Healing takes time and when we are damaged, so to speak, it is very difficult to not let it control our lives. In November of 2015, I was rushed to the hospital with stomach pains as well as a distended stomach. I knew this was not an ordinary stomach pain and my fear of hospitals was overridden by the fact that knew something was wrong. Indeed there was. I had a bowel obstruction and required the placement of a temporary colostomy bag. In January, a second surgery was required to remove a foot of my colon due to diverticulitis. Luckily it was benign and the third operation took place in March to remove the bag. During those 4 months I basically languished at home in a negative mindset. It controlled my life and I refused to go to work or even be happy. Once I began the healing process, the damage that controlled my life dissapated and I was able to move forward again.
I had to move forward but it wasn’t easy. I slipped into a depression and the doctor wondered why. He said that you went through the three surgeries with flying colors and you should be thrilled at the positive outcome. I was and yet I felt depressed.There are many reasons for a person to experience depression during their journey through surgery.
After the operation, symptoms of depression may be linked to such things as:
- reaction to anesthesia
- pain and discomfort while recovering
- reactions the body has to certain painkillers
- physical, mental, and emotional stresses caused by the disorder and/or surgery
- facing the possibility of death
Post-operative depression behaves differently in each person. A recent overview posted to BMC Surgerysuggests depression is common in people due to have surgery. If these feelings or symptoms are not dealt with, they may lead to similar symptoms after the surgery, as well.
One common factor with depression and anxiety symptoms throughout the entire process maybe the high stress levels people can experience. This includes physical, mental, and emotional stress.
Any disorder that causes a person to feel pain can be a source of physical stress. The surgery itself is also a cause of physical stress.
Being diagnosed with a serious illness can lead to emotional and mental stress. Trying to balance work, social, and personal life during the process may add to that stress.
The whole process can take its toll on a person’s mental health. These feelings may stay with them after surgery, if they are not properly dealt with.
If you are going though a difficult time right now, take solace in the fact that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And be kind to others because we never know what they are going through. I was lucky enough to have a great support system of family and friends. Not everyone is that lucky. That’s why it’s important to not judge others and be willing to help someone who is in need whether it’s a homeless person, a friend who suffers from depression or someone with an illness. You can’t fix the problem, but you can alleviate the pain and be part of the healing process