Home Health and wellbeing

Beating the blues without antidepressants



  • SirrahSirrah Noosa Sunshine CoastMember Posts: 76
    @Queendonut and @kmakm   I too was worried about having a record of "mental health issues"  recorded against my name if ever I applied for insurance, employment, etc but not when I went onto Effexor. It was after my diagnosis, mastectomy and subsequent chemotherapy problems which ended up with me speaking and walking as if I had Parkinson's Disease. I was given the choice by my neurologist to attempt one more chemo cycle (I only had 2 AC) or stop. That was such a HUGE decision that altho I had input from Drs, family etc it was basically MY decision alone. Would I get worse and not b able to walk or speak at all or would I get a recurrence if I didn't take the full chemo regime!!!
    I decided that as I was NED I didn't want to chance any more chemo.  However in making the decision I was emotional, irritable, stressed etc so my GP referred me to a psychologist. I was annoyed to see on the referral I was listed as Depressed and when I argued against that, my GP said she had to use that term to get me on a Mental Health Regime thru Medicare.
      I think it is wrong that anyone who has to go through the challenges of a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment HAS to b listed as Depressed to gain Medicare assistance.  As it was I only saw the Psychologist twice for a chat mainly about my family and support and feel I resolved everything myself, but I still wonder if in the future my "Mental Health" issues will b raised against me. However we have to do what is best for us at the time!
  • QueendonutQueendonut Member Posts: 20
    I too feel some stigma to the ‘mental health’ and ‘depression’ labels. I also feel i have not agreed to follow up any treatment or speak to my dr at length as i too do not want a ‘metal health’ record.  Silly really!  
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,900
    I have never felt worse emotionally in my life than in the last ten months. That I have sought help and feel marginally better (and hopefully continue on an upward trend) is worth any future problems that 'authorities' may have with a period of depression on my medical record. If I'm ever asked to explain I'll tell them my story. It is perfectly logical that what's happened to me over the last few years has laid me low emotionally. I can't see an end at the moment, but I presume I will recover at some point, at which time this will be behind me. I can get travel insurance OK, and I can't afford life insurance. I genuinely don't want to work for an organisation that wouldn't have me because of a period of depression due to cancer. I don't want that kind of negativity in my life.

    For what it's worth, a BC counsellor told me that she records any diagnosis of depression and anxiety as specifically related to the BC, so that if the medical records are subpoenad, there are no ramifications beyond the period of the cancer. She said almost all GPs do the same. No idea if it's true or not!
  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 4,588
    I'm not sure how a future employer would know that you had suffered depression as the information about diagnosis and treatment is confidential.  From another perspective, if I was on an interview panel, I would see it as a positive that someone who had gone through a period of severe trauma had sought out professional help to work through the fallout.  I don't know if my workplace (school) is out of the ordinary, but I have worked with staff over the years in different places (local council, uni) who have had existing issues or who have had life do them over and need help to get through it.  At all times, the team and executive response has been to support those people.

    I can't speak about insurance, however.  But I suspect BC tops anything else.
  • NaturalBelNaturalBel SOUTH ADELAIDE Member Posts: 542
    Great information.  A friend of mine is very "alternate".  She has her theory on why I had breast cancer in the first place, and here I am 6 years later becoming very interested in natural/alternate stuff.  What caught my attention was your mentioning your husband has Bipolar, because my husband has mood swings from hell, and diagnosed something.!!!
    What is important to us all, I believe is how we recognise what ongoing worry, stress and anxiety can do for our health, well being, ability to concentrate and to sleep.  Our sub conscious mind, throw inherited poor patterns on "focus on the problem"  and for those who don't learn the power of mindfulness and meditation, you're missing out on great free skills.  I have been doing this/ trying to do this since Cancer.  I too don't take any drugs as a Triple Negative Survivor, we don't get offered any (still smiling).  
    In Pharmacy, I recommend Nature's Own for natural sleeping solutions, and the best anti anxiety is called Anxio Lift by Oriental Botanicals for the day.  Both companies have a free phone number to a Naturopath, to assist you from a professional stand point. 
  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 2,962
    I am still looking for a reliable, harmless sleep aid. I don't have anxiety, depression or undue stress, my sleeping issues predate cancer by decades and almost certainly started with a child who slept through the night for the first time when she was 4 years old. Unfortunately Nature's Own gives me nightmares (literally, nothing wrong with the company to my knowledge). I have no problem in falling asleep, have been given all the stuff about REM sleep, sleeping through the night as a relatively recent thing in human evolution, etc etc, but seven hours straight more often would be rather nice.
  • ZoffielZoffiel Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 2,971
    @afraser I can't tolerate any sleep aids with valerian or melatonin in them. The pixies come to get me in the night and I spend hours thrashing in an exhausting twilight zone.
    Pot used to help but now it gives me the panics. I'd be willing to try oils without THC, if I could figure out how t get hold of some.

    I freely admit I'm my own worse enemy in one element of sleep sabotage which leads to the blues. I don't get out of bed fast enough when I wake up in the night needing to go to the loo. I lie there hoping that I'll go back to sleep; that the problem will go away. It doesn't, and is less likely to the older I get.

    Delaying the inevitable only means that by the time I concede defeat I an Wide Awake. In capitals, thank you. 
    If I drag my sorry arse out of the sack and shuffle off to the can without really opening my eyes when I first wake up, I'll go back to sleep. Once my brain gets involved, I'm doomed.
  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 2,962
    I shouldn't laugh but the 'Do I, don't I' about going to the loo is priceless. I have given up and just go when I wake up - saves hours of shilly shallying. Either way, I'm awake and lying debating the issue is possibly a sign of madness. Valerian I can handle but it doesn't always work. Lots of alcohol works but that's a Bad Idea. Sudoku or something that effectively shuts out any creative, demonic or work related thinking helps. Partner falls asleep in about 4 minutes and sleeps through anything. Also snuffles and snorts - although to be fair I wake just as often, even more sometimes, when he is elsewhere.  You could kill.
  • SirrahSirrah Noosa Sunshine CoastMember Posts: 76
    @afraser @zoffiel I soo relate to refusing to get up in the night to go to the toilet, especially when it is cold!  I have also tried getting up and keeping my eyes nearly closed but when I sat on the toilet lid, not the seat, I got a rude shock, THEN I was wide awake! Haha!
  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 4,588
    I'm also one who attempts to ignore the loo imperitave.  Sometimes I'll doze a bit but it's never enough. 
  • primekprimek Broken HillMember Posts: 5,347
    In regards to mental health and employment. ..as I worked for the government. ..workcover history comes up of course. I had a major depression following horrible workplace bullying....I was medically cleared to return to working but not at the same place. My new job (which I foubd myself )meant screening of health and history meant another psychiatry clearance. ..which I did...and no problems...all good. 
  • BlackWidowBlackWidow Lake GardensMember Posts: 194
    Let me help you all re the depression, sleeping and nightly loo issues.  Of course, you must check with your western medical team first !  My friend and I see an acupuncturist and all these issues have been discussed at length !  In regards to the loo bit, this doctor of Chinese medicine is working to re-balance the fluids around the body - and the nightly "will I, won't I get up" scenario has gone (bonus: the lymphoedema has also reduced greatly). A recent addition is the needle in the forehead and that seems to be working a treat on the insomnia and anxiety.  Yes, it is expensive at $70 for an hour of treatment each fortnight VS taking regular unwelcome medications but it seems to me a good investment.  I have only had a few sessions but can go longer without and as I understand it, once really sorted I may not need more or I can go occasionally for a bit of a top-up if I feel I need to.  Certainly worth looking at - I view my hour as 'for me' as it is really time out as well.  Worth looking at - and the needles are not a worry to the needle-phobic person.
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