Friday, February 5, 2010

Answer: Antidepressants? Wouldn't Be Here Without Them

This tweet came across my screen this afternoon and I replied (see above) before thinking the matter through. My answer was immediate, obvious and self-contained. If you follow @jbbc on Twitter and her blog at Journey Beyond Breast Cancer, you know that breast cancer and depression -- cancer and depression - is a topic we need to keep under bright lights. In fact, in my mind's eye oncologists should screen for depression at every foll0w-up appointment in the same way they ask about current pain (ranked on a scale from one to ten)(.

The question from Newsweek today: In 6 words, tell us your thoughts on the effectiveness of antidepressants. Reply @Newsweek, or email us at

How much of a stigma do you believe still surrounds mental illness?

What percentage of cancer survivors do you think have experienced depression at some point in their recovery?



Debbie said...

I think there is still a big stigma surrounding mental illness and I think that 99.9% of cancer patients probably experience depression after treatment. I know I sure did and was about to embark on antidepressants twice. One of those times was very recent and was only deferred due to the fact that I managed to work through my depression with the help of my therapist.
You are so right that we need to keep shinning a light on this subject!
Thanks for posting my dear friend!
Love, Deb

Anonymous said...

A few things spring to mind here Jody. First off, anti-depressants aren't fail safe.Sometimes you have to try a few before you feel any difference and for some people they might not work at all. But for others, esp. those who are severly depressed they are literally a life line. Those who suffer from mild to moderate depression, may benefit from first trying changes in diet, exercise and different types of therapy before going down the anti-depressant route, as Debbie's story illustrates.

The other thing I wanted to comment on is this whole area of stigma. I looked up the definition of stigma in my Chambers English dictionary and was taken aback by the definition of "shame or social disgrace". Depression is not shameful or disgraceful but somehow we are made to feel it is.

Seeing people that you admire and respect "come out" and admit to their depression is a powerful way to remove the stigma, especially if these individuals are in the public eye. Just to know that one is not alone in feeling this way is so helpful. I agree with you -we need to keep shining that light on the topic and remove the stigma of shame.

Jody said...

Deb, Marie, your comments are so good I'm going to direct another post to both.

Good food for thought.