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Words of Encouragement?
klamb
27 Posts
Hi all,

I am really suffering from depression and anxiety regarding my husbands cancer. I can barely get out of bed. How do you keep motivated and positive from day to day? Does anyone have any advice? I would love to hear from others on this.

Kerrie
23 Replies
ACH2015
2007 Posts
Hi klamb‍ Kerrie,

I'd like to share a link with you from the Canadian Cancer Society Taking care of yourself is a link for caregivers to help look after themselves and reduce their stress and the depression that can follow. If your depression is based on your husbands situation, hopefully you can nip it in the bud and move forward more productively.

A quote from the link:

"It’s normal to feel stressed, angry, afraid, helpless, frustrated, sad or guilty. It’s also normal to feel you must ignore your own feelings in order to stay strong for the person with cancer. Even though it can be hard, it’s a good idea to talk about your feelings instead of keeping them inside. Hiding your feelings can use up energy that you need to deal with caregiving".

"Talk to someone, like a trusted friend, a family member, a counsellor or a clergy member. A caregivers’ support group is a good place to talk to others who have been or are going through the same experience".

Everyone will have their own way of dealing with stressors that lead to depression - and being burned out and overloaded. One resource you may seek out are the social workers at the hospital where your husband is being treated. They assist not only the patient - but family members as well. They may also be able to point you to resources or therapists you could speak with as well. Be honest with yourself, be honest with your husband. You can't so this all by yourself, you need breaks and even in this covid challenging time, taking a walk (6 feet apart) with a friend, or getting out yourself in the fresh air to give you a different perspective is what we all need - especially when depressive episodes strike. Having been on anti depressants myself for years (and now pretty much weaned off) its a lot about acceptance of a situation, and doing the best you can with it. This is easier said than done, and takes time and effort. You may just be realizing how much your husbands cancer has impacted your mental health - and it's hit you all of a sudden. Get yourself some therapy resources, seek out assistance to look after your husband at times to give yourself a break, and even look at perhaps playing board games or something like this with your husband to have a more entertaining time with each other. My wife and I play battleship against each other on our computers and its a fun way to pass the time.

I hope this helps, you are not alone, and getting some tools and resources will help you cope better, feel better and move forward.

Keep well

ACH2015
Brighty
6457 Posts
klamb‍ I would give a call to my family doctor. You should tell your doctor what is going on. You might need some meds and therapy to get through. No shame at all. It's not easy to be positive at all times. I called family doctor too when I was a caregiver. I cried all the time. I was already on meds but I was put on a higher dosage . Also got into a therapy group with the hospital where I was assigned a social worker. He gave me strategies to cope. He reminded me that I had a responsibility to myself too. I had to keep going hold down my job, and take care of myself in order to be a caregiver. There is also the oncology social worker at the cancer centre who can help you. In my case I also worked full time which gave me some normacly for a few hours and people to joke with during the day. I did whatever I could to get out of my head... looked at pictures of my cat, went for a walk or swim, treated myself to little things like an ice cream or latte,or take out meal, watched funny shows,reached out to family or friends. ...have things to look forward to. do your friends and family know what's happening? Maybe reach out to someone go for a walk.. .6 feet apart and grab an ice cream? You'll see the mood will be much better after a short outing or distraction. I found the mundane normal things to be good too. Just grocery shopping, talking to my fiance about the hockey game, making things seem normal for a bit and take to him about normal every day things too.. not only rhe cancer. Where is he in terms of treatment? We also habe the cancer info line. 1 888 939 3333. Give a call tomorrow and a very kind person will chat with you. Anyway like I said don't be shy to let your family doctor know what's happening and that you might need a bit of help to get through a rough time. The fact you can barely get out of bed has me worried so please call tomorrow and be in touch agsin on the site.
klamb
27 Posts
Thanks. I am on medication for anxiety/depression but maybe I need the dose increased. I can’t eat either. I’m supposed to go back to work tomorrow, so maybe that will help me but it’s hard as I’m crying a lot. My husbands treatment hasn’t been determined yet. We are still waiting to hear back from the doctors on a CR scan done last Monday. He has 5 or 6 suspicious nodules in his lungs, so they think his cancer has spread there. I’m just really scared of what’s next in my life.
Brighty
6457 Posts
klamb‍ yes it's possible you need the dosage increased . I'm glad you are going back to work tomorrow. You might want to give a heads up to your employer about what's happening. The reason I did was 1. Because I cried at work so people would ask what was happening. ..the school principal was very good about letting me have time outs and breaks if needed. .found someone to cover. Also because your job might also have councelling services. The school board did and I think most jobs do.
I can relate to the not eating thing too my anxiety was so bad I couldn't eat.. went down to 92 pounds . I didn't have the mental energy to be bothered to prepare myself anything. . In this case you might want to ask a good friend to drop off ready made meals. You need to keep your strength up to be a caregiver. You need to keep healthy! !
as for the future. ..you don't have to think about that right now. Focus on now,and what is happening right now. I know its hard,but a therapist can guide you how to do thst too. I did a lot of self talk in my head. 'He's here NOW! I'm going to focus on whst is happening NOW and be in the moment with him... Ill deal with each situation and news as it comes. One thing at a time. I'm stronger than i think I am.....and I'm not alone.. I have a safety net.....people who care,people I can rely on...I'm not alone....he has as good health care team... he's in good hands......thry are going to take care of him......repeat repeat repeat.. as many times as necessary. It works! !let us know when you get more information. You can do this and you're not alone.
ACH2015
2007 Posts
klamb‍ Kerrie,

May I suggest you speak with your employer about the current situation. You don't need to go into great details, but if you are at a fragile time with going back to work, it may be best to seek whatever accommodation you can. It can be hard for others to know how you are feeling and coping. I agree its good to be working, but you need to break the ice with the employer as well. Take as much stress off yourself as possible, be honest and just do your best.

Hope this helps

ACH2015
klamb
27 Posts
I told my employer last week as I was crying at work. I could take a paid short term disability leave. I feel weak for needing it. I have my doctor calling hopefully tomorrow and I will need a note from her, but it is something I am considering. My brain just feels like mush. I am also really angry. I am angry this is happening to me. I really wish it wasn’t.
ACH2015
2007 Posts
klamb‍ Kerrie,

Good to know your employer is in the loop with things going on with you. There is nothing to think or believe that taking a ST Disability leave is weak. If you need it - so be it. That's what they are designed for and to be used for. If you felt you could manage at work - with accommodations and the employer was working with you, that may work as well. Is working from home a possibility? Being angry is part of this process, be you a caregiver or patient. Therapy, time, medication if needed and coming to terms with what is going on are all parts of this situation - and many of us have been there. Take your time, think about options and if you are able and ready to return to work. I'd also like to reinforce to you that 1 on 1 therapy is the best way to deal with depression - especially if you are on an anti depressant. The dosages and medications may need to be adjusted, and the therapist can tell and monitor your progress and needs with ongoing and regular therapy.

Talk to your doctor and if you don't have a therapist I suggest you get referrals, perhaps from your doctor tomorrow.

Keep well

ACH2015
klamb
27 Posts
It’s unfortunately an 8 month wait here to see a therapist. I’ve called my psychiatrist about 20 times in the last month (I am not exaggerating). I do have an EAP program offered through work and the soonest they could get me in was April 5th. I’m only 38 years old. I honestly never thought I would be going through this 💔
ACH2015
2007 Posts
klamb‍ Kerrie,

It is good to hear you have the EAP and you do have an appointment coming up April 05th. Covid 19 has not helped with the shortages of mental health therapists, and there was a shortage before this pandemic. Are there any social workers at the hospital your husband is being treated at - you could speak with before April 05th?

None of us thought we would be going through cancer and all it brings with it. Be you a patient or a caregiver - it is nothing we can prepare for and you have done an awful lot of your own homework here. Be proud of your accomplishments - know that you are doing your best in some extreme circumstances here, and understand that many of us are or have been in the boat you are in. There is help, there is a plan you have for talk therapy - and these are the positives I hope you can focus on for now. I know how tough it is to need to talk to someone now - but the appointment is not till a week or two - or more.

May I suggest something you could do now. Write down your thoughts and feelings, write your husbands cancer a letter and tell it what you think and feel about what it is causing in your life. Seeing your thoughts in writing at least help to get them out of your head and defuse some of that anger.

Does your husband know how you have been affected Kerrie? If not, let him know how concerned you are, be honest with him, and just hold him and be with him. You are supporting him, and I am confident he will support you as well. Its a team effort right? Take a deep breath for yourself, don't be alone with your thoughts and try some of the things I have suggested. And don't forget to cry. As one of my social workers always said "we need to empty our emotional bucket as often as necessary" - so please so and release that stress.

I am sending you positive thoughts and strength.

ACH2015

klamb
27 Posts
Many thanks to you and Brightly. You have helped me a lot and made me feel much less alone. I’ve been doing a lot of crying, but sometimes that makes my husband more upset. I seem to skip right to the end of things. I’m scared of living my life without him... and what will happen to me. I do need to remember that he’s here right now, and he’s seemingly in good health (no symptoms). There is a clinical trial he is eligible for, so we may try that as well.
klamb
27 Posts
Brighty‍ thank you for talking to me ❤️
Brighty
6457 Posts
klamb‍ just to let you know,one other resource I used when i was totally desperate was to go to emergency and talk to the social worker on call. There is one at the hospital 24 hours a day. Not sure though how it works during covid though. And anger.....oh ya......I get it too.,I was angry at the world and snapped at everyone for everything. I was envious of people who seemingly had ' normal lives' I was not a joy to be around to put it mildly. Anyway when I got to chatting around ,I realized I wasn't the only one in the whole world dealing with this stuff... everyone has something to deal with. It seemed like everyone and everything was so normal and the rest of the world kept moving... it wasn't fair. But you are by far nor alone, I promise. We will help guide you and help you get through. Be in touch with us tomorrow. How is your husband coping with everything?
klamb
27 Posts
Brighty‍ my husband is ok. He’s taking it one day at a time. The way he sees it, the doctors haven’t told him to worry yet, so he’s not. He’s much more mentally grounded than I am. He deals with issues on a day to day basis.
Hausey
19 Posts
klamb‍ ... my EAP gave me some date 2 weeks out for therapy, I yelled at them that that wasn’t good enough and I’m just barely hanging in to my sanity... it worked, a therapist phoned that evening and an appt was set up in 2 days.
Cynthia Mac
3080 Posts
Hi, klamb‍ , I’m sorry you’re going through this (sounds like again). I was caregiver for my Dad. When he was first diagnosed, I was “all biz”: hit the ground running, and all that. But, when we learned that his cancer had spread, (a year after treatment), I went to mush, so I can sure understand what you’re going through. Those blasted “what ifs” can sure creep up on you.

It sounds as though you’re struggling with staying “in the moment.” My go-to guy for that is Jon Kabat-Zinn. He wrote a book called Full Catastrophe Living that might be helpful to you. From him, I learned how to “chase away” some bad thinking by reminding myself “I am doing dishes right now,” or “I am taking care of myself right now,” to try remember that “thinking the bad thoughts” wasn’t productive to me in that moment.

Another author who has helped me over the years is Louise Hay. She’s big on using affirmations, and I had many many days where I just had to keep reminding myself that, no matter what happens, I am safe.

I’m glad you reached out here, and hope that this site helps you feel supported through this.
klamb
27 Posts
Just checking in... I’m still not doing great. I’m waiting for my doctor to call. Woke up crying and I’m trying to work right now. At least I’m working from home and no one can see me crying.
Brighty
6457 Posts

@klamb jjust checking in. How are you doing today? Did you manage to get in touch with your doctor?

klamb
27 Posts
Brighty‍ hello :) I did. I got something for my anxiety/depression. They still haven’t called us about my husbands scans so I asked if she got a copy. She said the spots are stable... one of them maybe grown .5mm but that’s really small? I just want him to get the biggest one biopsied so we can determine what to do. Good news is that his head looked clear. No new tumours there.
Brighty
6457 Posts
klamb‍ good to hear from you! I'm so glad you got something for your anxiety/depression! Hope it kicks in soon! I'm glad to hear the spots are stable...........and so glad the head is clear! Hang on to every piece of good news! By the way, I see you have a kitty cat? What is his/her name? I have a kitty cat named Vinnie. He's a feisty little guy, my boy. He snuggles up to me when he feels like it, then bites me when he gets annoyed with me. He knows how to make his feeling and needs known. Right now he is hiding in his cat bed which transforms into a cat house. He's swatting at me as I walk by him. I love him to bits and pieces. Maybe you would like to join the pet group we have here on the site. You can talk about your kitty !!!! Vinnie has helped me through some really rough times. He puts a smile on my face every single day. I hope your kitty does the same for you. Keep us in the loop how you and your husband are doing.
klamb
27 Posts
Brighty‍ Yes, that’s Lacie :) My husband and I rescued her about 10 years ago. She’s feisty too lol. I have two more: Goldie and Junior. They’re both rescues. Goldie is the baby. Junior must sleep every night on one of us. He’s very cuddly, and we got him because the people who lived in our apartment left him behind when they moved. I would love to be part of the pet group!!! :) I’ll take a look so I can share pictures of my little babies. They’re great companions, aren’t they?? I will keep you updated on our situation!
Brighty
6457 Posts
I'd love to see your pets klamb‍ .. !! click on 'groups ' and 'love our pets.. caturdays and dog day afternoons' . Vinnie is a rescue too. I like to say that we rescued each other.... because it's 100 %true.
klay
76 Posts
klamb
I am so sorry that you're feeling the way that you are.
I know that I suffer from bouts of depression that has culminated from my cancer journey.
I have found that a few things work for me.
Mediation and yoga
Keeping a gratitude journal and really being honest in it...its for me after all. As much as I'm grateful for everything I'm also angry, sad, happy and empowered.

Walking to clear my mind, body and soul..I know this may not be easy being a caregiver but you have to make time for yourself too. I always remind my husband, kids, family etc that life goes on.

Have a look also at wellspring.ca
They offer many online services for caregivers and patients.

I love to listen to music and watch fun lighthearted television and movies.

I love cuddling with my dogs. Animals always know when you need a little extra love.

It's ok to cry it doesn't mean you're weak I cry often and sometimes uncontrollably.
Brighty‍ has offered great advice. Focus on the now.
Words i live by
"Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin"

i wish I could do more to help.

Just know you're surrounded by people that truly care and with combined experiences can help you through this difficult time.

I find my journey has honestly been harder on my husband than myself because he feels helpless because he wants to make me better. He said to me right now that he knows I have so much on my plate that he doesn't like to overwhelm me with his sadness over it. So he remains positive just by knowing it's what I need emotionally and mentally.
We have our moments of sadness together and cry..then talk about something fun that we did..whatever..and we move forward.
But knowing he is there for me and loves me and does his very best is the best medicine.

Face cancer together ❤ know you're not alone in any of this.

Sending you love ❤
Karen
lauracf
58 Posts
klamb,

The only advice I can offer you right now is to not look too far into the future. It's early days for you and it sounds as though your husband is doing well right now. Don't spoil your days together now for an outcome that may or may not happen.

Sleep is essential. Don't be hard on yourself for crying. You can't help it, and it can be cathartic. Gentle exercise is very helpful.

I know how terrifying it is to contemplate losing your life's partner. It took me a while to develop a strategy for that. When I wake up in the night in a panic over the thought of having to live without my husband, I remind myself that he's right here asleep right now, in bed, where he should be, and tomorrow morning I'll wake up and he'll be there. That's as far ahead as I allow myself to look, most of the time.
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