Overcoming Depression From Setbacks, When Recovering From a Serious Illness, Can be Tough

By Barbara Gabogrecan

overcoming depressionIt is difficult enough to accept that you have a serious illness, like cancer, stroke or a brain tumour; but when you have to face setbacks, overcoming depression can be your real challenge. The good news is that this type of depression is more likely to be a ‘feeling’ rather than a chemical problem. If it continues and you can’t talk yourself out of it, seek medical assistance.

I find that when the feeling of depression begins to overwhelm you, it is important to be active. Doing something constructive with your body and your mind, can certainly provide a strong solution.

Simply doing the dishes or sweeping the floor is not likely to make you feel better. But if you have an absorbing hobby you can throw yourself into, that might just work.

I know a young lady that has cancer of the stomach. She is seriously ill and may not recover. She admits to feeling angry and frustrated because she simply wants to feel ‘normal’ again. She is in a lot of pain and is nauseous all the time. There is no doubt, that if she simply curled up in bed and let her feelings of misery take over, she would become severely depressed.

She is a dog groomer and works at a dog grooming salon every day that she can. Working with gorgeous, gentle, loving animals can certainly make you ‘feel good’ even if you are not seriously ill. By setting herself a goal to get to the saloon and to make each of her four legged friends look great, in turn makes her feel better. The owners of the dogs were always delighted with the results and their praise in turn gives her something positive to focus on.

This is what you need to do when trying to cope with setbacks. I paint on silk and I am sure that I would have used my illness as a reason not to get back to my painting. However, while in hospital I was receiving orders from my website and even though my husband told them that I had a stroke and a brain tumour and offered to return their money, they all said they would wait until I was feeling better.

Knowing that I had a responsibility to look after my customers made me determined to get back to my painting as soon as possible. Because I had been left unable to read I could not recognise my coloured dyes by their labels and you cannot see the colours clearly until they are actually on the silk. My husband had to help me put them in an order for me to remember and paint small samples on the silk so that I could see what colour was in what bottle.

The painting created serious shoulder pain that would often have me in tears; but I was not going to give up. I would paint for around an hour, then have a rest for an hour or change completely what I was doing so that I could rest the shoulder. I was certainly slower than normal, but I was being productive and achieving something I could be proud of and feel good about. It definitely took my mind away from my problems and helped me avoid becoming depressed.

There can be many setbacks to your recovery. Don’t let them depress you. Don’t question why it is that you are suffering; keep in mind that many others are suffering even more than you are. Keep looking for that silver lining, and stay positive. Everything improves over time, so give yourself time to heal and to get over any setbacks that you might experience. Overcoming depression is so important for your wellbeing that you must work very hard at avoiding it.

Hints and Tips

Learn to recognise when the Feeling of depression is approaching. Try hard to concentrate on doing something productive. When you experience a setback, immediately call someone and organise that you both do something together. There are some states of depression that need medication and cannot be overcome simply by being active. But if your depressions is more about feeling ‘down’ or ‘low’ at any particular time, then try taking action.

22 thoughts on “Overcoming Depression From Setbacks, When Recovering From a Serious Illness, Can be Tough

  1. sarah keating

    I had many bouts with depression when I was in recovery and even going forward. It’s definitely important to recognize the warning signs as you say.

  2. Ana B.

    This is an important post since so many suffer from depression when dealing with a major illness. I like your tip about calling someone and organizing something to do; that can truly help.

  3. Chris W.

    When I was depressed, a dear friend told me to go out and socialize. It really helped. I also pursued additional education. It was tough, but I eventually felt better. My education gave me a greater sense of purpose.

  4. Yusuf Ali

    I’ve been through years of education, been institutionalized, and all of those therapy and group sessions. I pretty much know when I’m on the edge and my thing is to just drop everything and just bring my mind elsewhere. Everyone’s different for sure but my 2 cents – try to relax. Truth of the matter is, the world CAN and WILL wait =]

  5. Daniel D

    Everyday you should write down your accomplishments for the day. After awhile it builds up and you’ll realize how much you’ve actually done.

  6. Lisa Perkins

    I’ve battled some serious depression in the last few years do to some illness and an overall fight of not being the Healthiest person in general… Both Depression and Health issues have been curses for most of my family members throughout life. As hard as it is for me in general to find the energy and “want” to get out of the house alot of time, I always feel better after a nice long walk among nature and all it’s “Beauty”.

  7. Nick Miller

    Depression seems to run in my family. I agree that if I have a setback having people and resource can be of immense help. I can’t afford to let things get to me. Action is good!

  8. kris

    I often suffer from depression myself. After years of complaining and sitting around, I began to get involved in various causes and groups. I found that without me noticing, this slowly pulled me out of my depression and has helped me far more than all pills that I’ve popped to deal with it.

  9. Joanne

    I have bouts of depression. It comes and goes fairly quickly and usually I go through this during winter. I have learned to manage my depression and my hubby is a such big help.

  10. Ashley Tello

    The best thing about having internet and social media now is that in so many ways it connects people and even when you feel like your alone in your battle it’s good to know that you’re not the only one going through it. It is good to know that other people are experiencing it and it is helpful to know of different ways to cope.

  11. joyfulone

    This article is spot on in describing depression and how it can creep in and take over if we allow it. I agree that one of the best ways to deal with it is to be active (exercise, hobbies, etc.).

  12. Tammy

    The difficulty doesn’t just end after your stroke recovery. Thanks for the encouraging words. This was very well written.

  13. Raul

    Speacilly for the person like me who has actually suffered depression and i can say there are the amazing tips shared. really amazing information.


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