Hi I am new on here and so glad to have found you. I am struggling with depression.

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Im not sure why its taken this long for me to find you, but hey Im here now and after a brief look at what some of you are saying its a breath of fresh air. I am in the category of having been out of treatment for a couple of months Im finding myself very depressed. I am usually a stoical/strong philosophical  type of person having been through a number of traumas in my life but this seems to be the hardest. I am finding a darkness in me that I can't seem to lift. Some of this comes from the fact that I don't feel like I am the person I was before. Does that sound strange? Almost as if another psyche has taken over? I have even felt suicidal. I thought it was the chemo/radio  after effects initially but my oncologist says no. I don't want to sound too disparaging but I have not had much faith in her since the beginning because of her manner ( the last time I saw her she forgot who I was !) Anyway to add salt to this, this whole thing seems to be waring on my partner and he is not coping at all well.  its awful to say but I sometimes feel I'd be better off alone. My cancer was diagnosed a stage three with 2 tumours and some in the lymph. The  3 month MRI stated , the larger tumour has seemingly gone but the smaller one still there and Im not sure about the lymph. ( my oncologist wasn't clear in her explanation - I guess I should ask one of you nurses?) I also have blood cancer which is not curable but managed. I would love to be able to go out for walks but another slight difficulty is that I have recently been diagnosed with significant arthritis in the hip which is painful. Ive just  been referred to the mental health team through my GP. I asked via my oncologist's secretary for support 2 weeks ago and not heard anything back from her. The one positive thing is I have moved house in the last few months so I will be attending a different hospital for oncology. Sorry if this feels like a rant. It's not usually the way I am. I worked in the care sector before and was the one to help others so its really strange having to say all this. 

  • Hi Sura, do you think it could be that you have actually been coping all this time.....and now things have moved on a bit it is just hitting you, all the things you describe sound fairly 'normal' to me.  I have had similar feelings and I only had RT and hormone  treatment after a lumpectomy.

    You could try phoning the helpline for support the nurses are excellent and might help with explanations of your treatment that you feel unclear about.  Be kind to yourself, best wishes x

  • Hello Sura

    First of all a big welcome to the forum.  I am so sorry to hear how depressed you are feeling, often the end of treatment doesn't mean a huge lift in spirits and there are a fair number of people on here who felt very flat and devoid of any feeling of celebration.  Of course the aftermath of treatment doesn't help, and having an oncologist that you haven't a rapport with must be very difficult to deal with.  I am pleased your GP has referred you for help, but don't hesitate to go back to him if you need something more; my GP prescribed me anti-depressants a couple of months after I was diagnosed.  I know they occasionally get bad press but they were a total game-changer for me, I felt I was coping for the first time since diagnosis.  I also visited my local Maggie's centre, they have a team of professionals who are all highly trained in dealing with cancer patients and it was a haven for me in a very fraught time.  There are cancer charities including MacMillan's who offer online support.  And of course, this forum, the members all know exactly what you have been through.

    From what I have read, the radiotherapy carries on working for some months after treatment ends, so it could well be that at your next scan the other tumour will also have disappeared.  I'm really surprised that you haven't even had a courtesy call back from your oncologist's secretary so I am keeping my fingers crossed that you will have a much better experience at a different hospital where they will take the time to explain to you exactly what is going on.

    Has your GP prescribed any painkillers for your hip?  I know that exercise is recommended but I recognise that may be difficult if you are in a lot of pain.  My husband suffers a lot with one of his knees and has to dose up before he goes out for a walk, albeit a short one but he finds the walking helps his mood enormously, especially during the winter when he is particularly low.

    Finally, I am also very sorry that your partner isn't being the support you need; it is quite possible he is also traumatised by what you have been through and doesn't know how to express his feelings.  But it certainly can't be helping your feelings at the moment.  If you do have a Maggie's near you, they welcome partners and family too as they recognise that a cancer diagnosis and treatment has a huge ripple effect on relationships.

    Please don't think for one minute that you were having a rant (and even if you were, it wouldn't matter one jot).  I am so concerned that at times you have felt suicidal, I feel that all I am doing is putting meaningless words down and what I would like to do is put an arm around you and tell you, 'Reach out for help, please'.  

    Sending you a big virtual hug, please come back and let us know how you are.

    Irene xx

  • Hi Sura, and i'm so glad you found us! I too found the first few months after treatment very weird and surreal and difficult. I'm with you in feeling as if there's been a new level of darkness plumbed that I never knew was there. I've done quite a bit of Shadow Work with myself and I think it helped me cope with the cancer aftermath.

    I've got two oncologists, one for chemo and one for the rads. Love my chemo doc, and how genuinely happy and excited he was to pronounce me in remission. I'm sure the radiation doc is a nice fellow too but I think he's on the spectrum and has an offputting bedside manner and worse- enormous sausage fingers, which makes DREs very challenging. I'm glad to hear you're getting a new hospital and oncologist and hope you get a better match this time.

    I'm so very sorry to hear that things are rocky with your partner right now, when you need support and understanding so very much. It's hard to see until you're well on the other side, whether this is the sort of Big Life Change that should be put off until you're feeling more steady and secure, or the impetus for a needed change that now you see clearly. The old Ann Landers trope, "Is your life better with or without him?" is the bottom line and I hope it becomes clear for you very soon.

    Please don't ever apologize for unburdening yourself here. We've been through this particular hell and know, better than most, what it's like, despite all of our journeys being very individual. The relief and return to 'normal' that we expect just doesn't happen for so many of us. This time last year I was struggling to find moments of joy. Not even joy, just not-misery. The trees leafing out through the living room that I could see from my comfy chair. The comfort of having three purring cats lined up on top of me (I firmly believe that cat purring is a super healing modality.) The small clear space of no pain when the meds took hold, before the pain crept back. 

    A year out I'm in a much better place. Hoping with all my heart that's how it is for you too. 

    Hugs

    Suz

  • Hi  ,

    Welcome to the Macmillan online community although I’m so sorry to hear of your diagnosis & I’m also sorry that someone didn’t point you in our direction for support earlier. 

    You’re doing everything right regarding the way you’re feeling, you’ve recognised you’re in need of support with your feelings of depression & that’s half of the battle, I’m really hoping it won’t be long before someone from the mental health team contacts you as you can’t continue this way especially if you’ve had suicidal thoughts! Did you tell your GP the full extent of your depression? I’d urge you in the interim to give the Macmillan Helpline a ring & speak to someone there as you really do need to speak with someone sooner rather than later. 

    It’s not unusual for there to be some residual disease left at the first set of scans, the radiotherapy will still be doing it’s job so hopefully there will be further improvement. It’s a shame that your oncologist didn’t give you a fuller, more satisfactory report on these results.

    You say you’ve coped with trauma throughout your life prior to this but we all have a breaking point & I know I’ve said this already but please give our helpline a call & speak with someone there regarding your mental health. 

    Nicola 

  • I am really grateful for the comfort of someone such as yourself who acknowledges how things can hit you after a time delay which seems what's happened to me and yes,  I will phone the help line and let you know how I got on after. The 'be kind to yourself' mantra is something I have to relearn and strange though it seems to relearn it is so simple really. . I hope you are getting through this too in the best way you can? THankyou so much for your kind response x 

  • its so reassuring to hear your words. My new GP was onto it straight away and has referred me to their in house MHPractitioner. I have an appointment at the end of this week which I must say I was impressed with. I have thought about anti-depressants and was on those a number of years back. I felt very cloudy , also my mother became addicted to them, which  has put me off. But its reassuring to know it has helped you and maybe I will reconsider- I guess they will have improved over time. Painkillers for my hip - to be honest I haven't thought about that as the arthritis has seemed so insignificant in the face of the cancers ( although painful) but yes I should ask. I was on such a concoction of meds with the tumour and the after effects of treatment that now I am down to just paracetamol.  Unfortunately Maggies is a long way away to travel to but sounds like a lovely space. Im hoping my MHpractioner may suggest something  as well as for my partner. A big thank you. Is so good to know that you have understood through your own journey. 

  • your words are so encouraging - thank you . Yes my fingers are crossed for a new oncologist to be more empathetic. At first I wanted to ask for another one but my GP said it may delay treatment so I stuck it out. However Ive now learned to ask if the situation gets repeated as a delay won't be so worrisome. So thankful I had a lovely haematologist throughout who was incredibly supportive even though she wasn't in the oncology role. I resonated with your words around my relationship and agree I need to wait for more stability before I make any choices / decisions . So keen to look up Ann Landers so thank you again for that. It was lovely to hear about you coming through your journey seeing the light through the trees and a sense of relief to hear you've made it. I have two cats too , Ziggy and Yula who have been my little shadows throughout. What would we do without them ! x 

  • Its so good to know that people such as yourself are here - A big thank you ! People said to go to Macmillan but I didn't find this site,  however  now I have, so my journey is beginning to feel less lonely. Yes I've been very down and  found myself in some dark places recently but  I can now acknowledge I have a breaking point. However it's brought me in touch with people like yourself and I feel more reassured that Im not going crazy, that its part of a hell of a journey, I guess. I did call the helpline and found the person I spoke to fantastic - another thank you ! And my new GP now knows what Im feeling so made a fast referral for me to speak with a MH Practitoner with an appointment later this week which I feel very reassured by . It;s good to know that there is often some residual disease showing at the first set of scans which could be cleared by the radiotherapy doing its job. I am in hope. x 

  • Sura, it is so lovely to hear back from you and you have taken lots of positive steps which is a huge plus towards your recovery.  Please just keep coming back if you need to, check in, have a rant or even share your experiences - there is always someone out there who may get considerable benefit.

    Irene xx

  • It’s good to know I have permission to ‘rant’ ! Thankyou . It’s also good to just talk to someone. And the fact you mentioned that it may help others makes me feel reassured we are not alone in this . Big hug x