My oncologist thinks I’m depressed.
Do you think you’re depressed?
I don’t know. He asked me, ‘what do you do for fun?’ And I said -I have cancer. I’m getting chemo. I’m tired. I don’t want to do anything. Everyone keeps asking me about that -‘fun.’ What’s fun? Any ounce of energy I have goes to doing a load of laundry once in a while, cleaning a toilet. What can I do for fun? I don’t want to go bowling or roller skating. So I guess I’m depressed. I’m not having any fun.
Let me ask you in a different way. Fun takes effort, energy that you don’t have. What about joy? Do you have joy? You know, like the feeling of sunshine on your face, hearing your friend’s laugh, eating chocolate ice cream. Can you find joy in your life? Your life with cancer and chemo and being tired all the time. Does anything give you joy?
She hesitated. Contemplated. Slumped a little and then straightened up. Her face turned to me and she said matter-of-factly, “no.”
There you have it. It isn’t fun that you need, it’s joy. You can have joy even in the face of death, even when you have no energy, even when you are getting chemo. Joy takes no effort. It’s not fun, it’s better than that. Let’s see if we can get your joy back.
OK. I want that.
So I prescribed her a medication for depression. I hope it delivers.
Photo credit: Wilmolmas Poklin