Unfortunately chronic pain loves to walk hand and hand with depression, anxiety and panic attacks. It would not be right to talk about chronic illness without discussing the emotional impact it can have. Depression is a disease all on its own but you put AS with it and they feed each other. It can envelop every aspect of your life. Work can feel impossible and it puts great strains on the whole family. It’s not healthy for anyone involved.
For many losing any physical abilities is quite devastating. If you can’t take care of yourself let alone your family at the ripe old age of 30 it can be hard to feel positive about what life you have left. If you’re loved ones have to rearrange their lives to adapt to your new set of requirements that are changing everyday it’s easy to become frustrated. Many that aren’t familiar with these struggles will say it’s no big deal they love you but this world we live in is no fairy tale and this isn’t normal aging a couple expects to endure. It’s something that creeps into the prime of your life and tosses everything up in the air. Many can’t plan a future because the pain and loss of mobility can change daily let alone ten years from now. Gosh I’m getting depressed just writing this.
We all deal with our disease in our own way. Some do very well while others struggle. Please don’t ever mistakenly lessen these emotions, stand tall and seek help when needed. You are not alone! Many of us struggle with this. In fact it’s a common tag along with chronic illness and is well studied in the scientific arena. So you are not weak or crazy!
I have had ups and downs with Ankylosing Spondylitis. There are times I let it get into my head and feel helpless and frustrated but I don’t let it linger. I have my cry and try to let go of what I can’t control. It is another stage we must go through at our own pace in our own way. This disorder and all it brings does not have to halt your life it’s just another speed bump along the way! Remember my stubborn streak I have? It pales in comparison to my optimistic side. I find the joy! I seek out any reason I can to be happy in whatever situation I’m in. Sometimes I can’t though and when that happens I reach out to my Spondy Family and they are always there for me! I love my Spondy Family!
We have amazing support groups everywhere filled with loving people who truly understand and are happy to sit and chat. Feel free to contact me if you need to talk as well! If your support system just isn’t enough go find something that does help!
What about anxiety? I’ve learned it’s related to depression but not the same, it brings a whole other group to the party.
I don’t respond well to steroids and have had some extremely scary anxiety from them. I know when my anxiety hit the first time I was terrified. I’d never felt that way before. I just knew something horrible was going to happen and could not relax no matter what I tried. I never want to feel that way again! I don’t take long term high dose steroids anymore!!! I had support system at home from then on and when I felt an anxiety attack coming on I could tell them and they were there for me. I have not had another extreme attack like that again thankfully. Anxiety is not something you should deal with on your own. Seek help from a professional and talk to your physicians. It could be caused by your medications like mine or something else that requires medical attention. No matter what causes it though please don’t try and deal alone!
There is no easy fix to these disorders! I think what helps me deal with it the most is my wonderful support system. I have learned meditation is wonderful for this as well. I no longer try and beat AS alone nor do I try and hide it. That is just exhausting and puts all of that stress back on me which is the last place it needs to be. I seek help from professionals when I need to and I watch out for certain meds that trigger these emotions. It is common and no one should feel ashamed or embarrassed by it. You are stronger than you give yourself credit for and you have more support than you realize. You are not alone!
Links to love;
The link between Chronic Illness and Depression
Twelve remedies for depression with-out medication
Ankylosing Spondylitis and Depression
This is an organization devoted to Depression and Anxiety
A helpful and hilarious guide to dealing with Depression