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tamoxifen & depression

26 REPLIES 26
Ann_W
Member

Re: tamoxifen & depression

hi zotto
I have just started on letrozole and 15 rads start on 23rd . I will let you know how I get on with the Letrozole
Ann W
Sam_BCC
Member

Re: tamoxifen & depression

Hi TDJ

As well as the support you receive here you might find it helps to talk things through with a member of staff on the helpline. Here you can share your feelings with someone who will offer you a listening ear as well as emotional support and practical information.

The number to call is 0808 800 6000 and the lines are open Monday to Friday 9 to 5pm and Saturday 9 to 2pm.

Best wishes Sam, BCC Facilitator

tracyld
Member

Re: tamoxifen & depression

Pulling yourself together is never easy , so dont be too hard on yourself. Get help from your family and friends to get you through the treatment. Involve your children as I am sure they too will help you cope. I feel that Tamoxifen really does make some ladies feel dreadful, me included. I told my hubby that I did not want to live feeling as bad as I did, so please go to your GP and explain how you feel. It is nothing to be ashamed of . We would take the tablets if we had high blood pressure etc, but there still appears to be a stigma to taking anti depressants. Dont let there be , it is perfectly fine to admit that we need help. We have been through so much and deserve all the help we can get.
I recommend getting out in the fresh air every day for a short walk around the block to get a newspaper or something from the local shop. I also found that writing poetry helped me , putting my feelings down onto paper.
Let us all know how you are feeling . It is always good to know that people are thinking of you and sending you love and positive vibes. Gentle hugs Tracy xxx
TDJ
Member

Re: tamoxifen & depression

Hi Nextstep
Thanks for your support. Feeling really low at the minute. Nothing I do seems to be helping. Don't think it helped that when I got my diagnosis I was half way through a nasty divorce and still living under the same roof as my ex. He left in November but the relief I thought I'd feel didn't really happen. My children are 23, 21 and 17, I will try and speak to them about how I'm feeling but sure I'm not alone in thinking I've tried to sheild them from how low I'm feeling. I have seen my doctor and he's been very good, he did suggest taking time off work but as a single mom this is difficult as finances are already tight. Guess I have to just pull myself together. xx
tracyld
Member

Re: tamoxifen & depression

Hello everyone,
Anne that description of the warm hot feeling is very familiar and I always used to get it when I was trying to organise something in advance, as though my brain could not stand the overload of information. The more I panicked of course, the worse I got so keeping calm and deep breathing is very important. I practised Mindfulness so that i concentrated on one thing at a time instead of hopping between jobs and getting nothing done. There are many articles on Mindfulness and I used a good book by a Psychotherapist called Paul Gilbert called The Compassionate Mind. It is a good guide to help us feel good about ourselves again. Keep posting and you will get through this. Lots of love Tracy xxx
amd66
Member

Re: tamoxifen & depression

as this all echoes what i am feeling i need to let it out. thanks woodentop tracey etc for all the posts.
have been on tam for a month and am feeling really anxious, it starts as warm, hot feeling when i panic about something trivial in the future, shopping list, putting stuff away, going ou, it just starts when i am quiet or thinking about resting, or trying to lie in in the mornings.. it feels like my heart is racing and i dont seem to calm it down. anyone similiar or got any ideas?
iwas given diazapam at christmas when this got out of control, and was very agitated, but i try to resist taking that, as i know the anxiety will disappear after a while and i know i wont be given diazapam long term.
my family, husband and 16 year old daughter have been dealing with this for a few weeks, i am already on citalopram, before cancer diag in aug 2012. i think they do feel i should be getting on with it now so feel pretty guilty and sorry that i cant control it. it makes me needy and wanting reasurrances all the time. am better when i am occupied.
I suppose i am just offloading to those of you that understand,
woodentop have you been any better??
anne xx
Nextstep
Member

Re: tamoxifen & depression

Hi TDJ, I hope things have improved since your post on Sunday. Advice is easier to give than take when you are feeling really down, but firstly it shows that people care about you and secondly it may give you some ideas. I can't say that all of this will work for you but maybe worth a try.
I think number one is regular sleep, eating and exercise, whether you feel like it or not (you have to be disciplined, take it like medicine). I know the sleep bit is hard as you can't make yourself go to sleep but you can stick to a regular go to bed and get up time.
Have you tried talking to someone on the helpline? That may be a hard step to take as you may be frighterened of bursting into tears as soon as you being to talk, but I am sure they will have plenty of experience of that. They are bound to be able to offer advice.
I am not sure how old your children are but could you explain that this is an ongiong part of the condition - the side effects of the treatment are probably the biggest challenge and come when everyone is getting a bit bored with being sympathetic. They really may not understand that this is the situation and if they do understand then they can help you more.
Can you plan some little treats to look forward to? Coffee with a friend? A trip to the cinema or theatre (depending on budget?), a soak in the bath with some nice bubbles?
If it helps, I had a meltdown last night and just sat and cried on the bathroom floor. Not about the big problems (BC being just one of them!) but seemingly because my son wouldn't eat this tea (what?!). I don't know whether that is the Tamoxifen or just letting out tension I have allowed to build up behind my brave face but sometimes you just need to let it all out. I feel better this morning and try to remember when you feel down that it will pass and the time will come when you will be looking back at the dark days.
Lastly - bananas are supposed to be good!
Hang on in there.
TDJ
Member

Re: tamoxifen & depression

I have been taking Tamoxifen since September, some days feel like a zombie, don't seem to be able to absorb any information. Need to try and lose post diagnosis weight gain but got no motivation at all. Last few days been bursting into tears at trivial things. Keep telling myself must pull myself together but don't seem to be able to. My children have been great but feel that maybe they're now thinking I'm better now and need to get on with life. At a loss what to do to put myself out from under this black cloud
zotto
Member

Re: tamoxifen & depression

Hi
Not sure what happpened to my first ever post. I must have tappe the wrone key or something. So this si my first posting!
I have had surgery for invasive breast cancer (luckily only invasive very locally so surgery should have it all removed. No spread found in sentinal nodes.
Had 15 radiotherapy sessions and finished over a month ago. Itchy rash/burn but fading faster now. I'm 52.
On AI Letrozole for 7 weeks now. Nearly 5 years still to go!!
Not sure what my side effects are caused by though: tiredness, easily exhausted, weaker muscles, worsening of previously diagnosed osteoathritis in neck and lower back which is not responding to stretch exercises like it did pre cancer treatment, new joint pains, memory not as good as before, hot flushes, night sweats, spots! and low mood.
Sure i am not the only one!!
Tried changing brand of Letrozole-not sure it has made difference though.
Would be good to hear of peoples experiences of Letrozole too
tracyld
Member

Re: tamoxifen & depression

How are you doing Wooden top ? Are you feeling any better ? Thinking of you Love Tracy xxx
woodentop
Member

Re: tamoxifen & depression

Had a really tough week last week & just couldn't face much, but today has been a good day. I find taking one day at a time easiest.
Tracy I hope you are feeling much better, there is so much going around at the moment.
Been into work, my boss is lovely (she is a tracy too) & she is concerned. I had a major dip in Jan/Feb & shes worried that while things got better they have dropped back down. I lost a dear friend & collegue in june (she had breast cancer treated and everythingbclear developed hip & back pain diagnosed with bony mets & passed away very quickly & suddenly) that knocked me. I have been refered to occupational health for some counselling, hopefully it will be of benefit. I find crying physically & emotionally draining.
Am hoping to start swimming this week,.
Hope you had a good weekend. xxxxxxxx

Janet_BCC
Member

Re: tamoxifen & depression

Hi Tracy

I noticed you were asking about sending a pm. If you click on the person's name this will bring up their profile. You should find a box just under the profile picture which says "Send message". Click on this and away you go! I hope this helps.

If you have any problems you can always email moderator@breastcancercare.org.uk and we'll do our best to help.

Very best wishes

Janet

BCC Moderator

Milo1
Member

Re: tamoxifen & depression

Hi Woodentop, hope you are feeling a bit better now, I changed from tam to letrozole in April and feel so much better in myself, the side effects are just as bad - aches, pains and joint stiffness. I find that making myself go for a walk every day helps to lift my mood, dog walkers are usually happy to make pasing remarks and I get back home feeling much happier and hopefully a bit fitter/slimmer 🙂
tracyld
Member

Re: tamoxifen & depression

I have just subscribed to this post in the hope that I get an alert when you message again as when I am back at work I just check in the evenings. Do you work Woodentop ?
Tracy
tracyld
Member

Re: tamoxifen & depression

Hello Woodentop ,
Sorry I could not find you on this new thread/ forum page. I have just scrolled through 11 pages to find your original post and I as yet dont know how to personal message anyone so if anyone could let me know that would be great.
I have been ill, nursing a very bad cold which has turned into Bronchitis so I am back on antibiotics. I am off work this week so I am trying to catch up with a few things but I feel so weak.
Did I tell you that I used to go to a Self Help Depression group in my town which I found really useful as I could see that I was not the only one suffering and we bounced ideas and hints and tips around.
Hope this wek is a good one for you and that black dog is starting to move off your bed and onto the floor !!
Thinking of you Tracy xxx
woodentop
Member

Re: tamoxifen & depression

Hi Tracy,
I'm trying to take one day at a time, things don't seem so daunting then. I've been on the venalfelaxine for about 18 months' with icreases, just increased a week ago to 150mg twice daily which is actually a very big dose. I am overwhelmed by the response I have had from people, this is easier than chatting face to face!!!!!

Finding the increased dose a bit difficult to adjust to, been sleepy & fuzzy headed mid morning but noticed today it wasn't so bad. Do have trouble getting up in the morning & a feeling like my arms & legs don't belong to me.

Thank you so much for caring, it really means a lot to ave support from a fellow sufferer. xxxxxx
Thank you to you all it's good to know I'm not alone......xxxxxxx

woodentop
Member

Re: tamoxifen & depression

Hi Tracy,
I'm trying to take one day at a time, things don't seem so daunting then. I've been on the venalfelaxine for about 18 months' with icreases, just increased a week ago to 150mg twice daily which is actually a very big dose. I am overwhelmed by the response I have had from people, this is easier than chatting face to face!!!!!

Finding the increased dose a bit difficult to adjust to, been sleepy & fuzzy headed mid morning but noticed today it wasn't so bad. Do have trouble getting up in the morning & a feeling like my arms & legs don't belong to me.

Thank you so much for caring, it really means a lot to ave support from a fellow sufferer. xxxxxx
Thank you to you all it's good to know I'm not alone......xxxxxxx

ChoccieMuffin
Member

Re: tamoxifen & depression

Ah yes, a very familiar feeling. I personally think (my own intuition, not based on any medical training) that the speed and severity of being dumped into menopause is such a shock to the body. My body LIKES its oestrogen, and is suffering for the lack of it. And on top of that, all the regular rubbish that life throws at us doesn't stop just because we're dealing with cancer, so we have all of that to deal with too.

I've tried Sertraline and Venlafaxine, am currently on Citalopram. And I really notice if I've forgotten to take my pills for a day as the following day I can feel the emotional slump. But there is no shame or dishonour about taking pills to help deal with the side-effects of what we've been through and its treatment. Just as you wouldn't feel ashamed for needing a plaster cast on your leg if you broke it, to allow you to heal and get on with your life in the meantime, you shouldn't feel ashamed about taking an anti-depressant to allow you to heal and get on with your life. We've been through a helluva time, and some additional intervention to help us get through it is no cause for embarrassment or feelings of failure.

One thing I noticed was that the improvement was so subtle and gradual that other people noticed and commented on my improvement before I realised it myself.

And if you don't get on with one of them, there are other anti-d's to try. So if you're not feeling an improvement within about 6 weeks, go back and ask if you can swap to a different one. (But NOT Fluoxetine/Prozac, as that interferes with how Tamoxifen is absorbed.)

Good luck all.

CM
x

tracyld
Member

Re: tamoxifen & depression

Wooden top , How are you feeling today ? Have you tried to be Mindful ? Just to let you know I am thinking of you xxx
tracyld
Member

Re: tamoxifen & depression

So you see Wooden top you are not alone in this current nightmare. We are all here for you to rant and rave if you want to and let us know how you are feeling. I used to ring my Mum every morning at 830am to let her know and gradually I found myself saying that I was a tiny bit improved. I am normally a very lively bubbly outgoing character so totally knocked me and all my family for six. They were all used to me making decisions and I just could not think, my brain would not function, so I made them decide and I learnt to say No. If I didnt want to go somewhere I simply did not go.
Today is a new day for you Wooden top and remember to go for a walk in the fresh air. It is a cold but bright and sunny morning here in Derbyshire and I am off out to meet my cousin and her children who are over from Australia for my Auntie's 90th Birthday so that will be fun. We have a big family party tonight.
Take good care and be kind to yourself. Love Tracy
lincs_lady
Member

Re: tamoxifen & depression

Hi,I too had all this. Dx aug 09' chemo,rads etc, then ttamoxifen
took a yr of swapping brands till I got one that didn't make me really iill then the anxiety and panic attacks sstarted so I now have citalapram,which made me feel worse before better!
i also went to CBt counciling which helped

stellam
Member

Re: tamoxifen & depression

Hi ladies
I'm 3 years down the road from diagnosis and the SE's from Tamoxifen was by far the worst part throughout my BC joinery.
it is known that a medically induced menapause can be more extreme but shorter lived 2-3 yrs on average, this was definitely the case for me. the last 4-5 months have been great, I test ill get the occasional hot flash but its more than manageable. I also considered stopping Tam but decided I would really regret my decision if the cancer reoccurred.
Big hugs to all.
Stella x

tracyld
Member

Re: tamoxifen & depression

Hang on in their Woodentop as one day very soon you will feel a whole load better. I know because I have been in just the same place and felt so so bad. I kept saying to my husband that I could not live like this and that I wanted 5 good years not 5 or 20 feeling so grotty. Somehow the drugs start to work , it took about 7 or 8 weeks for mine to kick in. How long have you been taking them?
Remember to get out in the fresh air every day and try and motivate yourself to do a tiny job. I hated shopping when I was at my all time low and used to stay in the car as I could not face everyone, but gradually I went in the supermarket, did a small amount and then escaped and left my husband to pay.
I promise you that you will find ways to cope with this. Remember to be Mindful when you are next in the shower, the smell of the shower gel, the shampoo and how lovely and soft your skin is.
Sending you big hugs. Tracy xxx
woodentop
Member

Re: tamoxifen & depression

I feel lke I am in a slippery hole with no way out!!!! I just want to feel like me & not the Alien that I currently am. I am considering coming of the Tamoxifen as I somehow feel that the benefit of feeling luke me kinda out ways the risk of it returning.

It is so reasuring to know I am not the only one. I wish you both all the luck & happiness.

Thank you so much for sharing, there may just be a light at the end of the tunnel

tracyld
Member

Re: tamoxifen & depression

Hello to you both,
I too hate the drug Tamoxifen because it made me feel very ill, but I am still taking it because I dont want the cancer to come back or in the other breast. As you know Tamoxifen blocks oestrogen from our bodies and oestrogen interacts with serotonin in the brain which makes us feel very strange. The chemo sent me into a chemically induced menopause. I am 48 and just felt so dreadful I had to resort to going to the GP. She was very good and prescribed me Sertraline which I had gradually increased from 50mg to 100mg and am now stable on 150mg . I was referred to the Cancer Psychologist at the local hospital as I suffered from Post Natal depression when my daughter was born 20 years ago.
My Oncologist says that Tamoxifen does not cause DEpression , but of course it is hard to believe that when we so dreadful and in a big black hole. I have started going to a Self Help Depression group in my town and I have read books on Mindfulness by Paul Gilbert which helps you focus. I would recommend that you both try thMindfulness training and deep breathing exercises to relax .
I think I will need to take the anti depressant as long as I am on Tamoxifen as I just cannot cope with the awful feeling of anxiety. I am not so hung up about taking the drugs anymore and openly tell people about it as I think it helps.
All the best to you both.
Love and hugs Tracy xxx
Guest user
Not applicable

Re: tamoxifen & depression

Hi Woodentop,
I have the same symtoms as you have posted. I was dx Nov 2010 aged 40, had lumpectomy, chemo and the 30 rads and on tamoxifen - all active treatment stopped July 2011 and I went back to work Sept 11. I have quite a stressful job but was determined to get back some normality into my life even started a BA but after 5 months I had to admit that the time wasn't right as I couldn't concentrate or remember what we had done in class.
Then 4 weeks ago wham I felt as if I had been hit with a bus - overnight I had lost all my energy, motivation and I was so down. I went to the doc and she signed me off work for 3 weeks and prescribed anti d's went back last week and she has signed me off for another 4 weeks gave me a week of sleeping tablets and referred me for counselling.
I have seen a small increase in my energy levels this week and I feel a little bit better in myself.
You will find that you are definately not alone in feeling this way, the doc told me that it hits most people about a year after treatment finishes as we go with the flow when going through treatment then try to get back to living our life before bc then wham!!
It will take time but I would say take your time and don't try to rush things I only wish I would listen to my own advice now and again.
If you need to talk send me a pm
xx
woodentop
Member

tamoxifen & depression

I was diagnosed with breast cancer 2010 following surgery & 20 sessions of radiotherapy I started tamoxifen. From the begining it has caused me problems initially it was nausea & abdo pain which soon settled. However mood swings, hot flushes & depression have increasingly got worse. I am currently taking venaflaxine 150mg morning & night.. I feel so low, I have no motivation, energy, no concentration & no desire to do anything, just want to hide under the duvet.
I am almost 37 years old & can't face another 3 years of this hell. Is there anyone out there in a similar situation?? xx