Check out the "Symptoms of Depression
" handout; it may help you decide if you are experiencing depression. You may also want to talk to a support person and your family doctor about your symptoms.
Remember that some symptoms of depression can be connected to the treatment you are undergoing, the treatment side effects or the medications used. They may not always be reliable indicators of depression in people with cancer. For example, decreased energy is a common symptom of treatment and does not necessarily indicate you are experiencing depression. That is why it is important to discuss your symptoms with your doctor and health care team.
Know one has to suffer endlessly. Most people with depression feel a sense of relief when they learn the facts about depression. Depression is not a personal weakness, and most importantly, you learn you are not alone.
Each case of depression is unique, so people may require different methods of treatment. There is a range of treatment options for depression including counselling services and/or psychiatry services, medications, or a combination. Support from family, friends and self-help groups can also make a big difference.
Things to know and do:
- If someone has depression remember it is an illness and no individual or family member is responsible for the depression. Telling the person to "pull themselves up by their boot straps" or "just think positive" is not useful. Encourage them to talk to a member of their medical team. Check out our helpful handouts for recognizing "symptoms of depression".
- Listen and offer support rather than trying to contradict or talk someone out of their feelings. It is important that you let the person know that it is all right to talk about their feelings and thoughts.
- Ask the person how you can help such as going with them to see their family doctor or a mental health professional.
- Don't try and support the person on your own, get help from others - the same way you would seek help if someone had a constant or continual pain that isn't improving. Seek out professional support that will give you and the individual information and solutions.