I have had several bouts with depression throughout my life but during these cancer treatments, I have -- for the most part -- remained very optimistic. I strongly believe that this is my mind's way of fighting a disease that wants to kill me.
Now that I have completed my active treatments and only take a pill a day to keep the cancer away... I feel lost, I cry for no reason, I have terrible nightmares, I don't sleep, I am terribly insecure, and some days I am too scared to even turn the lights out at night, which makes no sense to me.
I say to myself "You have survived, the worst is over, now quit feeling sad and sorry for yourself and be grateful that you are alive." But no matter how many times I repeat this, I still feel afraid. Sometimes I am not even sure what I am afraid of.
Here is the list of symptoms as noted by The National Cancer Institute:
"PTSD in cancer survivors may be expressed in these specific behaviors:
- Reliving the cancer experience in nightmares or flashbacks and by continuously thinking about it.
- Avoiding places, events, and people connected to the cancer experience.
- Being continuously overexcited, fearful, irritable, and unable to sleep.
What I have learned from other survivors is that the fear of reoccurrence will remain for the rest of my life, so I will leave that fear alone and work on all the others. Maybe tonight I will try turning all the lights out, including the tv, before getting into bed.