Sorry for the essay, but I am in need of some reassurance. I would really like some advice from those of you who are suffering through depression or caring for someone who is. Here is my story:
Me and Sarah grew up together, best friends from age 3(!) through pre-school/high-school. We took holidays together, learned to walk, cycle, dance, and surf together. Rarely a day went by when we weren't together.
Then we hit 17. I was full of adventure, I couldn't wait to pick the farthest college from home and be free to be a 'grown-up'. Sarah, who had always been slightly more introverted, was nervous. She didn't really like change and the thought of leaving the security of high-school and home was very scary to her. Eventually her negativity seemed to become something else, she was always down, rarely ate, seemed moody and agitated all the time.. I had no idea what was happening, and it wasn't until her first hospitalisation in 2003 that I finally looked-up depression, and learned about this terrible disease.
Now, five years later, we are almost 25. Sarah has suffered so badly over the years, she has been on too many anti-depressants to list here, she has also had lots of ECT. Phenylzine (Nardil), an MAOI seemed to be the most successful, we managed a decent holiday, and she even went back to college. However, its effects seemed to wear off, and now it feels as though we are back to square one (though she wasnít even at 80% health on it!).
She has had numerous suicide attempts, and I feel the next one is just around the corner. When things get desperate like this, I begin to lose hope and get very upset myself, I struggle at work and my mind is on the worst-case scenario. She is an in-patient now, and some days we can have some small conversation, other days she can hardly bare to talk/listen/concentrate for the pain it causes her.
It is a 2 hour drive, but I try and visit everyday. Sometimes she just tells me not to come to the hospital, or motions for me to leave when I arrive. I know the disease is not her, it is not who she is, so I try not to get upset or offended, but it is so hard. Are my visits in vain? Is it making her worse having to concentrate when I visit? I am more than happy to sit and read a paper next to her, but I feel just being there lets her know that someone cares(?)
Thank god I have never been through this horror myself, but if anyone on here has, can you tell me what comforted you when at your worst?
I find it hard to be understanding/caring without irritating her. Sometimes Iíll ask a question about how she is feeling/what meds she has taken, and Iíll just get an angry response. Should I just shut up, how else can I show that I understand if I donít know how she is feeling that day, or what drugs they have altered?
It is so hard sometimes to separate the disease from her, I canít help but get angry when she shouts at her parents to Ďfu** offí or runs away & cuts herself time and again after we have begged her not to.
I have done so much reading on the topic, and there are so many great books about those who have pulled through the nightmare, and made a recovery. But at this point it is so hard to convince myself (let alone Sarah) that she will too. Who am I to lie to her, when she is the one having to hang on through the pain?
If I tell her hang-on, to stay with us, then she just moans about how no drugs will ever work and that her life is never going to be worth living. Every argument I make against this is just fended back with a reasonable response. Sometimes I feel like agreeing, it is such hard work.
I just get so terrified when I think of being at her funeral, comforting her distraught family.
She is starting Cymbalta in a week, and I am praying that this drug makes a difference!
So, if youíve read this far then thanks for just listening. I donít tell many people about Sarah, all our school friends are scattered and I donít know many people at work well enough to pour my heart out.
I just need some words of wisdom from carers/sufferers really. Help!