Confessions of depressed special needs Dad: Update 11/02/2012

It’s been a little while since I updated everyone on my personal battle with depression. For those of you new to this blog, I have been very open and honest about my struggles with depression. 

My hope is that by creating dialog, we can quash some of the stigma attached to depression.

I’ve personally been on and off antidepressants for the last 15 years or so. 

About a year and a half ago,  I went to my doctor because I was feeling the all too familiar pull of depression, beginning to pull me under.  I was put on 20mg of Paxil.  That worked well for a little while but eventually, the dose was increased to 40mg/day.



Typically, I’m doing okay. I could always be worse but I could definitely be better. 
I know things are beginning to go down hill for me when I start stressing out over things that really aren’t that important. 

For example, right now, with everything we have going on, I can’t help but be consumed by feeling that my phone doesn’t have enough memory.  It’s actually a bit embarrassing to admit that but it’s true.

You would think that I would be more focused on things that matter, like Lizze and the boys. Unfortunately, the truth is that this is what happens when I become completely overwhelmed.

I don’t neglect anyone, I’m just preoccupied.

When I’m in a better place, things like my phones memory don’t bother me.  These types of thoughts are like a barometer for where I am at any point in time.

I also tend to be more impulsive during these times as well. 

Read This  I've got heartbreaking news

I’ve spoken to my doctor in the past about this and basically, I was told that there really is no fix for the amount of stress I’m under.  There is no medication that will make these things better. They can take the edge off and help me to better cope but that’s about it. 

Unfortunately, she’s right.

There really isn’t a scale for the amount of stress I feel each and every day. Medications can only do so much to help.

I’m starting to get a bit concerned that I may need a medication adjustment. I’m not embarrassed or ashamed to go to my doctor about this.  However, a change in medications will likely result is me being very sleepy until I adjust. 

Right now, I can’t afford to be down. 

I really just wanted to share how things were going for me, personally. 

I wanted to also make sure to ask that if you feel you are depressed, talk to someone you trust.  See your doctor.  There is no shame in seeking out help when you need it. 



  • Alicia Hendley says:

    I was diagnosed with Bipolar II Disorder last year, after having not experienced any mood problems since my teen years. The year before my Max was diagnosed with Autism was hell, filled with trying (and often failing) at helping him cope. What followed was a plunge (for me) into a serious depression. Taking an antidepressant unfortunately triggered an underlying hypomania, which then led to different medication. All of this, while trying to keep "level" and highly involved for Maxie and his three sibs. Sigh. Unfortunately, the strategies often suggested for mood problems (take time for yourself, rest often, keep socializing) can be almost impossible when also parenting an ASD child. To be honest, I find the Twitter community one of the best places to be. Hang in there, friend. You are definitely not alone.

  • I too have suffered from depression on and off for so many years I can't even begin to remember when I first experienced it. I can seriously relate to stressing out over things that appear insignificant compared to the challenges my Son and his Wife struggle with each and every day. They have 3 boys that are autistic. I used to always call and say, "call me if you need me." They need me whenever I can help with anything no matter how small it seems. I no longer need to call, just show up whenever I can to help out. I can relate to everything that is being said. Sometimes we do just need someone to listen, as for them they no longer need to hear my suggestions about "how to fix it" because, I finally realized that I don't have a clue. All I can do is be there for them whenever my health allows it. Those 3 boys are the most precious gifts I have ever received and I love them dearly. I only wish I didn't feel so helpless. God Bless You All.

  • rebeccamagliozzi says:

    I've struggled alot with depression too over the years. having one autistic kid and him and the other having PANDAS is often rough. I handle most of the parenting and meltdowns and special needs stuff by myself. Having a good friend who's child is autistic with very similar issues has really helped me. We can vent and the other understands, because our children do the exact same crazy things. She's the best babysitter I've ever had, because I know she can handle any collassal meltdown he has. I have also chosen medication myself. Taking Naltrexone at night has really helped with the stress of things and helps me focus better, feel more patient. I am really glad I made the choice to get help. It's hard to find the right mix of things.

  • I can understand a little of what your going through but then again I'm not in your shoes.  I have an 11 year old with Autism an 11 month old. My day is very crazy and hectic.  It's nice that you at least get a chance to blog about your feelings. You are doing a good thing by letting others know that they are not alone. Usually a tweak in your medication may help sometimes it can take months to find what works for you. I wish you all the luck in the world.

  • Paradigm says:

    I get it.  And I so get the:
    "However, a change in medications will likely result is me being very sleepy  until I adjust. 
    Right now, I can’t afford to be down."
     
    I usually go until I crash…usually in some form of all-consuming rage or tears or both.  I hate when I do that.  It just scares everyone.  But, like you, I talk to someone. Not often, but when it gets to be too, too, too much, I ask her just to listen. Don't try to fix it. (Could you get a sitter?  ARE YOU KIDDING???)  Don't give me platitudes. (It will all feel better tomorrow.  ARE YOU KIDDING???)  Don't give me any advice WHATSOEVER.  (Have you talked the teacher/doctor/therapist?  ARE YOU KIDDING???)
     
    To anyone who has family or friends  with special needs in their home, PLEASE, just shut up and LISTEN.  We just need to get the poison from the inside to the outside, where we can see what we are up against.  We don't want you to fix it.  You can't.  We don't want your pity.  It does not help.  It is our life.  It is our family.  We love them.  We do our job with pride and without promise of reward. What we want is for someone to LISTEN.  And, then VALIDATE. "Wow, what you face everyday is really, REALLY tough.  You are very strong.  It takes a lot of love and determination to do what you do as a matter of every day life. I know you feel forgotten, and all of your needs are overlooked.  I am proud of you.  You deserve a medal for what you do everyday.  I love you.  I believe in you. I am here with you and for you." 
     
     In those words are blessing and affirmation and validation.  Someone hears me.  Someone sees me.  Someone appreciates what I do.  Someone sees that what I do is important and valid and life-changing. 
     
    And when you want to help, don't say, "Hey, give me a call if you need me."  We need you.  Always. Don't wait for us to ask.  Just do it.  Drop off a meal.  Call and say, "I am at the store.  What can I bring you?"  Send a good, old-fashioned card of encouragement.  We can see it, touch it, and believe that we are not invisible.

    • Batty says:

      @Paradigm you are totally spot on!  Too many people have lost the skill of listening and giving positive reinforcement and validation without bringing up more negatives.  As SN parents there are often too few people available to listen to us or affirm that our struggles are worthwhile.  I know within myself that they are worthwhile, but it strengthens me to hear it from someone else.
      Thanks!
      Karen

    • lostandtired says:

      @Paradigm that is fantastic advice. I wish those kinds of things were practiced by more people.

  • lostandtired says:

    @dotdash thanks. I appreciate that. 🙂

  • dotdash says:

    You have great insight — your recognition of the barometers of depression (anxiety over relatively insignificant things) is so interesting.  Hang in there.  You are a very strong person, and your self-awareness will stand you in good stead.