Depressed After Tonsillectomy? You are not alone

Depression After Tonsillectomy

One challenge that many tonsillectomy patients don’t anticipate is depression after surgery. Even people with the sunniest of dispositions may find themselves in a dark place after enduring the hardships of surgery and its recovery. **Before discussing the topic of depression after surgery any further, let me say that if you are under a doctor’s care for depression before surgery, be sure to work with them to plan treatment after surgery. 

Tonsillectomy Recovery- Day 17: Why don’t I feel better?

Tonsillectomy surgery, like almost any other surgery, requires more of your body than normal. The healing process takes energy. After tonsillectomy, eating and sleeping become difficult. This makes the healing process more of a strain. I have tips for both eating and sleeping on other pages. For now I’d like to address the almost inevitable event of depression after surgery.

Feeling depressed after tonsillectomy

Depression After Tonsillectomy

Two weeks of battling pain, not getting enough sleep, taking narcotic pain medicine, and being removed from your normal social interaction can have a profound effect on your mental state. Being prepared for depression after surgery can help you feel better.

Doing your best to stay nourished, get sleep, and stay ahead of pain will all help. I further recommend planning some simple daily activities like a short walk outside, a relaxing bath, a daily television show. These simple activities can get your mind off the discomfort, give you something to look forward to, and give normalcy to an otherwise abnormal time.

Another trick to beating depression after surgery is to record your thoughts and feelings in a journal. Oddly, this seems to release the struggles a bit. I also suggest participating in the online forums and offering others support. As I’ve often said, when you shine a light for others, you also light your own path.

Finally, let people in. Family, friends, health professionals, even co workers have more compassion than you may realize. Let people help. Ask for help in advance- before you have surgery. I personally would be delighted if a friend asked me to run out for Popsicle’s or chewing gum because they’d run out during their tonsillectomy recovery. Help others to help you. You’ll both benefit.

Finally, try to remember that this is temporary. How you are feeling in the midst of your recovery is not how you’ll always feel. Try to imagine the better life you’ll have without the problems the surgery will have corrected. Again, you can read of success stories in my book and on the forum.

Take care,


56 thoughts on “Depressed After Tonsillectomy? You are not alone

  1. Hi everybody.. I know nobody has posted here since December but I figured I’d post this anyways.. I’m 2 weeks post op my surgery was April 2nd of this month and I’ll be honest the day of surgery I was fine.. I had to spend the night in the hospital as precaution just incase if I bled or anything (thank goodness no blood!) I was released the 3rd.. I went home and immediately started to feel pain.. The pain mess didn’t do anything for the pain Tylenol didn’t do anything.. I just couldn’t get any relief.. I wanted my mom to call the doctor for me but she wouldn’t and I couldn’t do it since I had no voice.. By day 4 I started to get depressed because I couldn’t eat, couldn’t drink and I really didn’t have energy to do anything.. Oh did I mention that right after surgery I lost my taste buds.. So I can’t even taste the ice cream I’m still currently eating.. Went for my follow up told the doctor how much pain I’m in.. Actually I’m in more pain now then the first day.. My ear and jaw constantly voice hurts and even my body hurts and my throat and jaw swell up.. I am now depressed because my Otolaryngology told me that there isn’t anymore he can do for me.. Even after I told him my concerns about pain and the blood I was spitting up.. He basically told me if I’m not gushing blood its normal..So I decided to make an appointment with my family doctor to see if he can prescribe me something for the pain.. I’m in tears because of how bad the pain is.. I have a few questions 1) has anyone else experienced so much pain? 2) Has anyone lost their taste buds? 3) how long will this depression last? ( I have tried going out and doing errands) Thank you to whoever reads this.

  2. Hi Yas, I know what you mean regarding the anxieties….. I too suffer with the anxiety most days, what if it starts bleeding again etc! Because I have the stitches still in im worried that as they come out it could cause bleeding….. I did have a couple of drinks at the weekend and a takeaway and I was fine, so I’m sure ul be fine having a drink over Christmas :) iv still got pain when I yawn sneeze etc….. And also slight pain when eating certain foods, and jaw pain quite bad :( ….. I wonder when we will be fully recovered?!?

    1. Hi I’m new here , I’m exactly 9 weeks post tonsillectomy , anxiety really hits you bad, can’t function well at home and at work , I still have scratchy feeling at the sides of my throat, esp on my right side where my tonsils was taken out,, it takes a while yo recover I guess. I keep on looking for forums to compare my symptoms during my recovery weekly. How are You guys with your symptoms? How long was recovery .

  3. Hi Yas…… I cannot see ur post when I click reply but I received an email notification about a new post?!? I had a similar situation . Had my tonsils out on 21st November and after 7 days had a bleed, got kept in hosp overnight but then had another bleed which was bad and after 2 hrs of bleeding I was taken to theatre for re cauterisation and stitches in the left tonsil. I didn’t eat for another week and half after that, I too was starving :( I lost nearly 14lbs! It’s been over 3 weeks since the initial operation and just over 2 for the stitches. I am eating again but I still have pain on he left side, and in my ear and jaw :( the stitches are still there and annoying me! I too suffered bad anxiety afterwards from the ordeal but I’m slowly beginning to worry less, but it’s still there in the back of my mind! What if it does bleed again :( ….. How are you now? Did u have stitches at all? X

    1. That’s horrible, you poor thing! I was pretty lucky considering, the bleed stopped on it’s own so I didn’t require cauterization or stitches. I haven’t had another bleed, just some clotted blood on the back of my throat when I’ve woken in the morning but the hydrogen peroxide gargles helped to clean that. My left tonsil bed was where my bleed happened too and I had a lot more pain from that side afterwards and occasionally still do get a sharp pain. I hit three weeks yesterday and it mainly feels like bad muscle pain in my throat apart from the pain and scratchiness cause by doing too many hydrogen peroxide gargles.I have only the slightest ear pain now which is a relief. I went back to work last night and that was tough, it was really hard to find the motivation and energy. I’m just getting concerned about Christmas, I don’t want to spend the day unable to eat or share a glass of champagne with my family, but mainly I’m concerned I simply wont have the energy to get out of bed. I can tell my anxieties are frustrating my family and I suspect they may think I’m being a drama queen, they’ve been so wonderful the last few weeks, it must be so draining for them to be around a bundle of worries. Hope your throat heals up quickly and with no more problems x

  4. Our son had his tonsillectomy 17 weeks ago and hasn’t been the same since he had three months of infection and severe tonsillitis every other week on September 4, 2014 they removed his tonsils. He has been depressed since and still talks so quiet not because it hurts he’s just null. He is 35 married with two children 7&6 years of age. Please any advice would be so appreciated as his mother I am sick with worry.

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