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depression

maglets's picture
maglets
Posts: 2596
Joined: Jun 2006

Hello all I hate to bother you 3 days beofre Christmas when it should be such a happy time. I find myself so frightened so derpessed I am really not moving. I am 6 weeks post liver re-section (mets from the colon) four years ago. Chemo should start again 2nd week of Jan and everytime I think about it I feel depressed. This is not like me....fight fight fight

has anyone ever taken an anti-depressant on this journey and did it help?

Best Regards,
mags

taraHK
Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

Dear Mags,

I am so sorry you are feeling depressed. I hope it brings you some comfort to know that, unfortunately, depression is a very common experience for most/many of us. I consider myself to be a "mentally healthy" person, who is generally upbeat and positive - and, like you say, fight fight fight. But, during the years since my diagnosis I have certainly "had my moments". I believe anti-depressants are certainly something you could reasonably explore with your doctor/team. (I suffer more from anxiety -- at times --and have taken anti-anxiety medicine for shortish periods of time. Very helpful, for me). I also saw a therapist for a while. That, too, was very helpful for me. I encourage you to pursue the choices you think would be most helpful to you. In the meantime, my loving support goes out to you -- you are not alone. Please keep in touch.

Tara

ps -- my next chemo is on January 2. Let's hold hands (virtually)!

maglets's picture
maglets
Posts: 2596
Joined: Jun 2006

Tara thank you so much....lordielou I do not like acting like a wimp but I just can't get off this couch or out from under the covers.

I believe I feel you hand now:)

mags

msccolon's picture
msccolon
Posts: 1956
Joined: Oct 2004

Just remember that when you feel the urge to think you should just get over it and be suzy sunshine just because everyone else seems to be enjoying the season! Besides, who knows that everybody else isn't putting on a brave front as well; we all have so much we deal with in private. I am with Tara, I haven't felt the need for anti-depressants, but Ativan is sometimes my best friend! Usually when I feel anxious, one tab gets rid of the anxiety and I am back to being able to see the larger picture. I know from others that anti-depressants are a blessing when they are needed! You do what you need to for YOU! God bless you and I will be praying for you.
mary

chynabear's picture
chynabear
Posts: 483
Joined: Jul 2005

Sometimes it is the seasons we should be happiest that make us the most depressed or sad. I think maybe it is because we sometimes think, "will I be here next birthday, Christmas, kids birthday, holiday, etc". I don't want to analyze, but maybe this year Christmas signals that time will be drawing near that you will be on chemo again? Chemo IS depressing. Cancer IS depressing. It doesn't matter if you are normally Suzy Sunshine and a fighter... you are still allowed to feel down sometimes. I think it is pretty normal. I think many have used the help of Rx to get through depression and anxiety at times (myself included) and that's ok. Sometimes it just takes a little bit to get over the hump. You are at war... both mentally and physically, with cancer. It's understandable that with that comes a little PTSD.

Talk to your doctors. Find a support group. Whatever works for you to get through this. Just know that we are all here holding your hand (virtually) through this because we all understand and have been through or are going through it now.

My throughts are with you during this holiday season and on.

Tricia

CherylHutch's picture
CherylHutch
Posts: 1399
Joined: Apr 2007

Mags, what you are going through is totally, totally normal... and if there's anything to be depressed about, it's this horrible beast called cancer! It would be one thing if somewhere, someone could tell us "Oh sure, you have to go through all these horrid treatments, but the end result will be that you are going to be just fine!" Yet, no one can or will tell us this. They say we will try this treatment and that treatment and go back to the first treatment... and we'll just have to see how it goes. None of us want to "see how it goes"... we want answers and we want them to be good answers!

Like you, I consider myself a fairly positive person, I prefer to see the glass as half full than half empty, and I really and truly do believe that our attitude and positive thinking/planning is going to be what gets us through. Those who listen to the doctors who preach doom and gloom and buy into that, are the ones that have a real hard time succeeding, and find themselves getting worse and worse. Now that is not to say that those with positive attitudes don't go through the same fears, terrors and that sick feeling in the gut from being so scared... we DO! But we also can recognize that that is not our normal way of dealing with things and maybe we need some help.

So do anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds work? I personally think that whatever gets you out of that cycle of fear, then that's what you need to do. I didn't think the meds would work for me.. I was just too darn scared and terrified. Yes, fear CAN stop you from functioning on a day to day basis... so at this point it's not the cancer you have to worry about, it's getting over the fear. I would definitely go talk to your doctor and explain exactly what you did to us... that you are so depressed that you just can't get off the couch or out of bed... and that is so not normal for you!!

Whatever triggered your depression... the situation or the fear the situation created, it triggered a slight chemical imbalance. So you need to right that imbalance. It is NOT an imagined thing. It is not something you just have to sleep on and it will go away. But you might find you only need to be on them fora short period of time to get the chemicals in your system back in alignment... and then you will be ready to fight, fight, fight again!!

You are young, beautiful and full of plans for your life! So don't let this little setback steer you off that path :) And no, you are not alone at all... we all go through it, get out of it, and chances are will go through it again. That's the nature of this beast... which SUCKS!!

Huggggggs,

Cheryl

maglets's picture
maglets
Posts: 2596
Joined: Jun 2006

I feel so humble by the depth and width of your caring and knowledge.....

HUgs back at all of you
mags

Buzzard's picture
Buzzard
Posts: 3073
Joined: Aug 2008

OK, the more you wallow in depression the more your neuro-transmitters start shutting down. These are the exact guys that send happy endorphins to your body allowing it to feel good and smile. OK, if you continue to not use these neuro-transmitters then your body (brain) assumes that it doesn't need them anymore and shuts them down. Once they have shut down it takes an act of congress (or meds) to get them up and running again. Cancer or just the thought of it leaves us the ability to never ever think of anything else.........UNLESS..........we take the bull by the horns and do something about it. Cancer is the devil at work keeping us sad. I use to HAVE to pull off the side of the road while I drove because I would start crying so hard that I couldn't see. I had lost control of everything and I had 4 children that needed to be with their dad for another 100 years..I never took any meds, maybe an aspirin every once in a while so I was real hesitant to try anything, but I went to my family Dr and ask him about it. This is when I found out the poop on the Neuro-transmitters and how and why they do what they do and how PROZAC would induce them to start working again. I am on 10mg Flourextine (Prozac) and it allows me to enjoy myself again. It prevents me from dwelling on cancer, it allows me to think about other things, it allows me to laugh and smile and enjoy myself again, and sister, I AM certainly doing that. It may not be for everyone, but it hasn't changed my way of thinking, just the direction. The glass is half full now instead of half empty. It will take a week or two before you see any results but just starting it made me feel more in control and the only time I cry now is either when I quit taking it for 3-4 days or actually praying for my buddies of cancer, past and present...Please do yourself and everyone around you a favor and try it. They will be able to tell a difference in you and most of all....so will you.........God Bless ya.....

KierstenRx's picture
KierstenRx
Posts: 249
Joined: Nov 2006

Hi Mags,
I posted about depression a few weeks ago. I was always very positive and fought like crazy. ABout a year post chemo my mood was terrible. It finally got so bad a couple months ago I finally went to a counselor. I really felt like I could do things on my own, but I can't. I also saw a psychiatrist who adjusted my meds. I am now on a combination of 3 medications and it has helped me a lot.

I think most of us has battled depression at one time or another. It is completely normal. I find that the holidays seem to make it hard for me also. Keep doing what you are doing and it will get better. As a pharmacist I see nothing wrong with taking medication if you need it. It was tough for me to admit that I needed help. I have an imbalance that needed corrected. The medication has helped me get out of a funk so now I can start dealing with my emotions/feeling in a constructive way.

I'll keep you in my prayers.

Kiersten

Karmar
Posts: 43
Joined: Nov 2008

Dear MAgs,

I agree with all that has been said. I hate taking pills always have. I became sick in september and All I did was cry at all times. My GP finally perscribed an anti depresent-Now I dont cry and feel so much better balanced.I dont even have a dx as of yet of what is going on. But I was so scared and depressed-I to thought is this it-will I evn make it to christmas. Now my thoughts with the pills is we will find out what is wrong and fight whatever the problem is. And I will make this a wonderfull christmas. Even if I am unable to do all the things I was able to do last year. I still feel blue at times because I am unable to go like I use to but know soon I will beanle to fight whatever is wrong with me. I am looking foward to my colonoscopy-For then and only then I should have all the answeres I so desperetly seek.
Have a very Blessed Holiday
Karen

kmygil
Posts: 881
Joined: Feb 2007

Hi Mags,

Get thee to your physician and get a prescription for antidepressants. Fortunately, I was already depressed (sounds wierd, huh?) when I was diagnosed, so I was already on antidepressants. After diagnosis, we increased the dosage. It took a little fiddling with meds and dosages, but it was soooooo worth it in terms of keeping up the fight. Right now I am on Wellbutrin for depression and Lexapro for anxiety. These are natural states for me, but they sort of mushroomed after diagnosis. Interestingly enough, once I was halfway into chemo, I was able to decrease the dosage. At that point I realized that I was so determined to survive that I wasn't that depressed any more.

All I'm saying is that depression can interfere with your ability to fight. Our battles are also fought in the mind and spirit, so they should be optimized, as well. Don't hesitate. Do what you need to do to get through it.

Hugs,
Kirsten

ron50's picture
ron50
Posts: 1729
Joined: Nov 2001

Hi Mags,
good luck with your treatment. I'll give you a brief history of my last eleven years.
St3 colon ca ,into 6 lymph nodes. Surgery and a year of chemo. Into hospital with acute pancreatitis. Turned out to be caused by gall stones.. Gall bladder removed.. Became sensitized to chol meds ,muscles started to break down...Started passing kidney stones..Wife left me for another bloke..Dx with minimal change kidney disease. .On 75 mg Prednisone for 5 mos..Turned into a beach ball with a big moon face...Dx wrong ,not mcd but fsgs ,kidney filters not thinned but scarred..Now taking 4 blood pressure meds to slow the inevitible progress to dialysis..can't feel my feet or ankles....Guess what? My doc thinks I am depressed. I don't agree with him. To be depressed I suspect you have to have come down from a high point...Hmmm can't remember what they are..So I have been this way for eleven years . I guess that means that this is my normal state. I'd hate to think what it is like to get depressed.
Mags we ca survivors are tough critters , we have to be because quite frankly ,I suspect we may be crap magnets. You are suffering from ca. Depression is just one of the side effects of ca. We use lots of meds to fight the side effects of ca. If you need some help , get it. Just remember your dx is ca , not depession,it's just a by-product. Given another 10 years or so you will get immunity ,like me. Tomorrow is Christmas day here in Australia. I'm going to a small shop in the town where I live and sit on my own and service high school home ec sewing machines all day. I'm not depressed ,just insane.
Chin up kid,just hang in there ,one day things will get better.
Ron.

crazylady
Posts: 544
Joined: Jun 2004

Hi Ron,

I don't know if you're depressed or not, but there is a kind of low level depression where people have always felt that way and don't always realize that they are depressed. I can't remember the proper name for it, chemo brain, lol.

Take care,
Jamie

msccolon's picture
msccolon
Posts: 1956
Joined: Oct 2004

I LOVE it! I will definitely be slipping that term into conversation in the near future! Crap magnet for sure! :) So your wife was an idiot and left you for someone else; she doesn't have the foresight to know something good when she has it! We split just prior to my diagnosis and the idiot tried to "come back" when he found out about my diagnosis. Although I didn't tell him, when our counselor was helping me to make a decision about should I stay or should I go she asked me if I found out I only had 6 months to live, what would I do. My response was that I would kick his a$$ out! She told me I had my answer, and I indeed did! I went home and told him he had to leave and haven't looked back since! It was certainly a bummer finding out later that I actually had cancer, and at the time thought it was a fulfillment of that question in the counselor's office, but of course have found it not to be the case at all! This certainly sucks, but I have been through worse, and I plan on continuing showing the beast who's boss as long as God allows!
mary

crazylady
Posts: 544
Joined: Jun 2004

Hi Mags,

I'm so sorry you're feeling depressed, though I think it's normal under the circumstances. I have been on and off medication for depression and anxiety since diagnosis over 4 years ago. I also see a therapist weekly. It really helps to keep me balanced. I also try to plan things with family and friends even when I feel low. It keeps me busy and distracted which I find helpful.

I hope that you feel better soon!

Take care,
Jamie

pamness
Posts: 529
Joined: Nov 2007

I was stage 3A colon cancer and am 17 months post treatment. I was diagnosed during the beginning of treatment with "situational depression."
I started taking zolfot - 50 mg. It really helped. That is a very small amount. After treatment, I upped it to 75 mg.

Please do not be afraid of seeing a psychologist or social worker or psychiatrist. This may be one of the hardest and least understandable things you will ever have to go through. Taking drugs for depression or anxiety is no different than chemo of if you had an underactive thyroid. You are fighting a battle that most people can not even understand. Don't deny yourself the help that you need.

I am always surprised at the amount of "non-support_" I see on this board for depression, etc. (for those of you who advocate, I applaud you). It is nothing to be ashamed or scared of, it is part of the process.

Years ago, there was no treatment for cancer and no treatment for the anxiety/depression that goes with it. No one gives out prizes for being stoic and uninformed.

Pam

VickiCO's picture
VickiCO
Posts: 934
Joined: Oct 2008

"No one gives out prizes for being stoic and uninformed." -Pam

Those are almost the same words my onc doctor used on me this week. He told me to stop being so 'damn stoic' and ask for help, meds, whatever. Do not hold anything back, even if I think it's trivial. I ended up on hydration IV's because I didn't call and say I was sinking. Won't do that again!

Depression is another disease - you need to treat it.

Vicki

maglets's picture
maglets
Posts: 2596
Joined: Jun 2006

I went to my GP this week and she was very supportive....she gave me about 34 mg of venlafaxine I think this is effexor.....anyway after several days I must say I think I do feel a little lighter.
Looking back I think I was feeling helpless about Christmas too.....so many expectations from family and friends....the thought of crawling up those attic stairs for one more box was getting me down. I find the liver re-section a quite heavy duty abdominal surgery and after 6 weeks I still wasn't up to snuff that's for sure.

Then in terms of looking forward.......yeeeh January and chemo....when you see it written down it looks like whiney girl.....but there it is

mags

msccolon's picture
msccolon
Posts: 1956
Joined: Oct 2004

You were climbing up attic stairs 6 weeks out from your abdominal surgery?!!! Use the advantage you have and get others to do that kind of stuff! You certainly need to rest! Not only was the surgery rough, but you were on anesthesia, you have CANCER for heavens' sake, and you need to take it easy! I remember my doctor looking at me when I was asking if I would be able to go back to work after I got home from chemo and he simply said "give yourself a break and let yourself rest". So, I did and so I do! If the family doesn't want to do it, then it doesn't need to get done! You are tough and will do fine.
mary

JSIFMA
Posts: 3
Joined: Dec 2008

While fighting my colon cancer last year (I finished chemo last Dec) and I was dealing with depression I still do and I have won the battle so far. It is another part of the battle. My doctor advised me to use anti represents and I did. I wasn't weak or whatever else, I needed help. And it helped me finish all my treatments.

Your at war with a desease but you can beat it. I did it with all the help. I still deal with depression but this to will be a battle I can with. You can too! Give yourself permission to "be" and find the help and you will make it. Believe it!

impactzone's picture
impactzone
Posts: 542
Joined: Aug 2006

I took them right away and they helped me. Sorry you are feeling this way and I understand all you say. I had to get into not so much a fight, fight, fight attitude but a more run, run, run attitude of a distance runner knowing this is a long, long fight.
All my best
Chip

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