Coping with Depression during Breast Reconstruction
By: Courtney Floyd
How should you handle depression after breast reconstruction surgery?
Depression is more than feeling gloomy or sad for a few days. Symptoms of depression do not go away and can gain control of your life. The most commonly identified signs of depression are:
- loss of interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
- change in weight
- difficulty sleeping or sleeping all the time
- energy loss
- feeling worthless, helpless, or hopeless
- thoughts of death or suicide
It is important to remember that sadness is a natural part of your breast reconstruction experience. After a diagnosis of breast cancer you can easily become overwhelmed with all of the treatments, doctor’s appointments, and the challenging realization you are being pushed unwillingly into a fight for your life. The stress and grief you feel is something you need to express and move through. If you do not allow yourself to grieve, the unresolved grief gets in the way of feeling and getting better.
During breast reconstruction surgery, it is important to feel and work through every frustration. From the unwelcome reality of the changes your body will endure, to accepting the time it takes to heal after surgery and the limitations you will encounter while recovering, feeling and expressing your frustrations and sadness is important. Some pain medications, especially opiates, can cause depression as well, so it is important to take your medication as prescribed after surgery.
If you, or a close loved one, feel you may be suffering from depression, it is important to seek help from a professional.
You are not alone is this expedition through breast reconstruction. Stay positive, seek help if you need it, and know your breast cancer sisters are behind you all the way.