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CLL Support Association
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Due to additional stress (hubby having to have treatment for prostate cancer) plus a bad time while I was on trial with new drug during 2012, spending so much time in hospital has left me with clinical depression/anxiety which my Dr thinks should be treated with AD's I have already tried two Lustral, and Mirtraxipine, both with severe side effects enough to stop me from taking them after a few days, I would rather not take pills at all but alternative theraphy(Reiki etc) is not helping. Could anyone give me any advice? it would be geatly appreciate, research on line can put you off ALL treatments some real horror stories but everyone different MANY THANKS Ann xx

10 Replies

Hi Ann

I'm sorry you've been having such a tough time - you certainly have had a lot to cope with. I haven't heard of those particular ADs but I think sometimes it's a case of finding the one that does suit you, with no side effects, or at least minimal. I believe there are many different types. Have you spoken to your doctor about the side effects and that you have stopped taking them. The right ones can be very useful in helping to cope with and get over the worst feelings of Clinical Depression and especially with some counselling at the same time perhaps. Has the doctor mentioned the possibility of this? If you don't feel comfortable with or able to talk to your doctor, you can always see a different one.

I do think it's really important that you don't try and treat yourself for this but seek further advice from your doctor, as soon as you can. You can come through this but it will be easier with some professional help. I really wouldn't try to deal with this on your own.

Thinking of you Ann and hoping you get some proper help soon.

Warm wishes

sparkler x


THANK YOU so much for your response sparkler, so appreciated.The AD's were prescribed by my general GP, both she and my consultant think I do need AD help for a while, I also have an appointment for some counselling on 7th Jan (for assessment). I am surprised to learn just how many people suffer with depression and pleased I have never had it in the past as a really horrible feeling. I understand it could take time to get an AD to suit, everyone different, my GP is very good with this and willing to try as many as it takes, we know most drugs WILL have side effects, she will not use the 'quick fix' valium type drugs, they can become so addictive, sure, in my case, this is just a reaction to the 'bad year' we have had so just need something mild to get me over the 'not sleeping - seeing danger in everything' phase. I handle my CLL without any problem, it was when hubby took ill that things tended to get a bit out hand, he is such a rock I had, selfishly, forgotten that he too is vulnerable, thankfully his rads have been a success and his PSA count is normal so hoping 2013 going to be a better year.

Kindest regard and HAPPY NEW YEAR to you and your family

Ann xx


Hi Ann, excellent advice from Sparkler and it's sounds like you have the benefit of a very forward thinking GP who is trying to be individually responsive to your needs.

It's absolutely understandable to have succumbed to this depression after the double whammy you experienced but fantastic to hear that your husband has responded well and outcome is good. You're right that we can become so focussed on our CLL that it comes as a greater shock when our supporters become ill. I rely on my husband so much too and feel greater fear for his health than mine!

The new generation of anti-depression meds are so much more effective and non addictive but as you say it's finding one that suits you. When I hit a very black phase in my life some years ago I'm not ashamed to say that I had counselling and it was very useful to me. It could be that you have a reactive depression to the trauma you've experienced and interpersonal therapy can help. It doesn't have all the answers because a counsellor cannot take away the reality of our condition but cognitive behaviour therapy helps us to view things differently and see beyond the 'blackness.'

The main thing is don't be too hard on yourself. It's an illness like any other. You wouldn't expect to run with a broken leg so don't punish yourself to be cheery and upbeat with a clinical depression. Eventually the clouds do break but it's a rotten feeling meanwhile.

Wishing you and your husband all the very best for 2013 and beyond.

Newdawn x


Roan..have your B12 and B9 levels checked, it can be a cause of depression and is often overlooked in CLL. Supplementation does nothing by the way...you need to have a monthly injection.

I was on head meds for over 4 years ( Effexor XP) , just terrible, then a young doctor ran full blood work, and I had no B12 uptake! Shots, corrected not only my depression but also pernicious anemia, which again, had been masked by CLL...

Certainly worth the test.







Yes Roan, life can be tough sometimes, but there is nearly always a solution.

1) Head meds, AD’s of different types, Effexor etc.

Well, if it is a must, as proscribed by the doctors. But doctors are well known for just proscribing a pill to solve ALL problems.. Has to be the last resort I would say..

2)Proper diet and also include vitamins B12, B9 as Chris at CLLCanada mentions above.

However include also some D3, the sunshine vitamin. It is now well researched that 75% of people living in the northern hemisphere are badly deficient, especially in winter.

Hey this is easy stuff. Centrum Advance 50+ available at Boots but expensive, much cheaper at Amazon. Easy to take, not expensive, one a day cannot do any harm, and could do some good. So why not.???

3)Weight loss program.? Most of us, INCLUDING ME ! , could loose a few pounds. It is well known that getting to the proper weight improves fitness and mental health.

4)SAD disease.? Seasonal Affective Disorder. Some say a lack of D3 is the origins of SAD disease. There were always expensive special lights to sit under that helped with this problem, but the Swedish people, who have a lot of dark winters, did some research and came up with a regular light bulb. This both puts out a sunshine type light, as well as being energy efficient. The 30 watt bulb acts like a 150 watt bulb. Only just a few pennies over £ 4 on Amazon for each bulb. So why not change a few light bulbs in the rooms where you sit.?

5)Exercise part one. Get to a gym and sign up for a few months, they often have discounted rates for seniors, it just means visiting outside the peak rush hours in the early evenings.

You will meet other seniors and they have simple courses for all body sizes and shapes.

6)Exercise part two. Get out in some fresh air, join a walking group or join a cycling group.

Being in the outdoors and especially in a woodland setting is proven to be beneficial for all those with stress. Google this research or read The Woodland Trust articles on their excellent website Woodlandtrust.org.uk or visitwoods.org.uk ..

Also see one person’s personal experiences of this at ow.ly/4xtgr or visitwoods.org.uk/en/visit-... This has both commentary and a short video.

7)Exercise part three. Dr. Susan Obrien, one of the world’s true experts in Haematological diseases, a contributor to the ACOR web pages and the Patient Power series of video’s has commented on how important exercise is for all those with CLL. Apparently without exercise and good blood flow the white blood cells known as Granulocytes do not circulate and thus a person’s health is affected.

There has been lots of research published on this during 2012 from Mayo Clinic and others.

In summary solution 5) does cost a small amount of money, but the social sides of this is important for many people. Solution 4) might cost 4 pounds but you get this back in energy efficiency anyway. Solutions 3) and 6 / 7 above are cheap and the effort to get out and do this reaps massive rewards. Greatly deceased stress, increased mental abilities, much improved sleep patterns and importantly the increased ability to withstand any treatments for the CLL which might come along the road later.

New Year resolutions anyone..??


THANK YOU all so much for responding to my post re depression.I have read them all with interest and will certainly be taking your advice, I have already jotted notes down for my councelling on the 7th. Newdawn - lovely name - it is so reassuring to know so many other have been in my position and managed to get 'back on track' with the proper help, I hope CBT will be given offered to me as really do not want to go down the AD route if I can avoid it, I know they help but think, maybe, only short term and usually result in lots of side effects and problems coming off them. Many still view depression as a 'stigma' I find it helps to talk to others about it and am really surprised at just how many have been affected at some point in their lives. My main symptom is irrational fears, especially with my hubby, I see danger in everything he does, he must get SO frustrated at me 'watching him like a hawk' fortunately he appreciates it is all part of the depression. Cllcanada (Chris) I will certainly mention the B12 B9 blood test to my Gp, I have a monthly check so adding these should not be a problem and could well be such an easy solution, THANK YOU for your input. Kwenda I have read your post with interest too, I know I have let my excercise slide a little, a viscious circle, having the depression I have lost all my energy, or should that be 'lack of interes't in doing much of anything, hopefully I can get back to normal in order to keep the depression at bay. I have to add I cope far better with my CLL than I have done with this and will, in future, be far more sympathetic to people who suffer, so easy to just assume you can 'snap out it' but I know now NOT that easy.

Wishing you all (and your families) a HAPPY NEW YEAR and, once again, MANY THANKS for taking the trouble to get back to me it is SO appreciated.

Ann xxxxxxx


Hi Roan.

You have received some good information and support from the group. Looking at your profile I see you are under the care of a leading Oxford consultant are you familiar with Maggie’s oxford? Maggies centres can provide support in many ways (forgive the lengthy post, if you already know about Maggie's) maggiescentres.org/about/wh...

Maggie’s Oxford are operating from a temporary location on the Churchill Hospital site until they move into the new purpose built building next to the new Cancer Centre on the other side of the hospital site. (I am not sure how developed this is now or if they are in there yet?).

They are open Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5pm for information, psychological and emotional support . They have a clinical psychologist, a cancer support specialist and a benefits advisor on hand for drop-in and pre-booked appointments and courses. These video clips of user’s sharing their experience of Maggie’s centres may be useful.


Thoughts on Maggie’s (London)


Tai Chi & Chi Kung

For anyone who has cancer, or is caring for someone with cancer. Most sessions last around one hour.

The sessions are led by trained Tai Chi practitioners who are experienced in working with people affected by cancer.

Tai Chi and Chi Kung exercises help relaxation. To relax is to conserve energy. Tai Chi and Chi Kung use a well-balanced interplay of tension and release that is usually associated with general well being and emotional stability.

From motion you obtain serenity and stability by the release of tension through the continuous shifting of weight from one foot to the other.

Traditional Chinese medical theory is the basis of the specific Chi Kung exercises.

Each session is tailored to meet the needs of those attending, according to their experience of Tai Chi, and the level of exercise each person is able to do.

Look Good...Feel Better

For women who have cancer. Each session lasts for two hours.

This free group workshop offers each participant advice given by professional beauty therapists and a collection of skin care products and cosmetics.

The programme was developed by the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CTFA). The session is product neutral, and there is no promotion of products. More details of the scheme available on the Look Good... Feel Better website lookgoodfeelbetter.org/ .

Women diagnosed with cancer are often faced with distressing side effects during treatment, some of which can change their appearance and body image, and affect confidence and self-esteem.

Look Good… Feel Better provides an opportunity for women affected by cancer to learn more about cosmetic possibilities for managing changes while undergoing cancer treatment.

The workshops are informative, lively and, most of all, fun!

Nutrition Workshop

For anyone who has cancer, or is caring for someone with cancer.

The session aims to promote a healthy, balanced and varied diet. The key components of the workshop are:

The importance of good nutrition to overall well-being

An overview of what is a healthy diet

The opportunity to speak talk with an expert about the role of antioxidants, phytochemicals and essential fatty acids in a healthy diet

Making the most of the diet in simple and easy to achieve ways

The reasons why a healthy diet is important are explained:

• Supplies the body with vital nutrients

• Keeps the immune system functioning optimally

• Helps the body cope with treatments and the side effects of treatment

• Helps you to feel better – physically, emotionally and mentally

• Can help with low mood and depression

• Provides energy, strength and stamina

• Improves quality of life

• Helps to improve post-operative recovery.

Lunch is provided at each workshop.


THANK YOU so much hairbear, the hospital you mentioned IS the one I attend and where I have had all my chemo and subsequent trial treatments.To date this has never been mentioned as an option but I have only just admitted to the depression. I see my consultant (she is a leader in CLL research I am very lucky) every month, next appointment is on the 17th Jan. I am also due for councelling on the 7th so will mention it to them. It would be fab if I could have an appointment for Maggie's on same day as I see my consultant, Oxford some miles away from where we live and I don't, unfortunately, drive, not that hubby would mind taking me but it is a little more difficult when he is not feeling too well. Will put wheels in motion, they are lovely in the new hospital, sure they would fit me in on a clinic day. Once again THANK YOU ALL I have had SO much good advice and support from the group. I feel SO much better and able to face what I have to do in order to address the depression. Ann xxxxx


Hi this is where sharing info is so helpful. My husband (also my rock) has long term health problems and I worry about him and he worries about me. It can get out of hand. Good luck with trying all the advice that has been given.There must be something that helps. Don't suffer in silence.


Hi Jangreen HAPPY NEW YEAR 2013 to you and your family and thank you for responding. So sorry to hear about you and your husband, like me you probably had never thought about both being ill together, I have taken good health so much for granted for many years it does become difficult when it all changes. We are lucky to have such wonderful partners and this group is also becoming such a comfort. I will pass on any good information I 'gleen' from my councilling on the 7th. Take care of yourselves. xxxx


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