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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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)
Helpful Answer (9)

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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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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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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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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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, 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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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, 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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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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