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What Can You Do About Cancer Depression

Updated on March 31, 2015

Breast Cancer Cell


"The mind is its own place, and in itself, can make a Heaven out of Hell, a Hell of Heaven".

— John Milton


This article will not deal with sever depression. Sever depression needs to be dealt with by professionals.

There is a new study out that suggests,"You are what you think". If you feel hopeless about your health you will act hopelessly. If you act hopelessly you won't do what your doctor suggests to improve you health or quality of life. Hopeless thinking is a circular way of thinking. The following hopefully will help you to get off the hopeless treadmill and back in the game of life.

I have just celebrated 20 years of living with cancer. In those years there have been a gambit of emotions. It takes work, friends and family support systems, but it is possible to have a full happy life in spite of cancer.


It has been a wonderful summer. The weather has been wonderful. Warm evenings and good friends. I have been healthy and been to more social events than most people go to in a year. I am an introvert, but there has been a change in me. I find that people need me even when I don't think I need them. I am gifted as an encourager. But the last couple of days fear has come and all I want to do is cry. Angry because I don't know the future,but at the same time glad I don't know the future. This is a sign of depression. Depression grabs us all at some point. Cancer patients play mind games that need to be won. It's OK to be sad, angry, afraid, lonely or depressed. It is OK! Each one of those things has a place and time. What is not OK is to wallow in these unproductive thought patterns. So what do you do when you start thinking "I can't do it," or "It is pointless"?

Why Am I Depressed?

I know full well most of my depression is caused by things I can't control. I have spent my life telling myself that I am not a control freak. That's a lie. Everyone wants to control what happens to them. That is human. I can't control the number of the days of my life. I can't control what other people do and think. I am sick of hearing lies and being vilified as an angry hate-mongerer for the one thing that helps when I am depressed. I have conquered the high school education of my youngest son. My life is changing, I have gone into another stage of life. Cancer makes changing stages more difficult, but change is frequently uncomfortable. Some might even say cancer itself is a change of stage. You go from a healthy person to a sick person. Then you are healthy after chemo, but your cancer is only stable. It was supposed to be gone! Crazy. Much depression can be conquered by doing things for others. Thinking of others is the last thing in the world you want to do when you are depressed,

For those reading this, who are care givers, it may be obvious to you that the one you are caring for needs to be doing something to get out of depression. Remember you can't control anyone, but there are things you can do to help bring your loved one out of depression.

Toby Mac And Jamie Grace Help Lift My Spirit

Is There Something LittleThat May Help?

Determine if there are any obvious things that will make you or your loved one more comfortable. I watched my mother suffer with diarrhea for years. I suffered from it off and on during heavy chemo. I conquered it. Then several months ago it came back and suffer I did. I wasn't doing anything to bring it on. Everything I ate just turned to liquid and blew out. My fingernails got worse than they were last year when I was in the thick of chemo. I was sure the cancer was winning. I took Imodium faithfully and when I didn't diarrhea returned. I had heard the chemo nurses tell people over and over again to get the diarrhea under control. Diarrhea causes dehydration and malnutrition. This subject, is one of the triggers I identified for this current round of depression. My friend who had colon cancer last year has just been diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. She has been plagued with diarrhea for nearly 9 months and weighs almost nothing. I,who am usually pretty resourceful hit upon a solution for my own problem. I asked my friend who frequently travels to third world countries what he does if he gets sick on a trip and how he know it works? He explained that he takes Probiotics before he leaves. He doesn't get sick on trips. At the health food store they encouraged me to triple the dose of Probiotics and it worked. Telling my friend about Probiotics helped me feel better. I offered a suggestion, and she could decide to act or not.

If you feel better and your whole outlook on life improves you know your solution worked. If it doesn't work keep trying. Someone is bound to have some ideas to help.

My friend is gradually getting better also.

Seek Beauty

Sunrise over the lake.
Sunrise over the lake. | Source

What Are Some Other Helps?

What are some other things to help with depression? Get your mind thinking on positive things. I start reciting a litany of thanksgiving. Tonight I am thankful for the warm fire and wrap on this freezing night. I meditate on things I learn in the bible. When you meditate on the writings in the Bible you are filling your mind with positive things. In Ephesians 4:29-32 the apostle Paul says:

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you"

I don't even think people who say my belief system is hate-mongering can say those teachings are ugly. Hard to do? Yes! Impossible without the intervention of God.

Notice how many verbs there are in this passage. Maybe there is something to the whole, "do something", to flee depression.

Still there is more to do to flee depression. Exercise. If you are sick try for a walk around the backyard holding onto someones arm for support and strength. The walk makes you truly tired and will enable you to rest better. If you can't walk exercise your upper body. So many of us decide if we are not mobile we can't exercise. Then we gain weight and get more depressed. There are great videos on chair exercises for seniors. I don't like that particular description, but they are excellent videos for anyone.

Exercise When You Can't Walk With A Chair Routine

A little help from my friends helped me stay the course.
A little help from my friends helped me stay the course.

Stay The Course

Depression doesn't come on instantly for most people and it doesn't go away instantly. Stay the course. One thing I can tell you is that everything will be different in another minute. As much as we like things to remain static we are only fooling ourselves, Good things can happen just as fast as bad things. Since, there is nothing we can do about change be grateful for the next breath you take. My friend Patty told me she and her husband used to tell each other what was working when they got up in the morning, They then congratulated each other that something worked. Now that is what I mean by winning the positive thinking game.

"You look like you could use a hug".

Still Depressed

Do not suffer alone,"Please get professional help". There is no shame in depression. Getting help is part of winning the mind game too. Do not be afraid to take anti-depression drugs. It is better to take them and later not need them than to need them and surcome to depression.

Reach out to someone when you are in distress, because there is someone out there who loves you just as you are.


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    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 2 years ago from California

      Frank, Thanks for visiting. We are even for the day; I had forgotten how raw this was. Hope it wasn't too offensive.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      wow tireless.. so filled with emotions, raw and nothing to hold back.. depression can really be a formidable foe.. god bless you

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 2 years ago from California

      4FoodSafety, when I was young I was coming out of depression before I even knew I had it. Thanks for visiting.

    • 4FoodSafety profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 2 years ago from Fontana, WI

      Depression is a horrible thing. When I was young and invincible, I did not understand this - then the 'ol age of wisdom struck!

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

      Minnetonka Twin, I am honored to be helpful.

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 3 years ago from Minnesota

      Judy-This was so healing for me to read as a cancer survivor. Your tips are so important, so depression doesn't win. Depression is a big part of any disease, especially one like cancer that has the ability to come back. I too never thought I was really controlling until I was diagnosed. I was so ticked off that I joined a group that I didn't want any part of. It's a 'one day at a time' journey. Your suggestions help to get your mind off the worries. Blessings to you and thanks for sharing with us.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

      amerzmerizing, thanks for visiting. If my experience can be any help I am glad to share it.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

      Peggy W, I can feel those great big Texas hugs and they are appreciated.

    • amazmerizing profile image

      amazmerizing 3 years ago from PACIFIC NORTHWEST, USA

      Much love to you. This is a wonderful blessing in disguise. I have voted up on all and am pleased to follow this. It has touched me greatly. I have several in my family currently battling the big bad "C" and yes, lost my own dear Mama in '99 as well. They do say the power of positive thinking is truly amazing. Love your tip on probiotics. Thank you so much! Namaste ;)

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I can tell from reading this that you are not only helping to heal yourself with positive thoughts and actions but are undoubtedly an inspiration to countless others as well. Sending smiles and virtual hugs your way today. Sharing this important message with others ++.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

      Pat, Thanks for visiting. I am heading over to read your new hub! Love and Prayers -Judy

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

      Pat, Thanks for visiting. I am heading over to read your new hub! Love and Prayers -Judy

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 3 years ago from sunny Florida

      Judy I totally understand because the family of those with cancer experience much of the same feelings as the loved one with and cancer especially when it spreads and much uncertainty ensues.

      I have written about our journey here on HubPages and just published a new one today about how we manage.

      Sending you many Angels and much positive energy

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      My dear Gammagill, I am two and a half years past this last round of cancer. I was very fortunate to have been in a clinical trial with a drug that was very successful. The study was just unbounded , so I know for sure I received the drug. Completely agree you need to surround yourself with people who are positive. Laugh and Laugh some more is wonderful medicine. Thank you for visiting. I shall go look Tim Hawkins up.

    • Grammagill profile image

      Grammagill 5 years ago from Florida

      Having had cancer myself I relate. But having had one of the best cancer specialist in the state of N.Y; pound into my head how important it was for me to think positive, and a lot of praying, I am still cancer free after 27 years. Thinking positive is one of the hardest things to do when you have cancer. But it is a very important element too consider. And try to stay around people that are positive not negitive. Get yourself some really funny DVDs. Tim Hawkins is one that is sure to uplift you when down. You can find his clips on utube.

      Have a blessed night!

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 6 years ago from California

      Hey Yaoundesue, Thanks for the encouragement.

    • TinaAtHome profile image

      TinaAtHome 6 years ago from California

      Awesome article, thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      yaoundesue 6 years ago

      Nice article! Good insights and practical advice!