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,


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74 Comments on "Depressed After Tonsillectomy? You are not alone"

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August 25, 2016 7:58 am

Agreed. The day by day journal was literally the only help I was getting. Docs seemed disinterested and I’ve just asked to see someone re the depression and was basically accused of time wasting. Thank you for the life saving advice. Now dealing with feeling incredibly down after I wake. So difficult.

August 20, 2016 6:45 am

Greg, I also meant to say thank you!! Your articles kept me sane while I was recovering, an absolute godsend

August 20, 2016 6:51 am

Hi Helen. Thanks for posting. Glad you’ve benefitted from these pages. What you’re describing isn’t uncommon in my experience readiness other people’s stories. Sorry to hear though. Hope things improve soon. If they don’t it might be worth talking to your doctor about.

Take care

August 20, 2016 6:42 am

Hi, I’m on day 26 post op, still exhausted all the time and wondering if this is normal? I’m 36, the op went well and recovery was smooth until I got an infection at just over 2 weeks. Still on high dose Penicillin, which probably isn’t helping energy levels. I went back to work for 2 days this week, which was very hard. I’m an accountant and I’m really struggling to concentrate or problem solve. Not ideal! Work are currently being understanding, but that won’t last much longer. I was very run down and fatigued before the op and I’m worried this is the ‘new me’ and I won’t improve. Anyone else had a similar experience? How long until you felt normal again?

Thank you!!

September 30, 2016 2:51 pm

Also, how are you feeling now?

October 1, 2016 4:46 am

Feeling almost back to normal now. I think I felt much better at about 6 weeks, and I’ve been working 12 hour days straight for the last 3 weeks and coping fine. I had a really dark couple of weeks where I was convinced I’d never get better, and then all of a sudden I felt like me again.

I hope you feel better, don’t put too much pressure on yourself and listen to your body

September 30, 2016 2:51 pm

I am also very exhausted. I go back to work in 2 days and my job is very active. I am stressing on how I am going to do my job feeling run down.