Caregivers with pre-existing depression

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technocrat
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Caregivers with pre-existing depression

It's well known that caregivers are susceptible to depression and that caregivers with a prior history are, naturally enough, even more susceptible. 

One of the incidences of depression, especially when the caregiver suffers from feelings of helplessness to relieve the patient's suffering and the suspicion that the caregiving relationship may be the entireity of the caregiver's life, is ideation (thoughts of death). 

One of the depressive disorders, bipolar type II, has an independently higher occurence of ideation, even among non-caregivers.

I'm a pre-existing bipolar type II caregiver for a spouse who suffers from debilitating chronic back pain. I get depressed, as I would anyway, but when I do, it often involves ideation. Now thinking about being better off dead is a long, long way from be suicidal and I've learned to regard it as a sign of a deficiency in my self-care.

What I've been unable to find out is if pre-existing bipolar type II presents additional or heightened risks compared to pre-existing unipolar depression. It would help to distinguish situations where the burden has increased from those that are an exaggerated reaction to the constant or even lower burden.

Has anyone in a similar situation of being a bipolar caregiver received any specific advice or know of any scholarly papers on the subject?

Thanks.

Hangin In
Caregivers with pre-existing depression

While my diagnosis is major depression,  not Unipolar depression,  I believe we have some similar issues.  I sometimes have similar thoughts of death  and I've come to realize that I don't want to be dead, I just want some peace and relief from the feelings of frustration, anger and guilt.    I can make lists about how to cope with  this all I want, but the fact is, when I am really down I don't want to do anything.  I even avoid social contact because it feels like it would take to much energy to accomodate another person in conversation, listening etc. My counselor helpfully reframed this feeling of not wanting to do anything as my way of finding a little quiet for myself and shutting myself off from the demands of others, even when that's a positive.     That helped enormously and I've been thinking about that a lot. I'm not really addressing your question, but your post struck a chord with me, so I decided to respond.