Talking about Depression!
Shhhh! Don’t say it aloud….
What will people think?
Well, people will always think something or the other…
They are meant too..
Clinical depression is a Mental health condition resulting in depressed mood or low energy for a prolonged amount of time, causing impairment in daily activities.
Depression can even be a result of neurological issues or certain experiences a person faces in life. With Clinical depression comes anxiety, resulting in aggravation of physical symptoms such as headache, stomach pain, body aches etc. making the patient feel worse.
So, when I talk about Depression, does that mean I am mentally weak?
In fact, when I was diagnosed with clinical depression and I apologized to my gastroenterologist that I failed at staying too strong, he humbly replied, “I would be amazed if you would not be depressed, that would be more abnormal, this isn’t! Looking at your journey”.
So, remember, it ain’t wrong if you need help and you are depressed, it’s wrong if you are in denial to accept it and refuse to seek help!
Lupus and Depression
When we talk about Lupus and depression, there are ample of factors that in combination or by itself cause Depression. Especially when we talk about chronic illness, 47% more Lupus patients are clinically Depressed, compared to other RA , or other chronic illness patients as per a research. The scary part is, as per research, clinical depression may change brain function, by altering activity of certain neural circuits in the brain. It is hence important to treat depression as soon as you know it.
Know the Symptoms on time-
There are many factors that can tell you that you are suffering from clinical depression, like Undue Sadness, Crying without any particular reason, Insomnia, restless sleep, or even sleeping too much is a sign of depression. Changes in appetite eating too much or too less leading to weight loss or weight gain. Feeling guilty for no reason out and self cursing. Feeling anxious , or irritated. Having feelings of worthlessness, Inability to concentrate or think, memory is affected, lack of decisiveness, Lack of interest in things formerly enjoyed by you, low energy levels, brain fog, suicidal thoughts, all these are symptoms that lead to clinical depression.
How dealing with chronic illness can lead to depression in Lupus (or otherwise)
The most common cause of clinical depression is when you are emotionally drained from the distress of coping with the complications of your physical illness. To Add in there are economic, social, and workplace concerns.
Also, many medicines used to treat lupus, like corticosteroids, may cause clinical depression. When certain organs or systems are affected by lupus, it may lead to clinical depression. A lupus flareup may trigger clinical depression, because you feel sick and it may seem as if it’s a never ending fight!
So, What can you do?
Clinical depression normally improves with psychotherapy and medication both. You shouldn’t feel hesitant asking your doctor for a psychiatrist, psychologist, or therapist who can help you .
It can help you learn to understand your own mood flares, feelings, illness, and relationships as well, in turn help you cope effectively with stress.
Take antidepressant medications–
Antidepressants can help you ease the effects of clinical depression. Anti-anxiety medicines will help in reducing worry and fearful thoughts.
Find new ways to reduce pain
Chronic pain in lupus may be a factor in the development of clinical depression. Experts recommend non-medication ways to help you reduce chronic pain, like yoga, Pilates, acupuncture, Tai chi, meditation, behavioral changes and chiropractic care.
Get more exercise.
If you are physically able to then do some sort of physical activity every day. This can be as simple as walking the dog in the morning or evening, or going to a cafe and having a coffee and reading a good book.
Improve your sleep habits.
Well, though it might sound difficult, Not getting good quality sleep can cause more distress & health problems, leading to clinical depression.
Build a support system
Stay in touch with family members , or work buddies, or long-time friends who understand you and are truly there for your support.Consider adding a dog in your family , they make a huge difference.
Change the self-talk pattern
You need to stop talking to yourself in a pitiable way, like “ why me?, what did I do ?”, all the negatives have to go out of your life for once. You need to start changing your approach like list the people or things which you are grateful for.
Strive to accept the new “you.”
Like clinical depression develops over time, not overnight, the same way fighting clinical depression is a slow process.
Nevertheless, I feel those with lupus have a change and acceptance of overall attitude and sense of well-being.
Finally all I want to tell you is, you are doing great, even if it’s being able to just have shower or do nothing! Hanging on is remarkable…
Go treat yourself!
“Focus on what you have and what you can do, rather than on what you don’t have and can’t do.”