Anonymous asked this question on 4/23/2000:
I have suffered through and thought I had regained my mental health after two long episodes of severe clinical depression in l992 and l994. I took early retirement in 9/91 at age 62, and soon recognized that something was wrong with my mental health. It was NOT due to retirement, it was due to my husband who was a manic-depressive, and was in a very manic condition at that time, and also because my best friend of 20 years told me she had inoperable cancer. We were very close and supportive of each other as long as I can remeber. She became sicker and sicker, and died a miserable death in 9/92. I lost my friend and her generous support. From the time I heard she had cancer, and observed her long suffering, I was in deep depression, and wasn't much good to anyone or myself. Professionals helped get me through this lst depression. Then in late spring of 1994, I recognized that I was again in another depression. At this time, I moved down to another state to be with my daughter and family. My husband reluctantly moved down with me (I really didn't want him to). Professionals helped me again. By the lst of 1996, I felt normal again. For the last year or two, it seems sometimes I am in some form of depression. I find myself in tears (in private, or on the phone with my two children who I sometimes have an disagreement with) I sleep very late in the AM..sometimes up to 1:00 or 2:00 p.m. even. I do that when I don't have anything to do that day but household work. I do stay up late at night till l:00 watching TV etc.-but I don't know if that's an excuse to sleep so late the next morning. I have taken the anti-anxiety pill, name of Clonzepam for at least the last 6 years, now prescribed by my MD who's well aware of my problems. That has always pretty well assured me of a good night sleep. Yes, I am addicted, like I' addicted to a good night's sleep. This frequent crying of mine, when I feel down about something, and sleeping just about everyday so late makes me wonder if I'm in a state of depression. I am 71 years old now. I do volunter work twice a week and "babysit" my 4 and 8 year old granddaughters often. I am fairly active, have a few good friends, but not like the one I had that died. I miss a friend like that. I sure wish she was still alive, but she's been gone for 8 years now, and I've adjusted to that by now. My husband did not allow me to grieve for her normally. He made fun of me and told me to pull myself by my boot straps. He died 1/98. He was in a nursing home for 3 years..while I was in a depression, and I thought I became well again. I could write a book on all this, but I better quit, and ask you what you think, advice, whatever. Am I still in some phase of depression?. I'll be taking Effexor the rest of life. I have cut down to l pill a day, when I use to take 2. Maybe I should go back to 2. Thanks.
pain1 gave this response on 4/24/2000:
You ask many question here but the main one seems to be if you are still clinicaly depressed?? I am not so sure you are.
It seems to me that you are stuck in a rut, your age is of no relevance at all, why should the fact you are 71 be a barrier to a happy life? You need something to go for, a goal each and every day. Your free work is a sign that you enjoy helping others, your friendship to the lady who died also shows compassion and the fact you stuck by your husband adds to the fact you are someone who cares about others. Now it is time to turn that care on yourself.
As for the Clonazepam...I used to take them, way back, and have to say they were fine for a while but their effectivness wore off after less than a year, I think you need a different drug to help. Taking a drug is like drinking a cup of tea to a depressive. Many people are hooked on things, thing we accept as normal, tea..coffee..fags..beer and so on...in our case, the case for depressives, it has to be a medication. That, I feel is 100% okay, and much more acceptable than many of the other things in life. You have a right to enjoy life and if a drug can help then why not???
Sleeping in late is acceptable, especially as we get older, okay 1pm onwards may be going a bit too far but you clearly need sleep. If you were to have a set time to get up you would probably find yourself going to bed earlier each day. Stop worrying about if you are normal, or if this is anything odd. We are all different and you have as much right as anyone to do as you want with your life..if it wories you then ask for help..if you are okay with it then let it be so.
After everything you have been through, these later years of your life should, and could, be the best ever. Ask for advice from a doctor, someone who has the power to provide whatever drug you need to be able to take every day as it comes. All you are asking for is what is yours by right...the fact that your help in the past has left you worn out and depressed means that you deserve everything you can get now.
I wish you luck and years of happiness
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