Depression got worse after stroke

Hi,
I had my stroke on May 7, 2021. I was lucky not to have too much physical damage due to the stroke but my mental health has really suffered. I had been treated for depression and anxiety before the stroke but since it happened I can’[t seem to get a handle on my mental health issues. I’m on medication which I have been taking for a while which has always helped me. Not anymore. I’m pretty sure the pandemic and the isolation has made my condition worse as well. Anyway, I am having a hard time enjoying Anything. I have no ambition, energy, interest in anything anymore. I just exist. I work, I eat and I sleep. I used to be very social and a very busy person, always doing something. Now I’m a couch potato. Anyone else have this problem?

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Hi @wink.311 i totally understand, lockdowns have made things worse. My stroke happened March 2021 with something again august 2021. (Undiagnosed properly). I have quit work as I work in schools so I’ve been at a loss. I have started walking at least 4 to 5 km a day and I find it has lifted my mood a little bit so I can come home and do little jobs. I have started painting by numbers and it’s really great for hand, eye coordination and patience. There are zoom meetings for stroke survivors to join. Have you spoken to anyone at stroke.org? I find them amazing, helpful and full of information. You could give them a ring. We are all here for you. I hope you can pull yourself up and out for a little fresh air or maybe a new hobby. Lots of positive thoughts and luck. Loraine :blush:

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Thank you for your reply Loraine. I will check out stroke.org. I do have various art and craft supplies at home. I need to just get them out and do it!

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I’m the same had my strokes 2019 Xmas affect right side and memory was doing ok for about year or longer was still getting about as could still drive and trying to get over. Losing wife 2018 Xmas and staying with my daughter and grandchildren but since lockdown started have slowly been getting anxious more than usual and haven’t been getting out much past 2 years have been even worse lost all contacts with friends seem to have deserted me why no idea maybe because they didn’t know how to deal with Ed passing, and I’m trying to get out but get anxious when lots of people are around and overload my brain if you understand.

@Mickyboy hi it’s really sad to read your story. I as so sorry for your loss. I totally understand going out and having an overload I had a melt down in Asda as I shop in Tesco’s and thought I’d have a change, because I was used to Tesco’s layout and not Asda’s it really threw me so my advice is don’t overload your self when out. Slowly do it step at a time. If you feel it’s overwhelming go to the toilet or your car somewhere you can de sensersize ( don’t think that’s a word :flushed:) I don’t like loud noises now either so I avoid this too. Tesco’s have a quiet food shopping time early in the morning till about 10 which I find better for me. Good luck stay positive. Loraine :blush:

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I do understand. I have really been isolating myself lately too. I do keep in touch with family but that’s about it. Have you seen anyone about the depression?

Hello @wink.311, I certainly have. I had a cerebellar stroke and six TIAs, September 2020 at the age of 44. At the six month stage I hit an all time low. I had, previously, coped with panic attacks for about fifteen years of my life. At the six month mark after stroke, these increased to virtually every few days. I went on Citalopram which knocked me about for about six weeks, and for two months I was not a couch potato but a bed parsnip. It was a real setback, because after that I struggled with motivation. I suspect neurofatigue plays a role in all this. However, after doing some investigation on why when I took Lorazepam for panics, I could manage all right, I read that it increases the GABA in the brain. Many natural foods do this as well (including lemon balm tea), so I have made a point of adjusting my diet to help. Natural augmentation is not as intense and instant as medication but it works slowly to establish a foundation.

If I go through a phase of lethargy, I just go with it until it passes. I have incorporated various hobbies back into my lifestyle as a means of turning to small things that give me pleasure. Music therapy is also good for elevating mood. Singing as well can help. I did a nine week Mindfulness course which has added to my artillery for dealing with anxiety and low moods. I also play video games which, for me, are a wonderful distraction. I guess, the most effective thing is filling up that gap with enough resources to try and prevent it from becoming all consuming. Lockdown didn’t really affect me as I couldn’t leave the house anyway as my symptoms didn’t make it easy for me to get about, I cultivated a lot of indoor distractions, and spent time reading and listening to podcasts. I have always kept to myself and preferred my own company, but am socially affable. I have found the end result of neurological fatigue for me has been the effort of thinking about the effort of doing things that, previously, I would just go and do. I have had to strip my day down to tiny routines that are achievable.

So, really this is just my own experience, as anxiety and depression will have different triggers for each individual, and I have always just cherry-picked what works for me.

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