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Handbook for Mortals : Managing Other Symptoms

Depression and Anxiety

"Well, I'm so sick! Isn't it natural to be depressed?"


While it is natural for you to feel sad as you contemplate the end of your life, this is different from true depression. If you have no interest in what is going on, see only the bleak side of life, take no pleasure in things that you usually enjoy, or seem to feel no emotions at all, then you may be suffering from clinical depression, which can be treated. It is important for you or your family to talk to your doctor so that depression can be diagnosed and treated. Treatment is often effective, even in the last weeks of life. Not only will you feel better, but your family will feel better knowing you enjoyed the time you spent with them.

"Some people are depressed, but I'm just so anxious."


Anxiety is more than normal worrying; anxiety is feeling so worried and fearful that it interferes with any pleasurable time. If you typically feel anxiety during periods of stress, you may be more likely to feel anxiety now. The kinds of coping techniques that have helped you in the past will probably help you now. These may include reassurance, medications, and channeling your worry into productive endeavors. Some people have greater anxiety because they feel uninformed, overwhelmed, or powerless. If you are feeling this way, it is very important that you tell your doctor and family that you might do better if you had more information, more help, or a greater feeling of control. Good communication is probably the most important remedy for anxiety of this nature.

Other symptoms:

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