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Anxiety and depression are often mentioned together, both are common – however they are different. To find out more about anxiety look at the section on stress.
Many people experience low mood or depression following a stroke, up to half experience this. Feeling down for some of the time is a natural reaction. It is important though to recognise if you are depressed and let someone know how you are feeling as it can be treated.
Being depressed affects how you feel and can come on slowly over a period of time. It can affect how you think and we look at this more in the section on how emotions can affect decisions.
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- Change in appetite – this may mean “comfort eating” or not feeling like eating at all. Try to eat small amounts of food that appeal to you.
- Feeling more irritable – you may feel grumpier or others may comment that you snap at them. Being like this can be a sign of low mood.
- Sleeping problems – you may find it difficult to get to sleep or waken early and are unable to get back to sleep as thoughts keep you awake, lack of sleep can impact on how you feel. Read information sheet on getting a good nights sleep and talk to your GP
- Crying a lot – are you more easily upset or feel sad all the time? This can be normal after a stroke as there is adjustment and loss of who you were. However if it continues you may need some help to move forward.
- Loss of interest – feeling you can’t be bothered. Try to set your self a small goal look at the goal setting section
- Extreme tiredness – feeling exhausted after a stroke can be common. Try to pace your self in order to feel you achieve some things. Try not to take to your bed. Ask your GP for help
- Loss of confidence – Feeling frightened of going out or doing anything by your self can be normal following a stroke, By adjusting over time this should improve. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If it does not get better speak to your GP
- Feeling alone – many people feel alone even if they have others around them. Meeting up with other people who have had a strokes and similar experiences and feelings can help. Ask your GP/nurse about your local groups or phone the CHSS advice line
Something to think about
Depression can creep up slowly over time. So how do I know if I am depressed or I am just experiencing grief – it might help to ask yourself these questions:
- how long ago was your stroke?
- how long you have felt like this?
- how does your mood affect your life?
- do you recognise that your mood is low?