Depression is the Pits When Dealing with Blood Cancer
Last updated: April 2023
Depression seems to be the “it” news in today’s media. The funny thing is it’s always been an issue that many face throughout much of life’s trial and tribulations. It’s interesting when a buzzword is brought to the attention of many dealing with it in everyday “life”. Though many are afflicted with the disease of depression from an earlier state throughout various stages of their life; there’s also the many that are struck into a deep depressive state when told they have cancer.1
As I’ve told many, when I was afflicted with this myeloma business, I had one outburst of “why me”? I’m not sure that was a depressive state or just needing sympathy because I was scared. My main concern upon learning of my cancer was “how do I live past this 5-year death sentence that was all over the internet”?
Many people are not as quick to get up and move forward after dealing with a cancer diagnosis, especially myeloma. If it’s not problems with healthcare, it might be finding a good medical team, or the daunting treatment process... it’s all a lot to take in. Depression affects us all at some stage or another, but it’s that “you have cancer”, that takes an individual on a different ride.
Some signs of depression
Avoiding people is a common reaction when told you have blood cancer.1 When any of us learn that we are afflicted and then once you’ve processed those words, you must deal with explaining what is going on with those in your circle. This explaining and being in the forefront is stressful and depressing. Perhaps, you aren’t in that place to share yet, while anticipating listening to the scripted “you’ll beat it” monologue. Now with that said, and if you’re lucky to have a positive group supporting you, talking about what’s on your mind at that moment is often the best thing to do. As long as you express to your loved ones that all you need at this time is their love and listening cap, you only need to what you feel in that moment.
Depending on food
Food can lead to negative decisions about how we deal with a cancer prognosis. It's funny how some may turn to food to cope in the beginning, however, can’t stomach the thought of food once a grueling chemo treatment comes into play. Eating a healthy diet is a huge factor in your treatment regimen; it’s the less than healthy decisions like binge and emotional eating when we run into problems.
Continually discontent about the news
Shaking such troubling news is easier said than done, yet you must try and get out of this funk. If cancer doesn’t do anything but one good thing, that is that it makes us stronger. Strength in fighting this with a positive mindset is another tool in beating this. The news is the news is the news…. And once you wrap your head around how to move forward in your cancer journey, can you then maintain your sanity to move forward.
Ways to help regroup
Carry a journal
Don’t go into a dark emotional space without support. If you don’t have a strong team around you (or if you do), think about writing your thoughts and feelings down… all of them. If you want your journal to be a bunch of expletives about how you’re feeling, then do it. If you want to scream at your medical team that you may feel are not properly guiding you on this new direction, call them out in your journal. Why not allow this journal to represent and release that depression? Be bold in font, stick figures, whatever you need to move forward in a better space you can do so, as you’ve written down and released that negative energy.
Ask for help
It’s okay to ask for help in coping with the process of cancer, as it’s not easy. If your internal team can’t provide you with what you need emotionally and you're about to explode, it’s okay for a trained professional to step in for further guidance. Sometimes those in your corner can’t give you everything you need at the moment you need it. Dealing with cancer in this moment, space, and time takes courage and a healthy mindset for the decisions ahead.
The time to fight is now, with integrity, grace, hope, and a smile….when you feel like it.
What blood cancer were you diagnosed with?