“That’s the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end. The fog is like a cage without a key.” –Elizabeth Wurtzel
Robin Williams left many gems for the world, including this video clip about a job well done. So very sad that he left us so soon and battled such feelings of despair. May he rest in peace. Perhaps this final, tragic act might end up being a gift for the world so that people battling depression feel no shame in seeking support.
I am especially concerned for my fellow caregivers, who are especially vulnerable to depression throughout the caregiving journey. Here are a few reasons why….
40% to 70% of family caregivers have clinically significant symptoms of depression with approximately a quarter to half of these caregivers meet the diagnostic criteria for major depression. – Zarit, S. (2006). Assessment of Family Caregivers: A Research Perspective
23% of family caregivers caring for loved ones for 5 years or more report their health is fair or poor. – Caregiving in the United States;National Alliance for Caregiving in collaboration with AARP; November 2009
Nearly three quarters (72%) of family caregivers report not going to the doctor as often as they should and 55% say they skip doctor appointments for themselves. 63% of caregivers report having poor eating habits than non-caregivers and 58% indicate worse exercise habits than before caregiving responsibilities. – Evercare Study of Caregivers in Decline: A Close-Up Look at Health Risks of Caring for a Loved One. National Alliance for Caregiving and Evercare. 2006.
20% of employed female caregivers over 50 years old report symptoms of depression compared to 8% of their non-caregiving peers.
MetLife Study of Working Caregivers and Employer Health Costs; National Alliance for Caregiving and MetLife Mature Market Institute. February 2010
If you have any feelings of great depression or sadness, please seek support. When depression gets you alone in a corner and suicide feels like the only option, there is always assistance. A great resource is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
To my fellow caregivers, you deserve any and all forms of support. Ask for what you need and never feel shame for doing so. Expressing and sharing your feelings and needs honestly is a sign of strength, not weakness.