Posted On: September 1, 2017
It is absolutely normal to feel depressed or anxious when you are living with lupus. Lupus and depression, somewhat go hand in hand. Lupus forced you to adjust your priorities, lifestyle and everything. Further, it strains your relationships – doing your favorite activities has become so hard now. It can surely be upsetting, but better seek some professional help if it is prevailing for more than a few weeks.
According to studies 15 to 60%, people with chronic illness experience depression at times. There are several symptoms and types of lupus depression so it should be dealt only under medical supervision. You don’t know, which of the lupus symptoms are imitating as a symptom of depression.
24 WAYS TO DEAL WITH LUPUS AND DEPRESSION
1. TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR
Primarily, you should always share your problems with your doctor. Even if your partner or family don’t understand your issues, your doctor will. Further, he can evaluate and diagnose the cause and the best treatment for coping with lupus depression. Is it some antidepressant medication, or psychotherapy? Antidepressant medications can help you get out of the pothole, but later on, you should figure out other ways to ease both lupus and depression. You should always focus on coping with depression without drugs.
2. ACCEPT LUPUS AS A PART OF YOUR LIFE
Any unexpected loss or problem makes us go through the 5 stages of grief; denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance. It is normal, but we must cross these stages and work our way to accept the reality. In fact, accepting lupus is the first step to cope up with your lupus depression. Once accepted, you can set new goals in your life and move forward. For example, I used to work and be always busy when I was suddenly got diagnosed with lupus and depression overshadowed my life. It took me years (3 years to be exact) to accept lupus as a part of my life. Once I did it, I was able to maximize my quality of life with lupus and today it is in permanent remission. So, first thing first, accept lupus.
3. GET RID OF NEGATIVE SELF-TALK
Living with lupus is not easy at all. Apart from the lupus symptoms, occasional flare ups, we also need to deal with the lupus depression, anxiety and to certain extent our own mind. Believe it or not, but we all talk to ourselves and vent out our anger, frustration. All these bad things effect our thoughts. What others are telling you isn’t as important as what you tell to yourself. Life and lupus both become difficult when you think negative, curse and take a pity on yourself. Whenever you are slipping into this negative self-talk just remind yourself of the positive things and people around you.
“Yes it happened to you – perhaps you lost the job, friends, life, love, but you didn’t ask for it. You are not to be blamed for it. And now, you know who really cares for you and guards your way. See! Life is beautiful, even with lupus.“
4. BUILD A STRONG SUPPORT NETWORK
Be in company of people who speak positive and are willing to support you through your bad times. When you are depressed from within, least of negative company can make it worse. Try joining some local support group or online support group of people living with lupus. They are also dealing with lupus and depression and thus are the best people to empathize with. You can also consult a therapist. Ask your GP for a referral. They are professionals and can effectively help you improve your depression and understanding and relationship during this depressing time.
5. STOP WORRYING ABOUT TOMORROW
No matter, how much you worry about lupus and depression, but you can neither change the past nor the future. If you want to make a change, you can do it now – in this moment. Calm down, stop worrying about tomorrow. Cherish your today. This will help you for coping with depression tomorrow.
6. BREAK THINGS UP
What are the things you are supposed to do today? Isn’t it tiring to clean the entire house in a day. How about breaking the chores into small tasks like cleaning one room at a time? It would be less stressful and more manageable. I used to maintain a daily to-do list, but never been able to finish things off on time. I was so depressed, but then I followed this tip and surprisingly, I succeeded! Once I crossed it, I felt good and get on with the other. It really helped me getting things done without being stressed out. Taking baby steps is really helpful for managing both lupus and depression.
7. DO SOME EXERCISE REGULARLY
Doing exercise doesn’t mean you need to join a gym. Just a bit of aerobics, brisk walking, swimming, yoga even taking your dog out for a walk will also do. According to a study, managing depression with exercise is possible. Take out some time for any form of physical activity.
8. STAY ACTIVE
There will be days when you won’t feel like getting out of the bed and wish to sleep for the entire day. Managing depression with exercise or diet is not feasible when you are least active. Almost every one of us has gone or better say going through it. However, staying idle and helpless also cause anxiety and lupus depression. Even if it’s a hard day for you, you still need and must try to keep yourself as much active as you can.
Whether it’s your unfinished DIY project or gardening or tai chi, meditation or mind-body exercises, just keep yourself active, spirits lifted up – a cheerful and busy mind worries less and thus, less depressed and anxious. It also helps you feel empowered over your lupus.
9. PAIN MANAGEMENT
Chronic ailments don’t come alone. You suffer from severe body and joint pain, inflammation causing anxiety, depression and other health problems. Try managing and reducing your pain – see you GP. However, you should not be fully dependent on pain-relief medications – they affect your kidneys in long run. There are several pain management strategies that you can try for pain-relief. Example; hot compression, yoga, stretching, massage, even you can use essential oil for lupus and depression treatment.
10. WATCH YOUR MOOD CAREFULLY AND FIND OUT WHAT DEPRESSES YOU
Monitor your mood carefully, how it changes and grade it on a scale of 10 to 1. Take 10 as the happiest you, and 1 as depressed. Now, don’t wait for your mood to get to 3 or 2 to do something about it. It may be too difficult to get a grasp of yourself. If it’s just 5, better start picking yourself up. Did you ever notice what makes you upset? Probably, it is a place or person, which makes you anxious! Identifying what triggers negative emotions in you, helps you deal better. I have mood monitoring worksheet to help you watch your mood. Don’t forget to download it at the end of the article.
11. TAKE CARE OF YOUR TRIGGERS
Avoid the person or place in the first place. If it is the topic of your past relationship, just snip it off your memory book. If it’s your family or friends talking about it, tell them politely yet firmly that you don’t prefer to talk about it.
12. MAKE A LIST OF THINGS THAT CHEER YOU UP INSTANTLY
You may have identified and also avoided the depressing elements, but you never know what else can make you hyper. What will you do if you’re depressed, despite all your measures. You ought to find out and make a list of things that cheer you up in no time. Believe me, it works. For example;
- Eating a chocolate.
- Watching a comedy movie.
- Playing with pups.
- Cooking or gardening.
- Going out on a walk.
- Taking a power-nap.
- Listening to music.
- Making soft-toys.
- Playing video games.
- Doing a makeup or nail art.
Just make sure you don’t do anything that makes you more depressed – it should be fun, engaging and healthy of course.
13. MAKE A "GO-TO" LIST
Sometimes, this lupus and depression associated with it make your day-to-day life so frustrating that you wish to runaway so badly, but either you are too unwell or having a budget constraint or busy to make the trip. Sad! You can’t go out on a vacation now, but do you know even planning one equally helps deal with your depression? Make a “Go-To” list today. In fact, you can plan the places that you have to check out in or nearby your city.
14. EAT RIGHT
Have you ever thought or heard about depression diet plan? Sounds funny, but worth consideration. Foods that are rich in salt, fats, sugar and caffeine never boost your mood, but add to your weight which reduce your self-esteem. However, there are a few foods that are mood-friendly like, dark chocolate (my favorite), walnuts, avocados, berries, mushrooms, apples, etc. Check out this foodie action plan for coping with depression.
15. REPLACE YOUR BAD HABITS WITH SOMETHING GOOD
Sometimes, many of your bad habits pave the path to bigger health problems. Suppose, you are having sleeping disorders, yet you are enjoying a cup of coffee near bedtime daily. You know caffeine keeps your brain alert making it difficult to fall asleep yet you are sipping it off. Instead of coffee, you should try doing some sleep inducing things like reading, taking a warm shower. Bad habits, addictions are like scams. You only realize that you are getting robbed when it leaves you with nothing. However, good habits, healthy lifestyle are like parents, your guiding stars who guide you all the way without making you realize of value it.
16. STOP SMOKING AND DRINKING
I could have included these two things under bad habits, but then I decided to address it separately. Undoubtedly, these are the worst habits, despite knowing how harmful it is people smoke and drink. Probably, you also think it is relaxing but it is not. The truth is that the stress level among adult smokers are higher than among nonsmokers. It takes a toll on your respiratory system and overall health and thus causes more stress. People tend to get drunk to release tension, but that leads to dependency, tiredness and disrupted sleep. Furthermore, because of the hangover you have to focus hard to get the simplest task done. Check out what Dr. Kirtly Jones has to say about the calming effect of a drink.
17. START YOUR DAY WITH SOME POSITIVE VIBES
How you begin your day decides 70% how it will end. Try to begin your day on a positive note. Get up early, meditate and eat your breakfast. Yes, at times even getting out of the bed is tiring, but you can still welcome some positive vibes in your life. Pain, happiness, love, smile, tears; everything comes from the brain. If you have a positive and healthy approach nothing else can depress you. Read a positive quote, blog or journal. Give yourself a reason to smile for.
18. PRACTICE GRATITUDE
Even a simple “thank you” can make you feel thousand times better. Every day, every moment is precious when you are living with lupus. Probably, it’s a great day today; no sore ankle, no headache, but who knows how it will be tomorrow. That is why, when I get up I thank God for giving me another day here on earth, before anything else. Gratitude makes every moment of your life more live worthy. Practicing gratitude is one form of spirituality. Every morning when you wake up, make a list of three things you are thankful about. Accept compliments graciously. Help the needy ones.
The concept and definition of spirituality vary from one person to another. However, spirituality and mental health are closely connected. Spirituality keeps you emotionally stable and helps you deal with your daily stress. Praying is one spiritual stress relieving activity that helps you become calmer and safer. It lowers your blood pressure and thus increases your immunity. Even if you don’t find a solution after a prayer session, but at least you will start believing that you can handle the situation.
20. HAVE A GOOD NIGHT SLEEP
Adjust and improve your sleep routine. Try to sleep early so that you can wake up early next morning with full energy. Avoid social media, Netflix, Kindle or playing online games after sunset. Make your bedroom cozy and warm. Try to think something positive when you are going to sleep – a negative thought or memory can only hamper your sleep. Take a warm and soothing shower, dab some lavender oil at the back of your neck or something else that will make you sleepy. Better you sleep, more energy you will have in the morning and less stress.
21. ADD SOME CREATIVITY
Try to add some creativity to your life. Whether it is art or music or beauty; creativity makes you happy and satisfied so why not use it to deal with lupus depression. Michael Hyatt in one his article explained the value of art in life. First, you need to make some room for it in your life, plan for something artistic. Take out time to revive your childhood creativity (mine was writing). Do something that you love to do whether it is cooking, capturing moments or gardening. Creativity is in everyone, it’s time to bring out yours.
22. GET A PET
If you don’t have a pet, it’s high time you get one. Yes, it would be difficult to take care of a lil’ fur baby when you can’t take care of yourself. However, pets do help people deal with depression. Not just, they are so adorable, but they also keep you distracted and occupied with their funny acts. Further, they have a soothing and loving presence. However, you should be a little careful if you are on immunosuppressants.
23. LEARN ABOUT LUPUS
If you want to deal with lupus and depression, then you essentially need to learn about the ailment. It is highly unpredictable and differs from one individual to another. You can protect yourself and even defeat an enemy you know about. You must know lupus and plan your days and activities so you can deal with lupus and depression better.
24. CHERISH WHO YOU ARE TODAY
I used to be full of life – always on a move. Now, I am mostly writing, but that doesn’t mean I am sad. I am writing, sharing my thoughts and emotions with you. I do a lot of gardening – planted roses, jasmine, lemon, tomatoes, eggplants. Probably, now I don’t eat spicy junk food, go out in sun, but I don’t miss them. I am better this way. I am enjoying my life more now – just had to realize it. Neither I nor can you change anything back to what it was earlier. Then, why wasting this life being depressed. Cherish who you are today, cherish your life – life is beautiful even with lupus.
You may have tried some of the ways already without much of a result. I suggest planning it thoroughly and employing the ways together. Lupus and depression along with anxiety and brain fog are not that easy to deal with, especially just by employing a couple of tricks. You need to accept, prepare, plan and eventually overcome it. Once you get over it, you will find living with lupus is comfortable and easy.
Download this Free Mood Monitoring Worksheet and start managing your lupus and depression first. Then you can easily figure out your next move. If you find it useful, don’t forget to share it with your friends. If you have any question, drop it in the comment section below. I would love to answer them.