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Depression


My faith has provided me with strength in accepting my new normal. 

Ramon Individual dealing with depression 

There is a difference between sadness and depression. Sadness comes and goes. It is normal to feel sadness and a sense of loss after a stroke. Sadness that doesn’t go away may mean depression. It is common for stroke survivors or their care partners to develop a true clinical depression. Know the signs of depression and contact your doctor if you see them. Depression can slow down your recovery. There are treatments that can help.

Some physical signs of depression:

  • changes in your sleep pattern (not sleeping well, or sleeping more than normal)
  • changes in appetite
  • gaining or losing weight without trying
  • feeling tired, having much less energy
  • feeling restless
  • persistent headaches
  • chronic pain or digestive problems (such as stomach aches, nausea, constipation or diarrhea).

Some emotional signs of depression:

  • feeling sad, anxious, irritable, nervous, guilty, worthless or hopeless
  • not feeling interested in doing things you used to enjoy
  • finding it hard to focus, remember things or make decisions
  • changes in your work style or zest for work
  • constant thoughts of death.

If you have any of these symptoms for more than two weeks, contact your doctor. Treatment can involve speaking to a trained mental health professional, taking medication or both.

If you believe someone is in danger because of their thoughts of suicide, call a distress line or 9-1-1 right away. 

The difference between sadness and depression:
The blues or sadness
Clinical depression

You feel sad or unhappy. (We all feel this way sometimes).

Clinical depression is a medical illness.

 You know why you feel sad or blue (because of a sad event).

 You do not know why you feel the way you do.

 You find that the feeling of sadness goes away on its own.

 Clinical depression does not go away without treatment.

 You notice that your sad mood is temporary — it lasts a few days or weeks.

 Clinical depression can last months or years.

                   
Emotional issues are part of your journey

You may naturally want to hide your feelings. You may not want to share feelings of sadness or depression. But keeping emotions inside can interfere with your recovery.Sharing your feelings, as hard as it may be, is a step toward meeting your recovery goals.

Find people you can talk to about your feelings. This might be family, friends, other stroke survivors, someone from your faith community, or a member of your healthcare team. Join or start a support group. If any of your feelings become overwhelming, talk with a healthcare professional right away.

                   

I keep a journal of one positive thing that happens everyday, so when I am down it shows me that there are good parts in my life

John Individual dealing with depression 

Where to get support:

Talk about how you are feeling to a member of your healthcare team you are comfortable with. A psychologist or social worker might also help. Speak with people in your life that you are close to and trust. Look for support groups or peer visiting programs. Talking to others who live with stroke can help.

Related information

Living with stroke™ program 

March of Dimes local support groups 

Stroke Recovery Canada™  Warmline 1-888-540-6666. Connects you with stroke survivors and caregivers.

Stroke Engine: Depression information

 Social and peer support