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Not Depressed Dont Know What It Is

tr71068's picture
Posts: 26
Joined: Dec 2010

Im not depressed or anxious but I am angry and I dont even know who I am angry with. I find it hard to go to work every day and listen to people complain about there everyday issues. I just want to shake them and tell them to wake up, that they could be waiting for a test result that could change there whole life. I just have to put my head down to get thru the day. Everyday I feel like I am living on borrowed time and I see that hour glass running out. And I do have people I can talk to but nobody really understands what I feel. I know its not there fault and I thank god they dont understand I dont want any family or friend to have to go thru that. What I am wondering is will the real me ever come back or am I left with this new me. I have talked to my doctor and they have put me on buspar and xanax but I dont really think it helps. Does anyone else feel like this and if you do what do you do. I told my sister if I drank I might turn into a drunk, but I dont drink. Any suggestions. I would sure like to feel like me again

lisa42's picture
Posts: 3661
Joined: Jul 2008


I'm sorry you're going through such a tough time. Honestly, I don't know that the "old us" ever fully comes back after experiencing cancer. I know I'll never be the same. I went through many stages in my emotions about cancer. Yes, I'd find myself getting annoyed. One Sunday in our church prayer requests, someone was asking for praying for a cold that keeps recurring. My first thought was "a cold??!" If they only knew what real illness is! Then I realized that I would never want to wish cancer on anyone. But, yes, it does get maddening sometimes that other people get caught up in what now seems trivial to us. But remember, prior to getting cancer, we probably focused on much more trivial things in life too and made them into bigger deals. I remember hearing a few years back about a mom of one of my daughter's friends who had breast cancer. I remember not knowing what to say to her and feeling uncomfortable around her. I feel so bad about that now, given all I have experienced in the almost 4 years since my diagnosis.

Give yourself some allowance to go through different emotions. Now, I must point something out- that sometimes anger can be part of depression. I do think you should talk to your doctor about taking some medication, at least temporarily. There are certain kinds of antidepressants that help more with anger- so talk about that with your doctor. Look around your area for a local cancer support group.
I am actually starting to get a cancer support group going at my church in mid August (if all goes as planned). I'm really quite excited about it! Wish you were in my area (you're not are you? I live in Fallbrook, CA which is in north San Diego county). Hopefully there is something like this near you that you can find to go to. Don't leave us here- keep coming back and venting, asking for advice, whatever you need to do for support. We care a lot about you & most of us understand what you are going through.
It definitely gives us a helpless feeling- that we do not have control over our future & that is definitely a scary feeling. It can make you sad or it can make you mad- it's definitely not fair at all!!
I guess we were never promised that life would be fair, were we? It doesn't seem fair though, that some people "have it all" and don't even realize it, then others have a great deal of suffering in life. I personally get through it by clinging to relationship with the Lord. And I do believe I have an actual relationship. I believe that God never said we wouldn't have troubles in life, just that He'd be there for us through it all.
If you also believe that, then I urge you to cling to that.

Even though I've been having lots of physical problems with the cancer recently, I feel like I'm a happier person when I try to help others. In the way I talk and deal with others, I can make a choice to try to uplift others or bring them down with me. When you're down yourself, however, you first have to find a way to help yourself and get yourself picked up out of the mire. Even maybe exercise or yoga might help your endorphins in the brain get a boost, which might give you more positive feelings.
If you're wary of the prescription antidepressants, something to look into is Sam-e. If you're not familiar w/ it, google it and read up on it. It is something that you can find in stores and online (I found it cheapest online). It is something that is found naturally in your brain & can definitely help boost your mood. I've tried it myself and I find it really does help. The directions have said to take it in the morning, as it could keep you up if you take it at night (although I was taking it at night at first before I knew this, & I never had a problem sleeping w/ it). 5-HTP is another naturally occuring chemical in your brain that many people are found to have a shortage of. 5HTP seems to help more with anxiety and/or anger than the Sam-e. 5-HTP should also be able to be found in health food stores, although it is cheaper online. This one should be taken in the evening, as it also can help to relax you.
I know we're not supposed to give medical advice on this site, so check into it yourself, but I'm just sharing what I've used and what I've also had my kids take (all 3 have dealt with depression- the youngest I didn't recognize it as depression at first because she wasn't crying- she was just hostile and angry acting).

Best wishes to you- please stay in touch :)

John23's picture
Posts: 2140
Joined: Jan 2007

Ok.... In my opinion, anti-depressants are good for "clinical depression",
where the psychiatrist or psychologist doesn't know what the problem is,
and is prescribing it until he can help resolve the real problem.

That was what the drugs were originally designed for, but they now
are advertising great things for those that decide to take them for
any reason.

Taking any drug to rid the real feelings that evolve from a real life
experience, is no different than drowning sorrow in a bottle of booze.

It does not fix the problem, and most often adds to the problem,
compounding it, confusing anyone attempting to help, and confusing
the one taking it, by clouding "real" from "dream".

You have reason to be depressed, and depression often comes out
as anxiety and anger. You're angry because you do not want to die,
and do not feel you deserve less of a life than those around you.

It's normal to have those feelings when you are told that your
expiration date is near. Ignore the expiration date. Set your plans
to live well beyond the dates set, and do what you can to be healthy.

Don't waste time being mad at others, it's not worth that loss of time,
is it? You need every minute you have, to do what you need to do.

Spend the time concentrating on your good health, your good state
of mind, and the capabilities you have.

You will do fine, just use your energy to help yourself, and stop
wasting it on being mad, angry, or depressed. You will overcome
it all, you have the energy to!

Think healthy!

My best,


herdizziness's picture
Posts: 3642
Joined: Apr 2010

I'm still me. Diagnosed last February, wasn't supposed to make it, did, I thought I would go through this big change, become more benevolent, etc. Turns out, I still love life the same way I did before. There are small changes though, I do find I tolerate fools less, and hate wasting time in traffic jams, darn it, I have a life to live I think, why am I listening to braggarts or sitting in traffic wasting time? But for the most part, now time is what it is, life goes on, I don't ask why me anymore, I still have and hold those things dear to me I always have, maybe a bit more now. But mostly I hold my moments dear, for a while when first diagnosed I didn't want to sleep, afraid of wasting moments, kind of where you are now, the hour glass running out, being cheated out of life, moments wasted, then soon I was sleeping in and wasting time. Now I go to sleep at 11 and wake at 7, having found a happy medium. Getting into a routine again, I find comfort in routines I guess. Hopefully you will get through the angry time, I had it, got over it. I didn't do any medications, it seems they automatically prescribe it here, but I didn't want to live my life through a medicated haze, but each person is different and it isn't a sign of weakness to need the pills, sometimes for awhile they can be quite necessary, especially I'm guessing if you get stuck into one way of thinking that isn't good for you and you can't move on from there. Try and find a way to release the angry, abet through meditation, praying to whom or whatever or pills, then you can move on and live your life again. Believe it or not, it's still there, the NORMAL, I find I like the normal very much and glad to have gotten it back. It just takes that thing we all hate to wait on "time", it just takes time. You will get there.
Winter Marie

sharpy102's picture
Posts: 370
Joined: Apr 2009

@tr71068: I am not sure if you'll ever bounce back to yourself, or not, as you are "in the phase" the whole time. So, for this reason, I don't know. But, in my case, I was a caregiver and I fought really REALLY (I mean REALLY) hard, and I had the arrogant certainty that I can change things...well, long story short: I was not a good caregiver, and my Mom gave up and left. After that I was just like you, very very very angry. Anytime I heard someone complain, I almost felt I could choke them in a teaspoon full of water. I felt I could just stab them on the back, or yank them by the collar and yell at them and tell them that you're problem is not a problem, and you'd better shut up. No, really. That's how I was. And I hated everybody!!! And I even got kicked out of a school (that's right oldies, who know me- I didn't brag about that one to you guys) because I didn't care, and I even told my teachers, authorities that I don't care. I simply told them. And whenever they tried to force me to do things because they were getting fed up that I don't do anything and don't care, I told them "forget it!". They told me I'm rude, and disrespectful, and I would respond merely as "I don't care". So, things ended up sour, and basically couple teachers killed me, and I killed them, so I had to leave the school. LOL Then after a couple months of probation they got me back. LOL But no, I don't say I know exactly how you feel, but it reminds me of how similar I have felt. Did I came back to who I was? I'm not sure. I know I changed some in a better way. I don't want to choke the people in a teaspoon full of water anymore. If they complain, I don't get really upset and angry...I just leave them to chit-chat about their issue, and if they tried telling me I would tell them very politely that "I'm sorry, but I'm really not interested". Some people still think I'm an a.s.s. and quiet rightly...I am still not the best person and if it comes down to it, I can still become rude and just leave everyone behind and say "I don't care", or "whatever". Although, I really have to force myself now not to say it out loud as I was really forced into not to say that again or I'm going to be finding myself out of school again. So, now I don't say it, but I do look at them in the eye and indicate with my view that, I'm sorry, but I really don't care. So, although I did change somewhat in a better way, I cannot say I'm back to my old self. And I don't know if I will be back to my old self again ever, or it just takes longer time. I listen to music I always hated before (hard rock), and if there's something that bothers me, I shake it off and say "I don't care, had worse before". Or if there are things that are not in my control, I try not to worry about it. I cannot change it, f.u.c.k. it! I learned that I'm weak! I'm very weak. I learned that I cannot fight, that I'm not a good fighter. I learned, never never ever fight for anything! No point. You lose anyway. I've lost. I've got defeated very very badly. It came almost as if someone in the middle of the night as you're walking on the street would jump out of the bush and slap you right across the face and run off. You would stand there frozen trying to figure out what just happened, and why you got the slap. It would probably be with you for the longest period ever as you would try to find the explanation of that random/weird event you encountered that night. Same here...I've got defeated so bad and I'm still trying to understand what happened and why. It bothers me...a lot. It makes me still sometimes angry...but I learned that I should not get mad at people...I think, UNFORTUNATELY, it's not their fault...I cannot blame them, although yes, they are annoying with their "problems". I wish I could blame them, I wish I could yell at them, or beat them up. But I cannot because they have nothing to do with this. So, I just yell at myself inside of me, blame myself inside of me, and beat myself up inside of me. Maybe one day I will find the answer, or maybe one day I will forgive to myself...maybe one day I will be my old self again...maybe some day I will be happy...maybe.
Good luck to you tr71068, and keep us posted about how you are doing! I'll be thinking of you!
- Sophie

Lovekitties's picture
Posts: 3355
Joined: Jan 2010

You mention that your doctor has put you on meds to help you deal with your emotions. Have you considered a Cancer counselor?

I don't know your age, but that too can make a difference in how you see your life after a Cancer diagnosis.

When life has dealt me emotional blows, I have found that writing out those feelings helps. Not only does it give an outlet for expressing them, it can also help you to understand why you feel the way you do about things which anger you.

None of us will ever be the same person we were before the diagnosis, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. To be made so aware that life is limited, gives us a chance to make sure that we get our priorities right, work at doing those things that are important and doing the best we can to find joy in each day. Just remember, life always had a limit, we just didn't think about it.

Rather than looking back at who you used to be, try looking forward to who you really want to be. We all change due to time and life experiences.

AncientTiger's picture
Posts: 130
Joined: Mar 2011

that you'd "find your old self" again, but mostly likely not.

What you're describing about your current emotional state is like looking into a mirror for ME. Post traumatic stress disorder was a term that I would have never thought would EVER apply to me, but after asking about my strange desire for drink someone mentioned it, and it was like a light bulb going off in a dark room.

Like you, I find myself having to take a deep breath and calm down at work. Things that I usually just glided through now infuriate me. But... knowing there's a land mine infront of you gives you the ability to side-step it. I now know what's going on in my brain-pan, and I know to watch my temper even closer than before, as it's inflamed more than usual from PTSD.

Talking to others who are going through the same thing helps more than I can say. Getting these feelings out in the open is like opening the pressure switch on a steam engine, right before the steam cylinder blows. Get it off your chest TR, blow steam here among those that know what you're going through (or at least has a better idea than those who have never walked the cancer-highway).

And yes... it's OKAY to feel this way. It's as natural as closing your eyes when you sneeze.

tr71068's picture
Posts: 26
Joined: Dec 2010

I just wanted to say thanks it helps alot to know I am not the only one out there that feels this way. I have tons of family but have not wanted to burden them any more than I feel I already have. They were so helpful during the surgeries and chemo. I talked to them this weekend and told them how I have been feeling and they said they have just been waiting for me to say something they didnt want to intrude if I was doing okay. So it felt good to talk to them and it made me feel alot better and I have been given permission to ***** and complain as much as I wanted to I have earned the right. I just wanted to say thanks for all your comments

tootsie1's picture
Posts: 5056
Joined: Feb 2008

I agree with the assessment that we're never really the same after a cancer diagnosis. How could we? Yes, you may go back to the old activities and regain a more normal schedule, but something major has happened to you. You'd have to be a robot not to react in some way. I hope the medications help you feel better soon.


Posts: 1736
Joined: Jul 2007

what the heck happened to me too. Like many of us here I am not the same person, weird thing for me is the anger, not sure who to direct it towards so it usually comes out at different times or different people. I kind of feel left behind, I didnt have one of those "awakening moments" that most have when something like this happens. I too think I was on auto-piolt for most of my treatments. I am very thankful to be out of treatment and pray that continues, but I am left with many reminders, extreme fatique, neoropathy in both feet, and like most bathroom issues and the worst the always wondering and waiting to find out if it has returned (stage 4, checks & Scans every 3 months). I still fight the "why me" issues and the fears that go with all of this. I hate to hear people complain, just the other day I was telling someone about a co-worker that was coming to work in a bad mood and treating people badly just because he and his wife are having problems. Well all through my treatments, and just everything about living with and after cancer, plus the suciside of my son 9 months ago, I have never come to work and took my anger out on anyone, if I needed to cry I would close my office door or just leave for the day...I just find it hard to sympathize with others with what I see as trivial problems. I know its not trivial to the ones going through it, but excuse me it could be worse, so buck up and carry on is what I want to scream to them.

I am sorry I am ranting, glad you started this thread, because your right it does help to know your not alone. Some times I feel that since I have been NED for 2.5 yrs that I really shouldnt be complaining either when it comes to complaining here on the board, but that is what makes this place so valuable to me and many others, is that we are all in the same boat sort of speak, been there done that, I dont think there has been a case where someone somewhere that hasnt posted a situation where you couldnt find someone that related to you or the situation.

I do wonder if I am depressed, I know I have days where I feel depressed, but I too had a realization the other day, I wonder if I do suffer from PTSD, sometimes when I smell certain smells, it just sets me off right into a panic attack, or some memories will come back that does the same to me, or thinking about being stage 4 can send me into a whirl wind, I just cant figure it out. I think I am going to try and find a local cancer survivors support group, I agree I think having someone that can relate to talk to will help.

Okay I am done rambling....


Posts: 520
Joined: May 2011

Hello Beth and everyone,

I described my diagnosis to my family and friends with " my life would never be the same" when I was going in for surgery and starting chemo and the fight of my life. I discussed the need for medication with my Nurse Practitioner as I healed from surgery and was preparing for Folfox Chemo. We discussed the loss of a healthy body which meant the stages of mourning include anger, feeling depressed, feeling anxious, questioning I cannot believe it and feeling the blow is unfair. All of these are the stages that we all will revisit as we deal with our cancer diagnosis and as we journey through our treatments. We have a right to grieve.

Yes, anger may erupt at those closest to us or to strangers over inconsequential events or things. For myself I try to protect my husband, family and friends from the most intense feelings but I do discuss my fears, and anxious moments as I approach my 3 month scan in two weeks. I think a good cry in the shower works wonders for releasing our most hidden fears. I don't know if I can ever get to the place that scans give us permission to continue to live our lives and feel no fear or anxiety the weeks before the 3 month scans.


Posts: 1736
Joined: Jul 2007

Crying, my partner Wendy always tells me I hold to much in, I am pretty sure she is right, but she keeps on me about crying, I cry when I need to I guess, but I do have a hard time crying, not sure why, but she too tells me its a great relief, so does my counselor, but for some reason the tears dont come, maybe I am way more messed up than I thought. Maybe crying would mean I actually have to feel those feelings and that scares the hell out of me, I have always been one to stuff things and just move on...guess that is catching up with me....



Posts: 520
Joined: May 2011

Beth and Others,
Yes, me too, I avoid crying. After the diagnosis, I had only one day where the tears flowed all day as I notified my family, friends and neighbors that I was going in for surgery and then would do chemo if cancerous nodes were found. I probably am still in the fight mode trying to think positive thoughts having just finished Folfox and trying to prepare for those first 3 month scans. I see so many people who are so worse off that I feel lucky to be alive and fortunate to be treatable and now starting those 3 month scans praying and hopeful to avoid chemo and let my body heal. Me too, with neuropathy in my hands and feet and telling myself good to be alive and if neuropathy is the worst I can take it.

Beth, you are an inspiration. One gets past the anger but I am trying real hard to get past the anxiety for my scan in two weeks.

HollyID's picture
Posts: 951
Joined: Dec 2009

I am. I have been for a very long time. Probably when my dad was diagnosed. Then an uncle was diagnosed. Then, my nephew. Then me. Then my brother. Cancer has not been good to my family and yeah, I'm angry. I think we have a right to be angry with cancer.

Cancer has affected my family greatly. My dad and uncle died many years ago. My brother died just recently from his cancer after a short battle of only 5 months. His death has brought to the forefront... why him and not me? The cancer guilt has been tremendous. He was a much better person than I am. I still can't believe he's gone and I miss him terribly.

I do hear people complain about things that long ago, I might have joined them. Now... Oh, I have much more to be thankful for than to complain about. I will never be the same person I was before my own diagnosis. I won't be the "old me" ever again. I am a new me, and for better or worse, it's who I am. I choose my battles now, and some just aren't worth a fight. What might have been so important to me long ago is nothing but a second thought now.

I hope you resolve this within yourself.

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