Possible depression?

Hello and apologies for the long post.

I’m worried about mum. For about 3 weeks, she stopped doing any form of exercise and insisted on spending all day in bed. She also refused to have the TV on. She wasn’t doing enough exercise in the first place because she’s a bit lazy, but then she became adamant that she was not going to do any physio or speech & language therapy at all. She stopped drinking water except to take medication and would only leave her bed to be taken to the toilet, then it was straight back in. She would have a tantrum if I said she should sit in the armchair for her meals and I had to give them to her in bed because she’s stubborn and would rather not eat to prove a point. She’s done that for 2.5 days in the past, and when she doesn’t eat, she doesn’t take her medication.

Mum used to have her TV on and loved watching TBN, a Christian TV channel. She especially loved the music and would sing along even though she can’t form the words. She would also watch old favourites like “Murder She Wrote”. She used to ask to be brought to the living room to sit with me, but during this period, every time I asked if she wanted to join me in the living room, she would shake her head frantically. She just wanted to be left alone in her bed.

Three days ago, she perked up! For the first two days after coming out of it, she asked to be put in the armchair in the morning and didn’t go back into her bed until bedtime. She also watched TV. She even asked to use the mobile pedal exerciser on the morning of the second day, immediately after being moved to her armchair, and she pedalled for quite a while. She sat in the living room with me the whole of yesterday! Plus, she’s drinking water again.

I’m pleased, but scared it might happen again because I have no idea what triggered it, neither do I know how or why it stoppped. I was going to post while it was happening but just didn’t get round to it.

What can I do to keep her spirits up? I found the situation quite distressing because staying in bed all day eliminates the possibility of any form of recovery.

Has anyone experienced similar? What would you advise?

The main things she loved before the stroke were going to church and cooking. She wouldnt be able to sit through a church service now and I’m sure she won’t even go because since the stroke she has refused all visitors (I think she doesn’t want anyone seeing her like that). Her arm is paralysed, so cooking is no longer possible. I’m going to see if she’ll join the church service on Zoom with the camera and mic off. Apart from that, I can’t think of what else to do.

Thanks in advance.

@middlechild welcome. Sorry to hear your mum’s had a stroke. The early stages post stroke are very difficult & i know for the 1st couple of months i was so tired it was difficult to do anything.
It’s good that she now seems to have turned a corner and fingers crossed she will now continue improving. Its possible she was suffering low mood . Its very common post stroke. If it happens again it may be worth speaking to GP. Might also be worth looking at a neuro psychology referral as they can help with this. Think theres a long wait so early referral would be good…can always cancel if then not needed.
Wishing you both all the best.

Ann x

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Shwmae @middlechild, everyone has pitched in really good advice. I can only say from my own experience that I was not consistent with my needs early on. Sometimes there was so much I had to deal with in my body and brain, I blocked out everything else and hoped that people would leave me alone. When I felt some relief, I felt joyous and productive, gripping onto that feeling all day, and whoosh, I would tumble again. I, personally, wasn’t depressed but I had so much to concentrate on, people may have thought I was. I was anxious more than anything else. My own private, personal peril that no one else could see or feel.

Do, however, keep an eye out for depression. It can manifest, and they have recently done studies that reveal depression isn’t necessarily connected to chemical imbalance but rather circumstance. Stroke is certainly a circumstance that can induce depression as it can be so sickly stifling.

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Thank you for all your messages. You will be wondering why I posted asking for advice then did not bother to respond to people who took the time to reach out.

One morning shortly after posting, I was unable to wake mum up and had to call for an ambulance. Sadly, she never regained consciousnes and passed away in hospital 9 days ago. It turns out she had suffered a massive stroke on the other side of her brain while sleeping.

Mum was 85 years old and although I did not expect her to live forever, I am finding this so difficult because of the false hope. I was so pleased when she came out of her low mood and was looking forward to getting back on track with her recovery.

Before the stroke 7 months ago, mum was totally independent and you could never have guessed how old she was. Even after the stroke, people were surprised when I told them her age (hospital staff, carers, etc), not just because of how she looked, but also because she was very strong physically. I would not have been able to care for her otherwise. She had throughout her life seemed 15 - 20 years younger than her actual age in both appearance and fitness level.

Mum definitely had potential for recovery in terms of mobility. She used to take a few steps while holding on to me. Communication would have been difficult (I am not sure if I mentioned she had lost the ability to speak, read or write) but I could tell she would walk and probably would already have started if she had not gone through that period of staying in bed and not doing her exercises. I even ordered her a hemi-walker after writing the previous post.

She said she wanted to lie down as she had done so many times before. I don’t even know how long before I tried to wake her the stroke happened because each time I checked on her she just looked like she was sleeping and only when I shook her because she needed to eat and take her medication, did I realise she was unconscious.

I thought things were looking up. Yes, she had challenges after the initial stroke but her mind was intact. She understood when spoken to so we used questions to communicate and it was getting easier. Yes, I was worried when she was in a low mood, but then she came out of it. I was therefore grateful and optimistic.

I am still in shock because this is not the outcome I imagined; it never even crossed my mind.


@middlechild i am so sorry to hear that your beloved mum has passed away. A massive loss to you.

Sending you my heartfelt condolences at this difficult time.

Thinking of you.

Ann xxx

@Mrs5K @Loshy Thanks Loraine, thanks Ann. I’m glad for this forum because people generally don’t understand. Even my sister doesn’t. She said that because of mum’s age, she started preparing her mind for the worst when mum had the first stroke. I understand where she’s coming from but it’s different when you were the one actually living with and caring for the person.

The medical equipment people who supplied the hospital bed, armchair, sara stedy, etc came to collect everything this morning and mum’s room is now empty. I was in there with my mum not that long ago. It stings.

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@middlechild its really difficult isn’t it. When you are there looking after someone it is all consuming and leaves a big hole when it stops; especially when it is unexpected. It doesn’t matter how old people are you still don’t expect them to go.

I remember the day the medical equipment people came and took my dads bed and other stuff away. It almost felt like he’d never been there and seeing the empty room was hard.

Your sister is probably trying to deal with her grief in the best way she knows how. It will be different if she wasn’t your mums carer but still difficult I’m sure.

Try & stay strong but grieve as you need to.

Sending lots of love and best wishes.

Ann xx

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Shwmae @middlechild, that is sad news to hear, I am sorry you have lost her. She sounded like she was indeed strong to survive her first stroke at 85, but awful to hear she had another. I hope through your mourning, you also can reflect on the joy and love your mother gave. Well wishes to you and your family.

I know this is a long time since you posted this, but I’m so sorry for your loss.

My mother at 83 had a stroke back end of August. Her ‘resistance’ wasn’t as severe as your mother’s but your message certainly resonated.

I’m so sorry it ended like this. It must be incredibly difficult. Sending you my condolences and healing energy. Take good care.

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@Mrs5K Thanks Ann. I wasn’t up to reading any messages for a while, then I just got really busy. Today is Mother’s Day and I find myself thinking about this time last year. She had the stroke less than a month after. This grieving process is so strange for me; I can’t seem to move on. I lost my dad almost 22 years ago and it really hurt, but this is different. Dad’s death was sudden. I wasn’t there when it happened, I didn’t take care of him and watch him struggle, I didn’t experience false hope.
My sister doesn’t actually “hear” me when I try to explain how I feel, but luckliy, I have a couple of friends who do and it helps to get it all out without being made to feel I’m being dramatic. They actually listen and are good at trying to understand things from another person’s point of view and giving helpful feedback. My sister doesn’t mean any harm but it’s not her strong point. Besides, I think she’s trying to avoid her own grief. When I ask how she’s doing, she doesn’t say anything apart from that she’s okay. But like you said, we all grieve in different ways. When the time comes, she just needs to know I’m here for her.

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Hi @Rups, @Loshy, and apologies for the delayed response. Thanks for your kind words. It really helps. There’s a reason I’m still on the forum even though I’m no longer caring for a stroke victim. This is the place where people understand.


Hi @jane.cobley, @Mahoney, and apologies for the delayed response. Thanks for your kind words. It really helps. There’s a reason I’m still on the forum even though I’m no longer caring for a stroke victim. This is the place where people understand.

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@middlechild today will no doubt be difficult for you. Try & use it to remember the good times you had.

It’s great that you have some good friends that are there for you. Keep talking to them it will help. I’d be lost without my friends.

Your sister is probably dealing with things the best way she knows how. When my dad passed away my sister went back to work next day which i thought very strange but she said she needed the distraction. All you can do is be there for her when she needs you.

I know it’s a cliche but time is a healer & you will get there. Perhaps have a talk with your GP if you’re really struggling.

Sending you my very best wishes.

Ann xx