• Worry, Sadness & Depression

    Asked by cris on Tuesday, April 23, 2013

    Worry, Sadness & Depression

    I have already gone through chemo had a bilateral mastectomy 3/4/13 & will be starting radiation soon. I have been really strong through everything, but I think it was for everyone else I didn't want to look weak. I am on an anti-depressant, but I think I will be asking my oncologist about seeing someone to talk to., has anyone else felt this way?

    19 Answers from the Community

    19 answers
    • Gretchen's Avatar


      Talk, Talk TALK. I am very new to cancer, just diagnosed in Feb 2013, however this is not my first rough patch in life, not that I'm comparing but talking to anyone that will listen is the best kind of therapy. Remember we are here online to hear you out, there are SO many wonderful people on here that have already helped me and my spirit.

      over 4 years ago
    • leepenn's Avatar

      yes yes and triple yes. and it was near the end of all the treatment... somehow, DURING treatment, i felt far stronger mentally. but, once i had my surgery, which was after 5 months of chemo, i felt ... worry, sadness, and depression.

      there's another piece of it too - i don't know what your menopause status was before chemo, but i was premenopausal, and chemo tosses many of us into permanent menopause very very very suddenly. have you looked at the side effects of going through menopause? worry, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, dry everything, depression... and when it happens essentially overnight, it's harder to deal with. so, that's something to consider and might provide you a few options in regards to working towards LESS worry, LESS sadness, and LESS depression.

      know that you are not alone.

      and know that it gets better. it really really does get better. it was so hard for me to believe a year ago... but now, i know it is true. it gets better.


      over 4 years ago
    • HearMeRoar's Avatar

      I am with you - you took the words out of my mouth - just today! I have been through surgery and am 1/2 way through chemo and I'm feeling blue for the first time today. I hope it goes away - I was on Lexapro until after my surgery then went off of it and have been doing great. Sending you love - and if it's any comfort - you aren't alone. XOXO

      over 4 years ago
    • kaseylady's Avatar

      Read and Talk....and love. Just finishing a book "enjoy every sandwich" by Lee Lipsenthal, M.D. I got it from the library, but will go an buy it now. It is such an inspiration. The Good Days are the best ones to focus on. We have to wade thru the bad ones, and the good ones are such a joy. My prayers are with you. And yes I have talked to the social worker at the hospital and joined a support group. Both have helped. I also have a great support group of family. Let them know that you are scared, and they will rally around.

      over 4 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      I kept it together through Dx and Tx....it was after it was all done that I fell apart....what you are feleing is quite normal....

      over 4 years ago
    • AlizaMLS's Avatar

      Dear cris,

      Hi. I'm Aliza, a Breast Cancer patient and the unofficial resident Medical Librarian for the site. I usually answer questions (non medical ones [Med Librarians don't usually answer medical questions-it's against our Code of Ethics and happens to be a bit illegal as it's practicing medicine sans license], but I can offer referrals to docs, hospitals, institutions, agencies, books, media, etc, and research when requested or required.

      Everything you're experiencing is normal. In terms of someone to talk to - asap, there's CancerCare! The Social Workers there are trained to deal with the highly specialized needs of Cancer patients and their caregivers. You can see them in person (which I recommend) or speak to them by phone (if that's more convenient or you're under the weather). It's not exactly like "regular therapy". No one's going to be "interested in your toilet training" or "blame your mother". I think most BC patients are depressed by the circumstances we've faced - diagnosis (an awful surprise or shock), the discussion with the Breast Surgeon (dreadful, no matter how kindly she/he is and what she/he proposes to do), going home to ponder what the Breast Surgeon has suggested (an insomniac's nightmare), etc., etc. and so forth. I thik asking the Oncologist for the name of a therapist makes great sense.

      One thing that's not mentioned here that is worth mentioning is that many people here (I haen't taken a poll), but many people in the general population have depression anyway and take antidepressant medication just because they suffer depression as a biochemical illness. It's a bit different than needing to take an antidepressant because you've suffered a catastrophic illness. But what can happen in psychiatric terms is something called "what's situational becomes biochemical" meaning if you're depressed long enough because of a catastrophic situation that occurred in your life, then your body chemistry will change or adapt and you will become chronically depressed and need an antidepressant on a longer term basis. This isn't bad or a character flaw, just something to be aware of.

      The most important thing for you is to get rid of your Cancer. Everyone takes antidepressants these days-it's almost chic. It's not a weak thing to do and it's not our of the ordinary. It certainly makes sense if you're feeling as you describe. If you recall the book Prozac Nation" it mMight be a good time to look at it now.

      I hope that getting the personal attention that you need now will lift your spirits and help you to focus on other good ways to enjoy yourself. When you are able to do that, feel free to contact me-here on the site or email me offsite and I'd be delighted to give you some ideas for recreational pursuits (I did pursue other areas in Librarianship other than only Medical).

      Warm Wishes,

      over 4 years ago
    • Julie99's Avatar

      I love the social worker I see at my cancer center. So many different thing have come up during this journey and it has been so helpful to have someone who understands this to talk to, someone who doesn't judge the emotions I am having. Feeling down can be part of the process but be open to getting all the help you can. Have you also considered a support group?

      over 4 years ago
    • CountryGirl's Avatar

      In marathon running its called "hitting the wall" when your resolve to push yourself through the pain fails, but this applies to any extreme circumstance, cancer treatment included. I agree with the others--talk about it. Everyone has a breaking point. And everyone falls apart a little differently. I, for example, yelled at a man in the middle of Walmart because he wouldn't get out of my way. I alternated between mad and depressed unpredictably like the loopty-loops of the new Silver Dollar City roller coaster.

      over 4 years ago
    • JennyMiller's Avatar

      I think we tend to keep a lot of our feelings inside around family and friends so that it appears that we are living up to their expectations of our "amazing strength". However, none of us are as strong as people think. We need to verbalize about our fears, our worries, our sadness and our future. We are somewhat alone in the cancer world -- a "twilight zone" -- our family and friends are hovering just outside to love and support us but they do not truly understand -- we are the ones that have cancer. I have found that the only ones that truly understand are the ones who have made this same journey. I was blessed in that the Nurse Oncology Navigator in our city had the same diagnosis as me some years back -- she had same surgery, chemo, radiation and pill -- she is even dealing with Lymphedema the same as me. Needless to say, I was able to talk openly with her about all my feelings and she totally understood. More recent, a friend received my exact diagnosis (Invasive Pleomorphic Lobular Carcinoma)-- she had surgery and is almost through with chemo. I was able to support her and help with tips, etc. She was very appreciative but I told her that she was helping me just as much. After treatment, when you phase back into the world where your family & friends are, the reality hits you again along with the fear and sadness. A positive attitude is so important so having someone who understands and who you can verbalize with is a tremendous help. I hope you find someone soon --- I wish you the very best.

      over 4 years ago
    • SusanK's Avatar

      What you are experiencing is normal for so many of us. I finished my treatment a year ago; everyone kept telling me how strong I always was, although I didn't feel so strong inside. Recently I connected with an acquaintance who is just beginning her journey. She tells me I am a big help to her as she confides in me and I try to help. But I think she is helping me every bit as much. I find myself talking about issues with her that I never spoke about (but felt) while I was going through my ordeal. In short, we are helping each other and I feel I have a true friend and confidant for life. Yes, talking to someone--a professional or a fellow cancer fighter (or support group) is beneficial and can help keep things in perspective. I hope you find the right someone to talk to very soon. Good luck as you move forward.

      over 4 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar

      Absolutely. I have had many periods of sadness and worry and I remember a particularly acute one at the beginning of radiation. All along I've been getting counseling from a psychiatrist at my cancer center. I think you would benefit from talking to a professional like this, too. She specializes in cancer patients and knows a lot about all the physical and emotional effects of the various treatments (Rx and procedures) and a lot about cancer itself. Please do ask your oncologist for recommendation of someone to talk to.

      over 4 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar

      Absolutely! I don't know how I would ahve made it through without my therapist and my Stupid Cancer support group meet ups.

      I felt like I needed to be "strong inspirational Nancy" for my friends but meanwhile I was a hot mess when I was by myself. You have every right to be selfish right now and take care of YOU! Talk talk talk. Find a therapist that specializes in cancer (sometimes your cancer center can refer you) or grief and loss. It took em a few tries to find the right support group for me, but it has made a world of difference. Especially because it's not about sitting around talking about cancer. We go bowling, out to dinner, have parties at someone's house. It's just nice to have a group of friends that truly understand what you are dealing with, even if you are not sitting there talking about it.

      over 4 years ago
    • jad's Avatar

      Not at all uncommon. You get through everything! You are a star.... you have tamed the beast!
      And now what? Here come the questions, not the treatment/side effects related questions, but the other ones. The ones leading to your present feelings. I echo the advice here so far --- talk, talk, talk. Find a support group, therapist. It is not wrong to seek help. And it is available.

      over 4 years ago
    • oceanblue24's Avatar

      Just like everyone else on here I went through it after chemo & again after rads. I had myself so depressed & anxious I got Shingles!!! They say it's a virus but I say it's low immune system coupled with anxiety & depression. After 16 months of worry I'm finally set to see a therapist. So like said on here talk, talk, talk!!! This site has helped me tremendously!!!! Don't be a hero. Get help, whatever works for you!!! We'll get there!!! Many on here have made it to the good side again!!! God Bless!!!!!

      over 4 years ago
    • Vjp2012's Avatar

      It is hard to not get down. I am in chemo now 3 of 6 treatments and neutropenic. I am sick with some kind of infection. I cannot get the shots to help the white blood cells as I am part of a clinical trial. Yesterday at the oncologist's office, I was in tears I was in so much pain and felt so bad. Found myself telling my husband I didn't want to do this anymore. They hospitalized me and I am on IV antibiotics for the next 4 days. I feel better today and of course will stay the course of my treatment. But, I go up and down with my feelings too. It is just natural. You are not alone, hang in there. Hugs!

      over 4 years ago
    • Mel's Avatar

      Yes!!!.... I think we do try and stay strong etc. for everyone else. But it's so exhausting with treatments that all of a sudden these emotions come around you have no clue, I found I had nobody to talk to cause they didn't understand why I was acting and thinking so crazy. It's just so emotional. I did not take anything from doctors. But I sure do understand.

      over 4 years ago
    • Grandy's Avatar

      I'm still on the high / strong side.. I can handstand this for sure!!! Right now, I things to do to move forward in this fight. I also have Fibromyalgia. So FAR, BC has been easier because there is activity and progress right now.

      over 4 years ago
    • cris' Avatar

      Thank you all for your answers it means alot to me, I will be going to a support group starting May 1st. & I still am going to talk to my oncologist about seeing someone. I also am going to participate in the relay for life doing the survivor walk, hoping to meet people...

      over 4 years ago
    • Bug's Avatar

      Hi, cris. I had a lumpectomy, re-excision and radiation. I held it together okay (of course I was anxious the whole time but I did okay I think) but as it got near the end of radiation the anxiety ramped up. Later at a follow-up appointment with my oncologist she gave me the card for the medical group's counselor. I have been seeing her once a month since then (for no charge). She is terrific. She is a cancer survivor herself and totally "gets it". I absolutely support talking to someone. It has been a *huge* help to me. Best of luck to you.

      over 4 years ago

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