When I was thirteen I had overwhelming periods of sadness that I chalked up to teenage angst. When it followed me around like a dark cloud through my early twenties and other things in life became too much, the feeling that my life wasn’t worth it interfered with my ability to enjoy what the world had to offer.
People were always there to offer words of support but the feelings of loneliness wouldn’t pass. I reached out to search for ways to handle it all, but it was never good enough. Only when I was introduced to a counsellor and psychologist, did my ability to talk it out and fill up my virtual toolbox, begin to wane the ebb and flow of pain.
As the stereotype that came with seeing a counsellor started to subside in the late 90’s, my family began speaking about these same feelings that plagued them. The internet also provided me with more background on what I was feeling. Being predisposed to something genetically greatly increases the risk of having it yourself, but there are many ways to work around this.
I was prescribed an anti-depressant and tried many until I found the right one that worked for me. A lot of the side effects from the others were worse than the sadness itself.
You don’t have to settle for anything you feel doesn’t work for you. There are many alternatives such as St. John’s Wort, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Emotional Freedom Technique, wellness strategies, light therapy and of course pharmaceuticals. As a person who has struggled with mental illness in a variety of forms such as anxiety, depression and post traumatic stress disorder, it has mostly been up to me to seek out help and resources. The biggest piece of advice I have ever heard and continue to pass on is: don’t isolate yourself.
We, as sensitive human beings, are our biggest advocates for health and wellness, but if you need help, there are confidential ways to seek them out.
Fortunately, the stigma that comes with mental illness is fading as more people are comfortable with talking about it and searching for help.
October is depression awareness month, please help yourself and do an online test to screen yourself for depression.
Welcome to the Life After Cancer section of the Cancer Knowledge Network (CKN). My name is Jen Luce, I’m a young-adult, and ovarian cancer survivor since 2006. I was approached by the CKN in May 2011, after they found my blog through the Links section of Young Adult Cancer Canada, a non-profit organization I have been involved with.
After writing several articles, I was invited to be Editor of the Patient Section of the CKN. I am excited for any opportunity to provide information to the masses, and to help organize and pull together as many contributors as possible.
I’d like to achieve a section that includes honest and open writing about the psycho-social effects of cancer survivorship regardless of what part of the journey you’re in. It will include insights into advocacy, the isolation and identity issues a diagnosis creates, as well as resources for nutrition and fertility (to name a few). I hope this site provides you with the information you are looking for to help set you on the right path in your life.
We are always looking for new writers, so if you’re interested, know someone who may be interested, or have comments and suggestions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find our Peer Review Guidelines here.