Isolation and depression: Scared of the coming winter

Posted by jamsie @jamsie, Aug 22 12:02am

I am in my 60’s and have suffered with depression and anxiety for many years. I find myself unable to cope with the loneliness that has come with COVID. Although married, it is one of convenience, and there is no help from my husband in that regard, or for that matter, in most everything. I have also gained about 25 pounds during this time and my self esteem is at a low. I eat and eat and am never full. I quilt and hand sew for hobbies, but have now lost the interaction of those friends due to COVID. I am scared to death of what a Minnesota winter will bring. I need someone to talk to.

Hi @jamsie, welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. This is a welcoming place where you can connect online with others. COVID has certainly increased people's isolation and I, too, worry about the coming winter months for those states and countries where snow and cold force us inside. I think @liz223 @magspierce @stsopoci @smilie @ihatediabetes and other members know what you're talking about.

I'm glad to hear that you have hobbies, like sewing and quilting. Have you been sewing masks by any chance? What physical activities do you like to do? Are you able to get outside?

REPLY

Hello my name is Kim. I know what you are talking about. I have anxiety and panic attacks, my husband in the beginning didn’t know what I was going through so many years he would be like you fine 5 minutes ago what’s your problem. He had no idea and anyone who has not gone through this cannot even begin to understand. Then one day my husband had major surgery, he was cut from his chest down to both legs, Arorta bypass, that is when he started with the anxiety and panic attacks. He turned to me and apologized and asked how do I do it, get through the anxiety and panic attacks. I said 10 yrs of counseling and my stubbornness. If you have read any of my replies for depression and anxiety I have learned with medication and my go to words or sayings to myself that I am stronger than this. It’s just my mind trying to bully me and I just won’t let it. I am a not giving up, I Love Life, my husband and children. This is a good place to always reach out to anyone or someone specific. Hang in there and never let your mind Bully you😊🥰

REPLY
@colleenyoung

Hi @jamsie, welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. This is a welcoming place where you can connect online with others. COVID has certainly increased people's isolation and I, too, worry about the coming winter months for those states and countries where snow and cold force us inside. I think @liz223 @magspierce @stsopoci @smilie @ihatediabetes and other members know what you're talking about.

I'm glad to hear that you have hobbies, like sewing and quilting. Have you been sewing masks by any chance? What physical activities do you like to do? Are you able to get outside?

Jump to this post

Thank you for responding. I will check the other members you suggested. I have washed the fabric, ironed it, and cut out the fabric for at least 100 masks, and my cousin then finishes them. I have been walking 3-4+ days a week since spring, but I was hospitalized with really severe pneumonia in January, and it continued through most of February, My endurance is pretty low, and I am not sure if it is a combination of depression, weight gain, and just laziness. I sleep only a few hours a night, I am not sure exactly why, but I know my brain jumps from issue to issue to issue and won't stop. I am pretty scared to walk outdoors in the winter for fear of falling, so I will have to find a gym to go to if one is open. My children and grandchildren live 5 hours away, and once school starts I also worry about being quarantined from them and not being able to see them. That is a huge concern also. Thank you once again.

REPLY
@kimcvi

Hello my name is Kim. I know what you are talking about. I have anxiety and panic attacks, my husband in the beginning didn’t know what I was going through so many years he would be like you fine 5 minutes ago what’s your problem. He had no idea and anyone who has not gone through this cannot even begin to understand. Then one day my husband had major surgery, he was cut from his chest down to both legs, Arorta bypass, that is when he started with the anxiety and panic attacks. He turned to me and apologized and asked how do I do it, get through the anxiety and panic attacks. I said 10 yrs of counseling and my stubbornness. If you have read any of my replies for depression and anxiety I have learned with medication and my go to words or sayings to myself that I am stronger than this. It’s just my mind trying to bully me and I just won’t let it. I am a not giving up, I Love Life, my husband and children. This is a good place to always reach out to anyone or someone specific. Hang in there and never let your mind Bully you😊🥰

Jump to this post

Thank you Kim. In 45 years of marriage my husband has not gone to a Doctor, and has little understanding or empathy for my problems. I have had breast cancer with bilateral mastectomies, a hysterectomy, and surgery for kidney stones 5-6 times. He does come for the procedures, but then he is absent. I don't wish him ill health, but it sounds like that is what it took for you to get him to understand where you were coming from with your anxiety and depression. People do not seem to understand that these are not choices we make, and although medication helps, it is for sure not a cure-all. Good luck to you and your husband. I appreciate your advice.

REPLY

Thank you, through everything I have endured I think I have come to try to understand what someone is feeling and if I don’t I at least try to make sure that I am there for them. It’s hard to explain to someone something that you alone don’t understand why this is happening to you. I do believe in the power of talking to yourself and telling yourself you are strong. When my mind races I try to change my train of thought, my favorite song, clean, draw, it’s something I do it’s like changing the channel on the TV when a horror movie is on, change the station. (If that makes sense) Life is short don’t let your mind racing WIN. Your are Bigger and Stronger to Win the mind. 🥰😊 Stay Safe and Always know that we understand and will listen😊🥰

REPLY

Oh my goodness!!! You are not alone! I was just diagnosed with depression and anxiety and ptsd due to a 38 year emotionally abusive marriage that I am still in. The activities that helped me connect have also been discontinued. I also live in Minnesota and have had the exact same thoughts. I am so very glad you shared this!!!!

REPLY

I know it's hard and winter is extra confining. I'm 70 and have that depression history. I make myself pick up my hobby and just accept the fact that I won't have a lot of communication with my husband. But my closest and best friend and communication is with Jesus through lots of time in His Word, reading and memorizing Scripture. Also a great way to get my mind off myself and my worries every day is to pick up a journal and pen and write down at least three things I am thankful for. A gratitude journal has been recommended by numerous people including my Psychiatrist!! You'll be glad you did!

REPLY
@laurry

Oh my goodness!!! You are not alone! I was just diagnosed with depression and anxiety and ptsd due to a 38 year emotionally abusive marriage that I am still in. The activities that helped me connect have also been discontinued. I also live in Minnesota and have had the exact same thoughts. I am so very glad you shared this!!!!

Jump to this post

Laurry I don't wish this life on anyone, but it does help to know I am not alone in an emotionally abusive marriage. At our age it seems impossible to make a change, finances being a huge problem in my case. I feel like I try my best to be positive and keep busy, but every day is a struggle and I find myself getting lazier, taking naps, having pity parties I guess. I try to remember how lucky I am to have my beautiful children and grandchildren, and that so very many people have it worse than I do. It is so hard to stay positive when depression rules your life. I hope we can keep in touch here.

REPLY
@buyearly

I know it's hard and winter is extra confining. I'm 70 and have that depression history. I make myself pick up my hobby and just accept the fact that I won't have a lot of communication with my husband. But my closest and best friend and communication is with Jesus through lots of time in His Word, reading and memorizing Scripture. Also a great way to get my mind off myself and my worries every day is to pick up a journal and pen and write down at least three things I am thankful for. A gratitude journal has been recommended by numerous people including my Psychiatrist!! You'll be glad you did!

Jump to this post

I have been journaling off and on during my whole marriage and it reads like a broken record, but even so, it is still helpful to put pen to paper instead of saying something I would later regret. A gratitude journal is a very good idea, and I also have seen that as one way of helping myself. I am not a religious person, but that is something I envy in people I know are, as they seem happier and cope better by "handing it over to God". I need reminders of these things, so thank you.

REPLY
@kimcvi

Thank you, through everything I have endured I think I have come to try to understand what someone is feeling and if I don’t I at least try to make sure that I am there for them. It’s hard to explain to someone something that you alone don’t understand why this is happening to you. I do believe in the power of talking to yourself and telling yourself you are strong. When my mind races I try to change my train of thought, my favorite song, clean, draw, it’s something I do it’s like changing the channel on the TV when a horror movie is on, change the station. (If that makes sense) Life is short don’t let your mind racing WIN. Your are Bigger and Stronger to Win the mind. 🥰😊 Stay Safe and Always know that we understand and will listen😊🥰

Jump to this post

Kim, you make some excellent points. Loving oneself would help in this whole process, believing that I can win is something I will try to work on. Having people understand and listen is HUGE. THank you!

REPLY
@jamsie

Kim, you make some excellent points. Loving oneself would help in this whole process, believing that I can win is something I will try to work on. Having people understand and listen is HUGE. THank you!

Jump to this post

Jamsie, I just wanted to let you know there are others out there who share some of your experiences. My cousin married a man who, although a very talented pianist and artist (he made a good living with these talents), was a drug addict and an alcoholic. He was verbally and physically (especially physically) abusive from the day they were married. He did horrible things to her; he beat her, he scrawled horrifying messages on her car; he ranted and raved; he went berserk and tore up the house, and on and on. My cousin was herself a very good pianist and had a piano her mother bought for her when she was six years old at a time when there was very little money in the kitty. The scumbag of a man she was married to took an ax to the piano, and she has never been financially able to replace it. She has a grown daughter, and she and her daughter both suffer from severe PTSD, especially her daughter. Her daughter was very young when her father was still in the picture, and all she remembers is the yelling, her mother crying, and the fear a little girl suffers when she doesn't know what's going on. She is 30 years old now and has a PhD in psychology with emphasis on PTSD suffered by soldiers. She works at the VA in Oklahoma City. She still suffers, as does my cousin, severe PTSD, but both women have persevered and with the love and support of family and mental health providers, have lived full, productive lives. The secret is getting out of the situation; with help from the police, my cousin managed to send her husband to prison for many years; she has received not one penny of support from the deadbeat, but has worked and supported herself and her daughter. She sent her daughter to college through obtaining her PhD, of which she is oh so proud. So, getting out IS possible. I would rather live peacefully in a studio apartment than live with the daily abuse, humiliation and fear. Easy to say, I know, harder to do. I wish you every good thing life has to offer, and I will keep you in my thoughts.

REPLY
@vickimurray

Jamsie, I just wanted to let you know there are others out there who share some of your experiences. My cousin married a man who, although a very talented pianist and artist (he made a good living with these talents), was a drug addict and an alcoholic. He was verbally and physically (especially physically) abusive from the day they were married. He did horrible things to her; he beat her, he scrawled horrifying messages on her car; he ranted and raved; he went berserk and tore up the house, and on and on. My cousin was herself a very good pianist and had a piano her mother bought for her when she was six years old at a time when there was very little money in the kitty. The scumbag of a man she was married to took an ax to the piano, and she has never been financially able to replace it. She has a grown daughter, and she and her daughter both suffer from severe PTSD, especially her daughter. Her daughter was very young when her father was still in the picture, and all she remembers is the yelling, her mother crying, and the fear a little girl suffers when she doesn't know what's going on. She is 30 years old now and has a PhD in psychology with emphasis on PTSD suffered by soldiers. She works at the VA in Oklahoma City. She still suffers, as does my cousin, severe PTSD, but both women have persevered and with the love and support of family and mental health providers, have lived full, productive lives. The secret is getting out of the situation; with help from the police, my cousin managed to send her husband to prison for many years; she has received not one penny of support from the deadbeat, but has worked and supported herself and her daughter. She sent her daughter to college through obtaining her PhD, of which she is oh so proud. So, getting out IS possible. I would rather live peacefully in a studio apartment than live with the daily abuse, humiliation and fear. Easy to say, I know, harder to do. I wish you every good thing life has to offer, and I will keep you in my thoughts.

Jump to this post

I can;t even compare myself to your dear cousin. Things can always be worse is proven by you. Thank you for giving me such a brave example of what can happen even in the worst circumstance. I will try to focus on an answer to my problem.

REPLY

Hi there ….. you are not alone in this. I absolutely despise winter. If I had the finances I'd definitely move to a warm state like Florida. I live in VA and everyone here says, "oh it's so beautiful, you live right at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains." Yes, all that's true, but when Fall comes in, I feel like I want to crawl in a hole with a big bag of M&M's, a hot pot of tea, a stack of books, and just hide out till Spring.
abby

REPLY
@buyearly

I know it's hard and winter is extra confining. I'm 70 and have that depression history. I make myself pick up my hobby and just accept the fact that I won't have a lot of communication with my husband. But my closest and best friend and communication is with Jesus through lots of time in His Word, reading and memorizing Scripture. Also a great way to get my mind off myself and my worries every day is to pick up a journal and pen and write down at least three things I am thankful for. A gratitude journal has been recommended by numerous people including my Psychiatrist!! You'll be glad you did!

Jump to this post

Thank you so very much for that! Please know you truly gave someone compassionate direction today!

REPLY
@jamsie

Laurry I don't wish this life on anyone, but it does help to know I am not alone in an emotionally abusive marriage. At our age it seems impossible to make a change, finances being a huge problem in my case. I feel like I try my best to be positive and keep busy, but every day is a struggle and I find myself getting lazier, taking naps, having pity parties I guess. I try to remember how lucky I am to have my beautiful children and grandchildren, and that so very many people have it worse than I do. It is so hard to stay positive when depression rules your life. I hope we can keep in touch here.

Jump to this post

I would love to stay in touch! Emotional abuse in a marriage is very very isolating! I have never told anyone but myntherapist and it is a big reason I am sitting with depression, anxiety and ptsd. I think it would be very helpful to be a support for each other. Thank you so much for reaching out!

REPLY
Please login or register to post a reply.