“Depression never discriminates.” Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson You’ve had a stroke. Working on your recovery. Have a couple setbacks, recovery is taking longer than you thought. Is it a possibility you think you’re not going to recover as completely as you hoped. Some outside influences like the insurance company or your employer. Things start to pile up. It’s estimated 1 in 3 stroke survivors will be diagnosed with depression. Some depression early on might be caused by the location of the stroke in the brain. Later in recovery. I think these numbers are on the low side. I was asked at every follow up visit if I had feelings of depression. Not me, remember I’m the one that a stroke, “no not me it’s just a headache.” Some of the symptoms for depression are the same as stroke; fatigue, lack of concentration, headaches and irritability. It was about four years into my recovery, I felt something weird, pain in my chest, hard to breath and no energy worse than normal. Off to the hospital and admitted into the Cardiac Care Unit. Lots of tests and waiting for more tests. It was late Thursday they did a procedure up my wrist I think it was an Angiogram. Friday the results game back, everything was okay. They couldn’t find any issues and I was released on Saturday with a follow up later. A couple months later I was taking a weekend course to be a Mental Health First Responder. The second day we were going through lists of symptoms for depression and PTSD some are similar. I started thinking; “sometimes I feel like that”, or, “yes that one for sure,” “Maybe sometimes that one.” The more I thought about it the more some things started making sense. Then it was, “okay I got this.” I had enough on the go with stroke recovery trying to get back to work and I didn’t need to bother anyone with this. “I’ll just carry on, maybe it’ll go away as soon as I get back to work.” A couple months later on the night before a scheduled follow up stroke appointment with my family doctor I mentioned to my wife that I thought I might have a “bit of depression”. She took a deep breath and said, “I’ve been trying to find a way to talk to you about it.” The next morning at the doctor’s after we went over the blood tests, I was reminded to ask about the depression. We did an oral I think 21 question test and I scored 19 out of 21. It was recommended I start counselling. “It’s so difficult to describe (depression) to someone who’s never been there, because it’s not sadness. But it’s that cold absence of feeling - - that hollowed out feeling.” J. K. Rowling The initial shock of the diagnoses was similar to the stroke diagnoses. A few days later I started counselling, it was amazing within a few weeks I started feeling better. I was taught how to handle some things and how not to worry about the things I can’t control. That my upcoming retirement would clean up many things. It was also determined that my week in the cardiac care unit was because of a massive anxiety attack. That was caused I think because an o going back and forth between the employer and the insurance company. I tried to hide it, “Me depression no not happening.” If I was depressed, I have to hide it and keep it to myself. What would people think. I’ve heard all the stories, those water cooler whispers; “Did you hear about so and so…”, “Yeh he went off the deep end,” “Yup just couldn’t handle it.” Untreated depression will only get worse and can lead to suicide. Half the people with depression never get diagnosed. I remembered an interview with Canadian Olympic Medalist Clara Hughes opening up about her struggles with depression. As I googled depression, I found another interview with Michael Landsburg, host of TSN’s “Off the Record”. The more I googled the more I found brave people opening up about their struggles with depression. People whose lifestyles and accomplishments most of us could only dream about. Terry Bradshaw, Elizabeth Manley, Margret Trudeau, The Rock, J.K. Rowling, Michael Phelps and Bruce Springsteen, all sharing their stories in the hope that it’s okay to ask for help TO TALK ABOUT IT. “I thought I could help people with awareness, help men get the strength and courage.” Terry Bradshaw Be honest with your councillors. Try some things see what works and what doesn’t adjust and try again. Sound familiar just like stroke recovery. Get to be where you understand your depression and be able to handle it. Then back to work on your stroke recovery. Concentrate on the positives. Caregivers/Recovery Partners have to be aware of depression also. That’s why it’s important to get some “me time” a chance to re-evaluate yourself. “It’s like this thing that engulfs you. I got to where I didn’t want to get out of bed.” Bruce Springsteen Depression Symptoms · Trouble concentrating, remembering details and making decisions · Fatigue · Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness · Pessimism and hopelessness · Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or sleeping too much · Irritability · Restlessness · Loss of interest in things that once were pleasurable, including sex · Overeating, or appetite loss · Aches, pains, headaches or cramps that won’t go away · Digestive problems that don’t get better, even with treatment · Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings · Suicidal thoughts or attempts. WebMD Always remember YOU’RE NOT ALONE the faster you get help, TALK ABOUT IT the easier and faster it is to get better.