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I feel really sad? I dont know if it is depression?

By October 24, 2009 - 5:22pm
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My dad had an accident and now he is unable to walk. HE is never going to walk. And am so sad and worried. I feel like my life is ruined. Am only 18 and i feel like this situation will make me be unhappy for ever. i am very streesed out...I dont know what to think? DO? or feel? can u all give me ideas or opinions about my situation? Thank you

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I comment you for staying to help. Again, this may be a minor setback for you. It may be a good thing because it will give you some time to gain work experience and help you focus on what you really want to do at school. Once things become stable in your household, start talking about college again. Things will improve as your Dad's health improves. It is perfectly normal to be sad when something bad happens.

Depression does not always start with a sad event. Depression is different from sadness and very difficult to explain. Depression encompasses many other things besides being sad. Depression will affect many parts of your life like sleeping, decision making, eating, your ability to enjoy things, and it can happen when everything is going well and you should feel like you are on top of the world.


October 25, 2009 - 2:11pm


I am so sorry to hear about your dad, and of course his recent accident and physical (and emotional) consequences are effecting not only him, but all of those around him.

Sadness is a normal response, and there are many options for you.

First, a few questions. Are you your dad's primary caregiver, or do you still live in the same house (which has now been disrupted)? Does your dad have adequate care, both physical and emotional by health care professionals and relatives that are his age...or is he depending on you for physical and emotional care and support?

This is an important distinction to know: if you are a caregiver without choice, are having to help your dad who may be financially strained by his accident (which also can effect your chances of going to college, etc.)...or are you living in the household where your dad is receiving great care and support...and you are feeling that you are sad and need help, too.

There are very specific signs of clinical depression, and here is a great website to know if you are feeling sad vs. clinically depressed from Dartmouth College:

Signs of Clinical Depression:
* Concentration is often impaired
* Inability to experience pleasure
* Increase in self-critical thoughts with a voice in the back of one's mind providing a constant barrage of harsh, negative statements
* Sleep disturbance or unable to fall back to sleep
* Feeling fatigued after 12 hours of sleep
* Decrease in appetite or food loses its taste
* Feelings of guilt, helplessness and/or hopelessness
* Thoughts of suicide
* Increased isolation
* Missing deadlines or a drop in standards
* Change in personality
* Increased sexual promiscuity
* Increased alcohol/drug use
If someone experiences most of the above symptoms for more than two weeks, there is a good chance they are suffering from a clinical depression.

It is OK to feel sad, and is a normal, healthy response to losing someone through a death, or losing them in the sense that they are no longer the same person, such as a disability. You will be able to emotionally work through this time, and even rebound enough to help your dad and family...but first, it might be time to grieve and be sad. It really is OK to be sad, and there is a time and place to do so. There are some helpful hints on ""how to be sad", as many of us are told/shown to hide our emotions and only express happiness. You are sad for a very specific reason, originating from a very specific event. Allow yourself to be sad, journal, go for a walk, listen to music, talk to friends. If your sadness turns to depression (see above list for signs), then it is time to talk with a professional counselor or psychologist. You can start with your school counselor as a good resource.

Please let us know how you are doing, and how else we can help you.

October 25, 2009 - 12:50pm
(reply to Alison Beaver)

Thank you so much.. I feel sad and as you told i guess is OK to feel this way sense its so recent. Its just that I feel like I have to help my mother but at the same time I feel like i don't want to always be there with y dad as a slave or something.. I live with my parents And i was just getting ready and thinking seriously about college and my life but now that this happened its like i see my dreams impossible.. I have to seek for a job now and help financially and emotionally and physically towards my parents. My mother is very sad too. I don't know if this is just a Turn down in my emotional state. I hope Its not Depression I hope i can manage this situation. Thank you for your comment.

October 25, 2009 - 1:17pm
(reply to Lupita)

Please feel free to come back and talk with us anytime, and if your sadness is effecting the rest of your life (as the other member mentioned: eating, sleeping and daily life), then it is time to seek professional help.

You (and your mom) may want to talk with a counselor or psychologist about your feelings. It is wonderful for the caregivers to love and support their loved-one in need, and it is also OK and vital to know that caregivers can feel stressed, lonely, isolated, put-upon, financially and emotionally and socially burdened. Caregivers need to know that they are not being selfish for these feelings; they are real, and if acknowledged and properly addressed, can be healthy feelings. You are 18, want to look forward to college and a social life and having fun, while still helping your parents. Now, with your dad's accident, you are having to put your life on hold for the moment to focus on him...and you didn't ask for this to happen. We know how your dad and mom feel, and they are probably scared and wanting the best for their family (including you), too. Give this new situation some time, help out as much as you can, and also talk with your mom about your needing a few hours every day to yourself to have fun, so that you can be a better caregiver and support to the family. Caregivers need emotional and social support for themselves, too, in order to be the best caregiver.

So much can happen in the next 2, 6 or 12 months that your dreams may not be on-hold, or they may be on-hold for a short time.

You do not have to be clinically depressed to talk with a counselor or psychologist, and they are a wonderful "third person" who can listen to your feelings without judgment and help you deal with the negative emotions so you are able to focus on all of the wonderful things that your family is doing for each other.

Here are some other references you and your mom may find useful:
- Caregiver Stress: The impact of chronic disease on the family
- Caregiver Stress

I hope to hear from you again! We'll be thinking about you, and would love to hear how you are doing (as well as how your dad is recovering).

October 25, 2009 - 3:17pm

Why do you think your life is ruined? You can still walk. You are are probably still in a state of shock as this news about your Dad is becoming real to you. You are sad and you will get over this. Your Dad needs your love and support during this very difficult time as he comes to terms with his disability. I recommend to find someone to talk to about this, another family member, your mother, your priest, etc. Sometimes just saying the fears out loud will help you come to terms with a problem. It may takes months before things get back to normal or the new normal in your family. Be patient, be flexible and willing to help out.

If your sadness does not go away or improve in a few weeks, then seek medical help. Look in the phonebook for a mental health hotline where you can talk to someone. It will be quiet and discreet. Many people still fear the stigma of mental illness. Most mental illneses are not caused by weakness but are the result of chemical imbalances in the brain.

Life will go on. Take it one day at a time and deal with today's problems today.


October 24, 2009 - 6:29pm
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