nursing home now and I've lost my reason for living which was taking care of her for so long?

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Alos from this site Carol has written a piece on this exact problem : I am putting the link in for you so you can go straight to it hun. Believe me you are not alone even if it doesnt feel that way at the moment.
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Gershun darling thats all any of us can do and we all experience the downers from time to time - at least I hope we all do - if not I am unique.
I have looked on a UK site and found this: from

Although not everyone experiences this ‘anticipatory grief’, people who do can feel the same emotions and sense of mourning as if the person had actually died.
You may have a wide range of emotions, such as loss, dread, guilt and anxiety. Everyone reacts differently, and the way you cope is unique.
The grief you might experience may not initially be for the person you care for, but for the life you currently lead. Becoming a carer can change your life dramatically, and you may feel like you've lost some of your freedom or social life.
The extra responsibility, and not being able to do anything without planning, can be stressful. You might feel guilty about feeling this way, but it’s a natural reaction to such a big change in your life.
Grieving before a person dies doesn't necessarily mean that you won’t grieve when they pass away. Everyone reacts differently to these circumstances. While some people feel prepared for the death and have closure, others may start the grieving process all over again.
Dealing with conditions that affect a person's personality and memory can be very traumatic, particularly if you're caring for a relative or close friend.
Many carers find that they grieve for the loss of the person they once were. You might grieve for the memories that you have together, which the cared-for person will forget. You may grieve for the changes to their personality or for any future plans that they may no longer be able to carry out. You may feel conflicting emotions as the person you look after loses their mental functions or stops recognising you.
Terminal conditions
Finding out that someone you care for has a terminal disease can leave you feeling powerless and devastated.
If you experience pre-death grief, it’s just as vital for you to talk to someone and feel supported as it is when someone has already died. You might find that it helps to talk to friends and family, or the person you care for. It’s not uncommon for the person with the condition to experience anticipatory grief, so you may find comfort in talking to each other.
You might also consider talking to a counsellor. It can help to discuss your feelings with someone who is objective and doesn't have emotional ties to the situation. This can help, particularly if the person you care for is in denial about their condition. The counsellor can talk to you about your feelings, suggest ways that you can help the person being cared for, and discuss the difficult post-death decisions that you may need to make, such as organ donation.
Bottling up your emotions can leave you feeling overwhelmed and, in some cases, affect your health. So it’s important to find someone to support you.
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Thank-you all so much for your kind words. People are so nice on here. Even though I don't feel better your advice and sweet comments really warm my heart. I know everything is a process and as my mom always used to say "Just keep putting one foot in front of the other" and thats what I am trying to do. Much love to you all!!
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Go back to your physician you are experiencing side effects and this needs to be explored hun xxxx Is it possible you can speak to a community psychiatric nurse - they can be brilliant at getting from you what is the root of the problem and what steps YOU can take to help yourself climb back up to normal - by the way we have a ladder here to help you up xxxx
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Dear Gershun, You have been so kind to me. I hope I can reciprocate.
Your have at least four issues going on right now. 1) Your mom is no longer the major focus of your time and energy. One doesn't give up anything--drugs, alcohol, jogging, or full-time caregiving without leaving a vacuum. 2) Ergo, you are at a loss and depressed. 3) Anti-depressants are better prescribed by a psychiatrist than your family doctor. There are many varieties. It could take a few months to find the right pill or combination for you. Be patient. 4) In the meantime, take your hubby out for lunch, dinner, a movie, a local museum you've always wanted to see but never did because you were caring for you mom. 5) What did you like to do before you became a full-time caregiver? Do you still have some friends you could call to say, 'hello?"
Two weeks ago, I played the piano for the first time in two years. Only for 20 minutes or so, but it was a big step for me.
What would you like to do for yourself? Ever wanted a facial? A mani-pedi? Of course, we know you don't deserve to treat yourself to some care and attention, even if you want a crazy color on your nails. I haven't done it either. Tomorrow I'm getting my hair trimmed and colored for the first time in two months. I shouldn't spend the time or money on that, but the grey in my hair is embarrassing my husband. Please recognize the satire in the last couple sentences. I know you are a wonderful woman going through a major change in the priorities of your life. Right now, you are the No. 1 person to give some love and attention to. Please keep on posting. Hugs and warm wishes to you.
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Gershun, thanks for answering my question. Sorry to hear that you had some side effects at a higher dose and that you are feeling worse instead of better.

Your primary care doctor may add something to what you are on or try something completely different. Or since it is not their specialty, they may send you to a specialist, a psychiatrist.

I wish you the best in finding something that works for you!
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OH a couple other things - sunlight, vitamin D (check your level it might be really low - very common!) and physical activity - anything you can even half way enjoy, the more strenous the better - followed by some hot tub time if you have one handy.
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Yeah - try a different antidepressant - if you need one after getting this one out of your system. Plan a vacation (everything but the time frame) for when you are feeling well enough to enjoy it. And try some CBT for sure.

One more thing - get you some really good well for me. If you are sensitive enough to it, you can just feel the serotonin level in your deep brain going up :-). Since I learned how to get a therapeutic dose of it without too many calories.or too much fat on a PRN basis, I have not needed an SSRI for about 20 years now, even when I had PMS...
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Gershun, you may need a different med altogether, since you are not up to a therapeutic dose of the Effexor. You might consider seeing a psychiatrist to do the psychopharmacology stuff, they are the real experts in the field of figuring out the right drug and the right dose. Please don't a sum that because one doesn't work, none of them will. I hope you feel better soon!
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Gershun, if the same antidepressants worked for everyone, there would not gazillions of them available. Discuss the side effects with your doctor. (It is good that you have an appointment soon.)

SOMETIMES (certainly not always) certain side effects only last for a few weeks, until your body gets acclimated to the drug. Discuss this with your doctor or pharmacist.

Don't despair. If Effexor is not the right drug for you, there are others to try.

All the tips about environmental and behavioral things to try are worthwhile, too!

In my personal experience, and watching others, one of the most debilitating aspects of depression is lack of initiative. You KNOW a walk would do you good, but you just can't get up off the couch. This is one reason why finding a good drug is important. If you can get even a little of your initiative back, you can do more for yourself. If your husband understands what is going on he can also help with the lack of initiative. If the two of you together decide to take a walk each evening he can gently encourage you.

Please keep in touch. We care.
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My hubs was given antidepressants years ago, and he quit taking them soon after because he felt "blah" too... he knew his own self. But you HAVE to do something to get back into life! For both yourself and your family. My father with ALZ passed on 2/28, and I thought that would relieve alot of my stress.. WRONG My mom still lives with us.. no ALZ.. but still upset about things and worries about everything. I refer to her as debbie downer. I know she is having a hard time missing dad.. but everything now is bad news! even when it is good news! Try to find an outlet, even if it is just reconnecting with your Hubs
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cmagnum in answer to your questions the antidepressant I am taking is called Effexor 37.5 mg. once a day. It was prescribed by my primary care physician. I was supposed to up the dose to 75 mg. after two weeks but I did not cause the side effects were too much.

I've got an appointment coming up in two weeks to review my medicine. I hear you can get something added when you are on antidepressants. I am going to discuss this with him.

I honestly feel dead inside since starting this medicine but I was feeling anxious and depressed before I started taking them so I don't know which is worse.
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I think this is something we all need to take on board. Someone once told me that no matter how bad it gets, how much you crave relief from the stress..... that when freedom comes it brings with it a different set of issues whcih you wont be prepared for. I think it is a bit like grieving and I am not sure that antidepressants are the only answer. I often think that being able to talk things thorugh with a grief counsellor allows a better release from the feelings you are experiencing than tablets.
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Gershun, I replied earlier without knowing that it had been a year since your mother went to live elsewhere. I still think of it as empty nest syndrome, though. That is a very real thing, and you have described it perfectly. The fact that your mother isn't relying on you for her every need is somehow discomforting. But, just think what a gift you have given to her with your loving care and attention.

I think that Mom wouldn't be happy to hear that you are wallowing and directionless. She would want you to be happy because she is. Maybe you can find a volunteer opportunity that will fulfill you and you won't feel unneeded anymore.

Volunteer at the nursing home. You can read and visit and help with mealtime. Maybe you can do manicures or play the piano. Maybe teach a craft or start a knitting circle. If you talk to the social director, I'm sure they can come up with ways you can contribute.

Or go the other direction and volunteer at your local elementary school. I used to do that. Shelve books in the library, make copies, help out in the classroom. Be a Girl Scout leader or assistant. Work with CASA as an advocate for children, they train you well. I could go on, but you get the picture.

You have skills. Advocating, organizing, mediating, entertaining, and more.
You are worthy and needed. You are not superfluous.
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Gershun, the "why" of the depression hardly ever matters. Some people with majorly sucks lives never become depressed, while some folks with no "reason" suffer from depression. Depression isn't based in reason.

As above, get yourself to a psychiatrist who can evaluate your reaction to your current antidepressant. You may need different, or an additional medication. But above all, start interviewing therapists to find a good match. Good talk therapy doesn't give you the reasons for your depression, but it will teach you how to climb out of it and resist it.
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Your listed symptoms are definitely signs of depression and your husband in rightly concerned.

Which anti-depressant are you on?

How long have you been taking it?
They take 2-4 weeks to start working.

Have you taken it as prescribed?

Who prescribed the anti-depressant?
A primary care physician or a psychiatrist?

You do not sound selfish, you sound self-less.It sounds like there is no self left now that your mother is in the nursing home. What was your sense of self based on before?

What was your reason for living before you started taking care of your mother? How long did you take care of your mother at home?

It may not be healthy for you to be going there every day so that you can have the time and distance to work on a new sense of self. Your sense of self does not need to go down the drain because your mother is declining. Your lack of a sense of self and feeling like you have nothing left to live for may come from over identifying with her decline which happens sometimes. Thus, I definitely think that you need some talk therapy to get back to you being you apart from her and her declining health.

Plus you and your husband need to start doing things together that you now have the freedom to do that you did not have before, that is if this is what you want to do? I hope that you two have not lost each other in the process of taking care of your mother the way some parents loose each other in the process of raising their children and then when they hit the empty next they are more roommates than mates which is sad. If that has happened, all is not lost, it just will take some extra work and time to rebuild.

Take care and keep in touch.
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I really appreciate all your responses.Its funny,my mom has been in the nursing home for a year now and at first I sort of hung on and hung on, visiting a lot and watch dogging every one who worked there, making sure all my moms needs were being met, visiting every other day etc. etc.

Now of course I still visit my mom and call her every day but I guess its kind of like when your kids go to kindergarten. At first they miss you and cling to you and then they move on and go their own way (as they should). My Mom looks to others now for her needs and I am happy for her but I feel kind of superfluous I guess.

Hopefully I don't sound selfish cause I've never cared for self centered, self pitying people. I just feel empty and sad.

But all your responses were great, heartfelt and I will definitely try your suggestions. Thx Much!!!
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Txcamper has this nailed. My husband died after a 10-year journey with dementia. My employment also ended around that time. OMG These two things which I was expecting and which should have "freed" me to pursue happier things totally left me without purpose. That was a surprise.

I suggest (strongly) that in addition to a med you try talk therapy. This is a MAJOR change in your life and it can help to discuss it with an objective professional.

Don't expect to whip this overnight. But don't give up. Life will be meaningful again.
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txcamper, so well said. Gershun, it is so strange that when we think it will be easier and better for us, the depression sets in. It's almost like the stress was keeping it at bay while we're caregiving. Then it crashes in on us. You are not alone, so don't be hard on yourself. I love txcamper's ideas of sitting in the sunshine and doing other small things that can be so healing to our souls.

Maybe how we feel is a bit how soldiers feel when they return from a war zone. They expect to feel happy and relieved, but instead feel anxious and depressed. These large changes can jolt our systems and make us feel lost, particularly when there was a lot of stress. It may take a while to adjust, so the baby steps mentioned sound perfect to me.
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You might have a point there. Kind of an "empty nest syndrome".

I think you need to give the antidepressants a little more time to work before you totally dismiss them. Sometimes it takes a couple of months.

Are you visiting your mother regularly? I know she would probably enjoy seeing you. And the bonus is that you get to be her sweet daughter who brings her little presents and sits and chats and looks at photos or TV or whatever - and you aren't responsible for her care. You no longer have to lift her or change her or feed her or anything that you don't feel like doing.

You still have a husband, which means that your caregiving time didn't totally ruin your marriage (it can happen). Focus on that saint of a man, he has his wife back. Or would have if she still wants him.

Start small. But try to at least get dressed every day. Then maybe go sit on the front porch if it's good weather. Get some sunshine and fresh air. In a few days call a friend and meet for coffee or lunch if you're daring. You can do it, you had the energy to take care of your mother and now you just need to redirect.

It is depression, but hopefully it will be short term. You've just forgotten how it can be to have some time to yourself and for yourself.

She might have been your reason for living before, but now you find a new one. Maybe you take up a hobby you've been putting off. Maybe you take a short trip to someplace you couldn't because it wouldn't be possible with mom. Maybe you join a group, could be a support group, could be the church choir.

We all will face this sooner or later, either through moving to a nursing home or through death. I imagine I will feel much the same way you do now, and the reason I've got any clue at all is because I've already gone through this before. I won't sugarcoat it - it will be hard. But you are still needed, just in a different way.

Love and hugs to you - txcamper (who doesn't get to camp right now)
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