Struggling with Depression After Ostomy

Feb 23, 2023 1:12 pm

How many people here suffer from depression since receiving their ostomy? A lot of people told me that I should be happy I'm still alive, which in some ways I am, but in other ways I am not. People also say it's a give-and-take; it gave me some of my life back, but it took away more than I thought it was going to. I always liked having someone in my life, and so far this ostomy has cost me my relationships. Most of the time, I don't think it was worth it.

Feb 23, 2023 2:01 pm

I am really sorry you are going through a hard time. If it's companion relationships you're talking about, then they weren't worth it to begin with. If someone cannot accept you and your ostomy, then that's on them and not on you or anything you have done. It is worth it, live your life for you and when the time is right, the right one will come along. Don't listen to what others say or think about your ostomy. It's a part of you and who you are, and that's a beautiful thing and a beautiful story.

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ron in mich
Feb 23, 2023 2:09 pm

Hi TD, I got my ostomy when I was in my mid-thirties and went through different stages of anger, depression, and "why me?" But eventually, I came to realize I was healthy again and able to go to work or fishing without worrying about where bathrooms are. As for relationships, even though I was married and women knew it, they still flirted and hung around. Good luck.

Feb 23, 2023 2:28 pm

Hi Tat,

How many get depressed when they get an ostomy? Ummm... I'd say most. But there's 'temporary' depression, which is transient and eventually overcome, and then there's 'permanent' depression, that's a totally different animal. I'd guess the 'temporary' kind, which is what you're experiencing, lasts from days to a few years after getting your frontbutt. It's part of the whole ostomy process, and it can be linear or be a roller coaster. There's the physical component, as well as the psychological part, so there's more to it than meets the eye (and what everyone else sees).

I've said this more than a few times, but if you getting an ostomy (or chemo or a leg amputated or whatever) brings about the end of your relationship with someone... that relationship wasn't on solid ground anyway. Of course you like having someone in your life... and you will again. You just have to get to the point where you accept who YOU are, are ok with it, and then start to love yourself again like you used to. And when you get there you'll find that new special someone who's going to love you for you, ostomy or not... at which point you'll definitely think it's worth it.

Now I'm not going to blow smoke up your ass, there very well may be some bumps in the road, and not every ostomate finds their special someone. But that's no different than it is for folks without an ostomy. The world is full of idiots, and you're going to run into your fair share of them, maybe even a few more... but finding a diamond in a pile of shit has never been easy. Maybe the pile you're digging thru is a bit larger now, but that diamond is still in there. Don't let your ostomy define you and you'll be fine. As people get older and more mature they come to realize that none of us get out of this story alive, and approaching the finish line might not be pretty, but it's inevitable. So tolerance for minor (and major) imperfections increases greatly... and what you're thinking is a huge show stopper won't be for many of those you meet... if the rest of you is worth spending the rest of their life with.

You're in good company, and most of us have been thru what you're dealing with. And we're still here. It gets better... or we wouldn't be.

Hang in there Tat... you got this!!


Feb 23, 2023 3:21 pm

Hi Tat,

I'm not here to tell you to " buck up", " count yourself lucky " etc becauseyour feelings are real and valid. My only adviceis to have patience with the process and look forward to meeting the most important person in your life ___ YOU!. It's time to take the opportunity to really assesshow you'd like your life to go; to ask what does Tat want or like.

Remember in everything you do there's a gain. Whether it be a pleasantexperience you'd like to do again or a lesson learnt. Perspective is key, plus you've now got your own s..t detective. Whoever wouldn't want you because of an ostomy is more full of s..t than you!

Take care, Michelle xx

Getting Support in the Ostomy Community with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister
Feb 23, 2023 3:35 pm

No, I've had depression on and off long before I had an ostomy.

How long have you had your ostomy?

Hope you're getting some professional help with your depression and meds if needed.

I don't mean it in a nasty way, but it sounds like you and your partner weren't meant to be together forever or they would still be by your side with or without an ostomy.

Keep fighting, don't lock yourself away. Get out more. Do you have any hobbies that can get you out meeting people, making new friends at the same time to help build your confidence back up? Confidence is what you need. Once you have that, nothing can stop you. Life really is worth fighting for. You've done it before with whatever health problems you had your ostomy for and getting over surgery. Now it's time to start fighting back against depression and negative thoughts that go with it.

Feb 23, 2023 5:20 pm

What did your ostomy take away from your life? Was it your ostomy that cost you relationships or you being sick or something else that has nothing to do with your ostomy?

Feb 23, 2023 6:06 pm

Like Ron in Michigan said.

Everyone has some sort of depression or anger to deal with. Everyone learns how to cope with it in time. I still get mad as a hornet when heckler blows like Mount Saint Helens and I have a bigger mess to clean up. This site was really new when I got my ostomy. Back then, there were just a couple hundred people. People were really excited when the site got to 1000, then 1500. Now, you look at it, there are way more people to listen and help. The one thing you get to do on this site is vent. Sometimes you might need to be told to "suck it up, buttercup," and then sometimes people should just listen with their ears and just read your vent without saying anything more than "that sucks, hope you have a better day." Your depression is all up to you and how you deal with it. Just remember that there are people out there worse than you and still have a smile on their face.

Feb 23, 2023 8:42 pm

That dude, it's hard to hear people say simply "be grateful that you're alive." Of course that's true, but it disregards your need to unload and feel what you're feeling first. In their defense, most people who don't understand what you're going through can only listen for so long and that's why we vent here so easily because these people get it! I had some depression/anxiety actually before my surgeries when I tried everything under the sun to rope in my ulcerative colitis to no avail. Nothing worked and I kept flaring really badly. I felt so out of control. The surgeries actually fixed something and made me feel better. I'm sure what made it easier for me was having the support of my husband. I can't imagine how it would feel if he couldn't handle it and decided to leave. I'm so sorry you had folks abandon you when you needed them the most. It DOES say a lot about them (not such good stuff!) because you are still you. You're also ultimately the one in charge of your own emotional destination. Depression and anxiety can hit when we regret and lament things that can't be helped or changed. If we ileostomates obsessively grieve our lost colons, we risk plummeting emotionally. When we accept that our colons are gone, we're free to focus on the things that we do have control over. Surrounding ourselves with people who make us feel safe is also key, even virtual folks like us!

Feb 23, 2023 9:18 pm
Reply to AlexT

Took away my ability, you have companionship. Most of the women, I mean, I get to the second date, the conversation gets a little more than "What do you do for a living?" I tell them about it and poof, they're gone.

Feb 23, 2023 9:46 pm

Well, it's not like I'm dating anyone. If the ladies that you go on a date with are gone after a date or two because you got sick and now have an ostomy, is that someone you'd really want around as you age?

Feb 23, 2023 9:48 pm

Hi Tat, I don't think your problem lies with your ostomy, more like your picker is off. Where are you meeting these women? Step back, take some time to feel good and then raise your bar. You'll find if you're looking for someone special instead of just any company, you'll have more luck x

Past Member
Feb 23, 2023 10:18 pm

I definitely would have died at 27 without my ostomy, but that doesn't mean I've always been grateful to have been kept alive. Therapy helped with that bit.

As far as relationships go, you have 2 options really: keep trying and develop a thick skin for the rejection, or quit looking and get comfortable with living your best life without a partner. You're the only one really who can decide what will work for you. The journey isn't easy, but that's true for most people on the planet, so you're in good company.

Feb 24, 2023 6:50 am

Congratulations Tatdude on your totally honest post.

I do so admire anyone who is brave enough to publicly say how they really feel.

When I was told I would require resection surgery, I knew it was more than likely I would be by myself for the rest of my life.

Then again, the true meaning of rejection really does hit home when you get dumped by a fellow ostomate.


Feb 24, 2023 6:21 pm


I did a quick skim and didn't see the answer to the question I'm about to ask (if someone already asked it, my bad). How long has it been since your surgery? There's a technical name for a type of depression patients can go through after surgeries. I didn't know that was a thing until after a major abdominal surgery and the surgeon asked me if I was feeling any regret, depression, etc around 2 weeks post-op...and I said YES but I didn't know who to talk to about that, I didn't know it was more common than not. Her validating what I was feeling was enough for me after that surgery. I now know I go through a post-surgery funk (that's just what I call it) every time I have a major surgery now.

This past year broke me in ways I didn't know I could break and I have PTSD so I've been pretty broken before. I didn't know before the end of March 2022 you could live without a colon. I was supposed to be bringing a little boy home from Colombia to join my family this past summer, but instead I was having my colon removed. It seems like's not that they stop caring...but after about 2 weeks or so they go back to their normal lives while you're still in the midst of healing.

Unless you have been through a chronic illness/life-altering surgery and/or super empathetic, it can be really hard for people to understand. I'm pretty sure I made up new swear words on bad days with my stoma.

In wedding vows....especially if a couple gets married when they're younger and for the heck of it we'll assume everyone is healthy...we just glaze over the "in sickness and in health part". If you meet someone who knows what he/she is getting into ahead of time, I see how that can be a HUGE positive. If someone is going to bolt because you have an ostomy is that someone you'd want to be with??

Keep an eye on that depression, ya? Don't ignore it and don't be afraid to ask for help- I think you're already reaching out for support which is a great step.

Feb 26, 2023 12:32 pm
Reply to Reiki06

Very well put. Regards, IGGIE

Feb 26, 2023 7:59 pm
Reply to Reiki06

Excellent advice except patience can wear thin sometimes. I don't know if I, myself, would carry on with someone other than a wife if I didn't have a bag and they did, so not for me to judge others. This is a practical world, there may be other considerations at work, like what is your station in life or how deep your pockets are, but remaining on the search is sound advice. Lots of fish in the sea, you just need a longer fishing rod and a better lure. Best wishes.

Feb 26, 2023 9:01 pm

Hey Tat, the comments you just got from these wise, experienced, compassionate folks here is priceless. I think you're a bright, brave ostomate going through lots of the same stuff we did. Some of us are still going through some of it. You feel how you feel because you're you. We all felt the ways we did because we are who we are. We're different from each other but the great news is we learn from our similarities and our differences. I'm betting that in a pretty short time you'll feel way different and you'll be ready to advise others of your methods to get to your new self.

Stay close and thanks for your bravery and sharing.


Feb 27, 2023 1:52 am

Aside from having a very supportive and loving relationship with my hubby, I became much closer to Jesus. If it weren't for him and many people praying for me, I would be in a great predicament. Many nights, I cried and prayed myself to sleep. When I thought I couldn't get through another moment, I prayed and had serious talks with God. I listened to calming music and the next thing I knew, I was waking up the next morning. I made it another day.

Jesus saves and heals! I would be nothing without him.

Feb 27, 2023 3:01 am

I hope you have a great day!
I'm not feeling too good at the moment, but anyway, I have stories like you and depression. It can take over us; it's crazy and real for me and lonely, etc... How's your day going? I just was in and out of the hospital, but anyway, hope you are having a good night or day!

Happy Monday

Feb 27, 2023 5:11 pm
Reply to Renfromtexas

Yes!!! So true. God is amazing.

Feb 27, 2023 6:51 pm

That dude - I know exactly how you feel. I have a colostomy for 2 and 1/2 years now, and I am depressed more often than not. You did receive great replies. iMacG5 said the comments, experienced, compassionate folks is priceless. That is true. The timing of your question and the replies you received came at a good time for me. I can't seem to get a break, to find a way to live with this. They found cancer in 2020, I went through Chemo and Radiation, then remission. In 2022 after CT scan, they found cancer metastasized to my lungs. I did radiation and started Keytruda. Still doing the Keytruda. Last month CT scan and they found a new spot on my lungs. Small, so decided to wait for 4 months to see if it grows, then another biopsy. I feel strongly I will be told for the 3rd time cancer again. I have been thinking I don't want to fight this anymore. Between the bag, between the rash and itch I am getting from Keytruda. I am tired. However, reading the replies made me stop and think maybe I can be happy again. It is up to me to change my attitude. I will work on it. For you, it is ok to be depressed and have a bad day. Take a look outside and look for the beauty. I am trying to do that. I know it is hard. If you do it then I can too. Keep looking.

Feb 27, 2023 8:41 pm
Reply to burru

Burro, please realize how strong you are and what a true inspiration you sound after reading what you've been through. Don't just look outside for beauty. I'm certain more would be found inside yourself; you sound like a lovely, sincere person. Take care, Michelle xx

Feb 28, 2023 2:36 pm

Look for a lady in here, a lot of them say they are looking for a partner or a friend. Put the word out that you're on the menu.

Mar 04, 2023 12:03 pm

Checking in to see how you're doing?

Mar 04, 2023 4:56 pm
Reply to Reiki06

Thank you, Michelle

Mar 11, 2023 10:24 pm

I can understand your feelings... they are valid.. and it's frustrating to hear people say "you should be happy to be alive".... when in my experience I didn't care... but it GETS BETTER.. I am new to the ileostomy world... and my life has changed... but I am transcending the stigmas, and learning to love my Stella.. (My ostomy) I named her. I send her love every day.. sounds cheesy but just changing your self-talk does make all the difference.. sending blessings on your journey..where you are is where you are... this journey is not for the faint of hearts.... it's for the superheroes in life.. so remember the superhero inside.. how really great you are, for your bravery to go where many could never.

Past Member
Mar 25, 2023 4:50 pm

I understand the depression. I have days where I literally cut myself off from the world. Other days I'm fine. I am still on the fence which was worse - the year of chemo or the year trying to heal after the ileostomy surgery. But my life is better than the 40 years suffering from UC and never reaching remission. My bad days now are nothing like my bad days before the surgery. And I am alive. I was close to dying right before the surgery. I realize my guardian angels saved me. I know I have a lot to live for. My kids. My granddaughter. My close circle of friends to which nowadays are a rarity. I have been divorced for years so I didn't lose any relationships. Try and think of the joys in your life. Relatives that you actually love. The neighbor that you enjoy talking to. The clerk at the store that always waves and strikes up a conversation. Pets if you have any. I live in a big city and I regard our highway traffic issues as entertainment. There's always some moron you can chuckle at. Turn the sad days into good moments. Laugh at yourself. If we don't laugh at ourselves then our sister will. Try a new hobby. Many times our depression will cloud our minds and we won't see joy that is in front of us. Enjoy the sounds of birds. Imagine animals and how they react to each other. Watch a squirrel destroy your garden but don't get irritated. Think of the happiness you can give the squirrel. Even when they destroy your outdoor bench cushion so they can build a luxury nest!
Don't let this get you down. Our emotions control how we heal. Count the number of pros. They will always outweigh the cons. Some days we have to search harder but it's there.

Mar 27, 2023 12:34 am

I've had a colostomy for a year now, and I have bouts of depression... It's the nature of the beast. It comes and goes. I just don't let it get to me. I fight through and stay active. It's a life changer, but at least we are still alive. I get depressed because I've developed a hernia from the get-go, and it looks like I have a softball stuck to my belly, and I'm very self-conscious of it, thinking everyone is looking at it, ugh! The good thing is I'm going to have surgery to fix that issue. All I can suggest is for you to find the right people to help you with the right support.

Sep 17, 2023 7:43 am

Oh yes. Depression and anxiety

I was never "that person" when tears would come unbidden. I knew I was fragile. I am now on Zoloft and Wellbutrin, and I have weekly psychotherapy to help me with my anger and mourning.

Feel free to reach out to me if you need to vent.