• Aging Well Denver

Beating The Recovery Blues

The prospect of surgery is scary for most of us and we expect some anxiety leading up to it but what happens when you get home and are recovering? You would think that the hard part would be over, but for some, depression and anxiety make for a harder recovery.

Whether you have experienced depression and anxiety before of not, you could be at risk for the recovery blues. The hard part is that not many people address it, including doctors. Here we will discuss some potential reasons for the recovery blues, what signs to look for and how to beat them so you can be ahead of the game.

Potential Reasons for Post Surgery Depression

- Surgery was unexpected.

- Financial concerns.

- Reactions to pain medicine.

- Effects from anesthesia.

- Physical pain.

- Lack of exercise or daily routine.

- Facing the fear of death.

- Loneliness.

Signs of Depression and What To Look For

- Withdrawal from interaction.

- Trouble making decisions.

- Extreme changes in appetite.

- Restlessness.

- Uncontrollable mood swings.

- Sleeping much more or less than usual.

- Loss of interest in usual activities or hobbies.

*Depression and anxiety can manifest themselves differently in everyone. If you are experiencing any symptoms outside of your norm, contact your physician.

Preparing For and Beating The Recovery Blues

- Prepare as much as you can for what your recovery will be like. Talk to your doctor about potential pain, discomfort or physical challenges.

- Have someone to check in with. Ask a loved one, or multiple, to check in on you often and see how you're doing.

-If you know you're at risk for anxiety and depression, talk to your doctor about it before the surgery and have a plan in place if it starts to affect you.

- If you have time, prep meals or have take out menus ready so that you don't have to worry about grocery shopping or cooking for a few days.

- Do the same with childcare, pet care, or household responsibilities. Find someone to pick up the slack whether it's hired help, family or friends.

- Move as much as you're allowed to. Talk to your doctor about your limitations but exercise as much as you are able to. It will boost your mood, your self esteem and provide you with something to do.

- Stick to a sleep schedule. Let yourself rest but when you're able to - get up and get ready for the day and then go to bed on time. Sticking to a schedule will keep you from getting over tired or even resting too much.

- Set realistic goals. Work toward small daily goals, like walking around the block or just making it to the store. Don't expect too much from yourself but give yourself manageable tasks to complete.

Do you have any tips for beating the recovery blues? Have you had depression or anxiety post surgery? Share your experience with us in the comments below!