I’d like to start this post by saying, if you feel like you are depressed please find someone you trust (family, friend, spouse, doctor, social worker, anyone) and talk to them.
Depression is something that seems so common these days. Children are being diagnosed at an alarming rate, young adults are drowning their sorrows using various methods of self-medication and prescription drugs, retired men and women who feel like they no longer have purpose are turning to medications they never would’ve dreamed of taking 20 years ago. In cancer patients, particularly survivors, you are twice as likely to get diagnosed with depression, and for the most part it’s totally and completely understandable; I mean our bodies are so depleted, tired and forever changed by cancer.
So even though I had a multitude of social workers, doctors and nurses tell me to let them know if I started to feel blue, I pretty much blew them all off. I mean my thing is anxiety, I’m rarely sad or blue, but I’m always anxious so as long as I’ve got that under control I shouldn’t have anything to worry about.
Let’s be honest, I really do have an amazing life, with so much to be happy about and thankful for. I have so many things to brighten my day and give me purpose. My husband, son, family, friends, both my day job and my LipSense biz. I’m fulfilled and beyond blessed. But I’m also struggling…struggling with my weight, with my personal appearance (that stuff under my clothes that you all can’t see) and with adult responsibilities. #adultingsucks
So when I went in to see my amazing acupuncturist after a week of feeling less then myself, or let’s be honest I was going on 3 weeks of feeling like Eeyore (you know the depressed donkey on Winnie the Pooh), I just looked her in the eyes and said “I honestly think I’m depressed! How did this happen?” Now let’s be clear depression looks different for each person and my depressed looks something like this:
- No motivation to get out of bed…basically I force myself up, take my son to my mom and then battle the urge to call in sick and sleep all day.
- Shopping…Target trips that have zero purpose and are very counterproductive to my finances are a huge red flag. I mean shopping is something I love to do but when it becomes a mindless time suck where I “black out” shop, you know when you walk in, spend over a hundred dollars on crap you don’t need and then don’t even realize it until you are walking to the car, that’s when I know it’s gotten bad!
- Eating nonstop…chocolate, sweets, fast food, soda…another completely counterproductive activity since my goal is to lose weight not gain weight.
- Epic feats of procrastination…I seriously will find myself just staring at my computer screen like a zombie.
- OCD on hyperdrive…I’m not a clean freak but being blue actually makes me go through bursts of rampant cleaning binges where I’ll scrub toilets and organize my sons toys, then get pissed when it all gets messed up again.
Notice nowhere in there did I talk about wanting to cry endlessly…I’m not a crier. The sadder I get, the more tired I feel and the more trips to Target I take. But what’s the cure? Is it medications? Is there a cure? Why does your body react to you beating cancer by basically making you miserable? As I said above my thing is anxiety so I don’t want to add another prescription to my already ridiculous list of medications…I have a hard enough time remembering to take the ones I have. I also don’t have a great track record with therapists/counselors, I feel like I go in, dump all my issues on them and then they pull out their prescription pad while telling me it sounds like I have it pretty much worked out and if I’d like to be put on an anti-depressant or higher strength anti-anxiety…nope I’m good!
So do I just ride it out? Knowing that this is probably temporary? What if it’s not temporary?
At this point I don’t have the answers, just endless amounts of suggestions from so many people, some of them good and some of them make me want to slap them/roll my eyes (depending on how I’m feeling in the moment). For me, I think focusing on the good, curbing my desire to spend money on shit I don’t need, talking to my husband more, playing with my little monster man and just doing the things that I know make me happy may be the best solution. And, if at the end of all of this, I come up with some miraculous fix for the post-cancer blues I’ll be sure to share them with all of you!!
xoxo – Coop