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Author Topic: Grief and depression or something else?  (Read 370 times)

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Offline atleswoolf

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Grief and depression or something else?
« on: May 09, 2014, 02:02:06 PM »

I've been watching my mother fight peritoneal cancer for the last three years, and she died last Thursday, after going downhill very, very rapidly.  It was the hardest thing in the world to watch her slipping away, incontinent, unable to breathe, in hospice.  Thankfully the very end was peaceful.

My health anxiety resurfaced at the time she was diagnosed in 2011.  I went through a wide array of cancer fears (lymphoma, stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, colon cancer, skin cancer), all of which proved to be baseless.  From January 2014 onward, however, my fears have centered on neurological diseases like MS and ALS.  I've had mild twitching, fatigue, tiredness, that odd internal "vibrating" feeling, etc.  Never consistent, never every day, but often enough to freak me out on a regular basis.  Now, since my mother's death, my limbs ache and feel heavy, are beginning to twitch again, it seems more difficult to lift things that I could ordinarily lift with ease, etc.  I'm still walking on the treadmill daily to try to keep my spirits up, but I just feel exhausted all the time, and the health anxiety skyrockets every time there's a twitch or an ache.  (Tellingly, most of the symptoms vanish after a Xanax.) 

I guess I just want a little reassurance, here.  Is the fatigue really just grief and depression?  I know that depression can make you weak and tired and unable to do things you'd ordinarily do.  But the health anxiety makes me think it must be something neurological -- rational mind be damned.  My doctor thinks it's just nerves and depression and doesn't even think a neuro needs to be consulted.  I'd just like some thoughts from people here.
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I meant to write about death, only life came breaking in as usual.  -- Virginia Woolf, Diary, 17 February 1922.

Offline mollyfin

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Re: Grief and depression or something else?
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2014, 03:02:17 PM »
First of all, I'm so sorry about your mother.  That sounds incredibly difficult.  My dad passed a few years ago under somewhat different circumstances, so I know how awful losing a parent is, but that sounds like a really horrible few years.

It seems totally normal and reasonable to me that this would cause your anxiety to recur.  And grief, anxiety and depression can all cause incredible fatigue.  I know it seems impossible for there to not be a horrible physical cause to feel so bad, but some days when my depression is bad, I can sleep for 2/3s of the day and still be unable to leave my bed.

I'm so sorry you have to go through this.  If you're not seeking help now, I recommend that you do.  Grief is hard enough on its own; coupled with this kind of anxiety, you must be suffering so much.  There are professionals who can help you learn how to cope.  There are also a lot of support groups out there for people who have lost loved ones.  Check with your local hospitals and churches.
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