Depression & Chronic Illness
I have suffered from depressive periods since I have been around 12/13. Most of them are filled with low moods, low self esteem and no feelings of self worth. Since my diagnosis I have seen a huge link between M.E/C.F.S and my depressive periods.
I am an extremely high achiever and being stripped of the energy to achieve high has left me feeling like I won’t achieve much due to my illness which can be so frustrating and really sad for me. Pain and depression have such a significant link to me. When I feel down I experience pain much more intensely which isn’t great for someone who experiences pain on a day to day basis. It’s almost like my body’s way of dealing with my moods, a lessened pain intolerance.
Being depressed lately has taught me so much about my illness. It’s usually when I get a severe flare up that leaves me bed bound for a week or two that the depression seeps in as I can’t achieve things that I would normally set out to do on a daily basis like brushing my teeth. I feel if I can manage my mundane day to day tasks like fixing some breakfast, brushing my teeth, showering and changing clothes I can keep my mood up but if those things are out of the question I start to feel like a failure. This is not a great mindset to have at all and I really need to work on that and learn to love my body instead of seeing it as a failing system, even in the times where it doesn’t let me get a shower or go to the toilet with ease.
I rely so much on my support network of friends, family and my boyfriend to help me through my tough times and they really do help me get out of my ruts of feeling hopeless. Talking to them about my worries or how I feel really does lighten my mood as well as reassurance that I’m not a waste of resources.
I feel that being on antidepressants (at the moment I am on duloxetine which works well) really does help my mood and I don’t seem to get as down as often but it inevitably still does creep in every once in a while.
When I don’t feel my best I do enjoy indulging in rubbish TV shows and cooking programmes, they really make me feel calm and almost at peace for the 30 minutes or so that they’re on for. Childhood movies is always a great way to go too.
My occupational therapist has referred me to a psychologist who will come out to hopefully improve my mindset on how I view my illness as I feel so frustrated and down a lot of the time due to the amount of limitations that it causes me. I feel that if I was equipped with coping strategies then depressive periods linked to flare ups may not actually be half as bad.
Mental health is a huge topic to talk about and it’s extremely important to share so others don’t feel like they have to struggle alone.
My emails and messages are always open to people who aren’t coping and I’ll link some useful resources down below.