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337923 tn?1423328772

Fatigue vs depression

Could someone give me their opinion on how to tell the difference between fatigue and depression? How in the world does a person know if they are fatigued because of hep c or experiencing depression? I am not interested in taking any antidepressants to find out. I have had hep c for approximately 34 years, and haven't had any treatment(s). My numbers all seem "fine", nothing really out of whack. I have suffered from depression and have been on meds in the past. You would think I could tell the difference, but I can't. Thank you for your assistance.
23 Responses
Avatar universal
I hear what you're saying. It can be hard sometimes to tell the difference. Here's my tatke:  When I am depressed, I am always fatigued.  When I am fatigued, I may or may not be depressed. I've had bouts of clinical depression all my life and have been (and may always be) on "prophylactic" meds . Fatigue has always been part of it.

But for several years before I was diagnosed with HCV the fatigue got profound -- I slept and slept and became unable to perform my job (college professor). I also just couldn't think straight. I was afraid I had early dementia. I attributed it to depression and worked with my doc to add meds to improve my alertness, etc. (Adderall and others). They helped, but I still was wiped out and confused all the time. After the HCV diagnosis, it was almost a relief to know that at least some it was from virus fighting and not depression.

Like you, my liver was apparently in good shape (functions very slightly elevated) after more than 30 years, but I wanted to get rid of the monster that was slowly draining me.  I knew that treatment would be tougher because of depression and it was. I was sick as a dog, completely brain fogged, slept tons during the 48 weeks and had no energy. But about half way through the "real" depression kicked in and I could tell the difference.  

To me, depression is despair -- a profound loss of hope -- hope that anything will ever be better than it is, hope that life can have meaning, hope for peace instead of anxiety. I began to cry a lot, get freaked out when I was alone, the whole works. My shrink increased my antidepressant, my nurse prac lowered my ribavirin and Interferon dose slightly, my husband, family, friends rallied round, and I slowly climbed back up.

I am 10-months post TX now. At 12 weeks post, the virus had returned. I was crushed, but I have to accept that 50-50 is exactly that, and I was just in the wrong 50, I feel better now, but the fatigue is about the same as pre-TX and I still get depressed. And yes, it is still hard to tell which is which. But if I can sleep a lot of still be moderately function when I'm awake, I consider that fatigue. When I am not functional when awake, that's depression.

I went on medical leave before TX and then on permanent disability during it. So, I lost my beloved career, much of my energy, etc. But I don't hurt, I have disability payments and a loving support group. I am a very lucky woman.

Best wishes to you,


220090 tn?1379170787
Depression has other symptoms beyond fatigue such as  sleep problems, changes in appetite and feelings of melancholy.  
Avatar universal
we have been given a difficult situation to deal with there is no none cure for this thing and everybody does not understand so you have to keep this to yourself ( besides your family and a few close friends)   so for me its like having a big secret.  I get depressed when I think about my future and I how I've been deat these cards then I start feeling sorry for myself I will just start crying.
when I'm fatiqued  my body starts to ache, can't think straight thats when I know its time to rest.  
Are either of you single if so how do you deal with it.
Avatar universal
I'm so sorry you are having to deal with this. You have a right to feel sorry for yourself, and sadness is surely part of adjusting to an altered life and the limitations of chronic illness.
The saddest part of your story, to me, is that is feels like a secret. That is so tragic and reminds me of some friends I lost to AIDS many years ago. Maybe that experience influenced me, but from early on, I decided not to hide my illness. I wanted everyone to know what was going on -- why I was functioning so poorly, why I left my job, almost disappeared from life for 48 weeks, etc. I wrote a letter to my colleagues, students, my church (my husband is a pastor), my family, etc, and gave them some basic info to help them understand the illness and how remote is the possibility that they could catch it from me. I decided that how I contracted the disease was noone's business. If anyone has shunned me because of it, then we both were probably better off without each other. So far, if anyone has cut me out I haven't noticed or cared! And I have found many people (some of the most unlikely ones) have supported and comforted me on the journey.

We all deal with this in our own way, and my way certainly isn't for everyone. I wish you wisdom and courage as you move forward.  Keep talking, reach out to as many people as you can, take very good care of yourself, cut yourself a lot of slack, rest and renew whenever you can.

Peace be with you, morning glory.
Avatar universal
Speaking of brain fog, I got mised up and attributed sad714's comment about a secret to morning glory. Sorry, but that it completely typical of what I do all the time!

PS -- Morning glory, I love your user name. When I was a child we had beautiful morning glory vines growing all around and over our carport. It also has a lovely spiritual note to it...
337923 tn?1423328772
Your responses are so helpful. It is comforting know I'm not imagining my fatigue, depressed or being "lazy". It is hard to except the lack of energy though. I have tried to figure out how to work with the fatigue, mainly by taking a nap each day. This has helped some, along with pacing myself throughout the day.

I don't have anyone, with hep c, to talk specifically about what I'm going through. So I appreciate your taking the time to answer my question...

sad714 - I'm married.

goosenbee - I remember them as a child too, growing along our fence. I loved seeing them and was so fascinated.
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