Depression Again


Tamara wearing her sling

Tamara wearing her sling

I haven’t written any posts during April. I had my sixth eye surgery on April 12 and I haven’t felt much like writing.The muscles in my eye were pulled out of wack in the car accident and I’ve had to have surgical corrections several times since. At first I had no problem recuperating from it and was right back in the thick of things a day or two afterwards. However, due to scar tissue and other factors, these past two have been more difficult with this one being the worst.

The right eye is constantly blurry and it’s driving me insane. Dr. Pollard, my surgeon in Atlanta, told me on my two week follow-up that the blurrness shoud disappear over time. I had hoped for a quick fix but it isn’t going to happen. This fact sent me into depression but while walking Sparky this morning, I noticed my vision seemed clearer although it is blurry now.

The day before my eye surgery, Michael and I went to Charlotte for an appointment with a hand surgeon. I have arthritis in my right hand and my first surgery here in Asheville failed. I don’t have any cartilage between some of my bones because arthritis has caused it to wear away. Bone rubbing against bone causes me pain when I use that hand. The surgeon told me this has nothing to do with my accident but I suspect my having to relearn how to use that hand irritated it. The surgeon wants to wait before he performs surgery again. The first surgery had a 95% success rate while this one has only an 80%. I hope to avoid having it again so in the meantime, I need to minimize it’s use. I bought a sling at the drug store yesterday because it help the pain when my hand s elevated plus the sling reminds me not to use my hand.

I’ve decided to use my left hand which is a bit of a challenge since I am right handed but I think I can do it. I had a Presbytery meeting last week so during some of the boring parts I practiced writing my letters with my left hand. So now, I’m able to sign documents with it. It’s funny because my left handed signature is neater than my right.

The combination of the two things has pushed on my tendency toward depression. Depression after brain injury is much different than before because I now have to use behavioral techniques to work through it. I know the signs and it’s a little like getting nearer and nearer to a cliff. When I fall off the cliff, it’s too late for then I spend days laying on the sofa moaning and complaining about life. I’m certainly not very fun to be around. (You can ask my husband!)

I’ve found some interesting things I can do now that doesn’t bother my eye. I’ve also allowed myself to withdraw from activities for a little. I must say, it does feel like quite an accomplishment to avoid going off that cliff. I have come a long way with it, and for this I am grateful.

If you have a brain injury, how do you manage the depression? Even if you don’t, managing it is a real challenge. Do you think the analogy of the cliff is an appropriate one or can you suggest something different?

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