Possible depression?

Hello and apologies for the long post.

I’m worried about mum. For about 3 weeks, she stopped doing any form of exercise and insisted on spending all day in bed. She also refused to have the TV on. She wasn’t doing enough exercise in the first place because she’s a bit lazy, but then she became adamant that she was not going to do any physio or speech & language therapy at all. She stopped drinking water except to take medication and would only leave her bed to be taken to the toilet, then it was straight back in. She would have a tantrum if I said she should sit in the armchair for her meals and I had to give them to her in bed because she’s stubborn and would rather not eat to prove a point. She’s done that for 2.5 days in the past, and when she doesn’t eat, she doesn’t take her medication.

Mum used to have her TV on and loved watching TBN, a Christian TV channel. She especially loved the music and would sing along even though she can’t form the words. She would also watch old favourites like “Murder She Wrote”. She used to ask to be brought to the living room to sit with me, but during this period, every time I asked if she wanted to join me in the living room, she would shake her head frantically. She just wanted to be left alone in her bed.

Three days ago, she perked up! For the first two days after coming out of it, she asked to be put in the armchair in the morning and didn’t go back into her bed until bedtime. She also watched TV. She even asked to use the mobile pedal exerciser on the morning of the second day, immediately after being moved to her armchair, and she pedalled for quite a while. She sat in the living room with me the whole of yesterday! Plus, she’s drinking water again.

I’m pleased, but scared it might happen again because I have no idea what triggered it, neither do I know how or why it stoppped. I was going to post while it was happening but just didn’t get round to it.

What can I do to keep her spirits up? I found the situation quite distressing because staying in bed all day eliminates the possibility of any form of recovery.

Has anyone experienced similar? What would you advise?

The main things she loved before the stroke were going to church and cooking. She wouldnt be able to sit through a church service now and I’m sure she won’t even go because since the stroke she has refused all visitors (I think she doesn’t want anyone seeing her like that). Her arm is paralysed, so cooking is no longer possible. I’m going to see if she’ll join the church service on Zoom with the camera and mic off. Apart from that, I can’t think of what else to do.

Thanks in advance.

So sorry to hear of your problems with your Mum. You didn’t say how long ago she had her stroke, it still could be early days, stroke affects us all in different ways. The only thing I could suggest is either talking to your G.P. or maybe contacting the Stoke Association to see if they have any ideas. Not much help I know, but she may just have “weathered the storm”. Depression and anxiety is common after a stroke, it is just the coming to terms with it all, I do hope you find some answers. I expect other members on this site will give you some more information. And I will keep my fingers crossed that she will continue to improve. Good idea about the church service with and Zoom camera.
Best wishes, Jane.

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@middlechild so sorry to hear about your mum. As @jane.cobley mentioned if the stroke was quite recent, your mum may have been in the denial stage and still coming to terms with what has happened to her.

Hopefully she is now determined to make progress and participate in rehabilitation physio and SALT. It’s a huge shock and it can take a little while to process, she has to want to move forward and make progress.

Perhaps the vicar/father/minister (apologies I don’t know your mum’s religious denomination) could call on her at home, whilst I appreciate you say she doesn’t want visitors, her faith may give her comfort and a visit from someone in that capacity may be welcomed rather than a friend at this stage. Try asking her friends to telephone/zoom/FaceTime initially so your mum gets used to being around others again.

There’s lots of articles and advice on the Stroke Association website that could help.

Hopefully she’s turned the corner and is now on the road to rehabilitation.

Best wishes

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@middlechild welcome. Sorry to hear your mum’s had a stroke. The early stages post stroke are very difficult & i know for the 1st couple of months i was so tired it was difficult to do anything.
It’s good that she now seems to have turned a corner and fingers crossed she will now continue improving. Its possible she was suffering low mood . Its very common post stroke. If it happens again it may be worth speaking to GP. Might also be worth looking at a neuro psychology referral as they can help with this. Think theres a long wait so early referral would be good…can always cancel if then not needed.
Wishing you both all the best.

Ann x

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Shwmae @middlechild, everyone has pitched in really good advice. I can only say from my own experience that I was not consistent with my needs early on. Sometimes there was so much I had to deal with in my body and brain, I blocked out everything else and hoped that people would leave me alone. When I felt some relief, I felt joyous and productive, gripping onto that feeling all day, and whoosh, I would tumble again. I, personally, wasn’t depressed but I had so much to concentrate on, people may have thought I was. I was anxious more than anything else. My own private, personal peril that no one else could see or feel.

Do, however, keep an eye out for depression. It can manifest, and they have recently done studies that reveal depression isn’t necessarily connected to chemical imbalance but rather circumstance. Stroke is certainly a circumstance that can induce depression as it can be so sickly stifling.

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