• Alex Jarvis

Unveiling: Depression after Surgery


Most of us can recognize the feeling of depression. For people who are closest to the person suffering from it, they sense its gloom and negative pull.


This month we’ve discussed how patients are susceptible to post-operative depression and there are certain surgeries that are more likely to lead to it, such as cancer, heart, and brain surgeries.


The dictionary defines depression as “feelings of severe despondency and dejection,” and its synonyms include: misery, gloom, despair, and hopelessness. William James in 1902 described it as, “…a positive and active anguish, a sort of physical neuralgia wholly unknown to normal life."


Although depression after surgery isn’t unusual, it isn’t normal. To accept that it’s normal is to overlook the weight and urgency of getting help.


Dr. Helen Meyberg, American neurologist known for her work identifying abnormal brain function in patients with major depression using functional neuroimaging, explains that depression is the sound of a brain that fails to adapt to reality. It’s a twisted fate where “you feel bad and it’s your fault.” Its four major characteristics are: negative mood, altered sleep & change in appetite/libido, slowed movement actions, guilt & lack of ability to focus. Of the four, it’s this engulfing sadness (negative mood) that’s hardest to explain and localize, but the most important thing to identify as a starting point.


Andrew Solomon, a writer, lecturer and Professor of Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, talks about his personal battle with depression. He explains that this illness has different nuances and expressions across cultures and social strata. He advocates both the conventional treatments and alternative ways to cure it. He also says that happiness is not the opposite of depression, vitality is.


Depression isn’t normal and it merits treatment. Here’s an inspiring story of a TBI (traumatic brain injury) patient’s recovery from post-surgical depression.


Shutting out depression strengthens it; hiding it makes it grow. If you’re battling with post-surgery depression, contact Jarvis Hypnotherapy. Our doors are always open to help you.

0412 398 313

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