If you or someone you love is diagnosed with a chronic illness, you will probably be met with a barrage of emotions. Unfortunately, learning to cope with a chronic illness is a long and arduous journey that never gets easy. It’s unfair, and often able-bodied or mostly healthy individuals do not have the necessary depth of understanding to comprehend what you’re going through. Sometimes, this can create a communication barrier and those with chronic illness may develop feelings of resentment and frustration toward well-meaning individuals.
From just about every angle, life with an invisible or chronic illness is never easy. Daily tasks require far more patience than they would for the average person. For example, where getting dressed or doing the dishes may be a simple task for your co-workers and family, depending on the chronic illness and the severity of pain, an individual with a chronic disease may struggle buttoning a blouse.
Where tasks were once afterthoughts, they may now require planning. At the same time, debilitating symptoms are often unpredictable. Schedules are hard to keep, and this leads to frustration and anger. Without proper coping techniques, those living with chronic illness and those caring for someone with a chronic illness may struggle to remain in a good mind-set. In fact, studies have shown those with chronic illnesses are at a higher risk for developing depression.
If you believe you could be struggling with clinical depression, use the symptoms we’ve listed below as a starting point for the conversation you should have with your healthcare provider. Please know that although someone may have all these symptoms we have listed, he or she may not be depressed. At the same time, if someone only has one symptom and no others, he or she could still be depressed. Lining your symptoms up with those we have listed should not replace the opinion of your professional healthcare provider.
Symptoms of depression:
- Restless sleep or excess sleepiness
- Lack of appetite or excessive hunger
- Lack of interest in social activities that were once interesting
- Weight changes
- Inability to concentrate
- General apathy or lack of interest in activities you used to enjoy
- We want you to know it’s okay to have bad days, but at the same time, we want to help you find ways to conquer days where outside or internal forces are just too much. If you are caring for someone with a chronic disease or you have a chronic disease, please consider attending one of our free programs in your area. You do not have to work through this alone. M Power offers multiple levels of support.