Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

On the news: Depression increases the risk of dementia. The researchers are not sure why but think it may be linked to the amount of stress hormones released by the body when we are depressed.

On this blog I recently wrote a reply to a reader who spoke of committing suicide. I talked about how, for me, the loss of hope is more distressing than the fear of death. And that is what I have been grappling with. Even though the surgery was shocking, the chemotherapy was hideously debilitating and the radiotherapy was weirdly frightening, throughout all of that time I maintained a fundamentally optimistic position. Deep down I believed that I would get through this and put it all behind me. I was unshakeably convinced that breast cancer would be an episode in my life, that it would not be my life. When Nick betrayed and abandoned me that all changed. I felt that I could not trust my own judgement. “If I was so wrong about Nick, what else am I wrong about?” I ask myself. Everything that I had believed in has been undermined, including my belief that I will get well.

I’ve heard depression described as sadness and grief that goes on for a long time. If that is the cast then I am experiencing depression. The headshrinkers call it ‘reactive’ rather than ‘clinical’ but I wonder if the risks are the same?

This is a worry. If it ever came down to a straight choice between dying of cancer and living out my days with Alzheimer’s disease, I would take the cancer every day of the week.

So, enough of this depression. Starting from today I will institute Lily's personal stress-reduction programme and report the results right here on this blog.