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StacyG

Long-time lurker, new member

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I've been struggling with major depression for almost a year now.  I have had stage 4 incurable cancer for 6 years.  Last year, I had to leave my job in April due to symptoms related to my cancer.  Being home alone every day threw me into a deep depression shortly after I stopped working.  I have no motivation and spend most of my days in bed sleeping or watching tv.  I feel worthless for not being a productive member of society.  And I feel hopeless because I have cancer (even though I've lived with this for 6 years and could continue to live with it for many more years).  Does anyone have any advice on how to combat depression while also battling cancer?

StacyG 

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Welcome StacyG to our forum family.

I'm also dealing with cancer though probably not as bad as you.

My approach is to not "battle" depression because to me depression is a natural formation / resource.

I have a vast , dark depression cave within but I metaphorically anchor myself outside the deep abyss.

It does take a committed effort to be clever with powerful metaphors.

We are here to not leave anyone behind in their depression cave.

We are glad you're lurking no more and now posting your concerns.

We will try to help.

Oscar 

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Hi StacyG.

I also want to welcome you to the Forums.  I do not have cancer but a relative of mine has it.  She suffered extreme depression as a result.  She was helped by antidepressant medication.  I realize that what works for one person might now work for someone else, but I thought I would just mention it.  I am very, very sorry you are under such enormous, enormous burdens!

Many people have told me that posts like yours have not only helped them but have actually saved their lives, so I want to thank you for what you wrote.  I hope you will keep posting here although I wouldn't want to add to your terrible burdens by adding any more ! ! !   I have always feared getting cancer since it seems to run in my family.  I can't even imagine the ordeal you are enduring ! ! !   - epictetus

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3 hours ago, StacyG said:

I've been struggling with major depression for almost a year now.  I have had stage 4 incurable cancer for 6 years.  Last year, I had to leave my job in April due to symptoms related to my cancer.  Being home alone every day threw me into a deep depression shortly after I stopped working.  I have no motivation and spend most of my days in bed sleeping or watching tv.  I feel worthless for not being a productive member of society.  And I feel hopeless because I have cancer (even though I've lived with this for 6 years and could continue to live with it for many more years).  Does anyone have any advice on how to combat depression while also battling cancer?

StacyG 

Hey, and welcome to the family.  We are so glad that you found us and we are looking forward to sharing with you.  Well, life is all about just taking it one day at a time regardless of what is troubling you.  As far as the depression is concerned you will have to find you a new way of living and thinking.  Try to look at your illness as a new life and opportunities to try new things like painting 🖼 reading 📖 drawing ✍️ and volunteering when ever you feel like doing it.  It’s a new chapter in your life and try not to look behind but in front of you.  These new changes can help to bring excitement back to your life.  I wish you nothing but the best as you try to move forward with your life.

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Hi @StacyG and welcome, I'm glad you decided to become a member and tell us about yourself. I hope you find we can be effective in supporting you and that we can learn from you. 

I want you to know that I feel you, in particular, about the big Ps - Productivity and Purpose - two very important things that mental and physical illness can diminish. 

4 hours ago, StacyG said:

Does anyone have any advice on how to combat depression while also battling cancer?

I've heard that Resilience Training has been super helpful in supporting people with cancer and depression. Connecting with others in peer support groups both in person and virtual is useful to combat loneliness and facilitate swapping ideas about what's working. 

Volunteering has helped me with the 2 Ps. I don't have a master's degree from the University of Clinny D - that doesn't exist yet - but I feel as if I did the damn course load and its cost me real darn money. I also have the practical experience of someone who is living with Depression. As it turns out, this knowledge and experience is extremely useful, very in demand and valuable - and so is yours, @StacyG.

Because we live in a virtual age, volunteering has also become an online pursuit. Volunteermatch is a website that can connect you to organizations who really do need your experience and knowledge - in person, online or both. This can sometimes lead to a paying gig. 

Getting started isn't easy and there's a risk health may get in the way. As you've ascertained there's also a risk associated with not taking any chances, doing little. What do you think of your prospects as a peer coach, an educator, a content producer, campaigner? I'm only throwing out ideas, wanna reflect on them or throw a few of your own?

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Welcome StacyG! Sorry for all that you are going through. Glad that you reached out and found us. The best thing I know to do is to stay in the present moment and if that is hard, doing deep breathing helps lower anxiety.

BW

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Welcome to DF, Stacy. Nice to meet you.

I’m very sorry to hear what you’re going through. I appreciate your willingness to connect with us here. While don’t any advice to give, I just said a prayer for you, and I hope that God will provide the strength, comfort, and help you need at this time. Hugs!

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Welcome StacyG!  I totally get where you're coming from.  I'm an HIV survivor of 26 years.  It progressed to AIDS in 2001, meaning I'm stage three.  Particularly in the past five years, comorbidities - now I've a new one this year - have taken their toll and knocked me on my assets.  Most frustrating during that time is that I often don't have the stamina to function very long in a lot of activities.  And, yeah, I'm sometimes just relegated to bed.  Often it's more psychological than physiological, though recovery from hospital has been daunting, too.

I also know that, while well-intentioned, a lot of people simply don't/can't get it on the daily struggles.  I'm lucky to have a few friends who DO get it and can deal with me without being patronizing.

I'm only speaking for my experience, but yes, frankly I've vented my frustration with medical personnel who don't get it, who expect me to be "polite," "a good patient," etc.  I'm real clear on what expectations are reasonable in the course of my care.  Let's face it, some are indeed clueless, sometime to the point of being jackasses.  So I push back. Though sometimes exhausting, it's gotten me results.  Where DF comes into the mix - and I'd hope you'd take advantage of it - is that I also vent right here on the boards.

Particularly during recent years, I've managed a mix of therapy and meds for my psychological care...with mixed results.  Honestly, I'll take what I can get if it means even a little improvement.  You can probably understand that I've only sought care with mental health professionals who have a good grasp of my illness.  When/if you can, that's one route I suggest you take.

Not to be flip, but my Netflix has helped considerably.  Much of the rest of it is pretty much standard coping mechanisms for a lot of DF folk.  Being able to manage groceries, gas or laundry these days I count as victories.  As a lot of people here will attest, I'm lucky to have that li'l black furball avatar as a companion.  He can be annoying and cute simultaneously...and that helps me get out of myself.  Those 11 lbs. depend on my attention.

I've had good days and awful.  I'm in a good phase the past ten days or so.

 

Edited by MarkintheDark

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Thank you all for the warm welcome and kind words! It lifts my spirits just knowing there are others out there who can relate. I manage my cancer like a chronic health condition and have it under control at the moment (relatively speaking). The depression is the piece I can't seem to get a handle on, but some great suggestions have been provided here, so I am feeling hopeful.  Thank you again! 

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