I've had turbulent life so far as a teen I was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor (brain stem glioma) that left in a wheelchair along with numerous other problems including vision, speech, and paralysis. After months in the hospital and some rehab I picked up where I left off, I finished high school, I went to college, and I got a job. I continued along and eventually developed anxiety and soon after that depression set in and eventually I lost my job. I now live at home with my parents, I'm on disability, I have no friends with little support from my family and my depression has gone from chronic to severe. I feel like a complete failure with no direction in life and a burden to my family. The only thing that gives me a sense of purpose or joy anymore is taking care of my 4 dogs.
I'm stuck and could use some advise - Anxiety and Depre...
I'm sorry. You sound tough though. I mean you finished school, went to college and got a job. Those are huge accomplishments.
What changed for you? I can only imagine how challenging things are for you. How can we help? We are always here to listen.
Thanks, and your right finishing school, going to college and getting a job are huge accomplishments but it just doesn't feel like it to me.
Taking care of 4 dogs must consume a lot of your time ? Are they all the same breed as the one in the photo? Adorable !! 🐾🐾
Do you attend a Church or Chapel? If not , is this something you might consider?
Do you know if your local Church runs an Alpha Course? A quick Google search should come up with some answers & phone numbers.
Maybe phone the Minister and arrange to meet for a chat? Someone to confide in close by also?
Are you a keen photographer? Is there a local Photography Club you could join?
Have you thought of joining a choir / singing group? Here a Cancer support charity sets up choirs for people affected by cancer. This has proved very successful.
You are not a burden. Negative thoughts attack with a vengeance when we're low.
Have you ever entered / attended any dog shows?
Is there an Animal Rescue Centre within travelling distance where you could volunteer a couple of hours a week ?
If you could get out for just a couple of hours a week to somewhere where you will meet people with something in common and make some friends.
Another thing you may wish to consider is contacting the nearest Residential and Care Homes to volunteer as a Visitor with one of your dogs. This could become a regular once a week /fortnight visit. And be very rewarding.
Sorry you had to go through all of that! You’re such a strong person ❤️ im here for you!!
I think you’re amazing, I don’t know how you got through that - you’re so strong to fight back from that. But - I’m not at all surprised you’re feeling so depressed. Sometimes, long after a very traumatic event, we can develop a mental health response to it. You could be really traumatised by your brain tumour and its effects on you. Sometimes we reach a stage in our lives when we start to reflect on things - maybe too much sometimes. I think this is where you are.
It’s great that you have your dogs - they’re so cute! Please know you’re not a burden on your family....when we’re depressed it’s hard to fight away all the negative thoughts. Do you think you could talk to your doctor about how you feel?
I agree with Mary - finding something to get involved in would be helpful to you. Are you still using a wheelchair? I’m just wondering if there are any support groups where you live, for people with brain injury/survivors of brain surgery. Are you in the UK? Xx
Thanks for the kind words but to be honest I don't feel amazing at all as a teen diagnosed with brain tumor I wasn't given any other choice but to fight back so that what I did. But as timed went there were less support from both my family and my doctor who seemed to care more about how my injury affected my family than me. Now I don't have much fight in me at all my dogs are what keeps me going day to day.
I’m so sorry to read about the support slipping away. Sadly, that just doesn’t surprise me. It’s like when things are really acute, the support is there, but as things get less acute the support wanes.
I wish I could help you more. I know this isn’t the same in any way, but I had a very bad breakdown two years ago. Everyone was so helpful at first, but once I was out of “danger” (I was suicidal), people started to fall away. Some people actually told me I’d need to be careful of burdening my husband and kids.
I think, deep down, you have a lot in you to give. I wonder if it would help you to be involved in just one thing for YOU. Something to make you feel like a valid human being. Are you fit to volunteer once a week somewhere (forgive me, but I’m not sure of your physical capacity just now as to what you could do). You have so much love for animals - I wonder if you could do a once-weekly volunteering with an animal shelter.
Do you feel your parents treat you as though you’re a burden, or is that just something you worry about being? Xx
Yes, I didn't realize support came with a timeframe. As far as volunteering I would love to do in theory but since I'm in a wheelchair and can't drive I just don't see that happening.
You still have a lot to give. Your experience, strength and hope could possibly enable you to mentor someone worse off than you. I’m sure you’re feelings are appropriate to you situation, and sharing them with another will give you purpose. Look at all of us. No matter how broken we feel, we are trying to help the next sufferer. A problem shared is a problem halved.
Thank you for the words of encouragement.
I have just lost my 26 year old son to a grade 3 Astrocytoma. He was misdiagnosed with epilepsy at age 12 and suffered through many years of anxiety/depression and medications. My heart goes out to you and your family. I know It may feel like you don't have family support, but you have to keep reminding yourself that its the brain tumor that skewing your perceptions and the tumor making you feel bad. I am sure your family is also struggling with handling your illness because anyone who loves someone with that prognosis is also hurting from fear of what that mean for your future and how to navigate daily life with those worries, as of course you are struggling everyday remembering how you used to be and comparing it to where you are now. In fact, Id like to tell you to forget what was, and be glad to have each day, even if its in a wheelchair. My son was in a wheelchair when he came home, the doctors told us he'd never walk again. He got no physical therapy after the hemorrhagic stroke he had on NY Eve, while in transit from one ER to a Neuroscience hospital in an ambulance that no one recognized that he even had the stroke. He was in a coma 3 hours after walking into the ER talking to me and telling them his symptoms. They told us he would never survive 24 hrs, let alone come out of the coma. He did come out of the coma, he did come home after two resections and a bout of pneumonia (that he got in the hospital). And guess what? He did walk again, with my help working with him and doing exercises with him that the hospital refused to do because they wrote him off as dead on Jan 1. He lived 8 months longer, only receiving palliative radiation and chemo, pills he couldn't swallow without biting (side effect of the stroke). He wasn't able to speak after the stroke and had only 3 days of formal physical/speech therapy before he made a turn for the worse. I took month of fighting with insurance co. and TBI therapy companies to finally get someone to accept him and help us. Once back in the hospital, they promptly refused any treatment and put him back on a ventilator even though he was breathing when he arrived. Every time his heart rate or blood pressure went they attributed it to the tumor. They were hyperventilating him on the ventilator, which I pointed out from his Blood Gas Test, which proved they were causing him to become sick..not the tumor.The hospital ended up killing him after performing a brain dead test after 4 weeks, claiming they didn't require my consent to make the decision to end his life. As bad as things may seem, you have significantly more options than he had. Because of the stroke, no one wanted to treat his cancer, because of the prognosis, no one wanted to give him any rehab. Even after he made such physical progress and was able to move and learned to use the bathroom again, no one wanted to give him the chance to survive. He couldn't speak for himself, but he laughed if I joked around with him. He was able to maneuver around the house even though he had severe vision loss from the stroke. He never gave up and I never gave up on him. Please know that your family loves you and wants you to live. You've had some set backs, but you are alive and need to make the most of the time you have here, rather than to spend your time in resentment, which will end up in regrets, only make you feel badly later. Please know that you are worth so much more than what job you did, what degree you received or whether you could walk without a wheelchair. don't let the tumor rob you of wanting to make the most of your time with your family and friends. And if you don't get the support you need from your existing friends...go out and make better friends! My heart hurts each day, as I miss my son so much and I replay every moment of our last year together. I get frustrated over how hard I fought with all the doctors and medical professionals, trying to get him cancer treatment that he could take and which could have extended his life. I thought when you had cancer and you have insurance, you automatically get cancer treatment that is as aggressive as the disease. apparently I was wrong. the doctors decide who is eligible and who they are willing to treat. If you are eligible, then fight, take your life back, and you'll figure out a way around any disabilities that the brain tumor throws your way. You're educated and smarter than the cancer, Don't let it beat you down!
I'm so sorry for your loss. Sounds like you and your son fought hard to achieve a good outcome. You were a very strong advocate for your son❤️
He was very fortunate to have a mom who fought till the end for him.
You show your strength by reaching out to
formydogs. You are an incredible person.
Thank you. I have worked hard and fought every step of the way to get him what he deserved, a fair chance to survive and recover. I would do it all again and am disgusted at the way the medical professionals handled him. People seem afraid to question surgeons and doctors. If I didn't question them on their processes and request a second craniotomy on Jan 29, he would never have made it through to August or been able to know the satisfaction of being able walk even after everyone said he'd never walk again. He was stronger than I knew he could ever be, he was an amazing person...I was just his voice when he didn't have one, and his cheerleader to keep him motivated. He would laugh when heard me fighting and calling them out on everything each step of the way. I wouldn't change anything I did, all the fighting with the doctors and insurance company and rehabs was worth it, it gave me 8 month we wouldn't have had otherwise.
A strong advocate is so important with medicine the way it is today. Some people are afraid to challenge the system. Sometimes they can be wrong. As you have seen.
I'm glad you had your son for that extra time.
I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm sure your son appreciated everything you did for him.
And thank you for sharing your story (it brought back many memories of what I have already overcome.
I just read your post. I am so sorry for your loss. I can't imagine the pain. I have thank you so much for your share. I have been dealing with some peripheral nerve damage and I sometimes I get down. Your post " Please know that you are worth so much more than what job you did, what degree you received or whether you could walk without a wheelchair. don't let the tumor rob you of wanting to make the most of your time with your family and friends." reminded me that I am more than just job, or a degree, etc. You have inspired me to continue to be thankful for each day of life, even if it may not be as I want it to be.