Many WhatNexter’s have said that before, during, or after cancer treatment they have experienced anxiety, fear, worry, and feelings of depression. Whether the depression is situational, clinical, or brought on by certain cancer treatments, it is common to feel depressed. Here are 12 feelings of depression that WhatNexter’s have experienced that you may be feeling.
1. When your bad days outweigh the good days - Cancer is an emotional roller coaster and when the bad days seem to outweigh the good days you may feel weary and depressed.
2. When you are discouraged by your situation or diagnosis- If you just found out about your diagnosis, you are beginning treatment, ending treatment, or even entering remission, WhatNexter’s have reported that they feel depressed at all different stages of their diagnosis.
3. When you hit the wall - Some WhatNexter’s say that they experienced depression when they least expected it: at the end of treatment. They felt they pushed through the pain thinking they would be relieved only to find themselves depressed.
“In marathon running its called "hitting the wall.” Everyone has a breaking point...everyone falls apart a little differently and at different times.” -CountryGirl, Breast Cancer, Stage II
Related Question: Is it common to experience depression after treatment has ended?
4. When you are isolating yourself from family and friends - Many WhatNexter’s say that they isolated themselves from family and friends whether it was because they felt misunderstood or they were trying to hide their weaknesses. This may result in internalizing your struggle and being burdened by depression.
5. When you are experiencing sadness and worry - Being overcome with worry may be a source of depression. Worry over test results, treatment results, recurrence, etc. can bog you down.
Related Question: Did you experience worry, sadness, or depression?
6. When you are in large amounts of pain - Some WhatNexter’s say their depression derived from the pain they were experiencing. If you are in large amounts of pain and are unable to live your daily life you may experience feelings of depression.
7. When you are having chemotherapy treatment - Chemotherapy may throw off some serotonin levels in your brain; a lack of serotonin can cause depression.
8. When you are emotionally exhausted - Physical exhaustion can be accompanied by emotional exhaustion. Some WhatNexter’s have had emotional exhaustion that results in feelings of depression.
9. When you are facing the fear of the unknown - Fear of the unknown may cause worry, anxiety, and depression. Many WhatNexter’s have said that the fear of the unknown results in feeling like they are living under the shadow of cancer.
“It is natural to feel that way (depressed), after all, it is the fear of the unknown that gives us all that reason to pause, and the reluctancy to take the next step forward.” -carm
10. When you are feeling the highs and lows of cancer - Many WhatNexter’s talk about the “roller coaster” of cancer; there may be highs and lows in your personal cancer journey. This can result in mood swings, confusion, and depression.
“It has been about a month and a half since my last treatment and my emotions can be in extremes of highs and lows. I am happy it's (treatment) over and I'm excited to live, but then the reality of what I've been through comes back.” -Kathy, Kidney Cancer, Stage IV
Related Question: Did you experience any mood changes with depression?
11. When you feel like you are in a dark place - Some WhatNexter’s have said that there is a feeling of darkness and heaviness that comes with cancer. One WhatNexter begins her description of depression by saying she entered a kind of cancer twilight zone,
“When I was diagnosed, I felt myself being removed from my world. I entered a dark place - the twilight zone of the cancer world. I felt so alone; my family and friends were just outside with love and support but it was me who had cancer and not them. I cried many tears in the quiet of the night. But, as I heard more survival stories, I was able to find strength and put on a positive attitude and go to battle. Of course, there were still the moods and bouts of depression but it got better. I found that a positive attitude is the key; it is not always easy but worth every bit of effort. I find that when I get tired my mood changes and I get weepy. So my solution has been to get a good night’s sleep and stay rested, maintain hope and stay positive about everything in my life.” -JennyMiller, Breast Cancer, Stage IIIA
12. When you are exhibiting the clinical signs of depression - The American Cancer Society lists these symptoms of depression:
- Sad or “empty” mood for most of the day
- Rarely finding any pleasure in activities throughout the day
- Noticeable weight loss or weight gain
- Extreme fatigue and loss of energy including sleeping for large amounts of the day
- Trouble sleeping
- Trouble focusing, thinking, or making decisions
- Feeling guilty, worthless, or helpless
- Thoughts of death or suicide
These are 12 possible feelings of depression you may feel when you have cancer. If you feel that any of these feelings or signs of depression apply to you and are also interested in what others are feeling, feel free to visit WhatNext to connect with others and read about their specific experiences. WhatNexter’s often suggest to each other frequently visiting the site, joining a local support group, or talking to a professional. Common advice is to “Talk, talk, talk” instead of letting the feelings of depression sit inside of you. Maybe you can relate to these feelings. What types of feelings of depression have you experienced?