The headlines screamed “Mumbai top cop Himanshu Roy commits suicide, due to cancer depression.” While absorbing this shocking news, let us pause and reflect: While we focus on getting the best medical treatment, we often overlook the mental and emotional effects of cancer. Why?
Himanshu Roy’s suicide was a tragedy of course. So was the manner of his death: he shot himself with his service revolver. And more so, his motivation: his handwritten suicide note indicated that he was “depressed and frustrated” by his struggle against cancer.
Our hearts goes out to his family, his colleagues and all those who loved and admired him.
It may seem strange that a senior police officer who was ultra-fit and strong, could take his own life like this. We may ask ourselves “how is it that a decorated brave-heart who fought dreaded terrorists and criminals, could not face life after cancer?” But it isn’t as simple as that.
Cancer depression is real
In dealing with cancer, our mental and emotional resilience are at least as important as physical strength.
Himanshu Roy’s medical scan, conducted just 11 days before his death, was revealing. Actually, his cancer was cured.
Dr. Raj Nagarkar, the treating oncologist said, “the medicines had done wonders and all the soft tissues and cancer were almost gone. With positive progress like his, it would be a mistake to say that he killed himself because of the illness. More than the physical problems, it was his state of mind that probably took over.”
Multiple causes of cancer depression
Cancer punches a hole through your sense of self.
- You realise that life as you knew it, will never be the same again … and that normalcy has been forever redefined.
- Physical recovery takes time. Emotional/ psychological recovery takes even longer.
- If you have been active and independent, you find it hard to be vulnerable and depend on others.
- Returning to work can be disorienting and stressful. You may even start questioning the purpose of your life.
- Some relationships sour. You may feel that your loved ones and friends have abandoned you.
- Cancer is financially a big blow. Your well-made plans can feel uncertain or unreachable
Moreover, your social and cultural conditioning present cancer as a “battle to be won”, that getting cancer “somehow diminishes who you are” and that cancer “condemns you to life-long suffering”.
Dealing with cancer depression
As thousands of survivors and thrivers will testify, there can be a new – and better – life after cancer. It takes determined effort to let-go the old normal and create the ‘New Normal’. And in the process, you might just discover a new meaning to your life. Taking these transformative steps, requires patience, care and expertise.
Non-medical care, particularly through holistic practices, nurtures you back to well-being and wholeness. It can help you heal your life.
Cancer coaching can also help you to recognise that the human spirit is far bigger, stronger and more positive than anything cancer can throw at you.
Himanshu Roy was a hero to many, and deservedly so. Mumbai will miss his broad shoulders. But in his tragic and untimely death, he leaves us with a very important message. Let’s take cancer depression seriously and do something about it.
- While the medical treatments are doing the job of treating the disease, how has the cancer journey affected your mental health?
- What steps can you take to deal with the cancer depression, low self-esteem, feeling of loneliness, continuous irritability, lack of will-power etc. during the cancer journey?