Depression after bc

Mosis50 Member Posts: 59
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
About 15 years ago I was diagnosed with clinical depression. I fought through this with analyis and medication and have been off the meds for about 12 years now. I am almost 6 months post surgery and chemo therapy and I find myself deeply depressed again. I am on an antidepressant already (since the oncologist took me off my hormone meds and I needed something for the moods due to menopause). Should I just ride this out and chalk up that my depression is due to the bc journey or should I go back to therapy. I haven't gone to groups because there are no groups in my area. No one here seems to understand depression and just say "buck up" and that I need to focus on the positive. They tell me to be glad I made it through the chemo - but I have this black cloud over my head that is the fear of cancer coming back. Do others feel like this? I feel like I am drowning in the black cloud of cancer.


  • jhope
    jhope Member Posts: 58
    Mosis, hi. I battled depression for 8 months BEFORE my cancer diagnosis (I'm 38). It was absolutely horribble! I had 2 lumpectomys, all my lymphnodes removed, 6 months of chemo every other week with 7 weeks of radiation, all the while having to work --- and you know what! It was easier than the depression. I would do the cancer year over before the depression. I feel a lot of emphathy for you. You might consider a group or I have just flat relied and got back to the lord to have peace for the long run. Somehow the adjustment will have to be made to get you out from under the black cloud of cancer. oh, are you sure it was not my mom who told you to "buck up", lol. God bless and I hope you find someone to talk to. You can email if you want. Julia
  • tlmac
    tlmac Member Posts: 272 Member
    Hi Mosis, Don't ride anything out. If the antidepressants aren't doing the job and therapy works for you, schedule an appointment. You've been through enough already. Healing the body is only part of the battle. Life with quality requires that you also heal the soul. Too bad there aren't any support groups in your area because mine has gotten me through the darkest days. Just don't let anyone shame you into ignoring what's ultimately best for you. Everyone here understands what you're going through. Good luck!
  • blessings1020
    blessings1020 Member Posts: 54
    I am biPolar and am also clinically depressed (and this was even before my breast surgery) and am on numerous meds (Lithium and three other antidepressants). I is totally understandable that you are feeling depressed right right now. You may need to have your antidepressant dosage upped, a change of medication, or an addition of meds.

    If you found it helpful to attend therapy, by all means, I would avail myself of that means of assistance, especially since you have already had a diagnosis of CD and are already on meds. I, personally, do not participate in therapy as I feel it really does not help me.

    As far as the people that say "buck up" or "what has *she* got to be depressed about?" ignore them for they know not of what they speak.

    Anyone who has experience depression knows that you would rather be anywhere/anyplace else other than the "black hole" you are in now.

    I too have feelings that my cancer will rear it's ugly head again, but I have placed my life in God's Hands. This does not work for everyone and I am not saying that sometimes I don't want to just scream at the top of my lungs, but you do what you have to to survive.

    I just found this board and I have been posting like crazy because I have been silent for almost a year about my most personal feelings since the cancer. It's like having a migraine...most people look at you and simply do not understand how your head could hurt so bad, unless you are one of the ones that have experienced this kind of pain. It is just as difficult for some people to understand what this disease does to you mentally because, thank God, they have not experienced it. There have been times I would rather have a severed least people could see it and try to understand.

    I hope I have not been too long winded and I want you to know that I am praying and pulling for you. I wish I could reach out and give you a hug right now.

    I DO understand...Diane
  • lynne40
    lynne40 Member Posts: 87
    Hi Mosis, Sounds like the people you are talking to are not very knowledgible. That is not your problem. You know what you need and don't feel guilty about taking care of yourself. Other people who have not been in your place cannot understand what you are going through and have been through. Forgive them and tell them you are doing what MOSIS needs for MOSIS! Depression is a disease like any other but because people can't SEE it they think it doesn't exist. Plenty of us here have been depressed after breast cancer, it comes and goes, you are not alone! I'll be praying that this part of the fight works out for you and you get some peace in your mind. Hugs,
  • bettygee
    bettygee Member Posts: 40
    Hi, Mosis. I really do understand the black cloud you are under and I too found my depression for which I had been treated came back with the breast cancer.
    By all means do go to therapy if you have found it helpful and don't be afraid to ask your doctor about a change in medication. There is no reason to just ride it out when help is available. Those people who tell you to buck up obviously have not had to endure severe depression, anyone who has would understand it is not something you can just put out of your mind. Incidently, my doctor told me cancer has been shown to cause depression even in some who have not had a previous problem with depression. All the best to you, you have come to a good place to find people who will understand what you are going through.
  • michelle1125
    michelle1125 Member Posts: 13
    Get whatever help you think you need. Cancer is depressing. I cry everyday. Although I know I'm not the only person walking around w/one breast and bald, it feels like it sometimes. Find a support group, read books on cancer and other things. Learn how to enjoy life again. I'm currently trying. The cancer can come back, but you can also get hit by a car tommorrow and die. Please try to enjoy your life. You only get one :)
  • inkblot
    inkblot Member Posts: 698 Member
    Hi Mosis:

    It sounds like you're battling a lot of fear right now. Don't let it take over and consume all that is you.

    Fight it with therapy or whatever you need in order to get to peace and joy again. As some of the ladies have already mentioned, there is much you can do to proactively cope.

    As tlmac pointed out, healing the body is only part of a healthy recovery. The emotional fear and depression can become almost like a 2nd invisible cancer inside us, eating away at our peace and joy and hamstringing us at every turn. If you find that you need a good cry, then cry. Just tune into your emotions and ask yourself why you're feeling this way or that way and devise strategies for managing the dark clouds. Don't let them manage you. Let the light in and soak it up! Small slivers at first, which become bright and warm with time and effort.

    People who tell you to "focus on the positives"
    mean well but it isn't as simple as that, as all of us here well know. We can't just hop out of bed one fine morning and say: Ah, Ha, I've won!
    It's a process, so be patient with yourself because the healing is a journey indeed. The important thing is to make sure that each day brings some new insight, thoughts, feelings
    or ideas for coping. Fight the fear and worry with everything you can drag into your arsenal, which is at all helpful to you.

    I focused on the positives. I did from the beginning. For me, the initial "positives" were: ok, I'm still alive and present and accounted for. Next the positives shifted to: I survived the surgery and treatments and didn't croak and for that I WAS very grateful. Yet I also knew that I wasn't balanced inside. During radiation, I began consciously working toward finding peace. The more I worked the more determined I became. I went through highs and lows and went round some horns many times before realizing I needed a different pathway for a particular issue. (Call me slow) LOL I was so happy by the time rads were done that I floated for many months to come. It was a real boost in my emotional arm, just to have all the treatment done. I felt as if I'd been relieved of one big albatross! A positive I got a lot of energy from, actually. But that's me. We're all different in where we find our solace, our sense of direction and motivation after weathering a storm. Whatever that method is for us, at some point we realize that the only way to heal is to go straight through our pain and fear. Going round it does us no favours. Climbing over it does not help. Digging under it is useless because it's still right there, waiting to be knocked down. I guess that's why we refer to the healing process as "working through it". Feeling it and letting it go. Embracing it to the point of understanding and then putting it where it belongs...into our history where it will remain as only a part of who we are. Not the sum total of what we're about.

    Realize that you deserve to be free of the fear, the sadness, the shock of dx, the worries about recurrence/mets and all that goes with it.

    I resolved some time ago that I will deal with any recurrence/mets when and if it should ever happen, acknowledging that I cannot very well deal with it before it happens, no matter how much thought I'd put into it. It just doesn't deserve and is not getting that kind of energy from me. Otherwise I considered myself doomed to become a silent partner-in-crime to fear, while it stole my joy away. Suffice it to say that I was determined not to go down that road without a lot of kicking, screaming and revolt and leaving my nail marks every millimeter of the way.

    Hope that may help a bit for what it's worth...just know that you CAN and WILL get to brighter days. Not in one big leap, but day by day, with persistence and patience.

    Love, light and laughter,
  • blessings1020
    blessings1020 Member Posts: 54
    Just checking to see how you are doing. Please know that if you need us, we are here.