Mental health seems to be getting more press recently because of high profile people committing suicide. As unfortunate and sad as it is that this has happened, bringing the topic out as one we can discuss is the silver lining. Depression is often a whispered word. One that people don't want to admit is their diagnosis. Something you may think you can "get over" or just need to "buck up." I heard a physician once say, "We wouldn't expect someone to get over a cold or a broken leg by sheer will. Why should that be expected of depression?"
As a cancer survivor, you probably have good days and bad days when it comes to feeling well, having energy and a good sense of well-being. However, there's a difference between the normal feelings of sadness and grief associated with a diagnosis of cancer and the symptoms of true clinical depression. Research shows that about 25 percent of people with cancer suffer from clinical depression. It's important to recognize the symptoms:
Recognizing depression in a person with cancer is not easy. Many times, the same symptoms are attributed to the cancer itself, or to the side effects of treatment. It's not uncommon to feel a sense of loss, sadness, anxiety and withdrawal after first receiving a diagnosis of cancer. However, it's important to seek help if these feelings last longer than a few weeks and interfere with your usual functioning. Speaking openly and honestly with your healthcare provider is an important first step in moving forward. Early diagnosis and treatment of depression is vital to your recovery to help ease the symptoms, increase your quality of life, and most importantly, help you successfully participate in cancer treatment.
If you're a cancer survivor and have experienced depression, please feel free to share your experience on this topic with others.
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