• Depression

    Asked by Zzchap on Friday, May 24, 2013


    My husband is post 6 weeks chemo/radiation and is very, very depressed. He has had a lot of issues associated with treatment. He sits on the sofa in his pajamas with his hands covering his face from sun up to sun down. He has no life what so ever.....and often says, he's not getting better, he needs to die. We have three young children, twins 8 and baby 6....not a good environment/ role model for them. I'm having a very hard time dealing with him and looking at a man who has given up...he is a retired deputy....he has always been a man's man.....this behavior is so out of the norm. I am a very positive, upbeat person and the long face and depressed look 24/7 is rally becoming hard to deal with on a daily basis.....help!

    11 Answers from the Community

    11 answers
    • CAS1's Avatar

      I think he is still in shock over his diagnosis. He needs a lot of time and patience. Do your best to keep the kids occupied and let him have this time to process all that is happening to him. He most likely has post traumatic stress which is very common for anyone with his dx. Try and get him outside if the weather is nice. Green surroundings help with depression and stress. Talk to his Dr's about this as they can help you too by involving social workers etc.
      Make sure you call upon people to help you get time away from everything too. Get some time just for yourself. And pamper and relax. You need this to re charge.
      He needs space too. Ask him what he thinks he needs, it might take a while for him to come up with anything. If you have faith then call upon your pastor to come and talk to him.. Can you call any friends of his..He might be forced then to clean up and pull himself together.

      I can tell you I laid in bed for almost 11 months during my treatment. I had all of the above. Its brutal and awful and its the same for you too. Try your best to get someone to take the kids as much as possible so they don't see him suffer and it gives you a break.

      Hang in there its one of the most difficult times in your life. Try and stay in the moment and not think to far ahead.

      over 4 years ago
    • cmb's Avatar

      I am just starting to get out of depression myself. Mine didnt hit me until after chemo and the removal of my right breast. First I hate to say but the way it sounds is just like me. He meds to get on meds just for a little bit until it is better. Society depends on meds to function these days but this is just to help for now. Then you will have to open house up soon as y'all wake in morning. I made myself open every blind curtain door whatever. Made myself and my 4 yr old daughter walk a short walk each morning. You have to want the pain of depression to stop and go away first. Also talking to others and drs help!!!!!!
      Yes keeps kids occupied. I had the want to feel better more than anything and I did NOT want it to affect my daughter so I have made myself do things to get better. He needs to want to get well BUT needs to have time to feel the pain also. But feel it and help move past it until next time he needs to feel it.
      I can't say how sorry I am for you and your hubby. I hated that deep depression so bad. When they say depression hurts it really does. I will pray for you and your family.
      PS I am taking zoloft and welbutrin it has helped sooooooo much!!!

      over 4 years ago
    • AlizaMLS's Avatar

      Dear Zzchap,

      Hi, I'm Aliza, a Breast Cancer patient and the site's unofficial Medical Librarian. I'm sorry to hear about your husband's condition, but I have some suggestions that might make life somewhat easier for both of you.

      First, I'd recommend that you contact CancerCare asap for yourself at least and possibly him as well (if he's willing). The Social Workers at CancerCare are fantastic and are trained to deal with the highly specific needs of Cancer patients--and their caregivers (you). So, if you can't get your husband to go or talk by phone, then it's imperative for both your well beings' that you must. You must also find time for yourself to do things you enjoy (I know it's extremely difficult now, so I'll get back to that later).

      Re your husband, I see you're in Clearwater, so I'm wondering what your treating hospital might be. Perhaps it would be a good idea for you to contact your husband's oncologist and tell her/him what's happening so that he can refer your husband (and possibly make an appointment for him) with the hospital psychiatrist,. Cancer patient (or not), depression is a very common reaction to a severe illness and to chemo and most psychiatrists worth their salt understand this and one who works with cancer patients on a frequent basis will be conscious of all of the myriad effects of the diagnosis, the surgeries, chemo, dealing with mortality, worrying about one's spouse and children. A good psychiatrist can then make a determination if your husband would benefit from psychopharmacology (i.e., anti-depressants which can be immensely helpful in certain cases) or talk therapy.

      CancerCare is also good for your husband and they also be able to make a referral to a psychiatrist if they (the Social Worker he sees) feel his depression is so severe (sounds not so great if he's not getting off the couch and is covering his face with his hands).

      Back to you-you need to take care of yourself. If you and your husband have any relatives (or close friends) who can come to your place and stay with your husband and kids while you get out to have some "me time", that's very important-whether you have lunch with a friend, or go for a mani/pedi or go shopping, etc. If there's a book group that meets near you, consider joining (if you like books (I'm a librarian, so what can you expect from me?...;)) There's an online book group called wwwdotgoodreadsdotcom where you can track your books, make virtual friends, write book reviews, read others' reviews, etc. I highly recommend it in addition to getting out as it gives you a mental vacation at home.

      I hope that some of these suggestions are helpful to you. If you need others or I can help you in any other way, please feel free to contact me on the site or email me offsite.

      Warm wishes,

      over 4 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      Sorry for his situation. Depression is an easy thing to drop into. I was strong as a rock during my first two diagnoses, then the third one came and I had a spell where I was depressed. Maybe not this bad, but it was bad for me. Talking to someone who has been there and got out is a plus. If you know of anyone local that has been through cancer it would help for him to talk with them. You can ask at the treatment center where you went if they have anyone that can help. You can ask the local Relay For Life unit for someone that is their "Survivor Chair". They are people that deal with survivors (anyone who is alive that has had cancer) everyday and might have someone who can stop by. We recently had a blog post with some information about depression. https://www.whatnext.com/blog/posts/feeling-down-12-feelings-of-depression-during-cancer

      over 4 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar

      One of the first things your husband needs to know is a rollacoster. You will seem to get better then one day you go way down hill and have to start over again, but each time you get a little beter tan bgefore and when you go down you don't go down quite as far. Next encourage him to challenge himself. Become involved in something. Walking is a great challenge. Have him help you with the housework (ok that might not go over so well with a man's man) I second CAS1 on you need time away from him for his sake also. It is not always the best thing for a depressed person to be constantly with an upbeat, positive person. And lastly always watch the sun rise.

      over 4 years ago
    • Peroll's Avatar

      Depression is common in cancer patients and is caused by the chemo. It is chemical and is not your husbands fault. Chemo effects the serotonin levels in the brain which causes the depression. The good news is that it can easily be treated with meds. Cancer Drs are often not well trained to spot or treat the depression so you may have to get referred to another Dr. The Meds can take a couple of weeks to build up to full effect so be patient. I know all of this first hand. Please get him to see he Drs and get the help he needs. Good Luck

      over 4 years ago
    • LeslieR's Avatar

      Zzchap, I know this is a trying time for all. Even though I had my family smothering me with love and support, I still felt very much alone. No one can ever understand how deeply cancer affects you unless you are diagnosed with it yourself. I am 1.5 years out of chemo and there isn't one single day that goes by that I don't think about "what if it comes back". I am sorry to say, but cancer profoundly changes you IF YOU LET IT. Depression is a very real part of the cancer journey. I needed help to get over the hump and after talking with my doctors, I was prescribed Xanax. It didn't totally take away my fears but it certainly lessened the anxiety. God bless you all. I will keep you all in my prayers.

      over 4 years ago
    • HeidiJo's Avatar

      Talk with his Dr. My Dad went through something very similiar, and they put him on an anti depressent, it made a world of difference. Your husband needs to be able to heal and he can't do that if he is so depresed.

      over 4 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      See if you can get a referral to a therapist that specializes in treating cancer patients, I found talking to one very very helpful. You may also want to get a phrma consultation to see if your dad would improve with meds, and which ones would be the most helpful.

      over 4 years ago
    • Kathy's Avatar

      Just yesterday I posted about Xanax!! It makes the depression even more depressing because its confusing to think you're not happy and elated about this second chance. Plus there's the new normal to deal with. It has taken some convincing and I don't like using anti-depressants but they truly do help. Maybe I won't have to be on them forever and can look at them as a boost and stepping stone to greater things. It would be helpful to be in touch with a social worker. For me it has been a slow process coming out of the funk but I'm getting there. Hope you can find some reliable medical advice from a doctor for dealing with this. Take care.

      over 4 years ago
    • Ydnar2xer's Avatar

      I agree with the others...it sounds like he needs some anti-depressants, needs to talk to someone (a counselor or psychiatrist), and needs to move. I think he would benefit tremendously if he would exercise. Could you get him started with some free weights or a pedometer? He could chart his progress, however slight, and possibly get some motivation besides endorphins from that. I feel for you both, but an honest talk with his doctor and both of you could change things for the better for both of you. Good luck. We will keep you in our thoughts.

      over 4 years ago

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