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Depression/post-op blues

Discussion in 'Knee Replacement Recovery Area' started by Josephine, Jan 17, 2016.

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  1. Josephine

    Josephine NURSE DIRECTOR, BONESMART Administrator

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    It's a known fact that even people with no previous history of depression can succumb to depression - often also called Post op blues. It's nasty when it hits but happily, for most it is only short lived.

    There are several reasons for it
    1. just the emotional, physical and psychological impact of having major surgery followed by a testing recovery
    2. feeling isolated and alone which is often enhanced by having 'cabin fever' because of activity restrictions
    3. a previous history of depression or low mood

    The best therapy of all is talking and sharing and knowing you are not alone in this.
    You're not abnormal, it's a perfectly normal thing to suffer from

    With it also often comes anxiety issues

    Perhaps you'd like to get chatting and see how many other people are experiencing the same thing.
     
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    • newlybionic

      newlybionic Forum Advisor

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      The depression was very real for me. I have been dealing with major depression on and off my entire life and this recovery has been difficult to go through especially when I felt alone. Everyone here has been a tremendous help to me.
       
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      • Celle

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        It would be helpful if people who've suffered from the post op blues could share what helped them to get through.

        For me, it helped to just know that it was normal to find my emotions were all over the place and I would start to cry over the littlest thing.

        Once I accepted that, I could forgive myself for occasional "bad" behaviour and sadness, and move forward, to try involving myself in a new hobby. For me, that was genealogy research. I gained a lot of respect for some of my ancestors, who had dealt with hardship and adversity, and still managed to keep on going.
         
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        • LatteQueen

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          I have been crying at the drop of a hat too. It has helped to have a schedule for my days at home and a list if things that I want to accomplish before I go back to work. Some of what's on my list are basic stretching and strenghthening exercises. Others are finish a book, write letters & thank you notes, plan a vacation, plan a cocktail party and so on. It has helped me feel like I am at least accomplishing something while I'm elevating and icing!


          LTKR-12/6/2015
           
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          • KarriB

            KarriB Forum Advisor

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            It felt as though I cried 10 hours out of 24 after the second surgery for infection. A nurse came into check on me and I asked her to shut the door and let me cry it out. The OS came to tell me he wanted me to go to the transition unit instead of home, I cried again. My mother told me I needed to stop, my dad said cry all you want. I listened to my dad!
            Getting out of the house helped immensely! It was a terribly cold, snowy winter, but after a dr appt (2x a week) we'd go for lunch or breakfast. I always elevated my leg though. But it was my faith that got me through. Knowing that God was in control even though I wasn't gave me peace.
             
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            • PolarBear60

              PolarBear60 Forum Advisor

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              I warned my husband that post-op blues was a normal part of recovery, so when it hit, I was able to say, "Sorry, Honey. Here it is." And he knew what I meant and was able to listen and hug as required. He was also able to provide reassurance about whatever my concerns were.
               
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              • Thesoutherncook

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                The post op blues hit me at night. I felt so frustrated by the end of the day that I would burst into tears just trying to get into bed. One night as my DH was helping get me settled, leg up on pillows, light cover over the TKR, I accidentally kicked him in a very delicate place! We both laughed until we cried, literally! Then my mantra began.."It is what it is!" ( I still burst into tears a few more times, but it didn't last long.)
                 
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                • Timetolive

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                  Since I had a problem just days after my surgery, the blues hit me quickly. I had tried to explain things to my husband and daughter before surgery. If someone looked at me wrong, I would cry. In fact, I cried for no reason at all. I was very good at having my own little pity party. Normally, I am a happy person that knows I am loved by my husband, family, and most importantly by my Lord. My dear husband loved me through the bad times and prayer sustained us in the darkest of times. Being able to come on Bonesmart and have someone say, "that is normal, or I had that happen" reassured me and comforted me. Logging on Bonesmart and seeing that someone took the time to encourage or just check on me, was one of the many instances of grace I have been witness to on my journey. This journey is hard and long for some of us and others are blessed with a path that seems paved with ease. I am happy for them, as I am happy for my journey too. You see, my journey, even in its darkest, run off the road, land in the ditch days, has shown me that people are good and caring, and that I can pick myself up, dust off, hitch up my britches and take that step back on this journey. I am never traveling this journey alone - I have the Lord with me, my Darling, my daughter, and all of you. So, if your day seems never ending, you feel all alone, the pain is curling your eyelashes, or you are just so tired of sitting - remember this: you are not alone.
                   
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                  • Jamie

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                    I found that I was more likely to get the post op blues when I was tired or hurting, so I tried hard to keep pain under control and not scrimp on naps whenever I felt the least bit tired.
                     
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                    • Glamg1979

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                      I came out of surgery feeling exhilarated, I made it! Was feeling very positive for weeks afterward because my pain was well controlled and PT was raving about how well I was doing. Best of all that horrible bone on bone pain was gone and so was the limp. Now at 11 weeks I am feeling down and teary. Feels like this is taking forever and I believe I am expecting too much from myself. Muscles in both legs are screaming by the end of the day and don't know if this is normal. Moving and daughter going through divorce I think is taking it's toll. I am exhausted, hurting and feeling useless. Do have a history of clinical depression but has been very well controlled for years.
                      Thanks for bringing this topic up for discussion. Is what I am experiencing to be expected? Thanks.
                       
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                      • newlybionic

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                        @Glamg1979 The depression seems normal to me given that recovery takes longer than we do expect and also the amount of pain we can experience. I've had several other surgeries but the recovery from a TKR isn't a steady progression but more like a two step ford, one step back.
                         
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                        • freeriderNC

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                          I have been in such high spirits & I found myself feeling exactly like that yesterday I'm having a super recovery I feel like & told by my OS & PT. that I am But yesterday I was on a super emotional roller coaster I felt so alone & everyone seem to busy to even call or ask how I was doing I have an amazing husband who I feel is the one who needs a break. My family is super & my oldest son with 3 grandkids live right beside I mean how awesome is that My daughter in law has not even walked over here since we had New Years dinner That's 18 days ago You can throw a rock & hit their house We are the only 2 houses out here. I walked over there & visited with them & grandkids almost every single day. Pick them from school lots of days This is what got me down originally My son comes over & hugs me & drinks coffee with us. But the way I snapped out of it other than my hubby's big hugs telling me it will be ok as. He usually does. I have documented my whole journey from day 1 On Dec 8 with Bilateral TKR I go back & look at where I was then...and where I am now. Never would I have dreamed I would be doing this good I know it medication that gets me to feeling like that too I guess Never been on pain killers I know I'm truly blessed & I tell Satan to back off ...he will NOT steal my joy Today was totally different my other 2 kids came visited I also am in the bed for the first time. Spare bedroom we set up before surgery. We know I can't sleep in our own bed even though king size it takes a step stool even before surgery to get in it HIGH pillow top hits be way above the waist standing beside it. Lol But in spare bedroom I have portable toilet and everything I need can actually lay on my side which is wonderful I can get on & off bed alone Since I don't need anyone lifting my legs to bed. So I'm doing the happy dance we had a beautiful snow fall this morning Too warm to stick but boy was it beautifully putting it down Hope this helps anyone who needs it I know there is bright sunny Harley riding Lakr fun in the pontoon ahead ImageUploadedByBoneSmart Forum1453104356.320261.jpg


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                          • ScooperTR

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                            Thank you for this post. I think my husband thinks I'm going over the deep end I have cried so much. I think mine has a lot to do with fatigue because it's usually later in the day. I have found if I cry it out I am better. Also hugs help tremendously! Just knowing we are all going through this helps me see a light at the end of the tunnel. I like what FreeriderNC said". Not going to let the devil steal my joy"!


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                            • Naomi60

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                              Hello fellow travelers, tonight I was hesitant to type in the word "depression" in the search bar for fear I would become even more depressed. This thread is very timely. I am 12 weeks post op tomorrow and this discussion couldn't come at a better time. I am still crying everyday, tonight I am worried that I won't get better, that there is something wrong with me, I have a lot of anxiety, perhaps more anxiety than depression but it just seems I should be used to the fact that this is a slow process. Part of my problem is I'm very competitive and the fact that I don't have full extension or good flexion yet is driving me crazy. I had a very busy weekend so I know that is part of my problem tonight. I know rationally what is going on but I just seem to fall apart at least once a day. i feel very disappointed in myself. I feel weak, it's not who I want to be or how I want to recover. My nasty little control issue raises its head once again. I am just so tired of feeling down. I am considering getting some antidepressants.
                               
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                              • Thesoutherncook

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                                On a practical note, I found that reading ( while elevating and icing for hours on end!) helped "take me away".
                                ( Remember the old Calgon ads? ) I love France, so I downloaded every mindless book set in France that I could find. I escaped into my Kindle and emerged refreshed and somewhat calmed. Knowing that a successful surgery and recovery means a return to France able to walk pain free encouraged me to stick to the course. Indulge in your "guilty pleasure". It will give you an escape from the constant thought/worry about your knee.
                                Since my surgery was in July, I also spent a lot of time looking at the incision. It has been a relief to cover it up this fall/ winter with long pants! Out of sight, out of mind?
                                 
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                                • Glamg1979

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                                  @Naomi60 I will be 12 weeks tomorrow and the depression has come in just the last week too. When you mentioned being a competitive person that made sense to me. I read other's threads and some are back to work within weeks. The thought of having to go back to a job now, I just couldn't do it! Fortunately I don't have to go back to a job but I am ready to get back to everyday life. So I am comparing my recovery to others and feel like I am starting to falter. Last night was the first time I could not sleep at all because of deep muscular pain in my thigh and calf. Pain+fatigue=tears. I really am down and hubby is making me rest, I feel guilty that I am so tired, not much stamina and not holding up my end. Reading your post helped me not feel so alone because I thought I had escaped the post op blues and thought it odd that it was hitting me now.
                                  One would think at 12 weeks the discomfort and energy drain would be resolving, so I have been definitely over doing and my reserves are low. Hard to accept this is far from over and the thought of having the other knee done is quite daunting. Putting myself through this again seems crazy but other knee is getting worse.
                                  Loss of control, that is what I am feeling and that is very difficult to deal with.
                                  Just got to get over this hump and rest more and it WILL get better!
                                   
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                                  • KarriB

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                                    The loss of control was huge for me. My BFF and I were just remembering something that happened this time two years ago. It was another very cold day, she was driving me to Drs. Appts in my car, upon trying to fill it up the little door to the gas tank wouldn't open. I lost it! Yelling at her! I felt bad as soon as I did it and still feel terrible about it. But I had no control, over my leg, my life, my car, I hadn't driven in over 2 months because I couldn't bend my knee.
                                    So sometimes depression and anxiety go hand in hand. Not at all looking forward to the other knee.
                                     
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                                    • newlybionic

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                                      As a nurse I see people at some of the worse periods in their lives. It is very common for depression and lashing out about things that seem insignificant but at the time you may have no control over anything in your life. Fortunately it does get better as you heal. I've learned not to take a person's yelling or even physically lashing out because I know that is not who they really are.
                                       
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                                      • Naomi60

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                                        @Glamg1979 thanks for your thoughts. I need my other knee done as well and can't even consider it at this point. The doctors office just happened to calla few minutes ago and I happened to mention how stiff my knee still is and the nurse says "well are you doing your exercises? It's going to have to hurt." Why is she assuming I didn't do what was asked? I'm so disappointed in the disconnect between them and me.

                                        @Thesoutherncook I haven't felt like reading that much although I'm getting plenty of encouragement to do so. I can't wait to go back to France, traveling is one of the reasons I chose to do this. I guess I need to keep that thought front and center. I chose to have the surgery in order to do the things I love to do.
                                         
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                                        • hawk2go

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                                          Wow, good thread. I'll have to be sure to find it when I do the other knee.

                                          My blues often hit during PT and also in the evening. Several times while trying to do an exercise or stretch, the tears would start streaming. I was frustrated - at being in recovery again, at not being able to work hard for my normalcy, at having to be patient when I just wanted to be better. The PTs, all men, would get a little panicky when I cried and back off the exercises, well a bit. The other common time for the blues to hit was in the evening. I started work from home week 2 after surgery, so I got to work full days just 7 days our of surgery. By the end of the 1st work day, I knew I had made a mistake but didn't really think I could turn back. Most evenings, I was too tired to do anything, even talk to the people who were caring for me. That passed quicker than the PT blues but it was harder because I knew how it made them feel. I was just so tired.

                                          I overcame the PT blues by taking more control and a kinder, gentler approach to my recovery. This forum led me to me realize that the thing to help my recovery was something I had little control over, time. Add a cup, no, a vat of patience to the looooonnnnnnnggggggg, slooooooooooow recovery and I soon learned to give myself a break. I also learned to tell others to give me a break. No matter how good I looked on the outside, I was dragging on the inside and every single thing I accomplished in the 1st 3 months took about 4 times more energy than if everything was healed. Some days I still get blue when I think about my other knee.
                                           
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