Depression and Anxiety at an older age

Posted by pjss48 @pjss48, Sep 14, 2018

I am a 70 year old woman who has had depression and anxiety for a long time. It got worse 3 years ago when my husband lost one of his jobs. I panicked and my anxiety increased. I was afraid to do things. like driving. I have arthritis pretty bad and foot problems. I’m a Christian and my faith has helped me. My husband was a pastor and our church closed 3 months ago. We’ve had continual stress. Sometimes I don’t know what to do with myself during the day. I’ve gotten help from several doctors, including a psychiatrist. I also have IBS. I am better. I’m taking trazadone duloxetine, remeron and xanax. Also on osteo biflex, probiotic , bentyl and celebrex. I want to get on Sam e but it may interact with one of my meds. Thanks for listening.

@mariajean03

I'm 61 and very bored and lonely. Depression and OCD all my life. Never really fit in anywhere. My siblings won't contact me! I'm Catholic and Mass and my faith keep me going. But the parish knows I'm mentally ill and don't call me either. Stigma is terrible! Hope my reward is in Heaven. Maria.

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@mariajean03

I'm always saddened to hear that someone is having to deal with various stigmas. I don't think that I ever really understood how awful that could be until I became a target. Depression and anxiety and PTSD and suicide attempts each carry a stigma that I've lived under. Education helps much of the time, but old misconceptions die very slowly. And one of the things that I struggle with is knowing that people have those old attitudes toward me. When I'm reminded of it, all of the mental health challenges that I face move up to the center of my consciousness. As a rule, I'm able to stay pretty stable, thanks to therapy and medications, but lately I've been more depressed, mostly, I think, because of the neuropathy pain in my feet and ankles.

I grew up in a minister's home, and until I was 55, I followed in my father's footsteps. Because I wasn't able to function in my job, I was approved for Social Security disability. Talk about living with stigma! Pastors are supposed to have it all together, but all of a sudden I was on the other side of the counselor's desk, and I heard things people said in judgment of me. Things like "You need to pray more", "You need more faith", "You need to read the Bible more". And lots worse. The congregation I had served for ten years turned on me and wanted to run me out of town.

I'm 70 now, and the past 15 years haven't been easy. Being told that I should be over "it" by now, Is very unhelpful, to say the least. We're in a good church now, and the pastor knows about depression personally. Some of his chemotherapy shuts him down for a week, and he curls up under his blanket in his recliner during that time. I'm not made to feel like a terrible sinner anymore. (That's how I was treated in the last church we went to.)

I agree with you that going to church can be a therapy boost, as it should be. Going to mass shows that you are taking care of yourself. How often can you go? Right now, our church is restricted to two Sunday morning services, and we miss the other worship times. I'm impressed by the ways you work around your limitations. Summer is better for me because I have so much work that needs to be done. We have ten acres, and I'm thankful that we're leasing the pasture to our neighbors. That means they do the work of irritating. All we have to do is enjoy seeing their cows and horses grazing. And pay the irrigation pump bill. I need to paint a few sections of the barn this summer. If I could just get myself up and going earlier…

Good to hear from you.

Jim

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I do find stereotyping/stigmas abhorrent. There are many things I have not gotten over. Many of these things are primal. I have come to accept the past abuse. It does not define me as a person. I finally stopped therapy as I was boring myself stupid.
For now I am not criticized for isolating. I endeavor to keep positive. Still the attitude of, "can't change it, can't fix it" and struggling to hear my own words.
Stay strong fellow old ones. A shame so much old age wisdom seems to be wasted.

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Totally relate to all you wrote. At the moment, I am blasting Queen videos – Freddy Mercury gives me so much energy- after which I'll do a video recording of myself kvetching.Just for me. A video journal. I do learn a bit that way. Often I write something on Facebook and end it by affirming that being old gives me a certain amount of right to demand attention. As for anyone, including me, defining me as a person, I change so much daily that sort of makes definition impossible.

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@mothergoose76 Bring 'em on. Bohemian Rhapsody gets me revved.

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Right now I'm watching his Live Aid concert. That strut!

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@mattyw You are going through so much. I am a Christian, but have heard that a church is a hospital for sinners. Yes, we can pray, but sometimes God says no, but for you I feel there will be a day you will be better. You are a good person, who needs lots of help. I had a 9 hour surgery in June and my depression was fine before the surgery, but I am having depression and anxiety, especially in the morning. It's hard for me to get out of bed. As the day goes on I start to feel better. Because a my surgery on my back I have to take walks several times a day. We have mental illness in our family and my mom took her life at age 69 and that's the age I am now.
Live each day the best you can. I think Jim will help you the most. My heart goes out to you.

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I am a 60 year old woman who has had depression and was on a dose of Cymbalta 30mg over a year ago. I lived in an apartment complex happily for 16 years. Then along came a management that took over the complex that illegally took advantage of the resident's penny! Three years of them was enough! When I moved I had a most difficult time finding a place to live because no many apartment complexes take HUD. HUD was supposed to help and did not.
I almost became homeless and needed my Cymbalta increased to 60mg. My current apartment is nothing in comparison to my other gorgeous apartment.
My depression flared again and Cymbalta was increased to 80mg.

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@mariajean03

I'm 61 and very bored and lonely. Depression and OCD all my life. Never really fit in anywhere. My siblings won't contact me! I'm Catholic and Mass and my faith keep me going. But the parish knows I'm mentally ill and don't call me either. Stigma is terrible! Hope my reward is in Heaven. Maria.

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@mariajean03 I'm sorry sibings won't contact you. Have you tried to contact them. They need to be educated about mental illness. I have a son, who is bipolar 1, his wife and my only grandchild, who has no contact with us. So , I know how sad that can be without them, especially my grand daughter. They live in NYC they are both professors, but my son with his illness cannot teach, but his wife if very successful at Colombia U. I haven't seen my Marlowe (granddaughter) since she was 3. The only time I can skype with her is if she is with her other grandmother in Chicago. I even have to send cards and letters and gifts to that grandmom and she forwards it to Marlowe. We contacted our attorney there is a thing as Grandparent Rights, but I don't know if anything will come out of it. It depends on NY law. Here one of the spouses have to have died, before you can get Grandparents Rights. Forgot to tell you Marlowe is 9 now. She did make me something that was in her Chicago Grandmothers Birthday card to me. That was very special. Otherwise we have no contack with them.
Sorry to tell you my problems when you are hurting so much. I can't understand that the sigma is so bad that nobody is there to help you. I will send my prayers to you.

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@jimhd

@mariajean03

I'm always saddened to hear that someone is having to deal with various stigmas. I don't think that I ever really understood how awful that could be until I became a target. Depression and anxiety and PTSD and suicide attempts each carry a stigma that I've lived under. Education helps much of the time, but old misconceptions die very slowly. And one of the things that I struggle with is knowing that people have those old attitudes toward me. When I'm reminded of it, all of the mental health challenges that I face move up to the center of my consciousness. As a rule, I'm able to stay pretty stable, thanks to therapy and medications, but lately I've been more depressed, mostly, I think, because of the neuropathy pain in my feet and ankles.

I grew up in a minister's home, and until I was 55, I followed in my father's footsteps. Because I wasn't able to function in my job, I was approved for Social Security disability. Talk about living with stigma! Pastors are supposed to have it all together, but all of a sudden I was on the other side of the counselor's desk, and I heard things people said in judgment of me. Things like "You need to pray more", "You need more faith", "You need to read the Bible more". And lots worse. The congregation I had served for ten years turned on me and wanted to run me out of town.

I'm 70 now, and the past 15 years haven't been easy. Being told that I should be over "it" by now, Is very unhelpful, to say the least. We're in a good church now, and the pastor knows about depression personally. Some of his chemotherapy shuts him down for a week, and he curls up under his blanket in his recliner during that time. I'm not made to feel like a terrible sinner anymore. (That's how I was treated in the last church we went to.)

I agree with you that going to church can be a therapy boost, as it should be. Going to mass shows that you are taking care of yourself. How often can you go? Right now, our church is restricted to two Sunday morning services, and we miss the other worship times. I'm impressed by the ways you work around your limitations. Summer is better for me because I have so much work that needs to be done. We have ten acres, and I'm thankful that we're leasing the pasture to our neighbors. That means they do the work of irritating. All we have to do is enjoy seeing their cows and horses grazing. And pay the irrigation pump bill. I need to paint a few sections of the barn this summer. If I could just get myself up and going earlier…

Good to hear from you.

Jim

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@jimhd About a month ago I started back on a low-dose anti-depressant. Two weeks ago I had my first appt with a new psychologist. In times past I had availed myself to both of those, but it has been a long time. Like @parus and you have said, the stigmas of truth-telling, of letting people know where you are at mental-health wise, shouldn't be met with negative, but so often they are. Each person has their own reality, and is working with ways to help them get through each day. I hate the way we are ostracized and the ways we are made to feel "less than".

Depression and anxiety at an older age can be caused by so many things. Loss of a spouse/family member/close friend. Changing health conditions. Uncertainty with financial or living situations. Changing neighborhoods around us. Isolation because of this pandemic or transportation concerns. Even retirement, which we all hear should be so wonderful, can be a source of depression, when our "reason for being" is gone, along with an income.

Shoulder to shoulder we stand together, supporting one another.
Ginger

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@lsittll

I am a 60 year old woman who has had depression and was on a dose of Cymbalta 30mg over a year ago. I lived in an apartment complex happily for 16 years. Then along came a management that took over the complex that illegally took advantage of the resident's penny! Three years of them was enough! When I moved I had a most difficult time finding a place to live because no many apartment complexes take HUD. HUD was supposed to help and did not.
I almost became homeless and needed my Cymbalta increased to 60mg. My current apartment is nothing in comparison to my other gorgeous apartment.
My depression flared again and Cymbalta was increased to 80mg.

Jump to this post

@lsittll

This is the first time I've read something you've written, but I see that you're no stranger here.

Life doesn't always deal the nicest cards. I'm going to try Cymbalta again after my back surgery next month. I took it for a short time several years ago, but I stopped for some reason. It's complicated. I've tried dozens of medications to treat my neuropathy pain, with no success. A couple of them helped but had bad side effects, others did nothing, and some worked for a while, but then quit working. The only medication that has helped long term is morphine sulfate contin, and in 2017 I had a spinal cord stimulator implant that reduced my pain significantly for over a year. I still have it turned on, but it's not doing much, if anything.

I found out a couple of months ago that I have severe spinal stenosis at L4-L5. That could be a factor in the pain I have in my feet and ankles. I won't know until after surgery. I'm hoping that my feet will hurt less.

Depression came before neuropathy, even before old age. Depression alone is really hard to deal with, but in my case, PTSD, anxiety, OCD and suicidal ideation are all in the mix. And then along came idiopathic small fiber peripheral polyneuropathy and autonomic neuropathy. Add most any chronic illness to depression and they tend to feed on each other. Stress can certainly qualify as a chronic illness that makes depression spike. I'm glad that you were able to find a new apartment without spending any time homeless. Are you starting to settle in? I hope you feel safe, and can still be in touch with friends.

Time for me to take my various medications and go to bed. Hope my feet will let me sleep.

Jim

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@gingerw

@jimhd About a month ago I started back on a low-dose anti-depressant. Two weeks ago I had my first appt with a new psychologist. In times past I had availed myself to both of those, but it has been a long time. Like @parus and you have said, the stigmas of truth-telling, of letting people know where you are at mental-health wise, shouldn't be met with negative, but so often they are. Each person has their own reality, and is working with ways to help them get through each day. I hate the way we are ostracized and the ways we are made to feel "less than".

Depression and anxiety at an older age can be caused by so many things. Loss of a spouse/family member/close friend. Changing health conditions. Uncertainty with financial or living situations. Changing neighborhoods around us. Isolation because of this pandemic or transportation concerns. Even retirement, which we all hear should be so wonderful, can be a source of depression, when our "reason for being" is gone, along with an income.

Shoulder to shoulder we stand together, supporting one another.
Ginger

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@gingerw I told my therapist a few weeks ago that it wasn't that I felt I wasn't good enough as a child, but that I wasn't as good as. As good at playing the piano as my older sister (still true), as good as my brothers at sports…

Depression was a key component of the reason I retired. Then the time came when retirement exacerbated my depression. I guess I don't do things the way most people do.

Jim

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@jimhd

@lsittll

This is the first time I've read something you've written, but I see that you're no stranger here.

Life doesn't always deal the nicest cards. I'm going to try Cymbalta again after my back surgery next month. I took it for a short time several years ago, but I stopped for some reason. It's complicated. I've tried dozens of medications to treat my neuropathy pain, with no success. A couple of them helped but had bad side effects, others did nothing, and some worked for a while, but then quit working. The only medication that has helped long term is morphine sulfate contin, and in 2017 I had a spinal cord stimulator implant that reduced my pain significantly for over a year. I still have it turned on, but it's not doing much, if anything.

I found out a couple of months ago that I have severe spinal stenosis at L4-L5. That could be a factor in the pain I have in my feet and ankles. I won't know until after surgery. I'm hoping that my feet will hurt less.

Depression came before neuropathy, even before old age. Depression alone is really hard to deal with, but in my case, PTSD, anxiety, OCD and suicidal ideation are all in the mix. And then along came idiopathic small fiber peripheral polyneuropathy and autonomic neuropathy. Add most any chronic illness to depression and they tend to feed on each other. Stress can certainly qualify as a chronic illness that makes depression spike. I'm glad that you were able to find a new apartment without spending any time homeless. Are you starting to settle in? I hope you feel safe, and can still be in touch with friends.

Time for me to take my various medications and go to bed. Hope my feet will let me sleep.

Jim

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Hi Jim, I don't think I have ever sent a message to you. I am also having depression and anxiety, but before my surgery I was not having any depression or anxiety. I was excited and positive about my surgery. My fusion was from T-10 to my pelvis from degeneration that caused a scoliosis. But, I also had severe spinal stenosis in L-4 and L-5. Before surgery I mainly had sciatica on my right side buttock down to my right foot and my right foot was very weak. Since surgery, I started having sharp like pains in my feet.that could have been neuropathy. I can't take Gabapentin or Lyrical. The surgeon said it might be caused from my nerves regenerating. They told me I could start back on my celebrex and anti-inflammatory and my feet got better! I had just a little bit of twinges this morning.
I know depression is the pits. My son is bipolar 1 and we have not contact with him and his family. It's a long story.

I want you to know that I care about you and I know the surgery will help. The pain in your feet could be from the stenosis and who knows what else the surgeon will find. Where are you having the surgery? I had mine done at Mayo at Rochester. 31/2 hours from our home in Iowa. I had the best surgeon and his assistant has been so helpful through this whole process. My surgery was 9 hours long.
I pray you have less pain for it can cause depression and then anxiety can play into it. Take care of yourself. My thoughts will be with you.

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@jimhd

@lsittll

This is the first time I've read something you've written, but I see that you're no stranger here.

Life doesn't always deal the nicest cards. I'm going to try Cymbalta again after my back surgery next month. I took it for a short time several years ago, but I stopped for some reason. It's complicated. I've tried dozens of medications to treat my neuropathy pain, with no success. A couple of them helped but had bad side effects, others did nothing, and some worked for a while, but then quit working. The only medication that has helped long term is morphine sulfate contin, and in 2017 I had a spinal cord stimulator implant that reduced my pain significantly for over a year. I still have it turned on, but it's not doing much, if anything.

I found out a couple of months ago that I have severe spinal stenosis at L4-L5. That could be a factor in the pain I have in my feet and ankles. I won't know until after surgery. I'm hoping that my feet will hurt less.

Depression came before neuropathy, even before old age. Depression alone is really hard to deal with, but in my case, PTSD, anxiety, OCD and suicidal ideation are all in the mix. And then along came idiopathic small fiber peripheral polyneuropathy and autonomic neuropathy. Add most any chronic illness to depression and they tend to feed on each other. Stress can certainly qualify as a chronic illness that makes depression spike. I'm glad that you were able to find a new apartment without spending any time homeless. Are you starting to settle in? I hope you feel safe, and can still be in touch with friends.

Time for me to take my various medications and go to bed. Hope my feet will let me sleep.

Jim

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@jhmd. Oh God Bless you! You really have a lot of pain to deal with. I don't know what I would do if I had that pain to deal with. Does Cymbalta have a dual side effect for you or do you or do you use it only for pain? I'm just up for the day. Hopefully I won't get dpuble vision signaling a migraine. Then it's time for me to rest.

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@lsittll

@jhmd. Oh God Bless you! You really have a lot of pain to deal with. I don't know what I would do if I had that pain to deal with. Does Cymbalta have a dual side effect for you or do you or do you use it only for pain? I'm just up for the day. Hopefully I won't get dpuble vision signaling a migraine. Then it's time for me to rest.

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@lsittll I was trying Cymbalta several years ago, but stopped taking it because it didn't seem to be helping. My neurologist thought it was worth a second try. I'm not going to make any medication changes until I've recovered from surgery next month. I've learned over the past 15 years that I have to do one thing at a time, working with medications. I don't start a new medication if I'm in the process of trying another one because the results get confused. That's what happened with Cymbalta.

@lilypaws My surgery will be in the surgery center at the clinic the neurosurgeon works with. I live in central Oregon, and we knew that there were excellent doctors there when we decided where we wanted to live after retiring. The nearest teaching hospital is in Portland, 150 miles from here. Oregon Health Sciences University is on the level of Mayo, but the medical community here is so good that I've only gone to OHSU twice, for tests that the local doctors couldn't do.

Unless I have issues with pain after surgery, it's supposed to be an outpatient procedure, a much smaller surgery from yours. Interesting that my stenosis is in the same place as yours. I think that after surgery I might stand straighter, and I'll regain the inch I've lost. I'm sorry that you've had such a difficult time after your procedures. I hope you're beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel.

Jim

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I am 65 years old and have suffered from treatment-resistant depression and anxiety for most of my life. Of course, the current situation in the country – the pandemic and the rioting – has not helped the situation. My husband and I are fortunate in that we have social security and some small bits of income from here and there. We have lived simply for many years; we downsized when our son left for college so we can support ourselves quite nicely on social security; not desperate, but not hitting the fancy restaurants (when they were open) or the ballet (ha) either. The point is that I was in real trouble until 15 years ago when I found my current team of doctors. I have my primary care physician, a psychiatrist and a psychologist. I am taking four psych meds: Wellbutrin, Lamictal, Neurontin, and Zoloft. It has taken some time to find the combination that works best for me. Psych drugs are so individual to the person being treated. Where one works for this person, it won't work for another person. There are always the side effects to contend with, but if you have a psychiatrist willing to keep working with you, you can find something that works. My psychiatrist is adamant that you also need a psychologist, someone to talk out your problems with. My psychiatrist deals with the big things bothering me, but mostly he is the medicine man. And to his credit, I've never seen a doctor more knowledgeable about psych meds and medicines in general as he is. But the psychologist is someone to listen to you while you work out the nitty gritty of your life; someone you feel safe with so you can cry and say whatever you need to say. My husband goes with me because, actually, we are both in therapy. My husband has helped me deal with my mental health issues for 46 years, so he can provide a lot of confirmation, backup and history for the psychologist. We are lucky in that Medicare pays for almost everything, so my outlay of dollars is not so hard to handle. In closing, I strongly recommend, if your pocket book will allow, to seek out a psychologist, as well as your psychiatrist. And prayer will help you not give up hope. The situation in the country will turn around, and if you work with your doctor, you will find the right combination of drugs to help you cope. You may always have depression and anxiety, but you will be able to live with it. Good luck.

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