Managing Life-Long 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.

@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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I value every prayer that is offered to God on my behalf. I sleep quite well, for the most part. Taking several meds that are drowsying helps, I’m sure, as does doing my Bible reading, praying, and having our couples devotional at bedtime. A routine is good. I have sleep apnea, and use a CPAP machine faithfully. The problem I have is sleeping too much. I’ve been sleeping 10-12 hours every day. 8 or 9 is what I need to shoot for, but when I wake up, it’s a struggle to drag myself out of bed.

Right now, beside the neuropathy pain, depression and suicidal ideation, I’ve started seeing blood in my stool, which could be a rerun of the peptic ulcers I had several years ago. It’s probably caused by the pain medications I take. I just started seeing a therapist again a few weeks ago, and every time I start with a new one, it’s like starting all over again, going back to the trauma, hurts, etc.

My wife is flying back home on Tuesday, after spending a month with our daughter, who just had her first baby, Kaitlyn Rose. I’m glad she could go, but being alone for a month is a little risky. I’ve kept busy, doing maintenance projects on the house. I won’t make it through the whole list, I’m afraid. We’ve never been apart for this long in our 45 years of marriage.

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.

Jim

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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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@jimhd You definitely have my thoughts and prayers, Jim. You have done well being apart from your wife for an extended period of time. I sense a great deal of strength in you in spite of the struggles you have experienced! Praying that your wife will have a good flight home. Teresa

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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

@johnjames Thanks for the update. I am so sorry to hear of this new problem. Chronic pain is such a difficult problem to deal with. Be assured of my concern and prayers for you. You have exhibited great courage, bravery and faith in your life and I admire those qualities. Best wishes to both you and your wife. Teresa

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@georgette12

Hello gailb. And of course a hello to everybody on the forum who i have missed for two weeks. I think my last post was about my not saving my son from suicide. And your kind response was/is appreciated . i did post a note on the “create a discussion” section today because i didn’t know where to post that i’m back.
To galib…thank u for sharing your story about your son. And at the time he was telling you this, i remember that it was not at all an easy thing…to be gay…much less admit it. So you actually DID save your son’s life! You did something a lot of parents could not do. You accepted him just the way he was/is. I have friends…and yeah they are still friends i guess…who will not support their son being gay. They keep it a secret and it hurts him. I am his adopted aunt. I made it a point to give him my personal support . his mother is a serious religious person and he is now certain he is “going to hell” …. His words…not mine.
There is something not right here. I don’t want to offend anyone reading this…but that is another discussion anyway.

Gailb…it does occur to me that your son might want a chance to save YOUR life. It might be good to see how he feels about your plans for the future.
I will post this before it gets too long. But you sound like such a loving and caring person…i imagine your son would be just like you!

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He is a very loving and kind person, and is far more active in helping others than I have been. He knows of my plans and doesn’t exactly approve, but we’ll talk more long before that happens hopefully. I appreciate your feedback @georgette12. It took me awhile to find these pages. For some reason the posts get divided into different groups as far as I can tell.

I think religious beliefs have ruined many a family’s opportunities to learn from a LBGTQ child and to grow closer as a result. There are so many negative things in the old testament about how God treated people (even asking a father to sacrifice his daughter) that I have no use for it. Then the new testament was equally cruel in how people were told to treat each other. I just have no belief in religious teachings. So, it was relatively easy for me to understand when I realized that my son was gay that it was something I needed to learn more about. Even then, I was brought up in Missouri and was very religious in my youth, so I had all the prejudices of the church in me somewhere. I had to let go of all the old teachings, and accept new learning and information about being gay. I took a class at UC Berkeley and joined a PFLAG (Parents for Lesbian and Gays) group, where I learned first hand the nature of families when they discover their child, or children are gay or ledbian. I’m sure the group has expanded to include transgender people too now. I hope you can make a difference in your adopted nephew’s life. They grow so desparate for acceptance that they sometimes take drastic measures. Thanks again @georgette12. GailB

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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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gailb/ Thank you for caring with such kind email, Yes I’m an old veteran, Served over 44 years in the Army- twice in Viet Nam, and is where I ( as many more) were sprayed with agent orange – at times, every day for a week or weeks. Hard to change uniforms in the jungle and our missions was usually 10 -17 days. But, I would say over ( 85 %loved the Army and would go back again if needed) I was Diagnosed with agent orange Parkinson’s 3 years now. and in my tissue and possible internal areas I’m waiting to hear from the VA Experts on Agent Orange. MY wife was a combat /OR RN in Viet Nam and she saw far more than nurses here in 20 years. She is a great nurse and I thank God for her, Thank you again for your prayers and kindness, JJAMES.

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@georgette12

Hello gailb. And of course a hello to everybody on the forum who i have missed for two weeks. I think my last post was about my not saving my son from suicide. And your kind response was/is appreciated . i did post a note on the “create a discussion” section today because i didn’t know where to post that i’m back.
To galib…thank u for sharing your story about your son. And at the time he was telling you this, i remember that it was not at all an easy thing…to be gay…much less admit it. So you actually DID save your son’s life! You did something a lot of parents could not do. You accepted him just the way he was/is. I have friends…and yeah they are still friends i guess…who will not support their son being gay. They keep it a secret and it hurts him. I am his adopted aunt. I made it a point to give him my personal support . his mother is a serious religious person and he is now certain he is “going to hell” …. His words…not mine.
There is something not right here. I don’t want to offend anyone reading this…but that is another discussion anyway.

Gailb…it does occur to me that your son might want a chance to save YOUR life. It might be good to see how he feels about your plans for the future.
I will post this before it gets too long. But you sound like such a loving and caring person…i imagine your son would be just like you!

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@gailb

Thank you for your input. You’re perceptive and caring toward those of us who are in this group – and probably in other groups we intersect in. (I’m glad the dangling participle has been approved, though I have always tried to reword sentences so the participle was in its correct place, not dangling off the end.)

The subjects of religion and sexuality have been a source of intense debate. Actually, I don’t think “debate” is the best choice of word, as the religious and gay communities seldom debate. More like which side attacks the other most effectively, doing the most damage.

This isn’t the forum in which to have that particular discussion, and I don’t know if Mayo has a forum. But I think we all know that the discussion is raging, especially in the Western culture.

There IS a point where the two intersect that brings them both to our mental health group – really, quite a number of points that might show up here.

I’ve read in numerous places that the suicide rate is higher in the LGBTQ segment of our society, as is the need for mental health assistance. That’s a statistic that should unite us in action to change those numbers. I can’t speak to all religions, but I do have significant personal history in Christianity. Even narrowing it down to specific denominations, there’s great dispute. It really doesn’t matter who’s right and who’s wrong. What matters is that high rates of suicide and depression within the gay population is unacceptable. Those numbers aren’t going to change with anger, hatred, intolerance or pride.

Growing up in a Christian family certainly doesn’t guarantee that we will all become perfectly balanced adults. Christians aren’t exempt from mental illness, emotional instability, personality disorders, suicidal ideation, etc. Nor do we have all the answers. I could write at length about how imperfect I am, and how the issues I just listed have affected my own life, deeply. So many things have an effect on our personal mental wellness, regardless our belief system.

Aside from the fact that the mantle clock just told me it’s time for bed, I don’t want to bore any of you with the sordid details of my life. I’ll leave it at, though I grew up in a Christian family, and was a minister for 40 years, I don’t feel qualified to make judgment calls. We aren’t in Heaven yet, none of us is perfect, so in the meantime, the thing to do is to love even an enemy, not putting labels on each other.

I’m now climbing down off my soapbox and going to bed. Love, grace and peace to all.

Jim

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@georgette12

Hello gailb. And of course a hello to everybody on the forum who i have missed for two weeks. I think my last post was about my not saving my son from suicide. And your kind response was/is appreciated . i did post a note on the “create a discussion” section today because i didn’t know where to post that i’m back.
To galib…thank u for sharing your story about your son. And at the time he was telling you this, i remember that it was not at all an easy thing…to be gay…much less admit it. So you actually DID save your son’s life! You did something a lot of parents could not do. You accepted him just the way he was/is. I have friends…and yeah they are still friends i guess…who will not support their son being gay. They keep it a secret and it hurts him. I am his adopted aunt. I made it a point to give him my personal support . his mother is a serious religious person and he is now certain he is “going to hell” …. His words…not mine.
There is something not right here. I don’t want to offend anyone reading this…but that is another discussion anyway.

Gailb…it does occur to me that your son might want a chance to save YOUR life. It might be good to see how he feels about your plans for the future.
I will post this before it gets too long. But you sound like such a loving and caring person…i imagine your son would be just like you!

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Oops. That’s a dangling preposition, not participle.

Jim

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@georgette12

Hello gailb. And of course a hello to everybody on the forum who i have missed for two weeks. I think my last post was about my not saving my son from suicide. And your kind response was/is appreciated . i did post a note on the “create a discussion” section today because i didn’t know where to post that i’m back.
To galib…thank u for sharing your story about your son. And at the time he was telling you this, i remember that it was not at all an easy thing…to be gay…much less admit it. So you actually DID save your son’s life! You did something a lot of parents could not do. You accepted him just the way he was/is. I have friends…and yeah they are still friends i guess…who will not support their son being gay. They keep it a secret and it hurts him. I am his adopted aunt. I made it a point to give him my personal support . his mother is a serious religious person and he is now certain he is “going to hell” …. His words…not mine.
There is something not right here. I don’t want to offend anyone reading this…but that is another discussion anyway.

Gailb…it does occur to me that your son might want a chance to save YOUR life. It might be good to see how he feels about your plans for the future.
I will post this before it gets too long. But you sound like such a loving and caring person…i imagine your son would be just like you!

Jump to this post

@jimhd Thank you, Jim, for those well written and thoughtful words! Teresa

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@georgette12

Hello gailb. And of course a hello to everybody on the forum who i have missed for two weeks. I think my last post was about my not saving my son from suicide. And your kind response was/is appreciated . i did post a note on the “create a discussion” section today because i didn’t know where to post that i’m back.
To galib…thank u for sharing your story about your son. And at the time he was telling you this, i remember that it was not at all an easy thing…to be gay…much less admit it. So you actually DID save your son’s life! You did something a lot of parents could not do. You accepted him just the way he was/is. I have friends…and yeah they are still friends i guess…who will not support their son being gay. They keep it a secret and it hurts him. I am his adopted aunt. I made it a point to give him my personal support . his mother is a serious religious person and he is now certain he is “going to hell” …. His words…not mine.
There is something not right here. I don’t want to offend anyone reading this…but that is another discussion anyway.

Gailb…it does occur to me that your son might want a chance to save YOUR life. It might be good to see how he feels about your plans for the future.
I will post this before it gets too long. But you sound like such a loving and caring person…i imagine your son would be just like you!

Jump to this post

@gailb I missed the beginning of this chain, but I see the gist of it. You speak of plans and despite going back and trying to figure out what you were referring to, I could not.
I’m really sorry to hear about your negative feelings toward Christianity. I am 69 and have had gay friends since my late teens and never thought anything of it. In the teaching classes prior to my son’s confirmation a bishop spoke and did a Q&A session. When he was asked something about homosexuality he responded that the Catholic church does believe that God made people that way, it is not a choice. My hair dresser recently married his same sex partner. His husband is a music director in a Catholic church.
I live in the Northeast. Perhaps things are more liberal here due to the preponderance of colleges and universities which do influence the overall thinking I think.
What I am trying to say is to not classify everyone in the same way about this anymore than you would classify everyone who is a certain nationality, gender, or race in the same way. You unfortunately have come across things that have turned you away but perhaps you should take a second look.
JK

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Hello everyone, again. So i have a couple comments to reply …on a couple comments. For our eagle-eye moderators… Someone here said they had a bit of a challenging time finding posts that “float”to other spots on the forum because they are related in some way. Maybe there is a way you can let us know when a post is also going sideways. Maybe a symbol or a “scenic route”sign to let us know???

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Comment again…suicide rate increase for both seniors and young people is still increasing. For different reasons. Some mentioned here on the forum many times already. Maybe there should be some sort of forum-type thing that fits in with Connect. Maybe “sub-groups” of some kind. There is a logical way to address this in this format. I haven’t given it any thought, but where there is a need … There is a way to fill it. Besides, if you look back on how often this topic comes up in senior groups and in terminally ill folks (“terminal” is not my choice of words)…there is a huge group of people out there who need to CONNECT!!

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Then there is the “religious” stuff that keeps cropping up. It crops up because when a person is mentally or physically sick…and suicidal….especially….ya’ just can’t keep religion, spirituality, belief systems, culture, etc. , out of it. It’s who we are, or who we think we are, or who we even want to be, sometimes.
And it’s all so complex. American Indians have gone “up on the mountain” to wait for death when they felt it was time. And who even told them it was “time” anyway? And on and on…. At the moment i am personally trying to recover from finding a huge box of photos of my 2nd husband…who killed himself when our son was only six years old. All the memories are flooding back and i feel like i, myself, want to run into the lake in front of my home and drown myself.
However i won’t, not because i am so well adjusted after all these years….i see that i am definitely NOT. But because i have a first appt with my new psychiatrist .

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Had to post that cause i was afraid i would lose it when i moved my tablet. So when i left CROSSROADS i was assigned to my new psychiatrist here in Pagosa Springs, where i live. This is a tiny southwestern colorado mountain town with few resouces. However, because of that, Axis Mental Health System looked outside ….. Like WAY outside colorado to find a psych dr who they felt melt their needs.
My new doctor lives and consults with AXIS staff and patients like me…FROM TELE-VIVE ISRAEL. I guess we do a skype, or “face time” ….. Anyway i will be there in an hour and see … Well…..see his 3 dimensional image…..or, whatever….i think it is a bit unique this way. Personally i would just go to the Mayo Clinic and have my doctor, like, at least in the same Country…but i did not have this option.
Well…still very tired. Will check in tomorrow.

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@georgette12

Hello gailb. And of course a hello to everybody on the forum who i have missed for two weeks. I think my last post was about my not saving my son from suicide. And your kind response was/is appreciated . i did post a note on the “create a discussion” section today because i didn’t know where to post that i’m back.
To galib…thank u for sharing your story about your son. And at the time he was telling you this, i remember that it was not at all an easy thing…to be gay…much less admit it. So you actually DID save your son’s life! You did something a lot of parents could not do. You accepted him just the way he was/is. I have friends…and yeah they are still friends i guess…who will not support their son being gay. They keep it a secret and it hurts him. I am his adopted aunt. I made it a point to give him my personal support . his mother is a serious religious person and he is now certain he is “going to hell” …. His words…not mine.
There is something not right here. I don’t want to offend anyone reading this…but that is another discussion anyway.

Gailb…it does occur to me that your son might want a chance to save YOUR life. It might be good to see how he feels about your plans for the future.
I will post this before it gets too long. But you sound like such a loving and caring person…i imagine your son would be just like you!

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Thanks for your thoughts on my previous post. I did not turn away from Christianity due to my son’s being gay. I decided in my early 20’s that religion didn’t make any sense to me. I have learned more as I have matured, and religions still don’t make sense to me. I would say I am “spiritual” in that I am guided by my internal self when I make decisions, etc. However, I don’t believe in “ghosts” or invisible things being the cause of or for anything. That’s just my own belief, and I don’t ask anyone else to believe in or reject anything I say or believe. Nor do I want to be “convinced” or asked to reconsider my choices. I am 68 years old, and I know who I am and what I have chosen, and I am happy with it. Gail B.

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@georgette12

Hello everyone, again. So i have a couple comments to reply …on a couple comments. For our eagle-eye moderators… Someone here said they had a bit of a challenging time finding posts that “float”to other spots on the forum because they are related in some way. Maybe there is a way you can let us know when a post is also going sideways. Maybe a symbol or a “scenic route”sign to let us know???

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Hi @georgette12,
Thank you for the comments about the usability and navigation on Mayo Clinic Connect. We are constantly improving how the site works and your feedback is useful.
Let me outline the structure of Connect. Perhaps it will help you and others navigate the site more easily.

– Connect is organized into Groups. You can see all the groups on this page: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/groups/
– Within groups are discussions. Here is a list of all the discussions in the Mental Health group: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/mental-health/
– If you follow the Mental Health group by clicking the + FOLLOW, you will receive an email notification when new activity happens in the group.
– Some people prefer to follow specific discussions in a group, like this discussion “Managing Life-Long Mental Health as a Senior”

Email notifications:
If you have participated in a discussion, you will get an email notification when a new messages is posted. When you click VIEW & REPLY in the email, you will automatically be taken directly to the place where the message is posted. Sometimes this may take 3-10 seconds depending on how slow or fast your computer or Internet connection is.

I hope this helps clarify the structure and answers your questions. If not, can you explain what you mean by messages “floating” or “going sideways”?

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