Anyone with similar experience

I am now 72 (almost) . Was diagnosed with depression at 35 and had many spells of depression up to age say 67. About 3 to 4 years ago ,through reading, I thought I most likely suffered from Bipolar 2 ,told my GP who referred me to a psychiatrist who confirmed this diagnosis and prescribed a mood stabiliser (depakote). Somewhat reluctantly , I felt, he allowed me to continue with the Venlafaxine and Mirtazapine anti depressants I was already taking. Depression is the main problem to me, normality is obviously OK and my mild hypomania (never been manic) when it occurs allows me to be more motivated,feel good and achieve more. I should add that there is little evidence that the great variety of ads I have taken over the 35 year period work very well if at all. They certainly don't work quickly although after 4-6 months I have usually come out of depression. Never been hospitalised and managed to hold down a quite demanding professional job (keeping my depressive spells secret --with great difficulty ) until retiring (at about 62 ).

Anyone out there of similar age with a similar history ? I'm asking because since taking a mood stabiliser I am spending much longer periods in depression and as a result its much harder to cope with life. I seem to have stabilised too low.

Is it my age ? Is this the pattern of long term depression ? Is it that since 65 my wife and I live separately ? She was always a loyal and good support to me and we remain friends.

I realise that having reached this stage of life I am lucky compared with many posting here who still have to cope with work , finances , children and life's problems but believe me it does n't feel like that. I had hoped that reaching retirement would ease pressures and life would be relatively wonderful. Does n't seem to have worked out that way.

9 Replies

  • Hi Olderal yours is an interesting Post. I am 66 now and retired as well three

    Years ago. My depression started after a marriage breakup when I was 36, of course

    I was probably likely to get Depressed as my late Mother had Depression but never

    Admitted it. It's always hard to attribute Depression to one thing. I. E. Divorce/ ill health etc.

    Olderal since I retired I do think my Depression has got worse, reading your post made me really look at this fact, I just find its worse and that's quite disheartening.

    I live alone and probably spend too much time alone. Statistically Depression is

    Supposed to get better as you get older , so what's wrong with me.

    Olderal how about you go back to Dr. And get him to review your Meds, it looks

    Like the mood stabiliser has set your mood too low. I know it's a fine balance.

    Do you have interests or hobbies ? That helps too, it's great that you are still friends

    With your ex. Do you have children or grandchildren? Sorry for all the questions, I'm just

    Trying to help.

    Hope you begin to feel a bit better soon. Take care of yourself and eat well. As

    That helps too.


  • Hannah, thanks so much for your post. Yes I have two children in their forties who know my problem but I do try and avoid burdening them with it too much. I also have four wonderful grandchildren but then all grandchildren are wonderful.

    When "unDepressed " I have many hobbies and interests but through spells of depression I lose interest in them all and to a large extent withdraw socially ,even from family to some extent..

    You have helped by your reply . With the several blessings I have maybe I just have to try harder although I often feel the many spells of depression over the years have exhausted my ability to respond as I should. Trying very hard to get the medics to look at other treatments but despite having a very experienced GP who I rate highly no luck so far with my psychiatrist, but I have n't given up.

    Thank you again Older

  • Hi Olderal I can totally empathise with you, I feel a bit like that too,

    And really have to push myself to do things. Although when I read

    About the death of poor Cilla Black I realise that life is so short, hopefully we will both make a bit of progress. The hardest thing for me is getting started at things.

    It's a Bank Holiday here in Fublin but weather has been showery and

    Overcast, so Summer has gone .


  • its OK, the questions are fine, I've answered most of them below (separate post ) and in my reply to Bob. I did n't know it was supposed to get better as you get older and not sure all would agree. Certainly many of life's pressures reduce with age , possibly dramatically with retirement but others increase. ( Am I still useful ?, more loneliness , friends dying etc) so whether it gets better or worse probably depends on how important all these different factors are.

    I do think we get a bit better at dealing with it ,realising regular sleep and meals help etc. I suspect exercise is vitally important too but I'm not that good at the self discipline necessary to get enough. Bit of a swine this disease as all the things you need to do are much harder to do at the time you need them most.

    Still I'm determined to set a world record for longevity with bipolar 2 ( in the middle weight smokers class ) so back to soldiering on.

    Thanks for helpful inputs.

  • Hello Olderal

    If you are having problems with your medications generally now you are entitled to a medication check at the Chemist or Doctors Surgery, Up here we have a chemist in Surgery ran by the Doctors themselves or next door in the same building. I was checked out by both, the next door one is LLOYDS.

    When it comes to depression and getting older I also feel my mood changes quite quickly. The problem I have is that I jump too quick and worry that I have become unreasonable, that Hazel feels I do not do that. Although I still worry

    One thing I always worry about that my wife would move away with the dog and that would be a real problem that would be hard to square.My condition needs someone to look after me as I am a Chronic Pain sufferer

    The other problem of course is we start to loose our peers at this time of life as has happened to me in the last two months, that really gets me going. They seem to be dropping like flies


  • Who would you miss most Bob? The wife or the dog? Only joking love. :d Bev xx

  • Frightened to say with Hazel and Pax watching me Lol. I know what side my bread is buttered.

    Bob xx

  • :D :) xx

  • Thanks for replying ,Bob. I really don't know if its a problem with meds or changes in my circumstances (older, now living alone or whatever). My GP altho excellent is I suspect unhappy with ignoring the psychiatrists advice who seems pretty inflexible. However I do feel my GP is old enough and experienced enough to do what we jointly feel best if push comes to shove.

    I do know from your other posts of your suffering with chronic pain and hopefully ,judging by your posts , I suspect your personality is such your wife and the dog will remain to help. I lost my very, very elderly cat last week but cats of course don't give so much love and would probably abandon ship at the first sign of any problem.

    I know what you mean about losing peers. I think the mathematician G H Hardy said "Nothing makes an old man feel younger (briefly) than knowing you've outlasted a contemporary". I may be doing him an injustice but he certainly said "Nothing gives a batsman more confidence than seeing his batting partner given out" He had a great mathematicians keen analysis of most things (maybe even of life) and did n't mince words. He was if anything even harder on himself., saying (at age 65+ ) practically all great mathematicians were played out at forty, and they then became useless and no sympathy or time should be wasted on them.