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Depression - Where Do I Go For Help?

Vickilg's picture
Vickilg
Posts: 281
Joined: Jan 2011

Where do you suggest that someone with Stage IV cancer go for help with depression? I am overwhelmed with sadness. I am trying to be strong for my family but I am so scared. Is it better to go to someone specializing in helping those with cancer?

tommycat's picture
tommycat
Posts: 790
Joined: Aug 2011

Sorry to hear that Vikki.....this is a very trying time.
Couple of suggestions on finding some help:
You could ask the nurses at the tx room for some suggestions
" " your OB/Gyn
" " your GP
Keep in mind that a therapist or psychologist cannot prescribe antidepressants, which, by the way things sound, would be a very good idea.
I took Lexapro throughout the whole process and then some, because the lows were just too low...I was barely functioning. Taking 20mgs of seretonin took the edge off and I felt more like myself and more in control.
Best of luck to you, and please feel free to PM me anytime---I mean it.
Tommycat

steveandnat's picture
steveandnat
Posts: 887
Joined: Sep 2011

This cancer journey is so complex it is at times overwhelming so professional help may be the answer. You might ask your oncolgist or check locally who can help. Your church may help too. Pray that you feel better. Jeff

abrub's picture
abrub
Posts: 2175
Joined: Mar 2010

They may have therapists who specialize. However, a really good therapist should be able to help. Mine is not a cancer specialist, but his support and help has been immeasurable.

John23's picture
John23
Posts: 2140
Joined: Jan 2007

Re:
"Is it better to go to someone specializing in helping those with cancer? "

Yes.

Being diagnosed with cancer is a complex journey. It's not only the
diagnosis and sudden realization of one's mortality, but the medications
alone can sink the ship.

You don't want to be prescribed pills to relieve side effects, when what
you may need is a different chemical that might not be so devastating to
your composure.

A psychiatrist specializing in a cancer victim's mental health would be a
much better choice than one that does not treat cancer victims specifically.

Your oncologist should be able to point you in a decent direction, or
your surgeon may be able to. Both would want to see their patients
healthy both physically and mentally.... and you really can't be one
without the other.

I personally do not desire to take any drug for periods of depression.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, mood swings, anger, depression, etc.,
are related to the Liver and the possible lack of it's ability to regulate
serotonin and melatonin. Chemicals can stress the liver, and the liver
is usually stressed just attempting to clean the blood of those chemicals.

Getting the liver back into good health through the use of acupuncture
and/or herbs usually alleviates things like depression quickly and without
the side-effects related to the medications that are prescribed by western
medicine practitioners.

Anyway.......... Ask your oncologist and/or surgeon for some names of
psychiatrists specializing in cancer patients mental health.

And smile for #$%^* out loud!

Be well!

John

Vickilg's picture
Vickilg
Posts: 281
Joined: Jan 2011

Okay I am smiling. I agree. I don't like taking medication that I don't have to. I am going to check into the things you mentioned. I found it interesting about what you said regarding the liver. A few weeks ago I had the entire left side removed. I wonder if it is effecting my chemical balance. I am usually so happy and a bright-side kind of person. Of course it's the news About my lungs and timeframe that are depressing me but perhaps it's a combination of both. Thank you so much. I promise to check out your suggestions and bleeping smile. Thank you!

janie1
Posts: 753
Joined: Apr 2011

(((( HUGS )))), Vicki

danker
Posts: 1282
Joined: Apr 2012

Hope you find some relief as soon as possible. This will pass, but i'm sure it is no fun at the time. Best of luck to you.

Doc_Hawk's picture
Doc_Hawk
Posts: 685
Joined: Jan 2012

That's a real pet peeve I have: the lack of support groups and mental health in this area (Ogden, UT). Even when there are counselors available, they really just don't get it because they don't really understand what we're going through. I spoke about this with one of the nurse in the infusion room today and told her that I'd like to volunteer as a wailing wall for other patients in my capacity as a minister.

I believe that in the past you've said that you're in or near a large city: are there support groups you can hook up with and be able to get help there? Is there a member of the clergy you can turn to, or the social worker at your treatment center?

Just as Tommycat offered, PM me if you need a shoulder to cry on or an ear to shout at. I'll be here for you if you need it. That goes for everyone on this board.

Doc

thxmiker's picture
thxmiker
Posts: 1282
Joined: Oct 2010

Have you looked at the Wellness Center? It is a resource across the country that helps people with chronic diseases in mental health, diet, bill paying, etc.... My Oncology team also had mental health support for both patients and caregivers.

Best Always, mike

PS Sending good thoughts, vibes, and prayers your way!

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4912
Joined: May 2005

I've found groups like Gilda's Club to be helpful. Many hospitals have patient support groups too.
You may also want to look into a psychiatric (if you decide on meds) and a psychologist. I found a great one 8 years ago after tried 2-3 others. You will know if you "click" or not. I had one I did NOT click with that I found through a Cancer Support Group, I asked to switch and they wanted me to work out why I didn't click with the first one! I felt like I was in a Seinfeld episode!!!

Of course it's not great to take drugs you don't "need" but only you can determine what you need. Certainly, dealing with a serious situation like cancer can make one "a bit antsy" as opposed to just having a "bad day at the office" but some would rather not seek help for whatever reason and if that works for them, or you, great! Suppressing intense feelings causes more illness.
There are many effective meds out there that have helped many.
You could also smoke pot... Don't worry, be happy!
-phil
PS: you're not helping your family if you're not helping yourself...
YOU are the one with cancer, not them

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

I don't have the worries of surviving ca anymore,well not at the moment anyway. But I do suffer chronic poor health much of which is debilitating. Do I get depressed ,certainly. I seem to be a survivor tho and I have managed to survive depression. Did I get help . I tried once when my first marriage failed . I went with my wife to see a marriage guidance councellor. She told me I needed help. How helpful. I have tried a couple of professionals since(counsellors that is). One asked me to fill out a questionere that was downright sick. The other finished up telling me all of her troubles.They cured me . I quickly decided that I did not need professional help.
There must be someone out there to help you Vicki but I am sorry I can't find them either. Hugs Ron.

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4912
Joined: May 2005

"I have tried a couple of professionals since..."
Try a professional wife maybe?
Funny comments (not a funny situation), especially the obvious "You need help" one.
THAT'S why they get $150 per hr!

They are out there just as good Oncs, Nutritionists, TCM Doctors (?), etc...
Like that linker fish, they are not easy to find...

Doc_Hawk's picture
Doc_Hawk
Posts: 685
Joined: Jan 2012

"THAT'S why they get $150 per hr!" and that hour is only 50 minutes long.

I don't charge and my "hour" lasts as long as need be. Longest so far was taking four hours to talk someone out of suicide.

PatchAdams
Posts: 271
Joined: Nov 2011

Vicki I recently had a resection and went from being the always positive, always smiling, optimistic person I knew to BLAH. It's concerned me quite a bit so I did some searching online and found that this is very common. In fact, many surgical practices had warnings on their 'after surgery' instructions online to expect this after liver surgery and that it will generally begin to ease after 3 or 4 months.

I certainly understand how you're feeling. I don't like this stranger I've become.

Patch

Vickilg's picture
Vickilg
Posts: 281
Joined: Jan 2011

I wrote a long response to this earlier but it didn't post. Thank you so much for responding. I had a long talk with my husband this morning about my sadness and he said the good thing is that I am recognizing that something is not right. Patch and John23, I did some research too on the liver and I believe you are correct. It would explain suck a change in my usually positive attitude. I am not a fan of medication so I am going to seek out some of things John spoke about as well as find a cancer therapist. God willing this is just a short term reaction to the liver resection. I wish the surgeon had warned me about this. 3-4 months? Depression and chemo all at the same time. Deep sigh. Thank you all for your love and support!

Vickilg's picture
Vickilg
Posts: 281
Joined: Jan 2011

I wrote a long response to this earlier but it didn't post. Thank you so much for responding. I had a long talk with my husband this morning about my sadness and he said the good thing is that I am recognizing that something is not right. Patch and John23, I did some research too on the liver and I believe you are correct. It would explain suck a change in my usually positive attitude. I am not a fan of medication so I am going to seek out some of things John spoke about as well as find a cancer therapist. God willing this is just a short term reaction to the liver resection. I wish the surgeon had warned me about this. 3-4 months? Depression and chemo all at the same time. Deep sigh. Thank you all for your love and support!

Nana b's picture
Nana b
Posts: 3045
Joined: May 2009

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Nana b's picture
Nana b
Posts: 3045
Joined: May 2009

Definite follow John's advice.

Hang in! Trying meditating there are a lot of good mediation videos on You tube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOZ32dmPgEA&feature=fvwrel

Take it a day at a time, and remember there is hope. I am stage 4 and going on my 5th year. Big Hug!

steved
Posts: 835
Joined: Apr 2004

Sorry to hear how you feeling but thank you for being brave enough to talk about it- you will find many here with similar stories reflecting just how common is in people with cancer and often goes unrecognised. One of the main reasons is that it is hard to differentiate from 'normal' emotional reactions in this situation. We all feel sad and upset, have sleepless patches, poor appetite and struggle to enjoy things but the difference is that with depression it is more pervasive and ongoing. Adjustment reactions to bad news and surgeries should be short lived but if these feelings are going on for weeks on end it may be worth addressing them directly.
I am not as familiar with the US system but would feel if you do feel the need to talk to a psychiatrist most general psychs would be able to manage the situation well enough- obviously if you have access to a specialist with experience with cancer survivors all teh better but it is not beyond the realms of any decent jobbing psychiatrist. If you go down the talk therapy route it may be worth finding some one with more specialist expertise however as working with some one in therapy over time is different than one or two sessions with a psychiatrist- they need greater understandingof your situation and hence people working within cancer fields are best.
It sounds like you are interested in looking at other complementary methods as well which is great but do be careful to check any TCM/ other medications you take with your team to make sure there are no interactions with your other meds. Liver surgery certainly is a huge physical insult and takes months to fully recover. It will effect you psychologically and you are still adjusting to your recent news. @Pleased to hear you talking to your hubby as well- that will undoubtably help as he know you far better than we ever will.
I'm on this board as a cancer survivor not as a psychiatrist but happy for you to PM if you want any general advise about taking this forward as I guess I have a foot in both parks.
Smile, exercise as you can, keep yourself healthy, talk and communicate with people, dump your rubbish here and seek professional help if you think it will help and I'm sure the old smiling you will rturn in time.

steve

PatchAdams
Posts: 271
Joined: Nov 2011
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