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ADs & Counselling (Davros's Drains Up again)

(24 Posts)
Davros Sat 13-Aug-05 20:22:58

Shouldn't really be sitting here typing this as DD is asleep but its my little bit of spare time to come on MN.
I've been meaning to post this for ages. As part of my long winded plan of dealing with our problems I went to see my GP about 3 weeks ago. I've known him for a long time and he knows as much as anyone could about our family and our situation. Of course I started out with a blubber and then told him basically the Drains Up. The root of the issues for me is that, in the past, no matter how odd or difficult things were, they were always getting better, even slowly but now they are NOT. GP said he was amazed that I'd managed for so long and that he KNOWS we have done everything we can and the best we can.
He offered to refer me to the surgery Counsellor which I said yes to and he gave me a prescription for ADs, Citalopram (?).
So I saw the Counsellor once but then with holidays and my helper with DD deciding to go away unexpectedly I haven't been able to see her again but I think I will. It was alright going to see her but it takes up time that I could have to myself. She said she understood this and she wouldn't blame me for not going. My answer to this was that I think, if you claim to have a problem then you should try everything that is supposed to help. So I will go back but can't until I have help with DD (p/t nanny went yesterday for 3 weeks!!). The Counsellor characterised me as a "problem solver".
The GP said that I should wait a couple of weeks before deciding whether to take the ADs and, if I still felt the same, then do and go and see him about 3 weeks later. I've made an appointment with him. He said that having the prescription might make me feel better without taking them! He also said that he has seen them do wonders for people. I don't have anything against ADs on an emotional level, I learnt a lot about them in my last job which was to do with support for carers of people dying of cancer (light relief from autism! ).
Now, into the mix add that I have been feeling dreadful in terms of my own health, but its an illness that makes you feel tired, unable to concentrate, really ignoring things (and people) unless I HAVE to do something etc. A bit like depression! So DH and I decided that I should put up my dose of Steroids....... so I didn't want to do that AND start ADs.......still with me? I am feeling noticeably better after putting the Steroids up. But as well as the other "illness" things, I still feel there's an underlying "sadness" (in the old fashioned sense of the word, not showing my stomache and having my belly button pierced at 45 iyswim).
So really, I just wanted to ask you all about your experiences, opinions, advice. I kind of think that, by not at least trying the ADs, I might not be giving myself a chance of that extra "lift" as the GP called it. But I don't want to take something if I don't need to.
Thanks for sticking with it!

Jimjams Sat 13-Aug-05 20:39:03

Hi Davros

Some musings. I think we're quite similar- probably both "problem solvers" and probably both a bit wary of AD's for ourselves (although perfectly happily to recommend them to others).

I think its important to not underestimate the effect of your illness. I have been feeling under par this week, I have some sort of sun allergy - has been getting worse for years and this week seems to have triggered aching joints and muscular pains. I was looking up sun allergy on the internet to see if I could take piriotn and discovered that - oh actually I have the symptoms of lupus After thinking fucking fantastic, I then though oh god how am I going to cope with the autism? After moping around for a bit I suspect I have nothing of the sort and will be bouncing around within days. BUT it did hit me how important my health is to enable me to deal with ds1.

Soooooo after that long ramble in your shoes I think I would put the ADs on backburner (or decide a fixed time to trial them for- perhaps after all my help etc was back so I was in a normal situation) and concentrate on my health. Not easy of course. I just think in this sort of situation the problems are real- they are not due to chemical imbalances etc and so can be made easier with practical solutions. Having said that I wouldn't rule out ADs, I'm hoping our approach is similar enough for you to understand what I'm getting at.

I think also the fact that ds has suddenly got worse means that you have been dragged back to our favourite place Beruit. You have to allter your expectations again and you have to grieve again. I've now grievd for converation and I now doubt very much that ds1 will ever talk properly in a conversational type way, and I'm fine with that- it;s out of the system. But I know at some stage I will still have to grieve that he'll be leaving home to move into the care of SS - and I expect to feel very sad and very flat and very down when that hits me. I've found in the past that I can suddenly lift out of that flatness quite quickly and suddenly.

Councelling can help providing the counsellor has a grip on your situation. I do get counselling- just from a homeopath (an hour of talking about yourself- what else is it? ) and I find it helpful. But she understands a lot about our family- especially as she sees us in our home, and as well as the kids sees dh too.

Hope some of this helps to clarify your own thoughts.

Fio2 Sat 13-Aug-05 20:53:30

I really hate the holidays aswell, not that i am saying that is just what it is, but my nerves are shot to sh*t and it is getting increasingly worse as the holiday goes on. I have been having these weird panic attacks that seem to coincide with cafes, i honestly think they are mild OCD traits that have come out of the blue. I really think after all the stress buil up sometimes you do get to breaking point. My husband has been away two and half weeks and he has just texted me to say his flight has been delayed til monday now, he was supposed to be back tommorrow. You dont how sad that makes me bloody strike at heathrow gggrr

Anyway i am going off at a tangent, i too have decided to have cunselling too. i am going to try and see my gp to arrange it, there wont be a hope in hell i can go though until dd is back at school.

I wouldnt discount the ADs completely as with you being on a high dose of steroids that can make you moody and depressed anyway (my sister used to have high dose prednisalone-she was a nightmnare) so the Ads might conteract some of the irrational moods associated with the steroids iykwim

i will come back to this in a bit, dh wants to ring me now..

coppertop Sat 13-Aug-05 21:00:01

I know b*gger-all about ADs etc but didn't want to just leave your thread without replying, Davros. I hope you find the answers you need.

Fio - Fingers crossed that your dh will be back asap. xx

RnB Sat 13-Aug-05 21:03:05

Message withdrawn

jayzmummy Sat 13-Aug-05 21:04:40

I'd go for the counselling and put the AD's on the backburner for while.

Im not the best at giving out helpful advice....hope that things work out for you.

Saker Sat 13-Aug-05 21:23:51


I always feel a bit in awe of you as you have so much knowledge and experience and always such sensible suggestions. So I hestitate a bit to add my twopenneth worth but here goes...

My husband is a GP and sometimes he says to me that someone comes to see him and they say they think they might be depressed and then they tell him that their mother has died and their sister is terminally ill and they have a heart condition or something and he thinks "well it's no wonder you are depressed, I'd be depressed if that was happening to me". And I feel like that a bit with what you are writing - you have a right to feel unhappy with what you have to cope with at the moment and maybe it is not wrong to feel sad at this time.

In terms of whether to take the anti-depressants - according to my dh, the evidence is that anti-depressants work for clinical depression whether it is triggered by life events or by no apparent cause but they are not that much use just for depression i.e. general unhappiness. I don't know if that helps at all with your decision.

Socci Sat 13-Aug-05 21:45:51

Message withdrawn

Davros Sun 14-Aug-05 12:05:31

Hi Everyone, thanks for your replies. Can't easily respond properly on this silly laptop but will try.
I do think that the problems are real and not that I'm over reacting or reacting strangely to "normal" (or relatively normal) things. Both GP and Counsellor said this, that the problems are real and they'd be surprised if I didn't feel like this at some point. This is what Saker was saying her DH had said I think. I had also thought to myself that nothing anyone can say or give me will make DS better or mean it will ever stop iyswim. The Trainee Psychologist got me to complete a Rating thingy and I came out as not diagnosable but right on the cusp. I do understand what you are saying Jimjams and I think that the practical solution has always been my way but I went through a patch where that simply wasn't happening. Funnily enough, the Drs thought I had Lupus when I was first ill!
Socci, I DO get time to myself and I DO prioritise that quite a lot, its probably not quite enough though, esp when feeling ill/unhappy. I had to learn to when I was first ill and recently I have consciously decided that I DO NOT do anything that is remotely difficult or stressful if its avoidable. I deliberately keep "free time" free and don't use it to catch up on paperwork etc. I am also going to give up running the support group I've been involved with for the last 6 years, someone else can do it. Apart from anything else, I'm bored with it! At a time of feeling low/ill I have learnt that I can't do things just because other people want me to and I'm quite good at that really. However, I don't believe in disengaging totally as that can become a bad habit. I HAVE to do things with DD so choose to do nice things and use some of my time with her to meet up with friends for lunch etc, as long as she can come too then its not my free time. I do get comments from people about my gadding about enjoying myself though
Something I had thought too, I DO believe in having your problems and experiencing them iyswim but not to a martrydom point.
So I think I will not take the ADs for now and will see the Counsellor when I don't have DD and DS around.
In the back of my mind too is the fact that all of this is a track record and I can show it all to whoever I might need to, Soc Svs, LEA etc. This is not the reason for pursuing any of it but its a potential benefit of being my usual systematic self!

Jimjams Sun 14-Aug-05 14:03:34

Yes Saker's dh said what I was trying to- that as your problems are real then the downess/depression may not be helped by AD's. I think your approach sounds very "right" for you.

Who on earth says you gaddy about. Swap with them for a week Having experienced these holidays with help I'm certainly never going without help again. It has been so much better for everyone- I know you've always been sensible about help- but is it time to review how its being used? I don't get that impression from your post btw- just a suggestion for completeness.

beccaboo Sun 14-Aug-05 20:42:51

Davros, sorry to hear this . I've been dx-ed with depression quite recently, so I know what you're going through.

I agree with what's been said about appropriate reactions to circumstance, but... I think there's a big difference between feeling sad/down and having depression. The chemical imbalance in the brain can just happen on its own, but can also be caused by events.

I was offered ADs, but have decided to try the counselling first and see how it goes. Do you know when you'll be seen, they seem to have long waiting lists? My counsellor does Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and I've only had a couple of sessions so far but it's been quite helpful. One thing that's been quite revealing is about 'problem solving' personalities - I think I'd include myself in that category. The therapy has made me realise that the goals I set myself are often unrealistic and when I don't reach them that just makes me feel worse.

I was convinced I had a physical illness. I couldn't get out of bed in the morning, exhausted all the time, putting on weight, bad skin.....I think the GP knew straight away what was up, but humoured me by ordering the thryroid test I asked for, then sent me to the counsellor.

maddiemo Mon 15-Aug-05 17:31:07

Only just seen this. I took ADs a long time ago and they have probably changed a lot.
I personally did not feel they were right for me as my depression was linked to an ongoing serious life problem rather than feeling depressed with my daily life as a whole. Although they removed the 'in your face'stress of the situation they did not help me deal with it.
I would not bin your prescription yet but try other methods first.

As others have said never underestimate the effects of feeling under par. I have mod/severe asthma and a few years ago it really spiralled and I gradually became run down and developed pneumonia. I also was on a long steroid course I felt crap for about a year, really, really crap and it has only been with a lot of help from my Nurse that I have got my asthma under good control. Any long term health issues can grind you down.

Are your health problems being reviewed to make sure you are on the best meds for you?

I also see a homeopath(on the NHS) and find it helps me make links in my head that I may not have made on my own. I find it to be a good overhaul of where my mental state impacts on my body. You don't have to be a believer in the remedies to try it

I am sorry to hear that you are feeling so low and hope that you get a good counsellor.

Davros Tue 16-Aug-05 18:34:40

Thanks for the extra replies. I agree Jimjams that HOW we use our respite needs to be reviewed and Soc Svs have offered us the Link scheme, so DS goes elsewhere to give us a break, we haven't had a break from him for even one night for years! I'm also working on a local charity that does residential holidays, introducing DS slowly with a view to next summer, I just can't see how we will ever get a break otherwise.
Becca, I have already seen the Counsellor but I haven't been able to go back due to the holidays and my helper for DD deciding to bugger off for nearly 4 weeks! I was at the GP's today with DS so I left another message for the Counsellor to call me to book another appt after the hols.
Maddie, my health is SO reviewed its not true! I am in the clinic of a very highly renowned Prof at The Royal Brompton and another HRP at The Royal Free, so between them I get a good variety of input but consistent too iyswim. I tried the London Homeopathic Hospital once, mostly because other people kept nagging me about it, I found the whole experience interesting but a bit of a waste of time tbh. I am the top sceptic of SN though and I just couldn't manage yet another appt and another silly pill!

Merlot Wed 17-Aug-05 10:20:20

Davros - I've only just seen this thread and am really sorry that you are feeling so low
Your post has,however, struck a real chord with me. In fact great chunks of your first post could have been written by me.

I have been receiving counselling (as part of a post natal depression group - there was nothing available for mums of special need children - so it was the best they could do) and it has been a real help giving me a `lift' from week to week. The course has finished now and it struck me that everyone else on the course has hope and possibly belief that they will `get better'. For me, though, I know that unless someone waves a magic wand or there is a miracle, that is not going to happen for my situation.

My ds2 is only 2 so I have only been in this situation for a relatively short while, but I have resisted AD's so far. For me they do not carry any stigma (in fact I took them several years ago for anxiety related to a physical illness), but I know (deep down) that this is an ongoing situation and I am grieving and that I just feel very deep sadness (almost like I am permanently crying inside) - for my little one himself and also for us, the rest of his family, for whom life will never be what we hoped it would.

My cousellor rang last night to see how things were and I said that I was coping and level, but just feeling `flat'. I asked her whether she felt that I could benefit from AD's and she is going to ring me tonight to talk about it.

The way you describe this `flatness' is just how I feel. I too like to problem solve - and this situation I find myself in just cant be `solved'.

I honestly cant imagine feeling `happy' again - my mum was diagnosed with Breast Cancer within weeks of ds2 being born - and thank goodness she is currently in remission, but I feel guilt that I am adding to her worries.

I will let you know what my counsellor says about AD's in this sort of situation.

JakB Wed 17-Aug-05 10:23:59

Merlot I think it is virtually impossible to have a child with special needs and not experience depression at one level or another at some point or for some duration. I also think that ADs have their place and can help if prescribed responsibly and monitored closely. I'm so, so sorry you're feeling so crap, Davros. I think you're amazing

Jimjams Wed 17-Aug-05 11:10:10

Merlot I recognise that feeling of grief. I also think that age 2/3 is one of the hardest times as all the differences and limitations become more apparent. Now ds1 is 6, and far, far worse than I would have imagined at 2 but I am a lot happier. We don't have to have much to do with the NT world on a daily basis (which normally depresses me instantly so I keep away a lot). And I've managed to shed my life of things that bring me down. Now ds1 is at special school he's with his peer group - and I'm with mine- it's easier. A lot of people I've spoken to have said age 2 was very hard <<hugs>>

JakB Wed 17-Aug-05 11:37:07

Yes, I agree, I think 2 is really hard. The rawest mums who come to my Sweet Peas group have children who are 2. So sorry it's so hard, Merlot.

heartinthecountry Wed 17-Aug-05 16:01:48

I would be interesting to know, wouldn't it, what percentage of parents of children with SN suffer from depression at some point - reckon it would be pretty high. Davros, Beccaboo & Merlot - really sorry you are all feeling low.

Merlot - my dd is not much older than your ds I don't think but I think because we knew about her problems from when she was 4 months old, I am maybe a little further down the road of grief and acceptance (?). I went to see a counsellor just over a year ago. My first words to him were "I will never be truly happy again" - so I know where you are coming from. I still stand by that in some ways - it is something that is now at the very core of me, and will always be there. But I can say that I am a hell of a lot happier now than I was a year ago. I no longer feel 'flat' as I did. I am starting to feel like a real person again instead of a shell.

I also have no doubt that at some point in the future I will find myself where Davros is. All my strategies and theories and therapies will suddenly not be enough to keep us afloat. And I expect then to go through another period of grief and adjustment.

I wish it could be easier for all of you.

Merlot Wed 17-Aug-05 20:20:04

Thanks guys for all your kind words and support -it helps knowing that others have been in my shoes.

I really am in a better place mentally with ds2's sn's than I was a year ago, but at that time I was on a rollercoaster ride - now I've hit this `flat' period and its almost worse, as if the life has been sucked out of me.

I dont want to take AD's if I dont have to - I am worried that once I start I will end up taking them for life. Its, just that every now and then, like Davros, I keep wondering whether AD's would just give me that little `lift'. Ds2 is starting nursery two mornings a week in September and maybe that will give me the time and space I need to re-energise a little, so I think I too will delay any decision about Ad's for a while.

I realize that you, Davros, are further down the line than I am on all this, but I hope that the counselling helps, because I have found it useful. I am going to take one or two leaves out of your book, regarding prioritising and taking time out for myself - so a very unpatriotic sign to those who have been giving you a hard time for that - bl**dy cheek!!

Merlot Wed 17-Aug-05 21:17:03

An update...

My counsellor has rung and I've talked things through with her and whilst she doesnt want to push me in one direction or another regarding AD's she feels that I am not clinically depressed and that my feelings are circumstantial (no surprises there then!)

What she did suggest was that I should go back to my GP and ask specifically to be referred to a counsellor on a 1-1 basis. It will be interesting to see whether there is anything available, as I was told by the health visitor that the only thing I could access was this PND group.

heartinthecountry Wed 17-Aug-05 21:35:12

Merlot - I was referred through my GP - it took a while though.

BTW - have just read my last post again and it sounds horribly patronising sorry - wasn't meant to be.

Davros Thu 18-Aug-05 20:02:56

HITC, I didn't think your post was patronising, I thought it was very good. Merlot, there must be something else in counselling terms available??? I got info about a phone counselling service, I'll post the details, but I couldn't think HOW anyone could manage it over the phone, through any likely blubbering! What about charities or other organisations related to your child's disability/SN, might be worth checking out. Hope my thread didn't make you feel worse

Merlot Thu 18-Aug-05 20:34:44

HITC - not at all patronising, just helpful!
and it was very useful to know that it was your GP who referred you.

Davros - Quite the reverse, you didnt make me feel worse, you made me feel better actually.
I thought the word `flat' was an accurate, but rather odd way of describing my see you use exactly the same word made me realize that it is obviously not just me being self indulgent..but a common feeling when you are dealing with all the mixed emotions that having a child with special needs brings.

FWIW the PNT counsellor couldnt believe that there wasnt a specific counselling service for people in our situation. I definitely need to book an appointment with the GP to discuss it. I wont be surprised if the Health Visitor has been ill informed.

Unfortunately as we have no dx, I cant contact a specific organisation...but someone has recommended the Contact A Family website for general information, so I need to take time out to have a good look at that.

The phone service sounds good in theory, but like you I am sceptical as to how good it can really be.

Caroline5 Thu 18-Aug-05 21:01:26

Merlot and Davros, very sorry you are both feeling low at the moment. I would really recommend 1-1 counselling if you can get it, I've been seeing my counsellor for coming up to two years now but will soon be stopping. I didn't get referred through GP, but rang direct on recommendation from a friend (it is a charity, you pay what you can afford) and didn't have to wait too long for a place (we are in a rural area though). I went partly due to dd2's SNs and also due to h's alcoholism/violence which was all just getting too much. It has helped me no end and I have managed to avoid the AD's.

Hope you both manage to get a place with a counsellor soon, IME it takes some time to have a benefit and can even make you feel worse before you feel better.

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