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I don't understand how I feel

Caradavin's picture
Posts: 42
Joined: Jan 2010

Hi. I am a cancer survivor - been free for three years now.  However, I don't feel free.  It's not that I incessantly worry that it will come back, that faded after the first year or so. I still worry off and on, but not so much. What I don't understand is that ever since I got the cancer-free, I've been basically depressed and not living.  I know some of it stems from the fact that I lost the ability to ever bear children and since I had no children before then, well, I know some of it has to do with that. I am grateful that I am a survivor, I think, but why won't I live my life? I basically sit around and do nothing all day. What is wrong with me?! Part of me almost feels like I would feel better if I still had cancer. What is up with that? Am I alone in this?

NoTimeForCancer's picture
Posts: 1915
Joined: Mar 2013

but I don't think anyone here is qualified to help you in this journey.  If you can find some professional help, someone who can help you find out why you feel the way you do, that may be the best.  

The cancer journey changes us all and we have a "new normal" now in our lives.  We have to figure it out and asking a professional to help you might make it go a little better for you.

camul's picture
Posts: 2541
Joined: Dec 2010

For so long, cancer was your main focus. Fighting to live! Now that you have passed that what happens? For you everything has changed. You will never be the exact same as you were. For me, after I was clear, everyone else figured it was over and tuen said I was not the same! How can I be the same after going thru so much!
I would talk to a counselor. But make sure it is one who is experuenced with cancer patients. You have lost a lot, your options in life have hanged! What you have been thru is on the same level as a devorce or a death. With cancer, for some of us, the greiving process is deeper. And having the ability to have child taken away is a huge loss. Even if you would have decided not to have kids, the choice no longer being yours is huge.
I have heard by so many that going through ancer for some, is no different than PTSD. I can see why! Because we look the same, most everyone thinks you will just be able to flip back to the same as you were before the cancer.
I will warn you though, make sure that whomever you go to talk to, that they are experienced. I went to 3. The 1st was new. she spent the hour asking me what it felt like to have cancer??? She was clue less. I went to her a 2nd tume, took my son with me. He said it was like I was teaching her.
The se ond wass fixated on the terminal aspect, I accepted that part, I wanted help with the living the tume I have left.
The third was a suvivor herself, so we bypassed a lot of the basics and worked on my goals and what I wanted and how to get there!

Best of lck to you, I seriously would look into finding someone to help you move forward.

Mary N.
Posts: 100
Joined: Jun 2013

I agree with the last posts.  There are times that you need to see help.  It is probably that time for you and I agree that it would be helpful to find someone who has experience with living with cancer.  However, find a counselor that you relate to and trust.  Our gut tells us if this is a person we want to confide in.  You may need to go to a psychologist if it turns out that you need meds.  You have your whole life in front of you.  Hugs.

Posts: 2
Joined: Feb 2014

I know what you are feeling and I have kids. I have been cancer free for three years and still feel that displaced feeling.. During my chemo my husband left me for my best friend. ouch! Then has left me to care for our kids on my own 5 out of 7 days a week. He pays his support and does take them on the weekends. It is getting easier but in the beginning i asked myself every day, how I was going to do this on my own. The pain from the chemo is almost bearable now which helps but Im still in limbo. When the kids leave for the weekend I leave. I do what I have to and will sacrafice everything for my kids but when the responsibility is not there then I go off into, I dont know where. I probable need counseling myself but cant seem to muster up enough energy to actually go. I just keep taking one day at a time and dont look to far into the future. If I do, it seems so exausting. If you go to counseling, would you let me know if it helps?



Posts: 29
Joined: May 2014

First, OMG DOZA, my heart goes out to you.  That man should be shot.  I am so sorry you have to live with that.

As for life after diagnosis and treatment, I'm recently finished and I don't know what my future brings.  Heck, I don't even know if I"m cancer-free yet.  I feel I'm being fatalistic when I wonder if I'll be here in 5 years but at the same time, it's hard for me to consider long-term commitments.

I jumped head over heels into work as soon as radiation was done and it's only now, 6 weeks later, that things are slowing down.  It's only now that I realize that I"m not the same.  There's a new normal.  My body has changed dramatically since treatment.  And it's going to continue to change.  Radiated tissue is different.  Mine is in my mouth and neck.  And I"m a public speaker!

How do we live life after?  We want to be the same as before but we're not the same!  Identify as a new person.  Not the person who was sick but the person who lived through the sickness.  And treatment.  You are alive and three years cancer-free, you are new!  Praise God!

Identify as a new normal.  A new you.  Radiated and cleansed of the sickness. 

xo friend,

Posts: 442
Joined: Aug 2014

The horrible thing about anxieties and depression is that just when you need to more active and pro-active on your own behalf, you are slapped down by that inner, soul-draning emptiness. Since there seems to be nobody else in your life encouraging you to do this, you will have to screw up your own courage and get yourself to your primary doctor. Many are able to give their patients support and good referrals, unlike in the past when many MDs chalked it up to "female hysteria". If that doesn't pan out, call the local/county mental health department. Many places provide inexpensive or even free therapy.

Illness of the emotions is just like any other illness, treatable and deserving of treatment. It involves derailed brain chemistry, not an intrinsic fault of your own. You wouldn't sit still and suffer the pain of cancer without treatment, so there's no reason to suffer the pain of emotional illness, either.

If you are put on anti-depressants, please be patient. They do not work quickly. They require weeks to form new cells and nerve connections in the  hippocampus of your brain (stess and depression decreases their number). Then, if the med is a good match for you, you will feel better. If not, then a dose adjustment or med change may do the trick. You may feel sleepy for a few weeks as your body adjusts to the new meds; that's to be expected. Anti-anxiety meds work differetly and do not have that time lag. Therefore, they can be taken intermittently as needed, if that's appropriate for you.

It may sound like a cliche, but do it for the kids. THEY can see that there's something wrong even if they don't talk to you about it. It might even scare them and make them feel like it's their fault. Don't make the Daddy's new family the more appealing option for them. If your ex-husband knew the extent of your disability, would he return to court to seek full custody? Don't give him that excuse.

Please act for the well-being of your family.

Virtual hugs and chocolates.

Posts: 3
Joined: Aug 2014

No you are not alone. I have been lost for what feels so long, when it is just now a year since the diagnosis and treatment happened.  I can't make my self get up except to go to work.  I dont communicate with hardly anyone. I set in my chair smoke cigarettes.  watch tv, play with my laptop.  cry feel broken, but still don't know how to fix it.  I've always felt broke from an early age.  My home life growing up wasn't easy, as some can relate or maybe not.  So I've been depressed most of my life.  I'm so afraid I will never be any more than just the shell that I feel right now. Can hardly see the keyboard from crying.  I need help.  I have a shrink, take meds and have for years.  I'm caught in a vortex and am having trouble getting free.  I don't want to burden anyone with my pitifullness.  I know I'm having a pity party.  Have no one to share it with.  I want a magic pill to make it better.  Know that isn't possible.  Why can't I help myself?  I feel so broken and with no direction.  I know I'm a survivor but seem to have lost my way and can't find it in me to keep on fighting.   I'm not suicidal.  Never have been, and I've been through some crap  alot of my own creation.  I know I need to get help. I guess I need someone to take me by the hand and make me do it.  Brake the chains that bind.  Not a lot of positive in this post.  Reread and didn't see one positive statement.  Unfortunately, this is where I'm stuck.  So, I know of what you speak.  Wish I had the answer we would feel better.  Take care of you, an i'll keep taking care of me.  Sending good thoughts your way.  One day we will find freedom from this mind set.  To Live Again, Too Feel Something.......More        Now after typing all, I see you posted this in February of this year.  I was still doing chemo then.  Hope you have foundd something to make it better.

Posts: 4
Joined: Jul 2014

Seriously, write down everything your thankful for everyday.

so many don't get the news you did, so many are told they have a year or less

to live.  Try a counselor.  Good luck.

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