wings and things

Dementia and Depression

on February 14, 2017

The title of this post is a bit misleading (intentionally) because it implies that Depression is an off-shoot of Dementia and, yes, sometimes this is the case.

Anthony, who recently turned 81, has Parkinson’s Disease Dementia but, even after having been in the high-care section of a nursing home for five years, he is rarely depressed.

Julie (that’s me), who recently turned 58, has Depression in the clinical sense – i.e. she has a disease in much the same way that Anthony has a disease. But, like Anthony, she is rarely depressed. There is a rather wonderful irony here.

I am not quite sure why I wrote the above paragraph in the third person except for the fact that I have been so deeply embarrassed by my diagnosis for so many years now that I find it difficult to admit. Admitting it now is my way of combatting the stigma that still exists, and rejoicing in the fact that there are treatments; that I have been helped by these treatments (medicinal and psychological); and that I have become sensitive to others who suffer like I used to.

In recent weeks I have had the most ghastly outbreak of Depression and yet, paradoxically, I have been able to function normally whilst visiting Anthony, looking after the new puppy, and interacting with friends and family. Ming is, of course, my priority, my favourite person, my rock but also, perhaps, my downfall in the sense that I feel I have failed him in so many ways.

There is a huge difference between Depression and being depressed; the former is a condition and the latter is a temporary mood. Obviously this is up for debate and I would appreciate feedback.

Dementia, on the other hand is, at least for Anthony, irreversible and ongoing/worsening. And yet he has the most amazing ability to comfort me, and to be so accepting when I leave him to ‘go to work’ (my latest ruse).

Me: I have to go to work. Will you be okay?

Anthony: Well, I’ll have to be, won’t I.

Me: So what would you rather have – me here with you or me making money?

Anthony: The money.

This has been a bit difficult to write so thanks for listening x

18 responses to “Dementia and Depression

  1. Judy says:

    Dearest Julie, all I can say is that you have “situational depression.” Your situation is a very challenging one. To live with anticipatory grief for so many years is a horror. Your body is on high alert and every day begins with uncertainty, anxiety and fear. Anthony is your foundation and the house could collapse at any moment. The thought of rebuilding or even feeling homeless is enough to cause any human depression.
    Please be easy on yourself. Anthony does not have the awareness you are dealing with. I feel for you so much!

  2. Anthony makes me laugh.

    You said “There is a huge difference between Depression and being depressed; the former is a condition and the latter is a temporary mood. Obviously this is up for debate and I would appreciate feedback.”. And I think you said it very well. Any one of us can feel depressed regarding something. But Depression (diagnosed condition) is a whole other beast. I’m sorry you deal with that Julie. I actually had a bout brought on by medication once, it was horrible. I hope that you have kicked that stigma in the face. There’s no shame in having a condition beyond your control.

    I’m sorry this was difficult for you to write. But I’m glad you wrote it.

  3. KDKH says:

    Much love and respect to you this morning. So glad you got treatment! Perhaps you should acquaint yourself with Carrie Fischer’s work (she was a Princess Leia in thnStar are movies). She focused on mental health with a wonderful attitude-depressed and unashamed.

  4. The money, of course, because if you have enough of it you’ll be taken care of. You both will. So it’s not such a bad answer at all. I expect my husband would say the same, because he loves me. Anthony gave you the right answer.

  5. susanpoozan says:

    Well done for assembling your thoughts in such a careful way, I feel honoured with your confidence.

  6. tootlepedal says:

    And not very easy to read either. Hang in there.

  7. Robyn Jones says:

    Hello Julie, had to comment!
    In your ongoing situation, you are AMAZING. So is Anthony. And so is Ming.
    XX Robyn

  8. Anonymous says:

    You are the bravest and most inspiring person I know. That I am the mother of such a strong and resilient person who has been trusted with the life you have been given, makes me prouder than you’ll ever know. I know the courage it took to write this piece. Well done my beautiful girl.

  9. Vicki says:

    It’s strange how people are frightened of anything that affects the Mind. And, clinically diagnosed Depression seems to top the bill for the everyday healthy community. Thankfully, there’s now more publicity and help for the condition.

    It takes great courage to admit online that you suffer from this, but then, you are one very courageous lady in such a difficult life situation these days.

    It takes ever more courage to seek professional help.

    Well done and keep it up. Never let that ‘black dog’ get to you.

    With much love, Vicki xox

  10. Depression is terrible and can show itself in many ways and not just by a person feeling sad which is what most people think when they think depression, I cry at the drop of a hat and take everything to heart, Kathy (eldest daughter) get angry and has uncontrollable rage and so did Tim different people different symptoms one disease

  11. Ann Koplow says:

    As always, Julie, I am honored and grateful to read your thoughts. Much love to you and your family.

  12. tersiaburger says:

    My dear friend. I started taking anti-depressants in 2002. I am unashamed about it. My little green tablet helps me cope with life. You are in the middle of hell. There is absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about. You are doing an amazing job. You are a wonderful, sensible and realistic mother. You have made in difference in my life merely through your blog. You are a wonderful person
    Drink your anti-depressant. I love you. Thank you for making my world a better place.

  13. I commend you for ‘coming out’ as a person with Depression. I am so glad also, that you are getting the proper help for dealing with it. 😀 Big hugs from over here in La La Land.

  14. We just finished watching a WW II period peace movie called Ithaca. For some odd reason, it called up in me some rather depressed feelings. I have a tendency to be an Eeyore anyway, but seeing a young boy dealing with the pain of a changing world and the loss that the war brought to his inner self and those around him made me feel the loss and the potential loss that we all face everyday. I think we all hope there will be some kind of happy stasis, the happy ever after, but for most, life is full of change and ever changing levels of acceptance and loss. No wonder we can get depressed, but even in that many of us gain strength. I guess I am having a Peter Pan moment, not wanting to grow up!

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