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Depressed or Normal?

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

oh thanx choccie-and hugs right back to you x have made an appt for weds with gp-and have delegated some admin-feel a bit better-i agree with your sentiments-i'm always described by others as strong-but i aint got a choice lol -have a good night x

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

Hugs th Ethyl. have had a rubbish weekend too and my nose is sore from all the ssnotty sobbing and mopping up afterwards.

Would like to shoot whoever said "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" though I would torture very slowly the person who first announced "you are never given more than you can cope with". Both massive lies and so hurtful if said while you're busy falling apart under the pressure.

For your work would you be able to ask for admin help while you try to find your feet again? It might even come under the "reasonable adjustments" heading of the equal opps act that you are now protected by. Give the helpline a ring about that one they may be able to give some advice on that last point.

And have another few hugs. stick them behind your ear and save them for when you need them.

CM
x

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

am contemplating going to the g.p. today-i have coped really well on the outside but just recently feel a bit overwraught-very busy ,demanding,pressured full time job-mother-in-law died at christmas-my mum has dementia -she's very demanding and it's very upsetting ,and i have fatigue-keep having to have a sleep which i can ill afford ! i know it is helping me to heal tho.in my job i have to be very "positive" and give lots of support to lots of people -i only get ssp so can't afford to take time off-and i do love my job-it's the admin that's getting me down-off to have a cry now x

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

Hi
it's me again I so get what you are all saying. Some days I just panic over nothing. I tell myself "come on get on with it you should be glad to be alive" and most of the time I am. But fed up of one problem after another. Now have to go see a urologist at the nuffield in February because of the kidney problem. How can you move on when things keep going wrong? It's so hard to keep going
lol Louise

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

Sharon, you're not being a drama queen - you have been through a life-changing experience and it's bound to take its toll on you.

Do you get on ok with your GP? If so, you might be able to open up to him/her about how you're feeling, it's possible he/she can refer you for counselling, or you might be able to get some from your hospital, or call Macmillan who might be able to direct you. I'm seeing a counsellor I got referred to after a completely non-BC-related meltdown and she's been very good (though I usually end up blubbing at some stage of the session) and I'm also on anti-d's which also help a lot.

Keep coming on the forums to vent if you feel it helps, even this length of time after diagnosis and treatment. You know that we understand.

That bit about being self-employed but unable to get motivated to do things rings so true with me. I find myself procrastinating for England! I visit a few favourite sites several times a day and play mind-numbing computer games instead of just bloomin' well getting on with what I'm supposed to be doing, but just can't find the motivation to do so. I go out with OH to walk the dog but only so I don't get on with work. It's ridiculous as if I don't work I don't get paid...

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

Oh so glad to have found this - now I know that feeling 'not normal' is in fact, well, 'normal'! Over three and a half years since DX - got through chemo, radiotherapy, onto Tamoxifen - and have been feeling so 'lost' for the past year or so, have felt so 'not me'. Low, flat, fatigued, living in a brain fog - have stopped taking Tamoxifen which has helped with the brain and energy, but tbh I feel like I have had some kind of identity crisis! I keep telling myself to stop being a drama queen and pull myself together (this is our traditional, not very helpful, family way!) but only recently thinking I should really ask for some help - so considering counselling (if i can find/ afford it).

It doesn't help either that people think you are 'better' and have 'moved on' (you had treatment, your hair has grown back!) and I feel like they probably don't want to hear me 'whinging' on.

There is such a lot written about getting through the treatment - but a huge gap in info or help in realistically what to expect in the long term. As well as the physical after effects, I have lost confidence and self esteem, have major body issues I've never had before - and huge guilt because i am complaining about things when I should just be grateful to be alive (and I am - of course I am!)

Phew - that, as someone may have already said - is helpful just to get off my chest!

Someone else in this thread said we are girls, we just get on with things, we don't ask for help - and also described it as having been through a war zone. Totally agree with all of these comments - and the need to be kinder on ourselves and realise we ARE wonderful but we are not wonder woman - just human!
Sharon XX

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

I'm someone who's had mild clinical depression from time to time and was actually on Anti-ds when diagnosed. I was just thinking of tapering them off when diagnosis came up, and was strongly advised not to think about it for a while, so I'm still on them. Two weeks after I finished rads my father was admitted to hospital for what was to be his final illness - he died 6 weeks later and I've been steering my elderly mum through the early days, weeks and months of widowhood, whilst grieving his loss.

But - and this is the good bit - I am aware that slowly my complete inertia and exhaustion is fading. Although not my confidence in life. In September I took my daughter back to her Uni and went shopping with her for things for her flat. After an hour, I was exhausted. In December I went up there again with a friend and spent a happy day Christmas Shopping. with stops for coffee I kept going the whole day, and was only healthily tired at the end of it. It did emphasis for me that slowly but surely my stamina is coming back. Had carpal tunnel decompression op this week, which has brought back some of the tiredness, but the sun is shining and things are getting better, very very slowly.

Although dreading annual mammo in May!

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

Hugs to you Louise! Hopefully enough of life's s*** has been thrown in your direction for this year and things will be on the up.

I hadn't seen this thread before but it really struck a nerve today. I am not coping very well with tamoxifen side effects and have just been signed off work for a month. No significant sleep for the last 7 months, sore knees, feet and diminishing eyesight. This has made me feel really low and I am wondering whether this is as good as it gets. Christmas with the family was lovely and much more positive post bc treatment than the he previous one. BUT I have to admit I am totally exhausted. I have a large family that all come to us but I found myself wanting to find a quiet place and just be by myself. My house isn't big enough to do that though so I just had to get through the best I could. GP just gave me some citalapram to help with the hot flushes and to lift my mood. I had to smile at Choccies'and mimsy's posts. One of my Christmas gifts was a wall key hook and strict instructions to use it as the stress of my lost keys (and handbag) was getting too much for the poor old OH. 🙂 x

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

Hi Got through christmas day then on the wednesday mum was ill and spent a week in hospital has AIH and I had to have a kitten put to sleep. Then just after new year I get pneumonia and am just getting better. Had the scan to look at my kidneys which was ok but the damage I have prob done would not show anyway!! so not sure why had the scan, don't know what GP will do now am having appointments twice a week for the anorexia so am busy. Just started a tapestry to help take my mind off things
lol Louise

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

scottishlass, this article about Jilly Cooper amused me! She blathers on about the Perfect Christmas.......oh, well, I wont spoil it for you.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/topics/christmas/8968268/Bestselling-author-Jilly-Cooper-explains-why-Chr...

We avoided Christmas on Christmas day by going away but I ended up cooking a turkey two days ago as that was the bit I`d really missed!

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

Car keys? Mine are gone again, and would you believe last time they went long term AWOL I got so fed up looking for them I found an online site where people listed all the places they`d finally found their car keys. Actually, I`d thrown mine out with the rubbish!

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

Plot? You mean you've still got one? Haven't seen mine for so long I sometimes wonder whether it ever existed! If it does exist it's probably with my marbles. They went west a while ago too.

(My best hope of finding either of them is to look by my car keys, I lose them regularly.)

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

Yes thanks to everyone who have responded to this post. It hasn't changed stuff on a day to day basis but when I have bad days I know that many others are dealing with similar. For sure I will come out the other side of this but 1 day at a time. Knowing that I can always find words from others who know where this 'mad' place is and help me relise I'm not losing the plot.
I'm hanging on in

xxtecho

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

hi all i am so glad this site is here. i only come on when thing are getting to me. i too are up and down with my moods. i thought two years on i would be feeling better. its nice to read some of the post i dont feel like i am going mad that other men and women suffer with mood swings. like others have said family and friend think once you had the op. cemo and rads thats it all over, but it an on going thing. and some people deal with it better than others. so glad i am not on my own x gaynor

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

I dislke this time of year and feel like this every year. I loved it when the kids were here but it has got too over the top for me now. Even magazines only have "How to have the Perfect Christmas". "What to buy for those you love" (Usually way out of my price range!) and TV is worse with Nigella and others showing us how to plan ahead for Christmas and doing all that fance cooking. I love baking but the whole thing puts me off. In fact it p*sses me off too!
We had a quiet Christmas. But all my friends seem to be hybernating too and I still have parcels wrapped lying in the spare room to deliver!
The best bit about January is that the days are now beginning to get longer. We turned the corner as the 22nd December was the shortest day. So I am hoping that this turn and the longer days of sunlight will improve my state of mind. I am not depressed. was just feeling flat. My younger daughter suffers from depression, as did my husband for many years so I know the difference.
I think this is a very stressful time of year for many people but with BC I think it is even more poignant as we think it may be out last. Well I have been thinking this for 23 years now and my only regret is wasting precious time thinking this! A hug to anyone who needs one. Hoping that the brighter days will return for you too. Love Val

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

I posted earlier in this thread, but the latest posts have really resonated with me. I tend to think of this time of year as the lowest point, shortest days and all that, and this year I`ve got a lot to look forward to as we`re coming home from the USA, but I came home from a New Year party feeling as if I`d had a really hard time.
Some people started questioning me in a very tough, probing way about why we were going back.I wanted to ask them to leave me alone because I`m too sensitive to go through cross questioning!
In the past year I seem to have had one fight after another. The cancer treatment fight was two years ago. In the past year my son hit a period of severe depression, and took an overdose. He`s much better now, but there was a period when I was literally fighting for his will to live. My husband decided he wanted to stay in the States (longer than the five years we`ve been here,)so I had a real struggle to persuade him I wanted to go home.
So when, at the party, people who didnt know me started weighing in about my life and decisions I held out and only told them the minimum.I could have played a few cards there, but didnt. I`m not going to deliberately make other people feel bad, and mentioning cancer is probably going to do that!

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

I'm on Anastrozole and I find that it makes me emotional rather than depressed.

I had to leave a party early recemtly because I freaked out and just couldn't face talking to anyone any more. Of course it could also be post-traumatic because the fact that I had had BC was the elephant in the room on that occasion.

Xmas and NY with close family is fine - I just relax and feel the love.

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

Techo, you're doing a Choccie and being very hard on yourself. LOTS of people find Christmas and New Year particularly hard to get through because of expectations (usually their own) that they'll do everything the right way, and will put on the customary cheer and for us lot the smiling face. It's such hard work!

I'm glad you got through it, so now's the time to take a deep breath, a big sigh, and pat yourself on the back for doing so. No need for guilt at being glad it's all over, I feel like that EVERY year!

Expectations will be less during Jan, so have a go at looking after YOU for the month of Jan.

Hugs etc,

CM
x

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

I started this post so a update everyone - I survived the dreaded christmas and birthday family get togethers. it wasn't as bad as thought infact had several memorable days. but I feel exhausted mentally which on reflection I think its because I was in such a state about it all. Was it just that - no as even now as I say I had some good hours I am glad its gone and I can retreat into myself. No pressure to put on a 'show'. This cant be right and even now I feel guilty for such a feeling. So the cycle begins.... i know I aint in a good place in my mind and its the strain of holding it all together that impacts.
It can only get more manageable??

xtecho

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

Hi Sozza123
I Too had depression before but was in a good place before the cancer
I am dredding christmas dinner with the family, as an anorexic it is all too much just want leaving to eat what I want. Had to increase food today and ended up in a panic, could not stop crying so ended up phoning the hospital. The nurse I see is very understanding and talks me through the panic and is helping me learn to cope. I feel so useless, feel I should be able to cope much better. My gp phoned me as have blood and protein in my urine so now have to go for a scan
mum says 'well if you will starve what do you expect' not much empathy there
lol
Louise

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

Hi Girls
I can totally relate to the depression.
I often tell people that the worst thing about all this is the trauma and fear.
Happycat I feel exactly the same as you afraid to get old life back in case it is taken again.
I have suffered low line depression for years as have had a lot of extreme situations to deal with. I was actually , finally in a good place when this happened.
My prognosis is very good as it was caught early , no spread and very small but I still feel that mt life has been ruined . I wish I could be strong but I just feel sorry for myself. Doesnt help that chemo gives me chronic sickness , even typing the word makes me want to heave.
I am seeing a physcologist and getting all the help I need and I really hope that one day this won't consume my every waking moment.
By the way did anyone see the article by Jennifer Saunders in the mirror? She too suffered really bad depression which she put down to the tamoxifen although I thin depression suffred is likely to be post traumatic.
Sarah x

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

Hi Chocciemuffin, You're not Ebeneezer, you are just normal like me! I plan to chill out and hove lots of nice things to eat and drink and to relax relax relax. It HAS been a rubbish year and all I want for Christmas is to get it over with so that I can look forward to some sunshine and hopefully a holiday in France to get some sun on my old aching bones....and chill. Love to you this Christmas and keep posting. Love Val

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

My middle name is Ebeneezer. I'm totally bah humbug at Christmas and just find it completely stressful - the only truly enjoyable and non-stressy part for me is a slap-up dinner with tons of veg and delicious gravy, with my kids around.

Roll on Jan 1st. 2011 has been a rubbish year in so many ways. While I've met lots of lovely people this year, in the best possible way I wish I hadn't had any reason for us to meet, from either side.

All my grumpiness aside, I wish you all well and hope you get the chance for some R&R and someone else (don't care who!) taking on the stressy stuff.

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

Hi all, I don't think that this time of year does us any favours either. Everyone I see is dashing around buying "stuff" and look frantic.
I just cannot get into the Christmas mindset. I started, yes started, my Christmas shopping today and it has been bothering me for weeks. I have just not had the energy to deal with it. Luckily I do not have many people to accommodate or to buy for. When children are involved be it your own, others or grandchildren, Christmas is a magical time. For the rest of us it can be a totally different experience. The table I used to set for 14 has now diminished to 4. There are more people "missing" from my table than sharing with us.
I personally will be glad when the festivities are over and the sun will return to heat up my old bones.
I wish you all peace and hope that 2012 will be a better one for all of you. Hugs to those needing a hug, Val

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

hi sarahlouise
CBT is cognitive behaviour therapy. It is different from counselling in that it looks at thought pattens and how to change them. also uses imigery and relaxation. It is very good we are looking at the fears i have and where they come from and if they are likely to happen etc. we look at why food is scary and what it has become linked to. food is not the fear just seems it as food is my control. we are also increasing my food intake twice a week though this causes high anxiety so am learning ways to deal with this.will need to eat alot more inorder to gain weight, that is very scary
lol Louise

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

Happycat - I'm still at the beginning of my journey (dx march this year with primary IDC and secondary lung mets), I have asked the Dr's for anti-d's not only to help with my moods but to also help with the hot flushes caused by being thrown into early menopause with the chemo and tamoxifen, my mood swings are really bad and christmas is not helping being stressful not having enough money for any presents this year, I find it all so depressing. On a brighter note 25 cats thats a handful, I have 2 cats and adore them I feel the same as you without my OH and my cats life would not be worth living they keep me going and bring sunshine into my life. Can I ask what's CBT twice a week??? I was thinking of going to counselling or some sort of psych to try and help me get out of a the black hole I find myself in sometimes.

sending love and light
sarahlousie xxx

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

Hi
I have had depression and anorexia ever since the BC 6 years ago. I'm on anti-d's and under psychiatric liasion, I see a psych nurse twice a week for CBT and it is really helping. I'm scared of getting my life back in case the cancer takes it away again. so if I stay as I am then nothing to lose. I too foster kittens fo a local cat rescue and at the mo have 25 cats at home as well as 5 hens and 2 dogs. These along with my husband keep me going with out them life would not be worth living
love Louise

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

"..there is no wonder that any of us are not jumping for joy...we have just been in a war zone of our own... "

LostInFrance, that is such a good summary, thankyou. So much that we hear now is "Oh yeah, loads of ppl get BC but hey we can [cure] it, well most of you will live another x years anyway" that rather belittles the war-zone we have been through, both to us and to others, and ppl then think it really isn't much but it actually was and it is. Anti-scaremongering - normalisiing the whole BC experience - may get ppl to come for screening, but it makes it sound like our recent health journeys were a picninc and we should be out there partying; well sorry, no, they weren't and we have a lot to mourn for before finding a new life again.

I crossed swords with the mental health system many years ago and will go a long way to avoid re-involvement if I can. It was hormone related, and they said then, You may have a relapse when you get to menopause... well, so when I had to try Tamoxifen... let's just say I think I'd rather BC than go that route again.

Finally got to contacting ppl about that little voluntary role, after nine months off work; who would have thought two short emails could be so hard? But feeling very good that I finally got round to it. We do need to be a good deal kinder to ourselves and hold on to the little positives and pat ourselves on the back very regularly. Sitting in that warzone surrounded by the wreckage, we can still pick up ten things and put then away (maybe five on a bad day) but then stop for a group hug and a hot chocolate together..... I'll just go put t'kettle on 🙂

Many many brave girls here. Brave is not the absence of fear and trouble but living in spite of it.

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

I am happy to take anti-ds if I need them and this year I have needed them. They have the added bonus of reducing the flushed but I've swapped from citalopram to venlafaxine as I was still not sleeping and anxious about everything. Still early days but I'm hoping they do the trick. Had depression several years ago and really don't want to go back there again.

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

Hi Katyc,

Yes here's to 'funny me' returning too! Good luck with it all. x

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

Hi all,

Have had the "flat" feeling, was generally a happy person before diagnosis definitely glass half full, always looked for the best in people and gave people the benefit of the doubt, and to my detriment too trusting.
I too have an issue with two family members who hurt me more than I can say, their behaviour was disgusting, for the first time in my life I have refused to take their calls I usually face things head on, but I just couldn't do it. I was so upset and stressed because of them that I decided I did not want to talk to them until I felt stronger. The last thing I want is to be upset at the moment. It is now almost 3 months since the incident occurred, still am not strong enough mentally to deal with them, will I forgive them?? I can honestly say never, am I more relaxed in my life without them YES, do I really need them NO.
I am lucky as I see a pain psychologist (unrelated to bc) who has helped me greatly. I still feel a little guilty but why should I? They did it to me, they didn't care even though they pretended to, they have done it to others but to basically hurt someone when they are so vulnerable is truly disgusting. I will face them one day but on my terms.
Crabbit, it does effect you the negativity, but when you look at the bigger picture which is difficult because of the vulnerability you have to say to yourself is your life better without them? Hope this helps a little.
Recently, I do feel the happy coming back so that makes me feel so much more positive for the future, I missed the "funny" me xx

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

Oooh girls, good thread!

I am a few weeks post treatment, not seen the ONC yet but to all respects done apart from Tamoxifen.

What I feel is not depression. I have had clinical depression once in the past due to environmental factors and know what that feels like. I was on anti depressants for 6 months. Please do not feel any shame if you need to take them. I know someone posted that they would never take them. I would have said that six years ago but they helped me short term to get over a rough patch and I would not hesitate to take them again. Please do not let some stigma over mental health stop you from taking them if your GP suggests them.

If something throws things out of balance chemically then the right AD can work wonders, just enough to take the edge off things and let you function!

Anyway, I feel 'flat' no real highs or lows any more. Struggle to have a conversation with my mum etc. Everything is a bit of an effort. The only place you wouldn't notice is at work because I adopt my 'work persona' as usual. Food doesn't taste good. I am fatigued and didn't even go through chemo! I am harbouring resentments about the way one or two people 'supported me' throughout things but haven't the heart to have it out with them! Could this negativity be affecting me?

Phew girls, how good to get that off my chest!

C xx

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

Like this thread...some good stuff here
You are all right about there being tons of support whilst going through the obvious....and for me sometimes that was a bit overwhelming...i wanted them all to back off and leave me alone. I have always been an independant 25 things on the go sort with 10 other things on the back burner...I love that sort of life! BC has totally floored me....I look ok now even if my straight light brown hair has been replaced with dark brown wavy hair....which reminds me of the whole episode...and means I avoid mirrors.
I used to have soooo much energy and get up n go let alone mojo prior to this confounded disease. I felt fantastic....and now all the treatment has left me feeling a bit lost...and confused...and apt to suddenly burst into tears...like I did in the middle of the local shop...totally not like me!
I don't think I'm depressed as often quite happy but I resonate with the PTSD....Sometimes I feel like a person whose house has been hit by a bomb, who is sitting in the rubble with blackened face and tattered clothes, with all they had broken around them whilst a cheerful soul walks past and says cheerily, 'Oh dear poor you....but look on the bright side and count yourself lucky that you survived'.....whilst walking on....
I for one feel a bit shell shocked, confuddled, not quite sure where to start to sort out the mess.
As a result of this crap I have had to give up my successful business....and as a result of that I had to sell my tiny weeny but wonderful little house in France as I couldn't afford to keep it anymore....and use the proceeds to pay off any debts I had as I am no longer working....with a little left over to try and start again...
So what I'm rambling on at is there is no wonder that any of us are not jumping for joy...we have just been in a war zone of our own...

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

Some really good stuff on this thread. Thank you everyone.

In my case, I'm perfectly normal most of the time but now and again I find myself unexpectedly freaking out at something that recalls what I went through because of BC.

Like others who have posted, I feel this could be a mixture of post-traumatic stress and the hormonal imbalances caused by anastrozole/Arimidex.

I don't think I would ever take antidepressants though - that's only adding another unknown quantity to the mix.

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Ooo-er, Jane, that is deep and meaningful. In my case, the journey was already there since we`d just moved to America when I was diagnosed, and I had all my treatment here.It was supposed to be a temporary move (with hubby`s job) and then he decided he wanted to stay here. That was the most difficult part of my life.I put my foot down and said "No way!" So we are coming back to the UK next year.
It`s been hard enough coping with BC without the support of friends and family, homesickness doesnt help, plus not having someone to confide in when faced with the possibility of having to spend the foreseeable future in another country. I`m amazed I`m still sane!
The strain of everything also got to our son who ended up joining us here rather than worrying himself silly miles away
Hymil, I`ve got to say, any excuse for a new wardrobe is ok with me, but I`ve spent the last two years distinctly lopsided, until a nurse told me to go off and get a prosthesis/chicken fillet. I came over quite emotional when I saw myself looking "balanced".
Losing my hair was very hard, psychologically. So many associations with that I dont even want to go into, best left in a dark place. By a year after treatment I had got rid of all wigs, scarves etc because whenever I came across them the memories would come back!Just recently I`ve been back at hospital for lymphoedema treatment, and had it impressed on me how seriously we have to take the whole thing of looking after ourselves now.
I completely agree that we girls are good at looking after others but not so good at looking after ourselves. In the last few days I`ve thought about and written a list of what I think would make me happy in the next year, so I can look at it and see if all those things happen. It might help!

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

The initial worry and eventual diagnosis scares the sh! out of you then they cut half your chest off and you have to rethink your entire wardrobe, for many of us this is followed by the public humilation of losing our crowning glory, so that even if your chest covers up ok, the over all effect is still a dead giveaway and everyone tells you so. Along with how worried they have been, like that helps you at all. For lots of us the side effects mean we might lose our jobs, with all that implies. And a surprising number of significant others seem to respond by running away and dropping us in it just when we needed them most.

You'd be crazy not to be depressed!

Then there's the extra stuff like Afghanistan, unrelated bereavements, civil disorder, motorway accidents, burst pipes and school closures, none of which gives you a free pass just because you had cancer. If you got money you pay tax, if you're still alive random sh! still happens.

Then some fool of a "friend" expects you to keep up appearances for Christmas, for goodness sake. Jollies you along and demands you should smile. Well-meaning Idiot. Of Course I want to go home and hibernate, and that's exactly where I will be.

One suggestion: think what you can control: Start with your diary. Cancel any optional extra demands like Christmas till later in the year when you feel like it. Put "fifteen consecutive duvet days" on your Dear Santa list, and take the phone off the hook.

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

I think this second phase is, in many ways, harder than the first. The diagnosis/surgery/treatment is gruelling, but, you know, we're girls. We get on with it. Sometimes it's harder than others, but, somehow, we cope. Then, when it's all over, 'coping' is not the right strategy any more! I am convinced that what we need to do once treatment's over is learn to be gentle with ourselves... to accept our human frailty in a positive way... to make time for the exercises or just to sit each day, and know that it's OK. to go back to work slowly... to say when we're tired and need to stop. To be ourselves; be true to ourselves and not cover up for the sake of others.... and you know what? Us girlies don't know how to do this very well!!! Say we have a need? Pah! Ask for support? No way.... BUT... BUT... this is the challenge for us, and in it lies our healing - whole healing, not just body healing.

I read a book recently about the 2nd half of life... He uses the story of Odyseus who went on a really difficult journey, overcame all the odds and battles to get home. Then he goes on a 2nd journey, which is hardly described, but it's THIS 2nd journey that allows him to end his days in peace (at the right time). I think it's the same with the cancer journey. First half (treatment etc) is well documented, fairly well supported, talked about etc.. and the 2nd half (now) is hidden, not talked about, not supported so well, not documented and absolutely VITAL.

Sorry if all that's a bit deep and meaningful! Jane

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

Hope this works
just read an excellent article that someone on another string posted about the misery after treatment ends but when I try to get the url on here it doesn't work - agh.

This is the website http://www.cancercounselling.org.uk
Go for - resources - useful articles - Peter Harvey

I found the article relevent to how I feel even now, post surgery but mid chemo

Sue

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

Hi all,
I don't really know if I can help but I think I have to go with the post traumatic stress. I had MX 5 years ago followed by chemo, Tamoxifen and am now on Arimidex which I finish in January.
At first I was just as all of you have discribed amd found it so hard when everyone assumed I was now ok. Twice I rang the McMillan nurses and they were brilliant, especially the last time, last year when my grandson, who's in the RAF was in Afghanistan.
All I can say is that it does get better, the "bad" days become fewer and further between. Unfortunately I do still get days when I wake, sit up in bed and tears start to pour down my face for no particular reason. It wouldn't matter if I found I'd won the lottery!!
I foster kittens for Cats Protection and knowing that I have to care for them, and watching their antics helped me more than I can say.
All I can advise is keep your chins up, take each day as it comes and we'll all get through it in the end.
Sending you all hugs,
Laraine xx

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

Hello ladies 🙂

I found this thread whilst debating starting one of my own which was going to be entitled "Lost my Mo-Jo"!!

I had my lumpectomy a year ago and had chemo & radiotherapy which ended in May. Initially I was elated that the treatment was over and was determined to 'be positive', 'stay strong' and 'celebrate that it was all over' and went back to full time work within a couple of weeks of finishing my treatment. I've now been on Tamoxifen for 6 months and I'm struggling - exhausted, worn out and about as low as I have ever been.

My Macmillan counsellor is fabulous and I wish I had listened to her at the beginning when she warned me to slow down. I was coping(ish)until I had my one year check up recently and since then I'm not sleeping, feel anxious, and as my work colleagues put it - I've lost my Mo-Jo, so its really reassuring to read that I am not alone!

I don't know whether its the Tamoxifen, whether I'm depressed or whether I just need to give myself a huge kick up the derriere and move on??! Mimsy - I think your theory of post traumatic stress reaction could be closer to the truth than we realise. Its a HUGE event we have been through and I think whilst we 'fight the good fight' through the treatment etc, there comes a point where out brains and our bodies say 'enough'??

My counsellor has told me to make some 'me' time for myself every day. To actually put rest time into my diary - not easy when you work fulltime and have a busy household to run but I'm doing it very slowly and am consciously trying to slow down a bit.

If anyone has a magic answer, please share! I think this is simply going to take time to recover from and my expectations (and don't even start me on the expectations of family & work colleagues!) need to be adjusted accordingly.

Big :hug: for any of you who are struggling. We WILL get there!
Mythos x

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

Techo, sometimes I wonder if depressed is the new normal! I say this because I think that since chemo I have never actually felt happy, and think it may be a long term side effect. I`ve tried explaining it to people, even medical people and therapists, and just got blank looks, but before treatment I had genuine moments of joy, but ever since, my emotions are just a monotone. Just as chemo surpressed how my body worked,(fatigue,etc) it also seemed to dampen down my emotions.
It`s not at all like feeling sorry for myself, and I dont think other people notice that I`m anything less than myself. I just find those odd moments when I feel "on top of the world" just dont happen any more, and I miss them.
I think we are the guineapigs in this treatment, and although I`m really grateful for it if it`s saved my life, it`s probably up to us to let doctors know of the side effects. The emotional effects get sidelined I think. I`ve got every reason to be happy, loving husband and family, but still have that nagging feeling I`m on the edge of tears a lot.
I`ve even got a psychotherapist (living in America, its practically compulsory) but he is flummoxed that drug therapy could have led to this.
My only other theory is it could be post traumatic stress because of the huge changes in a short space of time. Any of this ring true with anybody else?
Mimsy

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

Hi all,

The helpline team may also be able to help here with finding counselling, or just someone to talk to/sound off at. Calls are free, 0808 800 6000

Take care all,
Jo, Facilitator

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

I read, while waiting for the results of my first biopsy, that around 25% of people diagnosed with breast cancer also end up being treated for depression. So in answer to your post's title, you could easily be both.

There is no shame in asking for some help when you're feeling down, but I know from personal experience that often that's the least likely time you will ask for help, for fear of being a nuisance or a pest or a burden. So I suggest you put those views to one side and let the person you speak to decide whether you ARE being a pest or a nuisance or a burden. And you know what? I reckon the answer will come back that you're not.

There are several things that can help with post-BC blues (or however you want to describe the mood where the joy has gone out of everything). Without doubt counselling can be really useful, though you do need to get on well with your counsellor. In addition, some medical intervention can also help. If taking Tamoxifen or AIs, the sleepless nights caused by hot flushes at night can really grind you down, and several of the anti-d's that are safe for us to take also reduce hot flushes, so help with the lack of sleep that in itself can be so draining.

So if you CAN manage to talk to someone about it, either your GP or your BCN, please do so. It's not any kind of failure, you won't be bothering them unnecessarily, and getting some help with low mood is well worth getting.

(And if either of you strike up with choruses of Kum Ba Yah, do I have permission to shoot you, to put the rest of us out of our misery?)

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Re: Depressed or Normal?

I would like to know that answer to,lol. You could have been writing about me, I am blaming Tamoxifen , but it seems thats unlikely according to the known side effects. I still have rads to go , and feel so down at times . I feel like people think i am BETTER as i have had the mx and chemo , so i should be pleased as its almost over. If i do say how i feel thet cant handle it so Im fine rolls of my tongue. I am not good at asking for help so cant bring myself to go to GP , or call my BC nurse . It sounds trivial when i voice it ? Its like people think we should be sooo grateful to be alive that we shoul go around skipping and singing kum ba yah...
I probably have in no way helped u , it is maybe normal to feel like this , WE HOPE..lol/

Take Care xxxx

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Depressed or Normal?

Have been on anastrozole for 3 months prior to which 12 months on arimedex. I have now completed my other treatments an was and am so pleased for that. But gradually I have felt so low - mentally that is.I really dont want to see family and find it quite a trial to pretend all is fine and although my nearest has questioned me as to my mood I have just said I feel tired.I do go to work and that seems easier to deal with as work colleagues dont ask 'whats the matter' I dont know what the matter is. What would I like to do? Lock the door and see no-one. Yeah and Christmas is coming and my birthday all of which should be celebration for such and also for being where I am since diagonosis.is the change from arimedex to blame?Or is this a normal 'come down' from all the hospital sessions and cycles of chemo.
Help anyone.....

techo