Depression after Stroke

I have had 2 strokes as a result of AVM haemorrhages, the last being 3 years ago. It left me with some minor disability but nothing major and I’ve made a full return to work. Following surgeries and radiotherapy the AVM was removed and I was told it was gone last year. I am 41 years old, married with 2 primary school age children

However in the last year I’ve started to have symptoms of what I now think is depression. I’m emotionally ‘numb’ and apathetic, I get tired a lot, have little or motivation and don’t seem to take enjoyment in anything. I’ve also become very insular and shun social occasions or interaction, which isn’t like me at all. This seems to have gotten worse over Christmas and New Year, which I didn’t enjoy at all. On the face of it I probably seem OK to work colleagues, non-close family etc. but I’m feeling lonely, bored and tired. I struggle to sleep and drag myself up in the morning. Every day seems the same

Having been an outgoing bloke I’ve found it hard to admit this to myself let alone anyone else. I know I have to go see a doctor and I will but I’m wondering if anyone else has had this post stroke and is it down to the brain injury, is it common, what can I do etc

Any one else had anything like this? Many thanks for listening

16 Replies

  • Depression can hit anyone at any time not just because of your treatment and has a variety of reasons, mine hits me at the onset of winter but I recognise it now for what it is, please go and visit your GP it is not a sign of weakness or anything like that on your part. You have had a lot to contend with and your body has eventually become overwhelmed, it may need a course of antidepressants to put it back on track or a referral for therapy but your GP can advise the best for you.

    A lot of depression is caused by your body using the serotonin faster than it makes it because of stress, which you have been under for a while now, the antidepressants put that chemical back faster than you can make it so helps restore the equilibrium faster, so please go seek advice don't suffer in silence.

    Your symptoms are classic as is your reluctance to seek help, trying to relive the stress is crucial and exercise is good too to release those endorphins which help us feel good.

    Just talking and sharing helps so go do it and get your life back on track.

    Love Janetxxxxxxx

  • I agree totally with Janet that depression can strike anyone, anytime with no obvious explanation. I've had bouts at times in my life when I've felt quite contented, and long before my brain haemorrhage.

    I find it so upsetting that depression is still a taboo subject for many people. It can be a really debilitating condition and we should all be free to talk about it openly without feeling that we're making some kind of 'confession'.

    You already know what you have to do............and it's something which can be addressed by therapy or medication but not something which will just go away by ignoring it.

    You say you've found it hard to 'admit' to feeling depressed which is a classic example of the guilt people feel............and that is so unfair. You've recovered from the strokes & got yourself 'back together', working etc. so you're entitled to some professional help, just as you would if your vehicle developed a mysterious fault.

    I hope you'll make that appointment a.s.a.p. Take care x

  • Thank you very much for the replies, its so nice to hear this isnt unusual and i shouldnt feel alienated. Ive made an appointment to see my doctor, and whilst im not keen on medication, im almost feeling better that i've admitted this to myself and can start to address it. Its been good to share and i think support groups such as these will be really helpful for me

  • So glad you've taken the first step & made the appointment.

    Good luck to you & we're always here if you need to offload. x

  • Hi again, glad you feel this group is a help, as Cat says this won't go away by ignoring it, the first step you've taken is the hardest. Like Cat I've suffered from bouts of depression for many many years, I recognise the signs now and that it does pass if you meet it head on and recognise it for what it is,mand don't feel guilty it's not a weakness but as she says unfortunately it still seems to be a taboo subject,

    You'll be fine with the right help for you

    Look forward to hearing you're back on top form soon

    Love Janet xxxxx

  • Hey, I had a brain haemorrhage in March 2012 due to an AVM in my brain too, and I had gamma-knife surgery (which is still doing it's thing, so I'm not out of the woods yet), so first off, congrats on your successful surgery!

    I'm a guy, and guys don't get depressed. That's what I was told, and that's how I felt. But I cracked eventually when my doctor asked me, "do you ever feel happy anymore?", which I hadn't really thought about. I told her that I didn't ever really feel any joy, so she prescribed some antidepressants. She told me; "If you had a broken leg, you'd use a crutch, right?", and that made me understand.

    AVM's, brain haemorrhages, epilepsy, all this stuff that's invisible to the naked eye makes it sometimes hard to justify the way we feel. I often tell myself off for withdrawing sometimes, or not being able to process something quick enough, but then I remember the damage that I can't see, and that it takes time.

    By the sounds of it though, you're still getting on with it, which is great, just be kind to yourself.

    Oh, and lift weights. Lots of weights. Best way to de stress without punching someone.

  • It's great you've made doctors appt - I'm glad I accepted medication! The description of how you feel rings true to me in every way of how I felt - every day was such a struggle but now I can think a little clearer and feel motivated to do things! Take care, Linda x

  • Hi I've suffered in and off with depression or sometimes it's more of a melancholy where I get tearful and emotional at the drop of a hat. But don't forget everyone is down with this constant rain. Any breaks of sfundhine get out there and go for a long walk with your children. Best therapy.




  • Hi, all good words above, - depression - its not a stigma and iit does needs discussing. So glad the guys stepped in with their comments as well., we're all human. Pleased to hear you you made the docs. appointment. Anti-depressants are very good these days. I had 2 bad bouts last year, the 1st was the worst and the pills zonked me out for 15 days (not saying that will happen to you) because they made me sleep and rest. I've never slept so much in my life and the rest really helped me and stopped me stressing about things. , stress and depression are horrible things to live with.

    Sounds like, no stress, relaxation, fresh air, exercise and good medication will hopefully have you feeling much better soon. . Fresh air and walking, even if only for a short time always make me feel better now than if I don't. The meds should lift your apathy and motivation a well and the children will be happy to see our mood improving which will also help you as well I hope. . I guess we've all felt like you at times and it helps to talk it out as well!

  • Hi - I completely agree with you - sometimes its best to get off the conveyor belt of life and watch it all pass by and hop back on when you feel like it. And yes anti depressants are a boon, and no longer addictive (I know my brother's a doctor!!)

    king regards


  • Hi Pnearn

    I've worked with lots of people that have had depression with your kind of experience. Generally speaking, people often get depressed when one or more things in their life isn't working. It's often easy to pinpoint some factors but it also often difficult to pinpoint other factors. The difficulties arise because, like you, nobody wants to admit to being depressed when it first develops - because of the stigma of admitting it and because dwelling in a depressed place tends to make us more depressed so we try to be as positive as possible to avoid getting even more down. Feeling down but not talking about it tends to make us feel isolated, but talking to one or more people that don't judge and care tends to counter that sense of isolation.

    You will clearly have to identify the triggers/reasons for feeling down in your case but a couple of possibilities are quite common, so perhaps worth considering. First, surgery to the head, radiotherapy, hospital treatment, seeing lots of doctors, anxiety about health and future etc etc is quite an emotional rollercoaster for anyone to be on. There's the stigma and sense of being emotionally bruised. This kind of reaction often responds to and tends to lift when people work out how to be kind to and appreciative of themselves - maybe we are kind to ourselves when people e.g., on this site, give us permission to be kind to ourselves. In this first group of reasons, people might worry that they might have another bleed or they might become aware that life is short , or they might have other issues. With regard to another bleed, everyone responds initially with fear, but some go on to finding impressive courage and saying things like "life is short so I'm going to make the most of it!"

    Second, it is possible that there are subtle cognitive effects from treatment. Though they might not affect your ability to do your job, they are enough to make you very tired. If you are feeling constantly exhausted for that reason, then life ceases to be rewarding - it becomes work, eat, sleep, work, eat, sleep etc. because there isn't enough energy left to socialise. If following conversations has also become more difficult because of subtle changes then that would be another reason to withdraw from social situations. If cognitive changes are making a contribution, then the way forward at first is to keep trying to do what you did before the bleed. However, if that doesn't work, then people need to change/restructure their situation in ways that enable them to enjoy using their strengths. One simple solution that sometimes restores enjoyment is to reduce working hours. Another strategy is to develop new interests. We all tend to find it very difficult to change, so we really don't like that solution, but if trying to get back into our previous life doesn't work and continues to create distress, then maybe there's only gain from experimenting with making small and gradual changes.

    Medication has a place, but relying on that is often insufficient - working out what is bringing us down and finding positive solutions that enable us to use our many strengths substantially improves the prospects of finding a life that works.

    Finally, I don't know if any other the above helps, but at least this response and the responses of others to your posting shows that you're not alone and people care

    best wishes


  • Very interesting and encouraging. I will be taking this info on board as well as it is a struggle.Pnearn please take note. A lot of good advice here

  • I had a subarachnoid haemorrhage, and was diagnosed with severe depression a couple of years later. The consultant had warned me that depression often followed stroke, but I refused to acknowledge it until my GP intervened. Having tried me on various antidepressants I have been on Sertraline ( Zoloft, Lustral). I appreciate that you are not keen on medicines, but the newer crop of drugs really aren't objectionable. All the best!


  • Hi there glad to see you got the help you needed I myself had a Sah last year whilst I had depression before hand I found it got worse after my sah my doctor changed the dose of my venlafaxine to try and help I started the new dose about 4 days ago and I hate how its making me feel got to go back next week to get my blood press sure checked hope things start to get better soon !

  • Hi - absolutely yes - I had a sub arachnoid in 1991 and for the next 20 year felt that no one else would employ me due to my "medical history". And after a 6 hour op to clip the anyurism I was told that they did not know what the long term effect would be....

    In the last 5 to 10 years teaching at a London Uni I got more and more depressed (I did not realize) and suffered from classic anxiety and mild depression. The best thing I ever did was to share my symptoms with my GP, who diagnosed the symptoms, and put me on mild anti - depressants. The other thing I did was to do to group therapy regarding depression and anxiety. The best thing about this was that I was not the only one to feel that way I did. It really helped to talk to others in entirely different situations about the way they felt.

    I am sure that as a teacher you have recourse to a network which can help you, and please go and chat to your GP. I am now over my depression and feeling glad to be alive.

    good luck and best wishes


You may also like...