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,


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

  1. 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?

    • 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

    • 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 :)

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