Author Topic: Depression  (Read 15487 times)

phx

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Depression
« on: December 21, 2010, 09:40:55 pm »
I think I'm depressed. I just feel like I'm not getting the support I need, but at the same time I also feel like I am. I know that I'm not making sense. I don't want people to treat me differently, but I also don't want people to act like I'm all good and well and back to my old self because I will never be like that again. I'm just different now. I use to love school, love family time, etc. and now I feel like I just want to be by myself. I have a hard time expressing my feelings because people tell me I'm just venting. Many of my symptoms of the acoustic neuroma started before my surgery and still remain, plus some more added as a result of surgery. People just don't get it. I feel really unsure of myself. Every time I ask someone to repeat something or explain it differently and even when I do something not "normal", I feel like I always have to explain why. I don't mind explaining, but then I start feeling like I'm asking for pity and I'm really not. I feel like it's the end of the world. I'm sad that I have a brain tumor, but I'm very thankful that it's somewhat under control. Every now and then I have really bad anxiety to the point where I get so afraid that I'm going to die because of this thing. Anyone feel that way or have felt that way? Any advice for me? Thanks everyone.

Phx

Migoi

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Re: Depression
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2010, 06:24:41 am »
Hi,

  While I have a personal belief that 'normal' is a much overrated human parameter, I do understand the desire to be like everyone else. The problem is that if you have an AN you're not like everyone else. You're hanging out on the edge of the statistical bell curve in the land of the single digit percentage. Normal can usually be better thought of as 'normal for me' versus 'normal as compared to others.' Your mission, whether you chose to accept it or not, is to become comfortable with your new normal.

I have some thoughts on parts of your post...not advice (trust me, taking advice from me generally turns out to be a very iffy proposition), just a relating of my thoughts.

Wanting to be left alone... Yep, that happens. For me it's a matter of needing 'think' time. Before the surgery, it was thinking about all the stuff I had read and been told about AN's and their effects. After the surgery, it was thinking about how to meet the various challenges plus plotting on how to overcome those challenges. Plotting takes time, but you can shorten that time by conspiring. That's why these forums exist...so we can conspire to overthrow the challenges (and occasionally a despot or two.)

Venting.... Yep, that happens. And it should. People actually tell you "You're just venting."? If so, I'm thinking one response might be, "Yes, I am. Thanks for letting me vent, I really needed that. You're a good friend." One more reason why these forums exist... a place to vent to folks that know there is a need to vent. Vent away.

Explaining.... Yep, that happens. How I explain, and how much I explain depends a lot on the circumstances.  I suppose at one time I was a bit conscious about asking people to repeat things they said..but I've had some hearing loss for a long time and it doesn't bother me anymore. I've adjusted to thinking that if it was important enough for them to say it to me, then it should be important enough for me to actually understand what they were saying and they shouldn't have a problem repeating it. A statement of fact, "I can't hear anything on one side." is not a request for pity, it's simply a statement of fact. Will some folks still pity you...probably, but you can't control what other people think. They will think what they will think..if you didn't explain and didn't try to understand those same people would probably think other equally unkind things. Sometimes in noisy environments I misunderstand what people say and make replies totally unconnected to the subject. Other times I understand what they said and still make a reply totally unconnected to the subject (and usually a bit outrageous) just to see the look on their faces.

Again, none of the above should be considered advice. You should also know that recently a student in the high school where I teach was asked the definition of "eccentric." That student immediately replied, "That's how Mr. Migoi acts." Not only did the other students agree with that, it also was an acceptable answer on the end of the week vocabulary test. So proceed at your own risk in following the above information.

..thanks for being...migoi

Arkansas Support Group Leader
The wild places are where we began. When they are gone, so are we. - D.B.
AN's only affect the smartest, most interesting people in a population.
On a hill in Onda, AR
http://www.facebook.com/migoi

suboo73

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Re: Depression
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2010, 07:09:49 am »
Phx,

I read your post and my heart goes out to you!
Even though i am in W & W, i have had some of those feelings as well...
Frustration; how to tell others (if i want to) without seeming pitiful, etc. etc.

I work in a university and talk with students and coworkers all day long.
Some know my situation, others do not. 
But, as Migio stated, i often ask others to repeat what they said so i can be clear on their request.
I will say something like - "I don't hear well on my right side, would you please repeat what you said?"

It has been 2 years since diagnosis and i am still trying to find that new 'normal.'
I guess it is all part of the journey.

Take care and keep writing.  I think it is important to write down your thoughts!
We are here for you - so glad you wrote this post!

Sincerely,
Sue

suboo73
Little sister to Bigsister!
9mm X 6mm X 5mm
Misdiagnosed 12+ years?
Diagnosed Sept. 2008/MRI 4/09/MRI 12/09/MRI 1/21/11
Continued W & W

Cheryl R

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Re: Depression
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2010, 08:44:40 am »
While looking at some paperback books in a store, I saw one called  Am I Normal?                 I never looked at it but did give me a smile and good to know that is a question we all ask ourselves or a book would not have been written.          One persons normal is not another persons "normal"                   Just being on here for a long time has shown me how one person's personality to this whole AN adventure can vary greatly and always will!                                   Cheryl R
Right mid fossa 11-01-01
  left tumor found 5-03,so have NF2
  trans lab for right facial nerve tumor
  with nerve graft 3-23-06
   CSF leak revision surgery 4-07-06
   left mid fossa 4-17-08
   near deaf on left before surgery
   with hearing much improved .
    Univ of Iowa for all care

moe

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Re: Depression
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2010, 09:41:28 am »
Phx,
There are a lot of posts about this topic. Here is one from a member who doesn't post much any more. She is doing sooo much better, and has learned to accept her limitations. You may want to read through her posts.

http://anausa.org/forum/index.php?topic=10515.0

I can sooo relate to everything you said. I included a lot in those posts myself! My heart goes out to you.

Depression can be a normal reaction to everything that we have to go through. Trying extra hard to get through the day with listening , (tinnitus in my case), with the SSD is so exhausting. I would just want to hide and turn into a social hermit.

It has been a long road for me. 4.5 years later, I am finally starting to feel better. Thanks recently to the BAHA for hearing and a new antidepressant to supplement my normal antidepressant.  :o (You do what you gotta do)

It's ok to admit you are depressed. Almost expected. So don't be afraid to talk to your doctor to get some help. It has helped ME recently to get through this month.

Feel free to PM me if you would like to. But venting on the forum is good therapy for you and all those others who have the same problem, but maybe don't want to post.

 I had the cyclic depression (PMS) before the diagnoses, so post op I'm dealing with 2 different types of depression, I think.

Anyway, hang in there, we are here for you :)
Moe
06/06-Translab 3x2.5 vascular L AN- MAMC,Tacoma WA
Facial nerve cut,reanastomosed.Tarsorrhaphy
11/06. Gold weight,tarsorrhaphy reversed
01/08- nerve transposition-(12/7) UW Hospital, Seattle
5/13/10 Gracilis flap surgery UW for smile restoration :)
11/10/10 BAHA 2/23/11 brow lift/canthoplasty

Jim Scott

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Re: Depression
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2010, 03:48:07 pm »
Phx ~

I submit that your frustrations are perfectly normal for an AN patient.  Most of the folks that post here have experienced some or all of the emotions you've described in your message.  I can't diagnose depression but that can be a rather ambiguous term.  I suppose at some point in our journey, all AN patients could be described as 'depressed'.  What to do about it?  Well, we all handle things differently.  Being some 40 + years older than you, I didn't approach my AN diagnosis the same way as you might have or the same way a 35-year-old mother of two or three young children might. I saw my diagnosis as a challenge that, with the help of my doctors and my spiritual faith, I would have to conquer.  I did my research and chose a treatment plan (offered by my neurosurgeon) and was determined to recover my 'normal' life as quickly as possible.  I had already learned to deal with being SSD and, post-op, I worked hard to regain my balance ability.  That paid off and within a year of my surgery and radiation, I was about as 'normal' as I was ever going to be and I was (and remain) O.K. with that.  I lead a fairly active life (church Deacon, among other responsibilities).  Fortunately, I suffered no complications from my surgery/radiation and that obviously made my recovery much smoother.  I also was determined not to allow whatever physical deficits I did incur (a few, all invisible to others) to dominate my life in any way.  I am far from the 'macho' type but I also loath pity and was resolved to 'suck up' any issues I had and simply get on with my life - and that is exactly what I did.  My wife was always supportive and most of my friends know about my being SSD and never even mention it.  I've long since learned how to position myself to have my 'good' ear toward a speaker, although I do occasionally miss something that is said and have to ask to have it repeated.  I have no problem doing so, although I try to avoid asking, whenever possible, mainly when I assume what was said wasn't crucial or others responses make it obvious i.e. laughter.  I guess what I'm stating is that the AN patient has to be his/her own best friend and decide to make the best of the situation (such as being SSD).  It's a matter of self confidence and having an acoustic neuroma diagnosis can certainly shake that confidence but you can surmount your feelings of inadequacy.  I believe your fear of death is not all that uncommon but basically unrealistic.  Don't dwell on it as that fear has no basis, unless you decide to ignore your AN - which you won't.   I hope you can push past your frustrations and fears and get to a better place, emotionally.  We're here to support you as you make that journey and we're all rooting for you, so take heart and know that you're not alone - and that you'll be O.K.     :)

Jim
4.5 cm AN diagnosed 5/06.  Retrosigmoid surgery 6/06.  Follow-up FSR completed 10/06.  Tumor shrinkage & necrosis noted on last MRI.  Life is good. 

Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is.  The way we cope with it is what makes the difference.

FLsunshine

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Re: Depression
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2010, 11:08:30 am »
Well, there have already been many ythoughtful posts already written but I couldn't help but add a few of my own as my heart went out to you:

venting - got to do it or you'll go crazy keeping it all inside you.  This forum is filled with the best support you will ever have. 

external support - don't expect your friends and family to really understand what you are going through because they can't.  they don't know what it is like to have daily reminders (through symptoms you are managing or just your own thoughts that you are managing) of what you are dealing with.  its also a silent disability in that people can't see your injury or your pain like they can a broken arm.  have patience and don't judge their lack of response for lack of caring... cause they really don't know what its like.  depend on this support forum for like minded people in your same situation that can empathize with you but more importantly provide you with excellent ideas on coping strategies and how to address your concerns with your friends/family. 

be easy on yourself - allow yourself to be angry, to be sad or even some days to feel great and energized that you are going to beat this thing.  you'll have up days, down days... allow yourself these feelings.

educate yourself - on what treatment options there are and how much time you have to decide... some docs try to push treatment really fast when there is the watch and wait option especially if your tumor is less than 1 cm.  Mine was diagnosed 4 years ago and while it is still relatively small I have a lot of very debilitating symptoms that I am managing with great doctor care. 

life does get better - believe it.  this site has many members who can tell you that while scary at diagnosis, during waiting, and even a bit after treatment... life does goe on and many, many get better.  there are those that don't but keep it in perspective that there are more people that get better than those that don't.

faith - keep it and cultivate it.  this tumor can be looked upon as a negative in your life or you can reframe and consider it a "gift" in helping you redefine your life, reconfirm whats important to you.  there was a great thread about this very topic of perspective as a "gift".  I encourage you to search it and read the inspiring stories.

We are all here for you. 
3mm AN diagnosed in 2006
w&w with escalating symptoms
slow growth - at 4mm in 2010

Brewers7

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Re: Depression
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2010, 11:23:38 am »
A wise doctor told me, "Your life won't always be this way."  I clung to my faith and these words to get me through the really dark times.  Do not hesitate to reach out for help.
Translab surgery 12/15/2008 followed by CSF leakage repair and 3 additional surgeries for MRSA of the brain (NOT typical) SSD,  facial and vocal cord paralysis, numerous reconstructive surgeries, Transear 12/2010

GramaSuby

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Re: Depression
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2011, 09:31:58 pm »
As one who has suffers from depression since childhood I know what you're going thru and it seems endless and hopeless but I can assure you that there is hope and there are
bright days to come.  When I can get myself outside, sitting in the sun gives my spirits a lift.  God be with you and know that you are loved!
Diagnosed Nov 08  w/ 14x13x14mm left AN. Translab on 9/30/10 w/ Dr's Mattox & Olson at Emory University Hosp. in Atlanta.  Post surgery complications were meningitis & pneumonia. Hospitalized for 12 days, zero memory for the first 5.

Mickey

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Re: Depression
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2011, 09:48:59 am »
Having a AN and its symptoms is not something that would make anybody happy. Therefore normal tendency is to become sad or even a little depressed. In my situation being W+W I`ve had the same symptoms for 30 years being diognosed for 3 1/2 years now. When the tinnitus started way back then I thought it would drive my crazy. Its amazing how you can adapt to things over time and I'm so used to it that it just became part of "my being". That dosn`t mean that from time to time I don`t get down. What I do is try to keep very positive and outgoing very healthy and spiritual. Try it! over a period of time this may help while at the same time you stay on top of the course of action you decide for your AN. Hope you feel better soon, Mickey

Syl

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Re: Depression
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2011, 12:22:00 pm »
Phx:

There is a difference between asking for pitty & expecting understanding. I used to get frustrated that people don't understand that my hearing isn't the same. There's this one jerk at work that talks to me from the other side of a cubicle wall as she's facing away from me. She knows about my AN surgery & hearing loss. When I tell her that I didn't catch what she said, she refuses to repeat herself sometimes, depending on her mood. Other folks have no problem repeating until I catch what they are trying to tell me.

In time I have learned that some people just don't want to hear about my AN problems. There are others who still ask how I'm feeling, even after 2.5 years since my surgery. So when they ask, I take advantage and talk.   

These folks here on the forum are the only ones who truely understand. If you need to vent, this is the best place for it. There is always someone who can relate & lend an ear.
 
Syl
1.5cm AN rt side; Retrosig June 16, 2008; preserved facial and hearing nerves;
FINALLY FREE OF CHRONIC HEADACHES 4.5 years post-op!!!!!!!
Drs. Kato, Blumenfeld, and Cheung.

Kathleen_Mc

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Re: Depression
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2011, 12:32:30 am »
I think I'm depressed. I just feel like I'm not getting the support I need, but at the same time I also feel like I am. I know that I'm not making sense. I don't want people to treat me differently, but I also don't want people to act like I'm all good and well and back to my old self because I will never be like that again. I'm just different now. I use to love school, love family time, etc. and now I feel like I just want to be by myself. I have a hard time expressing my feelings because people tell me I'm just venting. Many of my symptoms of the acoustic neuroma started before my surgery and still remain, plus some more added as a result of surgery. People just don't get it. I feel really unsure of myself. Every time I ask someone to repeat something or explain it differently and even when I do something not "normal", I feel like I always have to explain why. I don't mind explaining, but then I start feeling like I'm asking for pity and I'm really not. I feel like it's the end of the world. I'm sad that I have a brain tumor, but I'm very thankful that it's somewhat under control. Every now and then I have really bad anxiety to the point where I get so afraid that I'm going to die because of this thing. Anyone feel that way or have felt that way? Any advice for me? Thanks everyone.

Phx

If you think you are depressed a trip to the doctor is a good idea, there is help available. I started feeling depressed about 4 weeks post op, at first I thought I was just depressed because of my new appearance but when I spoke to my doctor he explained to me that when one has brain surgery often the neurotransmitters get our of wack and a chemical depression can start. Feeling that you don't have enough support, even when you do, is common when someone is depressed because no support in the world can take away that feeling and when someone is depressed then tend to feel alone no matter how many people are around them.
Having a life threatening health issue can often make one feel much differently about themselves and life in general, many will tend to take a look at their life and makes changes.....maybe this is part of the social isolation (as well as the depression), I too found socialising very difficult and for some time tended to isolate but that isn't going to help.....you need to try to get back to spending time with family and friends, usually a small gathering is better and makes it easier to hear.
Try to stop feeling like you need to apologise for being hearing impaired, you wouldn't see it that way if you'd been born as such would you?
May I ask how long ago was your surgery? Maybe you're expecting too much from yourself too soon? One thing my doctor frequently reminded me "this tumor didn't grow over night and you're not going to heal overnight"
Kathleen
1st AN surgery @ age 23, 16 hours
Loss of 7-10th nerves
mulitple "plastic" repairs to compensate for effects of 7th nerve loss
tumor regrowth, monitored for a few years then surgically removed @ age 38 (of my choice, not medically necessary yet)

JudyT

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Re: Depression
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2011, 09:38:56 am »
I so GET what you are saying  here about depression/anxiety....feeling different. I am currently in a slump, trying to fight my way out of the"paper bag"....We all have to do that periodically I think, for a variety of reasons. There are not any clear cut answers to our questions....I am spending a lot of alone time right now....normally that wouldn't work.....right now it is....spending time with me....writing my life chronicles....sketching/painting.....reading and doing some "ORGANIZING" isn't that the thing to do these days......every magazine on the planet seems to think so.....ha ha. It really does take thought and planning......also the mind off of self....Since I am not driving much (vertigo etc.) I am being creative with this project.....covering shoe boxes etc. to contain office supplies. My depression is forgotten while I am doing these things and I do feel productive instead of like a "blob" This is such a good place to be.....all of you are such a blessing....One thing I never feel is lonely.......thanks.   Judy

McFlorida

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Re: Depression
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2011, 12:01:52 pm »
While I have a personal belief that 'normal' is a much overrated human parameter, I do understand the desire to be like everyone else. The problem is that if you have an AN you're not like everyone else. You're hanging out on the edge of the statistical bell curve in the land of the single digit percentage. Normal can usually be better thought of as 'normal for me' versus 'normal as compared to others.' Your mission, whether you chose to accept it or not, is to become comfortable with your new normal.

This is a great statement.  We are all (AN'ers and non-AN'ers) are always looking to be comfortable with our "new normal".  At one moment I'm content, and the next I am so frustrated that I can pop.  That is part of my new normal.  Once I accept that frustrations are "normal", it doesn't seem quite as frustrating.  Weird, huh?  Hang in there.
6 x 12mm AN, Right-side, pre-treatment
Diagnosed 6/28/07. Retrosig 8/30/07.
Regrowth 1.2 x 1.6 x 1.5cm AN, Right-side.
Diagnosed 12/27/10. Treatment TBD.

phx

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Re: Depression
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2011, 07:32:07 pm »

My surgery was February of last year. It's almost one year. I am soooooooo happy and relieved because it has been such a loooooong trip. I had radiation in August, but apparently the swelling is happening now. The good news is that there is slight shrinkage. I'm on steriods, but that's okay because it's a small price to pay for feeling good. Plus I've had my eyes checked since and I feel kinda normal now.

Thanks All!!

I think I'm depressed. I just feel like I'm not getting the support I need, but at the same time I also feel like I am. I know that I'm not making sense. I don't want people to treat me differently, but I also don't want people to act like I'm all good and well and back to my old self because I will never be like that again. I'm just different now. I use to love school, love family time, etc. and now I feel like I just want to be by myself. I have a hard time expressing my feelings because people tell me I'm just venting. Many of my symptoms of the acoustic neuroma started before my surgery and still remain, plus some more added as a result of surgery. People just don't get it. I feel really unsure of myself. Every time I ask someone to repeat something or explain it differently and even when I do something not "normal", I feel like I always have to explain why. I don't mind explaining, but then I start feeling like I'm asking for pity and I'm really not. I feel like it's the end of the world. I'm sad that I have a brain tumor, but I'm very thankful that it's somewhat under control. Every now and then I have really bad anxiety to the point where I get so afraid that I'm going to die because of this thing. Anyone feel that way or have felt that way? Any advice for me? Thanks everyone.

Phx

If you think you are depressed a trip to the doctor is a good idea, there is help available. I started feeling depressed about 4 weeks post op, at first I thought I was just depressed because of my new appearance but when I spoke to my doctor he explained to me that when one has brain surgery often the neurotransmitters get our of wack and a chemical depression can start. Feeling that you don't have enough support, even when you do, is common when someone is depressed because no support in the world can take away that feeling and when someone is depressed then tend to feel alone no matter how many people are around them.
Having a life threatening health issue can often make one feel much differently about themselves and life in general, many will tend to take a look at their life and makes changes.....maybe this is part of the social isolation (as well as the depression), I too found socialising very difficult and for some time tended to isolate but that isn't going to help.....you need to try to get back to spending time with family and friends, usually a small gathering is better and makes it easier to hear.
Try to stop feeling like you need to apologise for being hearing impaired, you wouldn't see it that way if you'd been born as such would you?
May I ask how long ago was your surgery? Maybe you're expecting too much from yourself too soon? One thing my doctor frequently reminded me "this tumor didn't grow over night and you're not going to heal overnight"
Kathleen

 


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