Chronic Illness And Depression

Posted: June 23, 2010 in Uncategorized
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When I refer to a chronic illness here I am referring to any life-long incurable disease. By using those two words (life-long and incurable) I have already given some people reading this a painful reminder of what they are looking forward to in life and perhaps what they have previously lost.

I have had to make a lot of changes over the last three years even prior to my diagnosis of Systemic Lupus. I knew that I could not keep up with certain things and that I had to make sacrifices.

I initially changed my job. The three hours of commuting each day along with shifts that changed daily and the fact I would be walking about 20 miles a day up hill and down dale is a challenge for some of the healthiest people. Before I left that job I ended up taking time off to evaluate my choice and I realised (and yet did not want to believe) that I could not keep up with the demands. As a side note, I now get paid half of what I did there.

Shortly after, I had to give up working for a voluntary youth organisation. The getting up early, going to bed late and running, jumping, climbing trees finally became problematic.

I look around at the people of the same age with who I am familiar and they spend Saturday nights “on the lash” and playing football Sunday afternoon. I don’t do late nights. If I did I’d regret it a helluva lot more than than the friends I’d been out with. Football, I’ve got two left feet as it is but kicking a bag of air around for 90 minutes would probably cause me serious injury (unless I was goalkeeper and letting the ball in).

The limitations and changes above are just some examples that many people with chronic illnesses have to consider. But as you can imagine, if limitations were placed on you, you’d be a bit peeved.

I hadn’t always been one to think ahead but a few short years ago I had started to look forward and plan where I wanted to end up. And now, I have no idea what the future may hold.

All these things, combined with the stresses and strains of a “normal” life and the things I have explained about in previous entries, start adding up.

You may be familiar or at least heard of The Kübler-Ross Grief Cycle;

When faced with a life changing event the above image represents what a person may go through. The initial shock ultimately ending with acceptance is something that must be gone through. The stages in the middle may not always be in the order depicted above, however, the cycle cannot be rushed. By rushing a stage you risk going backwards.

In relation to lupus I become angry at my limitations, deny I have anything wrong with me, I then realise I do (usually because of a flare), and once the flare has subsided I come to the conclusion that I do have problems and need to address them… but then I become angry and the cycle continues.

After spending a lot of time with my doctor this week we’ve decide I should see a cognitive behavioral therapist. With luck I should be able to break this cycle and actually make progress. And given that the cycle and my flares seem to coincide, perhaps breaking the cycle will reduce the amount of flares I am having and when they do occur perhaps with it will be with a little less severity.

That’d be nice.

  1. Tammy says:

    I wish I could say I had no idea what you were talking about. LOL However, I know exactly what you are talking about. I had to leave my job. I am still off of work… we will see. My therapist is of GREAT help. Good luck.

  2. Sarah Heney says:

    Just going through this now. Am in process of giving up a job which has been my passion for 22 years. So sad. But I have tried, and it just isnt working. 2 years into Lupus and my life is changing beyond recognition x

  3. angela says:

    i understand it to and i am really angry hate i have SLE and cant do all the things i could do a year ago im always tired always unsure of myself and cant just brush things off like i used to instead it eats away at me and i end up angry depressed and get so fed up when all i want to do is sit down my job is not easy any more and i want to admit i dont think i can do my job much long the job i have done for over 20 years i am fed up with feeling tired and all the aches and pains this crappy lupus is giving me

  4. […] Chronic Illness And Depression […]

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