The depression that comes with RA.: Many of you will... - NRAS

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The depression that comes with RA.

Many of you will remember how I struggled when first diagnosed with RA last August. It took a while for my rheumy to get the right combination of drugs but when I began triple therapy with methotrexate injections in January, everything seemed to suddenly get better.

Physically, the pain, stiffness and aching improved. Even the dry mouth and dry eyes was better. But the chronic exhaustion and low mood continued. In fact, mentally I am in a worse position than I was 9 months ago.

I have tried to go back to work for a few days a week but with my job, as a graphic designer, I am expected to do long days with quite a bit of commuting and by the end of the first day, I felt dreadful. All the aches and pains returned and I became so afraid of doing an awful job the following day. Plus most of my clients expect a full weeks work, and I just cant physically do that yet. So it's very hard just to get 2-3 days work. It seems to be all or nothing.

In a nutshell, I'm not in a good way. I cry all the time and am very low. I can't see a future at all without having to change careers. I have no friends here I have moved (last November) and I don't feel like meeting new people when I'm not myself. I went to see the occupational therapist who was very kind and gave me links to "Talking Therapies" but said I was obviously depressed and should go back to my GP.

The GP said the waiting list to see a counsellor was 4 months. She said to tide me over while I wait, I should go on antidepressants, so prescribed Citalopram 10mg. I hate the idea of antidepressants because talking therapy has helped me so much in the past. But I started taking it. I didn't know what else to do.

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Jules, so sorry: bet there isn't a person on here who hasn't had it. I did cbt talking changes for long term conditions, it was a group one so met others, lots of it helped. GP referred but not so long a wait as individual.

Kind regards

K x

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I'm not sure there is a group one near me. I asked my OT and she wasn't sure.

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I am close to a big south coast city Jules so may be luckier but it was my GP who knew about them as was having trouble sleeping (don't we all?) due to anxiety (had sleeping tablets but not an ideal solution). I really hope they can help you or get a faster one to one for you.

Not a cure (it is a depressing disease, you're right) and I need to remember to keep them up but definitely gave me some practical solutions/exercises; they do check on you every few months to see how you're doing or if you need any further help. I was quite cynical at first but persevered and glad I did. Good luck x

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Thanks so much. Will see how I go x

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Hi. I am sorry you feel so low. I don't know where you live, but have you googled to see if there are any counselling agencies locally that offer free counselling or just ask for a small donation? (There may also be voluntary run groups, but not everyone feels comfortable in groups.) All the best.

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I wrote similar to the above. There isn't a free counselling service or any groups near me. The nearest RA group is Bristol which is an hour drive.... boo.

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Aw I'm so sorry. Depression is truly a bag of poop. Both sulfasalazine and methotrexate sent me completely loopy. I had to stop both as I was beyond dangerously depressed.

Do talk to your rheumatologist about your depression. Do you feel the drugs have made things worse for you? I'm personally prone to depression, but manage it very well. The drugs were a particular trigger for me. Certain drugs seem to cause a rapid deterioration in mood for me.

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Yes, but I don't know if its the drugs themselves or the situation. I think its situational depression rather than the drugs to be honest. I'm in a new town too so feel very isolated.

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Sorry to hear this, I only moved to this isolated village 9 weeks ago and the neighbours don’t even speak, get morse sense from the sheep

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I talk to sheep too. And cows!!! Ha x

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Lots of cows here

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Sorry that I have not replied to anyone but have had two tonic clinic seizures since starting methotrexate. Not sure if it is caused by all of the pills that I am being subscribed. Does anyone know if this is cause by the medication????

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Must have been scary since you live alone. Hope things have settled a bit for you now. Seizures aren't listed as a side effect, but that doesn't mean it can't have been provoked by the meds. So I hope the causes are being investigated and you are getting some medical care.

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It’s a nuisance to be as I have al always looked after my body and never abused drugs or alcohol or anything else

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I know. Unfair isn’t it? X

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Sorry you are in this place. I understand. I dont know if its an option but you could say if there was a cancellation at short notice you could take that. Its a hard place to be where you are. Dont isolate yourself would be the one main thing I can suggest to you. Take care. Thinking of you.

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That's the biggest problem. I feel so down that I don't want to meet anyone new because I don't feel like me. The real me is bubbly and outgoing and loves doing things and meeting new people. But I can't bare to show this person that I now am. Tired and achy and fat and whingey, I cannot see the good in anything and it's overwhelming. Plus all my friends live miles away so its not like they can pop round. I moved to the countryside to be nearer my sister but she hasn't turned out to be the support I needed. Too much of her own stuff going on. And her own friends. So life hasn't turned out how I thought. But who's does?

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I agree with Norisa. Do what you can to connect with others at the level you can. Its a hard place to be but people on here understand. Vertual hugs.

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But I don’t want people to see this me. I’m not me.

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I get that, but please stay connected to people. Talk to your gp. If you are able think what you would say to someone that is feeling the way you do and see if you can take your own advice. I know it must be so hard for you. Please be kind to yourself. X

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I am feeling much better so I guess it’s working. Actually waking up feeling like planning my day ahead instead of wanting to hide under the covers. Xxx

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I care.

What a desperate situation this must feel. Please speak again to your gp and see if there’s any community support groups available.

I do wish you well

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Thank you. X

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Aww Jules depression is bloody awful.

I was prescribed anti-depressants earlier this year, everything was piling on top me with one thing or another. I didn't like taking them either. I slowly reduced mine down, because I'm sick to death of taking tablets all the time. I still have very low moods & getting all emotional for no apparent reason, other times I'm myself again. I know we're all different when depression kicks in. I still have loads of things going on that get me down, things that will be sorted in time, & one particular which is out of my hands, sadly. 😔

But I take each day as it comes.

If it hits me like a cannon ball, so be it.

Sending you virtual hugs & take care.

Ruth x

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Thanks Ruth. Well I started them so been on the lowest dose for a week. We shall see. X

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Hi Jules. The real you is still in there just temporarily cloaked by unhappiness. I think its perfectly natural to want to retreat but try and talk to your friends even if its only on the phone or online. You can at least post on here as much as you like and there is a big community here who totally get how it is.

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I talk to my friends all the time but it’s too much sometimes. I don’t want them to suddenly go “oh here we go” when my number comes up. I need my friends to be my friends, not therapists. So I’m just going to wait and see a counselor when I can and my friends the occasional cry for help.

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Jules, you’ve probably already done this but there are some great NHS resources online? Breathing space, mood cafe etc. They can be very helpful and may save you worrying about talking with your friends when you may feel it’s too much?

Wishing you the best

Marie

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Yes I’m signed up for everything just nothing happening straight away. Mind sent me a dvd but I haven’t got a DVD player. Talking therapies sent me a cd but I haven’t got a CD player!!

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Sod’s law, eh?!

Can you access them online? X

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I went to see a counsellor., Shane the lady burst into tears on me.i felt so bad

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Just read this. The counsellor should be the one feeling bad. To be affected by someones story is one thing, to burst into tears quite another. Counsellors are trained to understanding someone 'as if' they were in their shoes. Not put them on! Try another counsellor as this isn't typical by any means.

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Jules13, there is a big social network site 'meetup' which offers all sorts of facetoface activities. Something like a cinema outing may be useful, as you are with other people, but don't need to engage too much until you feel more comfortable.

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I go to the cinema all the time. Luckily there is a free movie club here so that’s a real bonus. X

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Hi Jules

They say that it gets better once the mess are sorted 🌻have a happy day

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I think my meds are finally working. It’s everything that’s gone with the illness. The tiredness is overwhelming. And it’s the result of not being able to work for 8 months that’s the hardest. Lost all my confidence. X

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Sorry for my poor typing but struggling to see the keys and rely on the phone to do it for me

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Have you looked at on-line courses for CBT or similar? Or a book from the library? That might tide you over until you can see someone.

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I’ve been given some booklets and an audio cd so will give that a go too.

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Hi Jules,

What you call situational depression is exactly what my GP, many moons ago, called circumstantial depression - same thing. I was recently diagnosed, had come back to the UK after a failed relationship, moved to a town where I knew no-one and was suddenly a single parent to two young children.

I understand the reluctance to take yet another tablet and the stigma around being on antidepressants but it's no exaggeration to say they saved my life. I was on Fluoxetine (Prozac) for several years...I was always desperate to get off them so would stop every time I felt I was through the woods and of course the black cloud would descend again. Gradually I got better and didn't need them any more.

I hope Citalopram work for you, don't be afraid to ask to change and try another if they don't. Antidepressants aren't 'happy pills', they didn't turn me into a zombie - they just made me feel normal, gave me a feeling of having a safety net so I could cope and see more clearly and make better decisions. I no longer felt I was drowning in a pit of despair and they will hopefully tide you over until you can find some kind of talking therapy.

Meanwhile ask GP to do blood tests to rule out anaemia, check your thyroid, Vitamin D levels and any other thing that might be contributing to the depression. This will pass, it will get better and so will you. X

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I’ve just had all my blood work done so know those are all fine. I’m going to start the pills and see. X

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I feel that sinking pit of despair as you put it. I’m going to see how this one is. I hope it helps the anxiety too. I worry about everything. Wake at 4am in cold sweats. Told my doctor about it and she just said to give it a few more weeks x

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Hang in there Jules, the cavalry IS coming!

The first signs are usually really subtle...the first morning you wake up and you notice you don't have that feeling of dread that usually greets you...the first time something stupid makes you laugh again...recognising that you may still be 'all at sea' but instead of panicking and drowning, you realise you've got a life jacket on. Slowly, slowly, the things that would tip you over the edge DON'T - you are being held by invisible wings.

Keep checking in with your GP, keep posting here, PM me if you want ( I haven't worked out how to do it). This WILL pass and you WILL be ok. Much love to you XX

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Thank you sooooo much. I like the wings analogy. My friend said the same thing. Just one day you wake up and you don’t immediately burst into tears. Than the sun shining makes you want to leave the house instead of drawing the curtains. I do know it’s the best thing right now xxx

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Depressive Illness The Curse of the Strong Third edition Dr Tim Cantopher. This book didn’t cure me, but really helped me and is good to refer back to every now and again.

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Thanks so much. Will have a look x

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I just bought it. Thank you x

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I hope it helps. He makes a lot of sense. Hope you are ok....x

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Hi Jules 13

I also am in citalopram and have been for 10 years..put on after my husband had a stroke and he changed and I couldn't cope. It works. Once the seronegative arthritis started a few years ago my doc said to stay on it as I was low. I now take every other day and it keeps me functioning. Does nothing for pain but mentally keeps you same. Hope you give it a try. Good luck. Ladyjan

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Thanks. I hope it does the same for me xxx

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What dosage are you on if you don’t mind me asking? I’m on 10mg and I’ve definitely noticed it’s taken the darkness away. X

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Hi Jules,

I am sorry things are so bad for you just now, wish there was some good advice I could offer but I don’t have anything to share other than my very best wishes and don’t ever forget that you are doing well, you haven’t given up and that is pretty amazing.

Virtual hugs xx

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Thanks so much. I’m a fighter which I guess is why I’m stifling so much with this RA. you almost have to accept it rather than fight it xx

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Hi Jules. Im still working on the acceptance thing. Trying to work with rather than against my RD. So very pleased to read your updates and your lightness at the end of the tunnel. You are brave. Thanks for keeping in touch .

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You will get there. It’s hard thinking this will be part of life for every more but now I know my limitations I work around them. Xxx

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That sounds like a really good plan. 🙂😏

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