Lock down from COVID and Depression

Posted by susu2 @susu2, Feb 4 11:08am

I have now been home without seeing friends except virtually for a year. Yes, I felt sick a year ago after being out all day doing errands and finding new destinations, feeding my soul. I had a slight fever. I may have gotten a chill since it was an unseasonably warm day. Then COVID hit and I live in Washington. I have had no symptoms,not been tested, I am a cancer survivor. My legs and body have gotten progressively more shaky. Been to a few doctor appointments and gotten a referral to an orthopedist,whom I saw yesterday. He told me that the problem is that I am not moving enough, that I am not strengthening my muscles and that what is happening is that my shakiness is self-induced. (I have fallen twice and now have a walker,provided by the wonderful Lions Club).
How much of this is physical and how much psychological? I really feel weak. My back aches,my toes are numb, my mind confused, I don’t sleep well. I call a few friends but don’t mention any of this. I am 79 and very aware that my next birthday is 80. I don’t know how to suddenly become my old self: active,in charge of things,interested in many subjects. I can’t even read for any length of time.
My husband is supportive but HIMSELF ACTIVE. He walks early in the morning,meets friends there,reads and belongs to a book club. The housework is suffering. He goes grocery shopping and cooks but ignores the dust and disruption of my messes.
I am on the list for the vaccine but it is not readily coming. I feel trapped in a mindset because I feel weak from inactivity. Where do you start?

@susu2 I’m so sorry to hear that you’re are getting weaker and that depression is setting in. This has been such a difficult time for everyone. It makes me think of my mom who at age 96, lives alone in a retirement facility. We have really worried about her and being alone for a year. So we set up some plans to keep her busy. One sister taught her how to use Facebook so she can keep up with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. And, she loves it! And every month or two, we have a whole family FaceTime call (thru Facebook).
Do you have someone who can help with something like this?
And yes, the orthopedist was right. Everyone gets weaker if they don’t use their muscles and get moving. Even just walking around your house will help. I posted the link to a discussion about our virtual walking group. It has helped many of us get into the habit of walking or doing some exercise. And we have some great conversation along the way!
Will you join us? Becky
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/lets-go-walking-join-me-for-a-virtual-walking-support-group/

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Thank you Becky. No snow here but this sounds like a good idea. BUT all the posts are from February of 2020. It is now February 202q. How do I get started? Do I set my own goals and then post them? How do I join?

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Hello @susu2. I wanted to help you with your question on the virtual walking discussion. Essentially, you can join and simply share where you are on your walking journey and then post updates back to the members. When fall turned to winter, members started sharing ideas for how to keep moving and walking in the months to come for those of us in colder regions. Everyone is very supportive posting successes and challenges but also struggles so they can get support when needed to get back on track or keep going. Enjoy!

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@susu2. It’s certainly understandable to be depressed when your mobility is threatened and you start feeling frail. It was good that you were able to see an orthopedist. Now that you can rule out an underlying ailment, you can take steps to help get moving. Our fear often holds us back and we start thinking the worst! Were you given any exercises to increase your core strength? Did he suggest any physical therapy which could help restore your muscle movement and help you feel more stable? A suggestion is to speak with your primary care physician and see if he could refer you for PT. There are simple exercises you can do at home. Our core muscles are key to balance, stability and back strength.

I experienced this myself a year ago when undergoing cancer treatments. Five weeks in bed with little exercise left my muscles and core weakened. At 65, for the first time I understood what it meant to feel frail. It was very disheartening. Walking helped but it did little to restore my balance and shed that frailty. After mentioning this to my oncologist, he arranged for Physical Therapy. My therapist gave me some very simple exercises to restore my balance and core muscles. Wow, I could feel the difference within a week’s time. After my muscles strengthened and my balance was restore it made a world of difference! *The one exercise I was told not to do by my PT, is the abdominal crunch. She said older people can do more harm than good.

This pandemic does nothing to help with our isolation! Especially this time of the year when it’s easy to get cabin fever! As Amanda mentioned, the Virtual Walking group is a great place to connect with motivational conversations to help get you mobile again with others. https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/lets-go-walking-join-me-for-a-virtual-walking-support-group/
This morning, we’ve been having some fun chats with a few members in the community who are just beginning their walking journeys. Won’t you pop in and join us?

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I know a lot of us can relate to your situation. I live alone and in strict isolation for nearly a year now. Lots of muscle and joint pain due to medication side effects. I make myself walk at least once a day if the weather allows. I also do stretching exercises and some weights. Nothing fancy and believe me I am not an athlete! You will find just starting slow and making a daily commitment will begin to improve both your mental and physical health. You must have some internet skills, since you’re on the discussion group. Do a search for exercises, Zumba, etc. for seniors. There are fabulous, free videos out there you might enjoy.

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@susu2

Thank you Becky. No snow here but this sounds like a good idea. BUT all the posts are from February of 2020. It is now February 202q. How do I get started? Do I set my own goals and then post them? How do I join?

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@susu2 Im sorry you got confused! When you see a page like this, with the initial discussion, you go just below the discussion . You will see a “button” saying Oldest to Newest. By tapping on this, you can change to Newest to Oldest and the most recent postings will show up! Try it and let me know if it works. Becky

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@becsbuddy

@susu2 I’m so sorry to hear that you’re are getting weaker and that depression is setting in. This has been such a difficult time for everyone. It makes me think of my mom who at age 96, lives alone in a retirement facility. We have really worried about her and being alone for a year. So we set up some plans to keep her busy. One sister taught her how to use Facebook so she can keep up with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. And, she loves it! And every month or two, we have a whole family FaceTime call (thru Facebook).
Do you have someone who can help with something like this?
And yes, the orthopedist was right. Everyone gets weaker if they don’t use their muscles and get moving. Even just walking around your house will help. I posted the link to a discussion about our virtual walking group. It has helped many of us get into the habit of walking or doing some exercise. And we have some great conversation along the way!
Will you join us? Becky
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/lets-go-walking-join-me-for-a-virtual-walking-support-group/

Jump to this post

@becsbuddy We are all so thankful for the technology that allows us contact during this pandemic, and that's even more important for older people like your mother. It's wonderful that she has learned how to use Facebook to use posts and that the whole family does FaceTime with her. My sister and I have often commented, even before this pandemic, how much my mother would have loved the technology we have now.

@susu2 Obviously you have internet access, do you have it on something bigger than an iPhone or Android? If so there are some great exercise videos that help in all kinds of ways. You can do it on a phone but I think that small screen would make it more difficult. I do a couple of videos a day by others, my favorites are by a physical therapist.
Joanna generally demonstrates the exercises both standing in sitting in a chair. Many include a good deal of walking. Joanna Marcinekova is an Exercise Physiologist with a Master's Degree so she is well qualified. The following is just one of the videos that cater to those who need to be seated or need less vigorous exercise. If you do a Youtube search on her name you will come up with many more.

JK

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@susu2
It looks like there are some really good inputs by members regarding getting moving more, which could be wonderful. My wife, who is mostly shut in, does try different things for exercise when she can. She likes Maranda Esmonde-White. TV networks in many areas run her half hour shows in which she does a lot of stretching exercises and things to help the fascia. You might look for her on your TV locally wherever you are. She does a variety of different things, some standing, some sitting, some more taxing, some less. You can pick and choose what you feel comfortable doing during one of her shows.

You mentioned confusion. Just curious, are you taking any medication? You mentioned being sick before covid, may I ask in what way you were sick? Your husband sounds a lot like me, with the morning walks, the basic household stuff but not the heavier cleaning. That's me to a "T". Fortunately my wife does get good energy days mixed in with the more normal lower energy ones, and she loves to do housework on those days. It works well for us, but in your case, would it be possible to call in the "Merry Maids" or something at least every 2 weeks or so to get down with the deeper cleaning issues?

My heart goes out to you in these difficult times. Hopefully you will be in a better situation after getting the vaccine. Best, Hank

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@jesfactsmon

@susu2
It looks like there are some really good inputs by members regarding getting moving more, which could be wonderful. My wife, who is mostly shut in, does try different things for exercise when she can. She likes Maranda Esmonde-White. TV networks in many areas run her half hour shows in which she does a lot of stretching exercises and things to help the fascia. You might look for her on your TV locally wherever you are. She does a variety of different things, some standing, some sitting, some more taxing, some less. You can pick and choose what you feel comfortable doing during one of her shows.

You mentioned confusion. Just curious, are you taking any medication? You mentioned being sick before covid, may I ask in what way you were sick? Your husband sounds a lot like me, with the morning walks, the basic household stuff but not the heavier cleaning. That's me to a "T". Fortunately my wife does get good energy days mixed in with the more normal lower energy ones, and she loves to do housework on those days. It works well for us, but in your case, would it be possible to call in the "Merry Maids" or something at least every 2 weeks or so to get down with the deeper cleaning issues?

My heart goes out to you in these difficult times. Hopefully you will be in a better situation after getting the vaccine. Best, Hank

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You are very kind to take the time to reply to my post. I have had cancerx2 and surgery and am very well taken care of on that score. What is bothering me now is the stiffness and pain. I have always been a “doer” but now am caught in a sort of vise and don’t want to do anything that involves muscles.And the pandemic! I am on the list of 1b but nothing seems to be happening! We all have our mountains.

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@susu2

You are very kind to take the time to reply to my post. I have had cancerx2 and surgery and am very well taken care of on that score. What is bothering me now is the stiffness and pain. I have always been a “doer” but now am caught in a sort of vise and don’t want to do anything that involves muscles.And the pandemic! I am on the list of 1b but nothing seems to be happening! We all have our mountains.

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@susu2 Yea, we sure do have our mountains. And the soreness and anxiety that comes along when we first start moving. Check out the post by @contentandwell —she posted an exercise video that’s good for us ‘older’ folks. You might also ask your doctor for a referral to physical therapy to help you get started moving.
I know you can do it! Just the fact that you’re talking about getting moving really means something. Just a few steps today and a few more tomorrow. You go, girl!

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@becsbuddy

@susu2 Yea, we sure do have our mountains. And the soreness and anxiety that comes along when we first start moving. Check out the post by @contentandwell —she posted an exercise video that’s good for us ‘older’ folks. You might also ask your doctor for a referral to physical therapy to help you get started moving.
I know you can do it! Just the fact that you’re talking about getting moving really means something. Just a few steps today and a few more tomorrow. You go, girl!

Jump to this post

@becsbuddy @susu2 Joanna Marcinekova has many more similar videos. I don’t use hers often but I do subscribe to her channel.

I generally do Jenny McClenden’s videos. She caters to over 50 and beginners but if you can stand when you exercise, she’s great and does offer accommodations for people who are not up to doing exactly what she does. Shellea Fowler, who is in Australia, also has some good videos but my personal favorite is Jenny, who also happens to be a physical therapist which gives me confidence that she is doing the right things.

There are so many excellent exercise videos on YouTube, even Jane Fonda has good ones that revolve around walking. If you go to YouTube and do a search for something like “senior fitness” or “chair exercises” I’m sure you will find many.
JK

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