Tuesday, December 8, 2009


A while ago, I read a post on a blog of a mother with cancer how she disliked some ways of using the word fighting. The crux of the matter was that you didn't beat cancer based on how hard you faught, some will die, some will survive and to consider those that died to have somehow not faught as hard is wrong. Now there may be some fuzziness around the edges with that, I've definitely seen new articles announcing research about the good effects of positive thinking, but it's still a pretty fair statement.

Now, here I am, feeling like really in the 8 months that I've been treated for depression that I'm really still very unwell, but with mental health issues I rather suspect that fighting does make a difference, though ironically the illness may take away your ability to fight. So does the fact that I'm here now mean I've not been fighting? I think not, an obvious consequence of depression is suicide, I'm still here, I think this means I'm fighting.

When people are fighting physical diseases we seek to encourage them, do we believe that our encouragement will cure them? It's usually something we just do, it just is what one does when someone is ill, subconciously I think we're actually trying to prevent depression, which as it turns out is an entirely reasonable thing to, not just because we want to avoid that suffering, but people with depression do have a reduced life expectancy that isn't entirely accounted for by suicide.


sharalyns said...

As a former pediatric oncology RN, I can tell you right off that those who fight either end up living cancer free or buying themselves more time. The more passive a child was the more likely that they would succumb to the disease earlier. Doesn't hold true for every child, but that was the strong trend.

As to depression tending to shorten lives even taking out suicide, yep! There are so many chemical changes the body goes through that puts you at higher risk of so many things.

I find you *very* courageous to be so open about your struggle with all of us, and you are an encouragement to others to not suffer in silence, but to stand up and search for an answer.


mumprime said...

Thank you, I really appreciate the comment.

SK said...

I don't think 'fighting' necessarily implies 'winning', does it? And quite often whether you win has nothing to do with how hard you fought. Sometimes the enemy is just too fast, too strong. That doesn't mean you didn't fight.

In some ways the most heroic fight is the one where you have no hope of winning but fighting is the right thing to do, so you do it anyway.

When we encourage people to fight we don't believe our encouragement will cure them, but we hope that it might help them not to give up and accept defeat: and that in itself is valuable, whether or not it affects their life expectancy or suffering.

So I would say, the error the person whose 'blog you read made was to focus on whether someone won in order to judge whether they fought.