I’ve “beaten” cancer, so why am I so sad?
As regular readers know the theme of mental health is one close to my heart and it is one I return to again and again. As cancer survivors, many of us have struggled with that unexpected feeling of depression and loneliness that surprises us after treatment is finished. I say unexpected and surprises, because for many of us we are quite often shocked and confused at the intensity of the feelings of depression that hit us. Surely we should be ecstatic – after all we have “beaten” cancer, we have been given a second chance. So why then do we feel so sad? The fact is that cancer survivors are more likely than their healthy peers to suffer psychological distress such as anxiety and depression, even a decade after treatment ends. The physical and emotional fallout of cancer treatment can contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression.
A writer I admire hugely for shining a clear light on the nature of depression and offering practical steps for dealing with it, is Therese Borchard. I have interviewed her previously here and received an overwhelming response to her posts. Yesterday on her Beyond Blue blog, Therese turned her attention to the subject of cancer and depression, in response to a question from one of her readers “What do you do when you are afflicted by BOTH cancer and depression? Your twelve steps work great for healthy people. But what do you do when you’re sick while trying not to plunge into a deeper depression?”
As always Therese had excellent advice, which you can read here