Managing Lifelong Mental Health as a Senior

Posted by georgette12 @georgette12, Jan 13, 2017

I have just started using this site so this is my first message.

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Mental Health group.

@colleenyoung

Great topic to start, Georgette.
You wrote:
“discussing managing mental health issues as a senior, after a lifelong challenge with this disease. This issue can be further complicated as we age because many people do have memory loss and other symptoms of aging, and it is very difficult to tell the difference between life-long anxiety or depression and other mental health issues…….and age-related symptoms or conditions. Am i feeling depressed because i cannot do the things i used to do, or am i depressed because i do not have chronic depression under control?”

I’m tagging @overwhelmed @johnjames @jimhd @amberpep and @lesbatts on this discussion as I believe they will value insights or reflections to offer.

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Johnjames, thank you so much for sharing your story and feelings. And thank you for your service in the military. For me, when someone is real, and shares the secrets of their heart, the things that hurt and the horrific images that haunt us, it makes me, at least, feel like I am not alone. I like what you said about finding a real and non-judgemental friend. I am thinking you have experienced what I have. Some, no, many, of my friends and family are not comfortable being around me or even calling me. This was highlighted when my son hanged himself. I did not know his apartment had not been cleaned when I walked into it. I did not know that I was walking on his blood. And I did not know that this horrific event would turn people away from me because they did not know what to say. So, i am still looking for that real friend, who is not judgemental, and is always there, with prayer and kindness. Blessings.

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@colleenyoung

Great topic to start, Georgette.
You wrote:
“discussing managing mental health issues as a senior, after a lifelong challenge with this disease. This issue can be further complicated as we age because many people do have memory loss and other symptoms of aging, and it is very difficult to tell the difference between life-long anxiety or depression and other mental health issues…….and age-related symptoms or conditions. Am i feeling depressed because i cannot do the things i used to do, or am i depressed because i do not have chronic depression under control?”

I’m tagging @overwhelmed @johnjames @jimhd @amberpep and @lesbatts on this discussion as I believe they will value insights or reflections to offer.

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@colleenyoung– I think we would have to take into consideration how long we have been depressed and was their a diagnosis . For example, ( first-let me say there are many examples and cases, mine is only one of hundreds ) I was diagnosed over 11 years ago- because of PTSD and all the wars and death I and my buddy went through over a period of 35 years, So – my depression is getting worse I know, and it could very well be because of getting older, of Parkinson’s itself, Serious illnesses within the family and much more. ANd -as you said, not being able to do the things we used youi- is really a hard one. Thanks for sharing JJAMES

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@colleenyoung

Great topic to start, Georgette.
You wrote:
“discussing managing mental health issues as a senior, after a lifelong challenge with this disease. This issue can be further complicated as we age because many people do have memory loss and other symptoms of aging, and it is very difficult to tell the difference between life-long anxiety or depression and other mental health issues…….and age-related symptoms or conditions. Am i feeling depressed because i cannot do the things i used to do, or am i depressed because i do not have chronic depression under control?”

I’m tagging @overwhelmed @johnjames @jimhd @amberpep and @lesbatts on this discussion as I believe they will value insights or reflections to offer.

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JJames – my heartfelt thanks for sharing.

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@jimhd

I’m sorry for the loss of your sons. I have attempted suicide, and I know the terrible pain it would cause for my wife and children. Knowing that keeps me from further attempts.

I don’t know how long depression has been affecting me, but in 2003, my doctor prescribed my first antidepressant, and in 2005, I crashed. I was overdosing, wanting to die, and was deeply depressed.

I don’t think I’d be able to handle all that you are. You have a source of strength. Maybe you could tell us what keeps you going. We all have our own coping resources, and it helps to find new ways to cope.

I have a support team, and each member helps me in different ways. God is at the top of the list, my wife, my service dog, church, and a few friends. I hope to start seeing a therapist again in February. The last one moved more than a year ago. They don’t stay here very long, because they can make so much more money in bigger cities. The town I live in is just under 10,000. The challenge has been finding a therapist who takes Medicare.

Well, I have to get a shower and get to bed so I can get up early for my appointment with the pain specialist tomorrow. Blessings to you.

Jim

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@jimhd How did the appointment with your pain specialist go?
I’d like to hear more about your service dog and what s/he means to you and what service s/he brings to your health and healing. Can you tell us more?

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@colleenyoung

Great topic to start, Georgette.
You wrote:
“discussing managing mental health issues as a senior, after a lifelong challenge with this disease. This issue can be further complicated as we age because many people do have memory loss and other symptoms of aging, and it is very difficult to tell the difference between life-long anxiety or depression and other mental health issues…….and age-related symptoms or conditions. Am i feeling depressed because i cannot do the things i used to do, or am i depressed because i do not have chronic depression under control?”

I’m tagging @overwhelmed @johnjames @jimhd @amberpep and @lesbatts on this discussion as I believe they will value insights or reflections to offer.

Jump to this post

Thank you, I appreciate the chat room more than I can say- it is a real Blessing and God sent. JJAMS

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@jimhd

I’m sorry for the loss of your sons. I have attempted suicide, and I know the terrible pain it would cause for my wife and children. Knowing that keeps me from further attempts.

I don’t know how long depression has been affecting me, but in 2003, my doctor prescribed my first antidepressant, and in 2005, I crashed. I was overdosing, wanting to die, and was deeply depressed.

I don’t think I’d be able to handle all that you are. You have a source of strength. Maybe you could tell us what keeps you going. We all have our own coping resources, and it helps to find new ways to cope.

I have a support team, and each member helps me in different ways. God is at the top of the list, my wife, my service dog, church, and a few friends. I hope to start seeing a therapist again in February. The last one moved more than a year ago. They don’t stay here very long, because they can make so much more money in bigger cities. The town I live in is just under 10,000. The challenge has been finding a therapist who takes Medicare.

Well, I have to get a shower and get to bed so I can get up early for my appointment with the pain specialist tomorrow. Blessings to you.

Jim

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I very much like the pain specialist. He’s worked hard to find a way to get relief for me. My service dog is still in training. I had to find a new one after my previous dog died suddenly and unexpectedly in February of last year. He had been my partner his last 5 years. A mental health worker recommended a service dog, and I trained the dog I rescued as a puppy. I found resources online to learn what services he could provide to be a legitimate service dog. He helped me through panic attacks and with depression, and PTSD. Sadie, my two year old McNabb, is taking his place and is learning to know me, to know when I need her. She’s a psychiatric service dog. We’re very much attached. I felt the connection when I first knelt and held her at the shelter. It was a time when I needed her, just 3 weeks after Barnabas died. Barnabas had a stroke or some other brain event, and I had to put him down. I mourned for a long time, and still feel the loss a year later. If anyone wants to know more about service dogs, it just takes a Google search. No certification is required, though there are lots of people online offering certificates. It’s a scam. And too many people believe that they can call their pet a service dog, but it’s only a companion dog. The animal has to be trained to provide a recognized service, and a list of possible services can be found at http://www.servicedog.com. There are several requirements as to behavior, basic commands and dog etiquette. Whenever I go to a restaurant or doctor’s office, I hear from people who work there that they can tell when it’s a true service dog. I’ve heard horror stories.

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@colleenyoung

Great topic to start, Georgette.
You wrote:
“discussing managing mental health issues as a senior, after a lifelong challenge with this disease. This issue can be further complicated as we age because many people do have memory loss and other symptoms of aging, and it is very difficult to tell the difference between life-long anxiety or depression and other mental health issues…….and age-related symptoms or conditions. Am i feeling depressed because i cannot do the things i used to do, or am i depressed because i do not have chronic depression under control?”

I’m tagging @overwhelmed @johnjames @jimhd @amberpep and @lesbatts on this discussion as I believe they will value insights or reflections to offer.

Jump to this post

Thanks, @johnjames I agree! I find it very helpful to be able to put my thoughts, feelings and fears into written form. It is very cathartic, isn’t it? Teresa

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@jimhd That is wonderful that you have found both companionship and assistance! Thanks for sharing the service dog webiste. I have heard from others that it is a great help for those who have PTSD. Best wishes for the new year! Teresa

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@jimhd

I’m sorry for the loss of your sons. I have attempted suicide, and I know the terrible pain it would cause for my wife and children. Knowing that keeps me from further attempts.

I don’t know how long depression has been affecting me, but in 2003, my doctor prescribed my first antidepressant, and in 2005, I crashed. I was overdosing, wanting to die, and was deeply depressed.

I don’t think I’d be able to handle all that you are. You have a source of strength. Maybe you could tell us what keeps you going. We all have our own coping resources, and it helps to find new ways to cope.

I have a support team, and each member helps me in different ways. God is at the top of the list, my wife, my service dog, church, and a few friends. I hope to start seeing a therapist again in February. The last one moved more than a year ago. They don’t stay here very long, because they can make so much more money in bigger cities. The town I live in is just under 10,000. The challenge has been finding a therapist who takes Medicare.

Well, I have to get a shower and get to bed so I can get up early for my appointment with the pain specialist tomorrow. Blessings to you.

Jim

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Thank you for telling us more about Sadie and Barnabas. You may enjoy reading about Craig (@v1crew) and Saoirse, who are in training with one another since late last year. http://mayocl.in/2jNt67n

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Johnjames, thanks so much for telling us about the pain specialist . i am praying that you will have more and more strength each day. I did not know that there are service dogs specifically for psych issues. I am going to look that up. My english bulldog serves the purpose for now. I lost my bassette hound last year at the age of 14. Long life for a bassette. My chow mix had also passed 6 months earlier. I got my puppy before gracie died because i knew i wouldn’t do well when she passed. I stayed with my chow, louie, and of course with gracie as i had to make the decision to let each of them go. I still can’t look at their pictures because it is still too traumatic. But louie did live 11 years which is long for his breed.

Oh…i used to work in rehab/hospice/alzeiheimers (wrong spelling there) facilities and we brought in petting zoos for our patients. We actually brought into the building and even up the elevator a llama, goat, pigs and rabbits and all sorts of unusual animals. They sat on the beds (well, not the llama and goat)! And everyone came out of their yukky mental and physical stuff they were dealing with. Even me! I carried a baby pig around all day but, unfortunately, the zoo wouldn’t let me take him home. They found me hiding in a closet with him but they heard his squeeks through the door and found us.

It sounds like you have a loving wife and your comment about not wanting to leave her alone to suffer if you were “not here” is extremely compassionate and sensitive. Those who take their own lives have no idea of the life-long trauma they leave for their loved ones. It sounds like, even though you live with such mental and physical pain, you put your family first, and friends. Please keep us informed as to what is happening with you. You are definitely a role model and i feel encouraged when you share. Blessings.

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