Firstly if you have found this blog just know that you are not alone and that I am sorry you are feeling this way.
The reason I have chosen to write this blog today is because I have been feeling a little down myself recently too, and I feel I am coming out the other side of it.
So I wanted to share a few reasons why you might be feeling depressed after a hysterectomy and also ways I have found to fight feeling down after the surgery (that have worked for me!)
NOTE: If you are fresh out of your surgery and it has only been a few weeks or months then please try not to worry too much. It can take a little while for your body and mind to adapt to all of the changes. Also, I am not a doctor, this blog is based on my experience.
If you are having suicidal thoughts please do speak to someone as soon as possible.
So Who Am I To Write About Depression After A Hysterectomy?
I’m Rachel. I was 30 when I had my hysterectomy due to a rare type of ovarian cancer. You can read about my personal real life experience of having a hysterectomy here if you want to, but for now back to depression after a hysterectomy.
It is not uncommon for people to experience depression after a hysterectomy. I read about the risks associated with having the surgery and saw depression come up quite a few times, in studies such as this one.
I have always been a very positive person, so I didn’t feel too worried about this. Unfortunately, it can affect anyone – positive or not!
The NHS website writes that in some cases having a hysterectomy can be a trigger for depression.
I have felt down more times than I have felt up in the past couple of months and noticed myself turning to a glass of wine to deal with it (I am not recommending that in this blog!)
I started to realise I could be experiencing depression after a hysterectomy so I booked a doctor’s appointment and started to focus on what I could do to make myself feel better.
With 1 in 5 people in the UK having a hysterectomy and 1 in 3 in the USA, I know there are alot of people out there who could benefit from reading about what I have done to level out how I am feeling.
I am not promising the world, but trying these things if you are feeling depressed after a hysterectomy might help you.
Feeling Depressed After A Hysterectomy – Try This
Take your HRT at the same time each day
For all those not on HRT, and I know there will be lots of people who physically can’t take it please skip this one.
If you have chosen not to take it, and there is no health risk as to why you have made this choice, it might be time to consider trying it. Even if you just try it for a little while to get you through the feeling of depression after a hysterectomy. Don’t try and be a hero, lots of people take HRT and although it can have a bad rep, there are lots of studies to show it can be beneficial
Now, if you ARE on HRT – take it at the same time every single day.
When I first had my surgery, I could go a day without it and I wouldn’t notice any changes within myself.
I am not sure what has happened now, but I notice if I don’t take it at the same time each morning. I cry more, my mood swings are uncontrollable and I am just much less happy.
You could also try chatting to your doctor about dosage and even switching to a different type if you are struggling to remember to take the one you have.
Give yourself a break
Quite literally, take a break! I am terrible at taking breaks. I don’t sit still, I rarely take days off and silence isn’t really something I am comfortable with.
You need to schedule in some self care. This can be anything big like booking a holiday (ideally asap!) to something small like getting a back massage or your nails done.
I know self care can be expensive but it actually is virtual. Feeling depressed after a hysterectomy could also get expensive! Days missed off work, the impact it can have on your family and friends. So it is vital.
There are lots of things you can do that are free/cheap that are great for self care too. Try having a luxurious bath in the evening listening to music or going to a long walk somewhere you would never normally walk or take yourself out for a coffee and read your book.
On a less literal level, give yourself a break too. What you have been through is huge and life changing. You have every right to be feeling depressed after a hysterectomy. It’s okay. Let yourself just feel sad about it for a little while, notice those thoughts, write them down but don’t beat yourself up about them. They are valid and they are normal.
I wrote a blog on supplements to take after a hysterectomy to help you feel your best self, so I really recommend you read this.
Your body will go through lots of changes so things that once did or didn’t work for you might change.
So if you’re feeling depressed after a hysterectomy then it might be that the addition of a few supplements to your routine could really help you fight depression after a hysterectomy.
In the UK you will more than likely get offered therapy after your hysterectomy, I did anyway. Mine was also linked to the C word, so perhaps they are more inclined to do so, but anyway, I didn’t take it.
I felt someone would need it more than me, and I was ‘fine’
You can watch a video of my hysterectomy recovery here and see how many times I say I am fine… Just don’t make it a drinking game : )
I decided to start therapy late last year when I started to feel a bit anxious and depressed after my hysterectomy, although it had been five years!
It really helped me work through some things I was going through, and I feel a lot better and more self aware.
Therapy is expensive, so I get it is not for everyone. If you can’t afford to do the traditional therapy i.e. couch, therapist and talking face to face I highly recommend my own made up alternative.
Podcasts! Go to your podcasts app and search your problem in the search bar. See what episodes come up, and have a listen. Lots of podcast hosts literally interview therapists about the subjects you’re struggling with, so it’s basically free therapy.
Bonus points if you do this while walking or in the gym, trust me that the endorphins and advice you have taken from the podcast will make you feel less depressed after your hysterectomy.
Talk To Your Partner Or Friends
Don’t keep things bottled up. I know this is easier said than done. It can be hard to put the experience we have all had into words.
There are some experiences that there aren’t words for, experiences that are slightly more rare and make people feel more uncomfortable when you discuss them.
Take for example ‘my nan died’ – if someone said this to you, you would know how to respond. It’s a much more common and ‘socially accepted’ problem.
Saying “I feel depressed after my hysterectomy” is much less common and can make people feel uncomfortable, so I get that it is hard to talk to people about it, but I promise you that you will feel better if you do.
Choose someone you trust and are comfortable with and warn them that it might not be the most comfortable conversation but you just need to talk, with no pressure on them to say the ‘right’ things. Sometimes you just need someone to listen.
If you don’t feel you have someone to talk to, I would write a message on a Facebook support group for people who have had hysterectomy and let them know you’re feeling sad after your hysterectomy. I guarantee you someone will respond to you.
That’s my 5 ways to have when feeling depressed after a hysterectomy. I hope you found them useful and you can see a little ray of light. You’ll get through this.