Posted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:14 am
Hi not sure if this is the right place,but my adult daughter has had a chronic life threatning illness for the past 18 months,it has been 18 months of tests,scans more tests,then treatment,tests that she had last week showed that she is all clear though she still has to have more tests and scans in feburary,we should all be jumping around for joy as drs have said they cant see any problems and 99%sure it has been cured,but none of us are,every one is flat not really talking about it,is this normal ? I feel as if I am being selfish but part of me is angry at my daughter for not showing any feeling just of the chuff remarks,it doesnt feel right and as if everything is off synce.has any one else had similar happen is it normal ?
Re: Feeling depressed
Posted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 11:32 am
Be kind to yourself. It's like a "hangover", you've all been brave for so long, and then once it's all over you realise how much strain you have been under, how much sleep you have lost, how much has been put to one side, etc. etc. Now is the time to take care of yourself, think about how you are feeling, physically. Make a real effort to "go slow" for a while, do the absolute minimum of work. I doubt it's really true depression, more a "Clapped out Carer" feeling. If you can afford to have a holiday, then it would do you the world of good to get away from it all, even just for a few days.
Re: Feeling depressed
Posted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:46 am
I would say it is normal. I think, when chronic or potentially life limiting disease has been on the agenda, our minds go into 'coping mode' and maybe they get stuck there. We get so used to 'feeling the fear' that even when the danger is lifted from us, we can't 'lift' our minds out of that 'set state'.
I do think it can get quite complicated inside our heads! One factor might also include something along the lines of 'survivor guilt' - we can feel that even though WE have been spared, we can feel it is at the 'expense' of someone else who did NOT get spared, so we feel we can't enjoy our own 'reprieve from danger'.
Also, the very fact that a young person has had to face the prospect of their own mortality, can be, in itself, traumatic. We feel, rightly, that it is deeply 'wrong' that someone young should be so threatened, and that, too, can keep our minds set to 'low'.
I'm not sure what best to recommend. I do think if you search the internt I suspect you'll find that you and your family are not alone - depression is very common, obviously, in those diagnosed with anything really 'bad' healthwise, not surprisingly, but it can, as you are experiencing, also affect the 'post-all-clear' period as well.
As BB says, give yourselves time to realise that yes, yes, YES!, the 'cup has passed', and that giving thanks is, indeed, the order of the day.
I'm thinking that maybe talking about it IS a good idea- but whether the family should all talk together, or, your daughter get counselling on her own (along the PTSD route maybe?) - or even her just finding, via the Internet, others threatened-but-reprieved from her condition, and seeing how they coped with the aftermath?
Another complicating factor of course could be the reverse of survivor guilt - it could be anger that the danger threatened at all! The 'why me?!' that, yes, however much we can know in our heads we have so much to be grateful for, can still knock us sideways.
Your daughter may 'resent' everything that was 'dumped' on her by this illness, resent that it singled her out, made her 'differnt' from her peers, etc, maybe delayed what she thought was going to be the accepted course of her life. When 'bad things' happen to young people, they can react in different ways. My own son was only 15 when his father died of cancer, and though, I hope with all my heart, he coped with it well, it must have left scars, it would be impossible not for such a trauma and loss to affect him badly - but, I do, do hope that it has, how can I put this, taught him not to 'sweat the small stuff' in life - ie, that, with respect to your daughter, this fearful experience she's been through can teach her how 'relative' things that did bother her before hand are, and that it has proved that steel is tempered in the fire, and she will be a stronger, braver, better person, BECAUSE of what she has had to confront.
It will, though, almost inevitably 'set her apart' from those in her community/social life who have never had to tread this difficult path. I do think the way to think of it though is this - that all of us who have had to cope with 'deep bad stuff' in our lives have a commonality that is shared irrespective of what precisely that 'deep bad stuff' was. (It's what unites the members of this forum - however different our caring responsibilities, that we have/had them at all, draws us together.)
Your daughter may feel she has 'grown beyond' the rest of her peers, who are still agonising over trivial things like worrying about their looks, or whatever, and she may feel distanced and detached from such 'trivialities' compared with what she has gone through. Again, counselling may help her with that.
On the other hand, counselling, or even talking about it, may be the LAST thing she wants to do! She may just want to say 'Mum, it's DONE, now I do NOT want to talk about it, think about it, have ANYTHIGN to do with it any more!'.
And that is fine, too, at least for now (unless it 'festers' for the future)(but then it can be dealt with when she is psychologically ready to do so).
In practical terms, is there something nice, some kind of 'big treat' that you can plan for, say the New Year, something to look forward to? That may help to let her look ahead to a better future, and revitalise her. Her life may have been 'delayed' by this illness, but re-setting her goals is important, even if she doesn't feel like it right now.
But, overall, as BB says, go easy on yourselves - you've been through a ghastly time, and that can take a while to surface from. It's like having 'the bends' maybe as you come up from the depths of fear.....
Wishing you well and a better, brighter future for you all.