• Depression?

    Asked by Jalemans on Tuesday, October 14, 2014

    Depression?

    Where do you seek help if you think you have depression? I called my clinic & they told me it is impossible to get in to see a mental health person like a psychiatrist.

    Things are not right. I am overwhelmed. I should be jumping for joy since the results of my mediastinscopy, but I am not. Munchkin is having problems at school. There is financial strain. My support people have moved on. Since my diagnosis, I only cried twice (& once was out of simple frustration), but suddenly I am weepy about everything. I cannot sleep. I feel very sad & alone. I even had some fleeting thoughts about suicide. I am sick of not feeling good. It is hard to do anything & it isn't because I cannot physically.

    I am pretty sure I am having some depression but I don't know what to do about it. I know others have gone through similar situations. Any advice about how to get help or will it abate on its' own eventually?

    22 Answers from the Community

    22 answers
    • lilymadeline's Avatar
      lilymadeline

      I’ve read that 70% of cancer patients are clinically depressed, and I think it is terrible that this extremely serious side effect of diagnosis and treatment is not being given the attention that it should. Have you seen your PCP about this? Have you talked about it with your oncologist? Please try to get an appointment as quickly as possible with at least one of them and get some help and ask for a referral to a psychiatrist.
      Also if I were you I would call the clinic again and again and demand to at least talk to a social worker. Many are great and mine helped me with therapy as well for awhile, but now I feel so lucky because my cancer center has a psychiatrist available and I see him on a regular basis. Cancer patients really need a psychiatrist/oncologist because they can prescribe drugs and they also understand the physical changes in our bodies due to all the cancer drugs and treatment. Plus the shock! I think that we all have a little PTSD, or a lot and I admit it, I definitely have PTSD myself.
      Hugs! Hang in there and I hope that you find help soon! Hugs!!!!! more Hugs!!!!

      about 5 years ago
    • cam32505's Avatar
      cam32505

      I would go to my pcp. If he thought I needed to see a psychiatrist, he would get me in sooner than I could on my own. In the meantime, he would give me sleeping pills, xanax, prozac, or whatever he thought might help. He's my first stop for everything. They can do a lot more than we give them credit for. After all, they see it all. Our onc are so specialized, they don't even know we have other parts of our body that maybe don't have cancer. Get some help because you have a child to take care of.

      about 5 years ago
    • MMarie's Avatar
      MMarie

      I think this link is a good article about sadness and depression.
      http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/10/12/why-depression-and-sadness-are-not-the-same/#.VDwfA8f7t6E.facebook

      ...and one about what NOT to say to people.
      http://psychcentral.com/lib/worst-things-to-say-to-someone-whos-depressed/0004972#.VDwh0HJGMPk.facebook

      PTSD also has specific criteria. I have PTSD from 19 rapes. My therapist has kept a good pulse and tabs on me. lol. Sometimes I would tell him something thinking it was PTSD and it was a mere memory of something icky that happened at the clinic. Memories and flashbacks are very different things.

      about 5 years ago
    • Jalemans' Avatar
      Jalemans

      Oh, I am sorry if I said something to offend and said the wrong thing, MMarie! I am not having anything like flashbacks, but I still thought I may be depressed. I guess I don't know squat about depression! I haven't had anything violent happen to me. I am just so sad & cannot seem to get any motivation & i am just crying over everything. I am just so overwhelmed, but there isn't really anything so horrible that has happened to me. Sometimes i just want to die. Maybe i am wrong & I will feel better soon. The only excuse I have would be this stupid cancer & since all is OK at this moment, I guess maybe I just need more sleep. I will give it some time & then maybe if I still feel bad I will try a regular doctor as Cam suggested. Things just seem to be taking a turn for the worse. There is a social worker, whom I think is overworked, & told me to look on the Internet for support. my oncologist is on leave & her nurse redirected me to the social worker (go figure).

      about 5 years ago
    • MMarie's Avatar
      MMarie

      Jalemans, My response regarding depression, sadness and/or PTSD was not trying to imply any label or comparison. My sincerest apologies for any misunderstanding. Cancer is horrible. Wishes for better days.

      about 5 years ago
    • lilymadeline's Avatar
      lilymadeline

      You need your doctor, if you can please find another one for the time being at least. You shouldn’t be left like this with the nurse and social worker pointing fingers at each other. I would insist that your doctor on leave put you in touch with another doctor immediately. I know that you don’t have many options where you live, but I would take a day and drive or take a train to another city to see a good psychiatrist or at least see a doctor that can refer you to one.
      Because cancer induced depression is very real, very serious and very common and patients shouldn’t be left alone with it. I was never depressed at any time my entire life to the point where I needed help. Even after suffering terrible losses I always muddled through it somehow, but cancer is a different animal entirely and most of us need help from depression at one time or another.
      I wish that I could give you a big HUG! And tell you that everything will be alright, because it will...believe it or not! Listen I though I was going to be dead 4 years ago, and somehow I am doing fine, I can’t believe it but I am actually enjoying life again, yes I have side effects, yes there are always set backs and hurdles to jump over.....but the depression is gone and somehow I can handle it now. I hope that you get help soon! More HUGS!!!! HUGS!!!!!

      about 5 years ago
    • SandiA's Avatar
      SandiA

      I went through something similar after my diagnosis. Couldn't stop tearing up and had some major anxiety. My oncologist gave me something for temporary help. Then they sent me to my general practitioner for additional help. They put me on something mild and are monitoring me. It has really helped. I still have my days but for the most part day by day is better. I also found a support group and just talking to others that know exactly what you are going through really helps. I wish you the best of luck and keep reaching to others here. That has really helped me to.

      about 5 years ago
    • Lynne-I-Am's Avatar
      Lynne-I-Am

      Jalmans,talk to your family physician , he can put you on an antidepressant, mine did when I would cry at everything.The medication was a mild dosage but it really helped me.Try to find a support group in your area .It is important to be able to talk things out .All of us become overwhelmed sometimes, try to take it one day at a time and be kind to yourself. All of us on this site are here for you and each other,reach out anytime. Take care,wishing you better days.

      about 5 years ago
    • BabsWon's Avatar
      BabsWon

      Your oncologist should be able to prescribe an antidepressant. When I finished treatment I was very sad about leaving the "comfort" of the clinic, doctor, & nurses. I turned down the medication for depression because I was pretty sure I would get through without it and I didn't want to take any more pills. It took me many months dealing with a feeling of separation anxiety, but I made it. Don't give up looking for the help you need.

      about 5 years ago
    • Hoping4ever's Avatar
      Hoping4ever

      Antidepressant drugs worked magic for my mother and she started using them 23 years ago when she was diagnosed with depression after menopause. U really need to act quickly and see a doctor to help u . Please do not despair and remember that these symptoms will get better as time passes , but with help of course. Seek your friends , if u have , and ask for support . May be they do not know what u are going through . I wish i can be there for u physically, but i will keep praying for a quick and happy recovery. Biggest hug just for u.

      about 5 years ago
    • Keith59's Avatar
      Keith59

      My oncologists wrote a script for me and I never ask for it. Glad he did now. It's helped big time.

      about 5 years ago
    • Blondedeedee's Avatar
      Blondedeedee

      One day, about 6 radiation treatments in, the radiologist asked me how I was and I had a total breakdown. Cried and cried, and couldn't stop. It had just become overwhelming, and too much to bear, and the future was scaring me. He immediately called in the social worker (I am fortunate that my cancer center has all the help you need right at their fingers.) She sat and talked to me for about forty five minutes, and validated all of my feelings and fear. She then suggested that I see a counselor and walked with me to make an appointment. I saw the counselor about 6 times, and she changed my life. She gave me tools to handle what I was feeling, and also recommended that I see my pcp for a mild anti depressant. I took her suggestion, and with a very mild dose of Lexapro I can handle my life. Don't give up ~ search until you find an empathetic professional counselor who can give you the support you need. Don't allow cancer to beat you back ~ you need to kick its XXX and be able to celebrate each day.

      about 5 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      I have suffered from serious depression at many times in my life. ( Strangely enough a cancer diagnosis cured that don't ask it's complicated) So I can sort of say I know what you are going through. There is a real possibility that your hormones are out of balance. I could be due to your surgeries or medications you are taking. You should see your Dr. or their PA and let them know all the medications you are taking. My Dr. told me that some anesthetics cause very strange reactions, After my second C-section. I went through several weeks of panic attacks.
      Next to getting attention to the physical attention I believe that you should throw yourself a pity party Invite your friends or spouse. Decorate the house with black balloons, You should all have a good cry. Have on hand some powerful onions if your spouse or friends need help with the tears. After you all cry pop all the balloons and dig into your favorite comfort food. Mine would be all kinds of chips (emphasis on kettle potato chips) and dips.
      Also you can watch every sunrise it really helps to kick start your day
      As always you are in my prayers

      about 5 years ago
    • BuckeyeShelby's Avatar
      BuckeyeShelby

      A lot of us are on antidepressants or anti-anxiety meds. Ativan is my friend. And my oncologist prescribed it.

      about 5 years ago
    • meyati's Avatar
      meyati

      feeling the way you do, I'd call the city. Every call I make to get an appointment, the VA, especially IRS, they say if you have a mental health crisis, to call 911. make it clear that you aren't a danger to anybody, you aren't going to off yourself, but you are breaking. Also another option is your insurance company.

      I wasn't depressed, but I've been fatigued for almost 2 years. I used to go in, and I'd be asked about sleep. I asked why and was told that too much sleep or the lack of sleep are signs of clinical depression and presbyterian would help me. I've been sleeping about 16 hours or more a day. At intake, I began telling them about the sleep. Do you know what happened? They quit asking me that question. I got a new PCP, and I see a shrink the end of this month. I hope that it goes OK.

      about 5 years ago
    • Ejourneys' Avatar
      Ejourneys

      (((Hugs))) Between the lead-up to the mediastinscopy and now the drop-off, plus your support people moving on, that leaves you with challenges that haven't gone away. The center where I'll get radiation includes counseling staff, and I have not ruled out seeing someone if I feel the need once my active treatment ends, because I will still be a caregiver but the medical support network taking care of me will have mainly moved on. I might need some help with transitioning.

      There were periods before my dx where I was hit with acute depression that would last for maybe a week. But during that week I was a lump on the couch. My body simply shut down. I couldn't stop crying, had no motivation to do anything -- it got to the point where I was boring myself. My condition was better if I didn't fight it and just let it take its course; eventually my malaise just lifted. Healthy eating and exercise have helped me (I haven't had one of those bouts since 2011). I hope you can get the help you need.

      Allie, who does Hyperbole and a Half and who suffers from depression, did these terrific strips:
      http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2011/10/adventures-in-depression.html
      http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2013/05/depression-part-two.html

      about 5 years ago
    • DoctorLee's Avatar
      DoctorLee

      Last Friday, I attempted suicide. I am talking to a counselor now from Grief Without Belief. I scared myself very badly.

      about 5 years ago
    • meyati's Avatar
      meyati

      @DoctorLee. I'm glad that you're getting help. I know that you're going through a hard time. Anytime you want to talk- somebody is here. I'm sure the counselor is helping you more-there's a lot to be said for human contact..

      What is grief without belief? There are so many different groups, and I don't think that I heard of that one-I think that there are probably 2 and half million groups in the US.--I'm making a bad joke, but there are so many people trying to help. good luck--

      about 5 years ago
    • DoctorLee's Avatar
      DoctorLee

      Grief Without Belief is a grief support group for those who have no religious or spiritual affiliation. I used them after my partner died in 2012. They were very helpful.

      about 5 years ago
    • Judt1940's Avatar
      Judt1940

      I've never had depression in the past. Personally I think what you feel and I feel is that after being so stressed suddenly you are left with an emptiness. Time to find something positive to do with mind and body. Will let you know when I locate that feeling. Less concentrating on "me".

      about 5 years ago
    • Jalemans' Avatar
      Jalemans

      Thanks everyone,
      I called the county (they had called me a few weeks back, to tell me they were "there for me" - long story) & they never called back. I then contacted my onc's NP live & started crying on the phone (couldn't help myself) and she scheduled an appointment for the next day with herself & the social worker/counselor. When I went in, NP gave me some answer- the-question tests & told me that I was moderately to severely depressed and also had high anxiety. She wanted to admit me into hospital, but I declined. She gave me a low dose of antidepressant to start & said she would add an anti anxiety next week (to monitor side effects). She said if these steps did not help she could get me in to see a psychiatrist.

      This was Wednesday & I feel the same, but she said it takes a while to feel a difference. I am glad that I got some help. I did not try to commit suicide, but I had thoughts about it & looked up info on it. I logically know that is stupid, but my logical brain & my emotional brain are not on the same page. I am freaked out by this, but then I tell myself that I wouldn't follow through on this.

      Dr. Lee, I am afraid for you & your situation & brings this home! I am so glad you have found some support!

      about 5 years ago
    • meyati's Avatar
      meyati

      I'm so glad that you're getting help. Don't feel bad about crying-just trying to make contact is stressful. I don't know about others, but for me-Anxiety has turned into fear when I have to deal with things, especially doctors. I think that they are nuts---and if they aren't nuts American medicine makes us a third world country. I never know what to expect.

      Anyway, I think that you are very brave to reach out and fight for the help that you're getting. The change will be gradual, and hopefully soon, you'll wake up and say "Eureka!! I'm feeling better."

      Thanks for letting us know...Bless you.

      about 5 years ago

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