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,


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

  1. I am 22 years old and on day 7 of recovery, day 5 was when it all got too much! I’ve suffered with depression as a young teenager and feel like I’m going back to that horrible place, even when I’m not in pain, I’m miserable. I can’t wait for all the to be over! One things for sure I thought I’d be one of these people who didn’t get much pain. I have a high pain threshold but even with all the painkillers sometimes I’m frozen with pain. I’m glad my tonsils are gone, the amount of trouble they have caused me for years, but it seems like the recovery is their last bit of evil against you!

    1. Hi Jodie- Sorry you’re having a rough time. I did too. One thing to keep in mind is that this is temporary. How you feel now is not how you’ll feel days and weeks from now. It will get better. At day 7, (now 8), things are about their worst in terms of pain- but there is also the effect of a week of pain med’s. Those take you down. You probably haven’t been sleeping so well either. It’s all adding up. Soon things will improve. I can tell you: life without tonsils is WAY better than with them for me.

      Hang in there Jodie!

  2. I’m 19 years old and can vouch for this surgery being the most uncomfortable experience of my life. I was mentally prepared for an unpleasant experience but couldn’t have expected such discomfort when eating, sleeping, even breathing. However, my recovery has been more painful than most I would assume because after surgery I also contracted pneumonia which my doctor blames on my acute asthma. It’s made me have to cough and when you pair that with a tonsillectomy you get all kinds of extra blood and pain.
    My uvula swelled to be about the size of a grape, making every swallow I had after surgery feel like I’m trying to swallow, well, a whole grape.
    The medication gas affected my energy, mood, mindset, and sleep patterns. At first I was on anti-inflammatory steroids to help with swelling in addition to liquid hydrocodone and at first I felt on top of the world emotionally for the first week but now entering the second week I have been in a state of depression that I can’t shake. It’s very odd for someone that hasn’t been depressed before and I know the medication is somewhat to blame. Also I have such weird vivid dreams that I credit to the medication as well. I’m currently on post op day 12 and it’s still painful to swallow and I’ve bled multiple times that have clotted and ceased to bleed. I’m getting past the depression by reminding myself that it’s the medication and the fact that I have been cooped up in my house for nearly 2 weeks without anything really entertaining to do. If you’re struggling with any if these problems just keep in mind it will be okay and that all of us recovering from tonsillectomies are reading online forums for help just like you.

  3. As an adult, the pain experienced during recovery from a tonsillectomy is HORRIBLE! There is NO doubt about that. Three years ago, when I was age 47, I had my tonsillectomy (for chronic tonsil stones and infections). I have had several other surgeries in my life and the tonsillectomy recovery was by FAR the worst experience of them all! My Dr. had warned me that it would be the worst sore throat pain I would ever have in my life. I felt I was mentally prepared for the worst. Each day after surgery is a little different, and things tend to get worse before they get better. My tonsillectomy was a few years ago, so it’s all king of a blur now, (thankfully!!) but I remember drinking lots of liquid Tylenol, and taking a strong pain med (I can’t remember the name.) Besides the pain meds, it helps to have two other VERY IMPORTANT things. 1) A strong support team to encourage you and sympathize with you, and 2) a strong, daily positive attitude with CONSTANT reminders to yourself that, “I CAN DO THIS!” and,”this, too, shall pass.” Some days I was living minute by minute just praying my way through the moment, and reminding myself that soon this will all be a distant memory. When the depression hit it was a total surprise, but I somehow knew it had everything to do with the meds and the whole experience I was going through. I just knew in a few days when the meds were out of my system I would perk up. Drink a lot of water and keep reminding yourself that things will get better soon! The taste buds issue was also a surprise. I think it literally took over a year for foods to taste right again. Three years post-tonsillectomy it’s easy to say I am glad I did it. I am SO much healthier and glad not to have the tonsil issues anymore. Everything I went through is a distant memory. Hang in there and soon you will be looking back barely remembering it all, like me. :o)

  4. 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.

    1. Hi Leigh,
      Iam 20 yrs old and currently 10 days post op. to answer your questions 1. yes the pain is unexpectedly horrible 2. I have lost my taste buds and my tongue has did this weird peeling and is now really pink like brand new taste buds are coming in I can slightly taste salty stuff. 3. Im not sure how long this depression will last but I hope no long. Should stop once you quit the medicine and its filtered out of your system. it was totally unexpected I knew the surgery would hurt and I wasn’t going to be able to eat but I never knew depression of all things would occur especially to a bubbly laughable person like myself and these medicines don’t make it any better. Not to be Tmi but the medicine has caused my cycle to be late it was supposed to come like last week so im suffering from pms and this hopefully temporary depression.(no im not prego, pre op your required to take a pregnancy test so if I were id still have my tonsils) Ive been having weird dreams that scare me make, me laugh in my sleep, and even wake me up crying like I did this morning. Its starting to become dreadful I feel like im stuck in my tired body and cant escape. I believe getting out should help with the depression. Ive literally been in my house and bed and back since the surgery no where else so tomorrow when my sis goes to have her baby im going also to meet babygirl and see if I feel any better.

      (a few tips for anyone especially if your going to be home alone or independently caring for yourself)
      *have movies, or tv shows, Netflix or even books you enjoy reading set up for the time the medicine has you up late. the depression worsens if your just staring at the wall late night
      *set an alarm/timer for med taking. its best to get each dose as recommended, if you miss a dose or cut it in half like I did the experience is horrible especially in the early days of post op. you will cry! also be careful with the meds, if you spill a huge amount like I did because I was “high” from the meds and unstable its hard to get more if you have no refills because docs think you drug lords lol, but explain to your doc what happened and he/she should give more.
      *if your stomach can stand it take the pain med with milk first, if your lactose or hate milk try a couple of spoonfuls of apple sauce or pudding first then take your meds before you plan to eat your meals so that you can eat without feeling the pain of swallowing. this will help you to at least have a full tummy so you wont be as hungry
      *keep your mouth and more importantly body hydrated. same thing with the food, aim to drink the most after you have taken meds because it wont hurt as much. avoid orange juices or tomato juices anything too acidic will burn.
      *get rest, don’t try too do too much the first couple days the rest really helps in aiding your healing process. believe me im itching to do my hair and go out but I cant im too weak from lack of nutrients and calories. plus it seems ppl hurt more the following night the day they decided to go out :(
      *I know the hunger is depressing but do not eat beyond what your throat can handle. day 9 I tried to eat a burger but it was so dry that I scraped some of my scab off and caused minor bleeding and I got paranoid. from now on im strictly soup and oatmeal dieting until im completely healed.
      *fight the hunger pain by having meals set. know what your going to eat next before the time comes.
      *if your energy permits take a warm shower before bed, it will help you feel great and is a everyday activity that can help you feel “normal” again. I found adding essential oils like peppermint or rosemary to my shower floor (no more than five drops) then allowing the steam to do its job is quite refreshing.
      *cold stuff is recommended by the doctor but it doesn’t feel all that good to me so I say room temperature drinks but do eat popsicles so you can get some cooling agent. and do ice your neck when waking to take meds
      *lastly If minor bleeding happens DONT PANICK. go to the bathroom run water on cold while waiting on that run to kitchen get a cup of ice water and go back to bathroom. rinse mouth and throat with sink water. DO NOT GARGLE JUST LIFT HEAD BACK AND LEAN HEAD SIDE TO SIDE. then drink ice water repeat for several minutes until bleeding stops. if this fails CALL 911 IMMEDIETALY!

      Ps. sorry for the long post. but I wish everyone well in recovery and hopefully yall feel better.

  5. 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 .

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. I am on day 6 after having my tonsils out, I have constant panic attacks and crying a lot and I feel like no one understands how I feel right now, I am scared I wont feel normal again and will always feel a discomfort in my mouth. my tongue hurts when I eat like its bruised, and the uvula is so enlarged it touches my tongue! when I swallow I have a constant saliva feeling which makes me feel claustrophobic.. anyone else experience these things?

    1. Amy, 35yo f here. The 26th was my day 6 too. I think that might have been the very worst day. I was feeling the similar to you, helpless, anxious, like this surgery made me a shell of a human. The feeling of the massive scabs that felt like they were blocking my throat was so upsetting. this has been a bigger mental challenge then I imagined. Thankfully, I somehow woke up on day 7, spit out my first small scab, and have since seen relief. Almost like every hour i feel slightly better then the last. I hope you are starting to experience this too. If not, know it will come soon, and when it does it happens swiftly, and lifts the heavy mental burden with it. I should note that until day 7, I was unable to eat anything & until today still taking 2 Percocet every 4 hours. Oh, and in hospital on day 3 due to days of vomiting post procedure. Man, this surgery recovery is rough!

  9. Im on day 16 and still got a bit of pain, had a massive bleed on day 12 which was so scary and now on antibiotics as the hospital said i have an infection. When i look at my throat i can now see a small hole on one side, has anybody else had this? For the past few days iv just felt so fed up and down and so scared of having another bleed, it feels like its never ending.

    1. Hi Nat how are you now…. I know ur op was back in August but just wondering how the recovery went from there? I have too had a bad bleed on day 7 and had to go back to theatre for stitches….. I am constantly on edge and anxious incase it happens again and just want to cry all the time :( apparently it’s like starting from day 1 again now!?!

    2. I’m on day 21, I had a huge bleed on day 8 and spent three more days in hospital, i got sent home with antibiotics and told to do hydrogen peroxide gargles four times a day. yesterday i went to a dr who told me the hydrogen peroxide gargles are irritating my throat, it’s now all scratchy and i have a dry cough which is incredibly unpleasant. I know I’m three weeks post op and the chances of a bleed are slim now but I’m still terrified of having another one. I’m still so tired and now that it’s been a little while since i did a gargle my tonsil bed has a yellowish tinge to it-I just can’t help being paranoid i might have an infection. I’m just so hungry and sick of feeling anxious. Any insight into when I’m going to feel properly human again? when I’ll actually have energy and be able to eat normally?

  10. As far as having a gross smelling scab stuck back there, that’s mostly due to food being stuck in your throat. I took a Q-tip swabbed after every meal to get rid of the food lodged there. Not only did it help rid my mouth of that foul odor but it also helped with that “there’s a rock in my throat” feeling and the thick saliva that chokes you. I never got that huge scab that fell off in one piece either. It didn’t hurt my throat any worse than it already was.

  11. I am so hungry and I can’t eat either because it hurts or it will stay stuck in my throat. The taste in my mouth is disgusting and makes me want to vomit all the time. I was given hydromorphone which makes me sick (I vomited blood), so now I am stuck without pain medication. I can’t sleep properly and I don’t want anyone near me since I know that my mouth stinks. I have been crying all day (day 5 today). The pain is so bad… Feeling really depressed.

    1. I know I’m late to the game but I promise it gets better. I’m on day 11 and I have depression anyway, and I know it’s hard. Cepacol lozenges really help with the pain and you can also take Advil or Tylenol. Just no aspirin! Best of luck :)

  12. I’m about 4 days out of surgery and i was doing completely fine until a day ago when my kinda boyfriend stopped by to give me books on his way back to the university we both go to. It’s orientation week for our second session and all my friends are back there after being away for a month and I’m stuck at my parent place recovering for another two weeks (or even more because my body is shit) because I can’t drive back under the influence of my medication. It’s driving me mental and i’ve been crying for the last day and a half. I already struggle with anxiety and depression and I feel having to recover from surgery is not helping in the slightest. Just trying to feel like i’m not alone is killing me, when everyone is back home and i’m not.

  13. I am just reading this. I had my tonsillectomy when I was 21, Talk about fun! I was in college at the time and had continuous battles with strep and apparently what I thought was allergies often wasn’t! Unfortunately, I had an extremely rare case that went misdiagnosed and my tonsils eventually abscessed before getting the treatment that I needed. After being on steroid’s and penicillin for 3 days I had to have the surgery. When they took my tonsils out they found that they had began to rupture causing an infectious leak into my blood stream. I was on SO much medication and running extremely high temperatures for 2 weeks post-surgery they were afraid I would get meningitis but I was able to dodge that bullet. I couldn’t figure out why I was in such a funk, no one ever mentioned anything to me about depression being a concern! I was SO miserable. I think most of it was due to the pain, I didn’t want anyone to visit me, talking hurt, and I cried due to the throat and migraine pain from anesthesia for about 2 weeks… the depression lingered on for about a month because of all of the other complications I was having because of the infection spreading. Glad to see I wasn’t the only one in a funk. It faded quickly once I was back on my toes, but I have to say that was the worst couple months of my life. Happy that it’s all in the past now :) You don’t think you can survive another day in that sort of pain, but you do! Then, the rest is history :)

  14. Hi Kelly,

    2.5 weeks seems normal to me. I was a college student at the time and I think I returned to class 2 weeks after surgery (which ended up being too early) and I remember either studying (I missed two weeks of my senior year and was then 2 weeks away from finals!), crying, or sleeping/passing out where ever I was.

    Although I was tired of drinking ensure for so long I continued to do so since it gives you a lot of nutrition pretty easily. Otherwise I’d say just take it easy and if you need to sleep – sleep and if you feel like you will be depressed forever and ever…you won’t. I promise.


  15. I know it has been a few months since anyone has commented on this page, but I was just wondering how the long the “post-tonsillectomy depression” phase has lasted for others. I had my tonsillectomy about 2.5 weeks ago and am doing pretty well with regard to the pain. I haven’t needed to take pain medication of any kind for about five days–My big issue now is feeling exhausted and depressed! I’m just curious how long others experienced feelings of depression and exhaustion after their tonsillectomy. I’m wondering, is it more due to coming off of the Percocet, or simply your body recovering from the trauma of surgery? Also, are there any vitamins or supplements that help during this period?

    Thanks, Kelly

  16. Today is day 11 since surgery (1/6/14) & I’m back feeling a medd, I thought yesterday I was better so I went out bc my kids had a dentist appt & I regret it. I suffered from a headache/earache,etc. Im now groggy want to eat like normal now & everything I eat doesnt taste the same & I end up hurting something in my mouth/throat…I don’t have anymore prescribed medicine which i was only on ibuprofen & acetaminophen w/codeine which wasn’t strong enough… Im now taking extra strength tylenol but this whole journey has been complete HELL! & I’m wishing this would be over!

  17. Hi, I am a 21 year old female who just got the surgery on January 3rd (so today is day six.) I have struggled with IBS my whole life, and this oxycodone is definitely not helping; I have not had a BM since the day before my surgery (so almost a week now) and I am beginning to feel bloated and sick. I have been eating semi-solid foods since day two (like macaroni, chunky soup, scrambled eggs and soft, baked pastas) but I am so sick of all of these foods; they feel either too salty and artificial, or too sweet and calorie dense (like the smoothies and ice cream.) I just want salads and cheeseburgers and vegetable stir fry and sandwiches…I’ve been taking a stool softener every day, but I am still completely constipated and am contemplating enemas…

    I have been an intense athlete my whole life, so being cooped up in bed for a week has really made me feel awful about my body and I feel so antsy to get both back in the pool and back on my snowboard. I really want to stop taking the medicine because I am tired of the groggy buzz it gives me and I’m tired of laying around in bed all day, but the pain is too bad without the oxy.

    Additionally, my whole life has been riddled with health problems, and this is the 4th surgery I’ve had in my 21 short years of life, and the 8th anesthesia-requiring procedure. In the past, for EVERY SINGLE one of my procedures, ONLY my parents have remembered. I once had a boyfriend who was supposed to pick me up from the hospital after my laparoscopy, but ended up sleeping in late that day and forgetting all about it–then refusing to apologize or even come visit later that day. I have had friends promise to bring ice cream or movies after procedures and text me the night before, then randomly not heard from them for an entire week later when they finally text saying, “oh hey, did you ever get that surgery…?” This time, my current, lovely boyfriend was there for me every single step of the way and I am super grateful for all he’s done for me. But for some reason, it still wasn’t enough. I had countless “friends”, coworkers and professors who all knew about the procedure and I have not heard from a single one of them yet. I am so appreciative for all that my boyfriend has done, but I still feel so abandoned, unloved and forgotten about by everyone else.

    Everyone I know is out traveling, visiting family and friends, going on ski trips and enjoying their last week of semester break, whereas I have been stuck in bed–alone–for a week. My boyfriend visits when he can, but he works full time, so I’m really home alone most of the day. I feel so spoiled and despicable for feeling so needy and selfish, but I can’t shake this sense of worthlessness and depression which really just hit me like a brick today. I am not sure how to handle these emotions.

  18. It is the end of recovery day 10 (post-op day 11) for me and let me tell you, the recovery was tougher than I could imagine. I had every problem from an ER visit on Day 3, to vomiting, being unable to urinate, getting an oral yeast infection and so much more. Thankfully, today the pain is finally subsiding and it was my first day without the pain meds. I was able to eat very soft pancakes and mac and cheese which was my first solid food in over 10 days. I should be so happy right? Instead, I’m so depressed and my body is spent and I just don’t feel happy. I cry because I’m so depressed and I even went off on my family last night who have all been here since day 1 taking care of me (so unlike me). I just thought everything was so much better, but now I’m depressed too.

    1. Hang in there, Melissa, and just try to take things one hour, one day at a time!! The depression can be horrible, but constantly remind yourself that this is happening b/c you are coming off meds, and have been through SO much physically and emotionally. Tell yourself that you just need to get through a couple more days and the depression will begin to dissipate. That is how I got through it. I was totally unprepared for the depression, but I knew for sure it was due to coming off the meds, and being in recovery mode. Try to have people around you that can support and encourage you. Your goal is to make it through just one day, or even one hour at a time!! You can do it!!! :o) Think positive!! :o) Soon this will all be behind you and you will feel great! My tonsillectomy recovery was easier than yours, but it was HELL! Fifteen months later I am SO happy I had it done, and I am so much healthier. I never seem to get sick anymore! :o)

    2. Melissa – Thank you for sharing your feeling so honestly and openly. I have been finding myself so angry, depressed, crying, sad attempts at yelling with no voice at my Husband. He has been here every day with me non stop at my every beck and call. Yet, I found myself crying and telling him what a horrible person he was today for eating Wendys in front of me and not thinking about the fact that I havent eaten in two days. I believe that everything we are all going through psychially will always turning emotional ESPECIALLY when you dont have to concentrate on the pain as much. Also, as Mary stated, coming off of any narcotics like this will put you in a withdrawal stated where you are depressed. The last couple days I had to visit the ER and they did give me a shot of Adavane. It is an anti-anxiety medication that helps calms nerve and relax you. If you still feel this way maybe that might be something you would want to ask your Dr about. Hope you are having a better night!

  19. Hello everyone!
    oh my, there are so many depression-causes to fight after surgery. First, the trauma of the surgery, then all the anesthesia and meds to detox in the days/weeks after, not the mention the neurotoxins and all the junk that gets released through surgery that might take weeks, months even, to detox; the frustration of being out of your normal routine, missing friends and events, etc etc. Toxins are depressants, and on top of that, so many of the soft, cold foods that we eat after surgery are full of refined sugar (a depressant for many). We miss out on our usual steady diet of meats and vegetables that sustain our minds and bodies.
    Here are some options that might not cure depression, but just might give your body a boost for recovery:
    Cold chicken and/or beef broth (organic boxed is easy, see Greg’s store)
    Soft cold pumpkin, yams, sweet potatoes with stevia, honey
    Hummus with organic olive oil
    Purred food, cold/cool soups (enlist grandma here if you can)
    Smoothies with organic frozen berries
    Spinach, apple and carrot juice (if you don’t have a juicer, simply blend the vegetables on high, and cool until the vegetable fibers separate and drink the “juice” left over)
    Cod liver oil or Fish oil (if you can stomach it, helps the mood)
    Natural pain relievers, like Arnica (I’ve heard of both cream and pellets are fab), camomile, et al..
    By far, detox baths and Vitamin C are the best! Just remember to keep your throat super cold..
    Don’t worry, this too shall pass and you will be flying again in no time!
    Love, Eliza

  20. Hi Greg, can’t thank you enough for this site, it has really been a godsend to follow going down this awful road of recovery. I am a 53 year old woman who had her surgery on July 8, 2013, so today is day 18. I thought I was finished checking your site daily once I was reaching day 14. I was off the pain meds on day 12, and on days 14 thru 16 I was feeling fantastic. Felt alert, energized, sleeping good (finally). Now yesterday and today (days 17, 18) I find myself feeling a bit lost, fatigued, foggy and weepy. So I see your section on depression after the pain meds, (I was taking tylenol/codiene mostly, and some hydrocone during the really bad bad days) but I just wanted to ask wouldn’t that have hit me right after stopping the pain meds and not 5 days later. As soon as I saw this section, it made sense as that is exactly how I have been feeling. Those few days I was leaping out of bed in the morning, last 2 days not so much. I knew something was different but I couldn’t put my finger on it. My tonsil surgery was for obstructive sleep apnea. They were huge and 1 was growing abnormally. My family reports that my breathing has drastically improved during sleeep. So once I was able to sleep the whole night in my bed I was sleeping so well, and I was so energized by the improvement. I’m really hoping this difference I am feeling is the depression and that it will go away soon. So ready to get back to my life. Thanks again Greg

    1. Hi Maureen, Thanks for posting and the nice words. I think what you’re feeling is totally normal. I really didn’t feel myself for a month. I mean, think about what your body and mind have been through- cutting and burning of your throat, days and days of pain, poor diet, lack of sleep, and a complete unravelling of normal activities. Give yourself some time. Cry when you need to. Sleep when you can!

      I had sleep apnea too and my wife is glad to not have the snoring, and I feel rested. (Unless I’ve been up late celebrating- lol)

      Take care and be good to yourself. You’re awesome.

      1. Hi Greg, thanks so much for responding to my question. I like how you made me think about all my body and mind have been through, wasn’t really looking at the whole picture until you pointed it out. Happy to say I have had several good days now in a row and am feeling really good. I had my last follow up with my ENT this afternoon and he pretty much said I am good to go. Said my throat looks great, I looked great and I seemed much happier than before my surgery. So glad I went ahead with this surgery, it is proving to have all been worth it. Thanks again Greg for this great site and you Greg are also awesome!!

    2. To Greg and Maureen,

      Thank you for sharing your experiences with the rest of us. I had my tonsillectomy on July 17, 2013. I have battled with Step most of my life. In December I was diagnosed with Rheumatic Fever. My Dr. thought this surgery could possibly prevent a relapse with RF. Anyhow, I noticed eight days after my surgery and after stopping the pain meds (hydro w/Tylenol) I felt very down and weepy. This scared me because I also take Lexapro for anxiety/depression (PANDAS). I do wish the surgeon would have mentioned that depression is common after this surgery. It is day 13 post op and I feel a little better. Please tell me I will continue to recover and that this is normal-Thank You. Also, did any of you experience nights sweats/shakiness?

      1. Hello Weymouth13- Sorry you’re feeling this way. It is indeed quite normal. I felt the very same things. It passed. I felt better. You will too. Just give yourself a little time.

        Take care,

  21. I was trying to figure out a place to write on this site that I felt I could give the best advice. I am 22 years old and on day 5 of this long, often miserable recovery from surgery. Today has definitely been the most painful. I feel like I have something thick and gross all over my throat and the slightest touch to it from anything sends me into this wide-eyed, teary, mad mood. I am so desperate to feel better as I bet the majority of the people on this site are. I wanted to write on this particular wall because I suffer from depression and anxiety with or without surgery. My surgery was a tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy, nasal polyp removal, turbinoplasty, and sinus surgery. Let’s just say when I entered the pre-op room the nurse looked at me and said above all hang in there you will end up better then ever. Right now Im a tad skeptical. My problem is that I take Zoloft every single day to combat clinical depression and a huge anxiety disorder related to –get this— nausea and vomiting. Ever since I was little I would be sent into panic overload when vomit was nearby or I felt the slightest stomachache. My problem arose on the second night of my surgery. Im staying with my mom for the summer home from school in Chicago and I took my pain meds sans food. BIG MISTAKE. To put things in perspective I hadn’t thrown up since I was 8 and I ended up getting pretty sick from the pain meds. I lost it to the point I was literally sitting in my moms lap crying anyway I could that would be the least bit painful. At this point the depression set in. I can’t swallow my Zoloft to help with the depression because it’s too painful but at the same time I have this new wave of depression sinking in because I can’t eat, can’t yawn, can’t sleep longer then 45 minutes, Im terribly frightened to take my pain medications because they made me vomit, and I feel like I’m in this long dark tunnel where theres a light but the light is a train heading straight at me. Today, my mom who is honestly going to be canonized after this caregiving feat, literally had me sit down and take SLOW and GENTLE deep breaths and remind myself how much pain and discomfort I had been in since high school. I kept repeating I am going to be okay, I will be okay, this is going to be ok! We are all going to get through this. Pain levels vary from person to person and there isn’t one timeline that will fit us all. Day 4-6 may be bad for Sally but days 5-7 may be bad from John. Just know that when you feel the worst of the pain you’re in the thick of it and close to getting out. PS Greg– It is so great to see you standing and talking in your picture! HA It gives me hope. We must remember that this is one of the hardest surgeries to recover from, once we make it out we will all be so much better. Stay positive!!

    1. Oh my goodness! I almost fell out of my chair reading this! I am 22, I had a tonsillectomy in November of 2012 (my post is below on this page, I’m Jen), and I too have had a severe fear/panic of vomit/vomitting since I was little! I remember my surgeon told me that I just had to have calories with my pain meds. So when I woke up in the middle of the night, I would just make sure that I drank an ensure with my meds and I never had a problem with throwing up! I definitely know the pain you’re going through-I did this while I was a full time college student AND had a job! But the pain WILL go away, the weird feelings WILL go away and you WILL be healthier! I haven’t even had a sore throat since my surgery and that was after 2 cases of strep and tonsillitis within 3 months! Keep your head up :)

  22. I think the first week was easier. Honestly. I’m on Day Nine… and now that the scabs are coming off and I have thrush, I’m in more pain than I was before. Drinking anything is now extremely painful. Water, juice, my meds… taking pills… you name it. It hurts. the tip of my tongue hurts from the thrush. I found that putting an ice cube in a ziploc bag and putting that part of my tongue against it helps… for short moments only, though. Any advice for other things?

  23. I am on post-op day 12 and depression day one! What the heck? I thought I was doing so well considering and now this? I know that I don’t feel the full understanding and support of those around me. I just didn’t realize I would be sitting at home sobbing like a baby all day! And I feel if I tell anyone they are just going to wonder what is wrong me and tell me to “snap out of it” or “suck it up”! So, why is this normal after tonsillectomy? What causes this? I don’t think we can full prepare for depression to hit – it just does! I just feel so crappy today and desserted in a way.

    1. Sherrie, I’m so sorry that you’re having such a rough time. I did too. I really think there are a few things at play here here; 1. You’ve probably been on a narcotic pain killer for some time and are physically withdrawing. that’s enough right there! 2. On top of that, you probably haven’t slept well for a long time. that’ll wear ya down. 3. How’s the diet been? Let me guess- LIMITED? Yeah, give yourself a break. Give yourself some time. You’ll feel better soon. This will pass. People who haven’t been through it have no idea. Don’t be too hard on them either. Take care. Try to eat, drink, and sleep as much as you can,

  24. Hi Greg-

    I’m on day 17 I believe of recovery..and I went off the pain meds completely on day 15. I’m a 21 year old full time college student who also has a job so this has been quite the shake up in my life! I was talking to my roommate and mom about how I’ve been feeling and I said “I’m exhausted still, but eating much better, taking the vitamins, having ensure, sleeping a ton…” but there is something I can’t put into words. Something just doesn’t feel right. I realized that I just feel like I don’t have my personality anymore.

    I have a card on the bulletin board on my desk from a co-worker that says “you’re always so happy and smiley…” and I thought to myself “not anymore!” and just about started crying. I sit in class with a blank stare, and moments that used to bring me joy leave me emotionless. I’m glad to have found this on here and I REALLY hope it’s just from going off the meds (roxicet). I am seeing my surgeon for a follow up in a few days and will be sure to bring this up.


    1. Hi Jen. Sorry to hear this. I think your suspicion is correct though. Coming off those med’s will really do a number on your mind, body, and spirit. Don’t forget that you were also starving for sleep and food. Give yourself a little time to get back to normal. It’ll be ok. I really think so.

  25. Hello! I am a 47 y/o female, and can absolutely attest to the depression that comes post-tonsillectomy! I had done a lot of research prior to my tonsillectomy on 10/15/12, in order to prepare for it, but somehow missed the part about dealing with depression. My depression began about two weeks post-surgery. It was absolutely miserable!! For a few days I could just hardly stand to live with my own self. I was fatigued, melancholy, cloudy headed, had some shaking, etc.. It’s hard even to put into words, but I knew it all had something to do with coming off the pain meds (dilaudid), as well as all the other trauma from surgery. The depression lasted less than two weeks – maybe 7-10 days. There were several very difficult days when it first began, but I muddled through and knew it would eventually get better. Each day then did get better and better. My energy came back. My spirits lifted… My advice to others is to just know that the depression is coming, and to take things one day at a time. You will suffer for a few days, but then, gradually things will begin to feel more normal each new day. I am just over four weeks post-op now. My energy is nearly normal, though still a little low, and NO depresssion. The bothersome throat pain is long since passed, with the exception of some discomfort when I yawn. The worst thing now is that I don’t like how my throat has healed up. The arch on each side of the uvula (dangly thing) is not symmetrical. Right side is fine, but left arch is lower and the skin feels taut on the left side. My throat just doesn’t feel “right”, and with the uvula area hanging a little lower than before surgery, it does affect my speech a bit. I also don’t like the weird taste in my mouth, and hope that goes away soon. I will probably schedule a follow-up appt. with my surgeon so he can see how my throat has healed. I imagine I will just have to live with things the way they are now, or have further surgery to correct it. THAT I am NOT interested in, though!! My best to everyone recovering from adult tonsillectomy. It is absolutely brutal, but the human body is an amazing creation and will heal and recover in time. P.S. I am a stay-at-home mom, but if I were employed I would have needed 2 1/2 weeks off work for recovery – if not, 3 full weeks!!

  26. i had my toncils out september 2012 and my taste isnt back yet every time i eat or drink i fill sick when is it goingto come back its getting me down

  27. Hi, thank you Greg, this made me feel a bit better…
    I’m 16 and I had tonsillectomy a week ago. I’ve had to stay home since then, and I’ve got one more week to go. It kills me that I can’t go to school and see my friends. My parents don’t fully understand how I feel, I can’t eat nearly anything and I’ve had enough of the narcotic painkillers prescribed for me. I just feel really depressed, being isolated from everything, and like that’s not enough I’ve developed this ridiculous fear that everyone will forget me while I’m healing up at home. I just can’t help it…but like I said, it made me feel better to read that I’m not alone in this.


    1. Hi Alex. Yeah, hang in there. This really is temporary. It feels like a long dark tunnel, but the other side of it is WAY better than the side you came in on! Try doing short little outings- even a walk around the block can help you feel more normal. Take care!

  28. Aside from being miserable from being in pain, lack of sleep, food and drink, I have suffered from depression from the lack of social interaction. I don’t have lots of close friends and am not out all the time, but I do see my friends regularly and my job is very customer focused so there is a lot of interaction with others. I missed being physically able to talk and sing. Then I missed being able to have visitors because I was scared of having another post op bleed. I was not on medication for very long and experienced no withdrawals at all. I have never had depression before and like others have said I consider myself a naturally bubbly person. I went to the doctor for a check up 3 weeks post op and unexpectedly broke down. I believe I was suffering from post traumatic stress having been taken to A&E in an ambulance in the middle of the night to have emergency surgery to stop a bleed. I am now 4 weeks post op and have been doing some gentle exercise and meeting friends and starting to feel much more positive and less tearful. Really feel for everyone who went through the operation and experienced the same. I had no warning of this and didn’t know how to cope.

  29. I am 20 yrs old and have suffered from anxiety and depression in the past. I am medicated but stopped taking clonazapam for a few months because I was doing really well. Yesterday, day 15 post-op tonsillectomy, a few family members and my boyfriend were over. I was able to wade around the pool but I started feeling sick so I had to lay inside. I am menstruating at the moment with is making me feel awful. I stopped taking my hydrocodon that day. Around five o’clock, I broke down to my boyfriend and spiraled. I started crying nonstop like episodes I’ve had in the past. My panic was exasperated because I started having flashbacks of horrible crying bouts for hours and days and horrible times in my life. I am making myself feel worse by thinking about my old feelings and being terrified I won’t be able to control them. I called my doctor today and picked up a prescription for my clonazapam. Hopefully, this will take the edge off and calm my nerves. Does anyone have any advice? I am afraid I’m going to have to go through what I used to when I had trouble in the past. Will it pass? I just wanna know if I’m the only one feeling like this.


  30. I’m 19 male, recovery day 9 I just feel miserable and depressed. I’m really lonely I hate being stuck inside I just feel like crap mentally. I don’t care about the pain or anything.

  31. I am coming up on day 12, post tonsillectomy. I pretty much knew what to expect, but ever since I went off the Percocet 4 days ago I have not been able to sleep at ALL. Today was my first day back to work, which I attempted only because I was sick of laying around, however I was up all night. Didn’t get to sleep until 6:30 am, woke up at 11 and got ready for work. you would think I should be exhausted by now, but here it is 3:30am and I cannot sleep. I feel like crap, my eyes feel awful, but the insomnia seems to have taken over. I’m not sure if it’s because I stopped taking the Pecocet or not? And not only that, but the last day or 2 I have felt just so depressed, not sure if that’s part of the withdrawl or not? Please let me know if this has happened to any of you out there.

  32. Hi Greg,
    I’m 21 years old and I had a tonsillectomy done on 2/17/12 so 15 days ago. I am suffering from depression/anxiety. I have never in my life been depressed! I am the most happy person.. and I have no reason to feel sad. This is really weighing on me and I’m wondering if I need to go to my family doctor? I thought that it was me coming off the pain meds but it’s been almost a week that I’ve been off them. What should I do? Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Ashley,
      I’m sorry you’re feeling this way. It really is common after tonsillectomy. I’m a really happy guy too and found myself weepy, for Pete sake! 15 days, hmmm, how long have you been off the pain meds? Are you sleeping well? I would expect some of these feelings for a good week after you’re off the meds. I think if you’re off them several days and back into your normal routine, and still feeling this way, check with your doctor. I’m not one, so take any advice I give you as one patient to another.

      This experience really can knock you out of your saddle. Will you stay in touch and let me know? Thanks, you can also connect with me on Face book


  33. Hi All,

    About day 5 post-op, I was as weepy as can be. Lack of food and sleep, pain meds, and some minor complications just took their toll. For a couple of days, I held a pity party for myself. I couldn’t believe how icky I felt. After talking with a couple of friends, taking a long shower, and *finally* sleeping for 4 hours straight, things got better. I am on 8 days post op, and my optimism is coming back. It’s a process, as they day, but it does get better! This (and thrush) is not something that the health care professionals prepare you for. So glad this site is here as a guide!

  34. Hi Amy- Yeah, it’s for real. I remember breaking down crying one day. later I thought, “what the H$ll was going on???” I’ve read countless stories of people suffering this. Hang in there. It really does get better my dear

  35. I’m on day 10, post-op, and I’m so glad I found this site! I didn’t realize that being this depressed after surgery was so common. I think a lot of the moodiness and depression stems from the medication… I’m having some withdrawal symptoms, mild, but still there, and I’m definitely still not sleeping well. Thanks for posting about depression… I didn’t think of this before surgery, and no one brought it up.

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