Depression is a battle many people with Pulmonary Hypertension and other chronic illnesses have to face from time to time. Living with chronic medical conditions puts strain on a person not only physically, but emotionally, spiritually, socially, financially, and cognitively. This can be very overwhelming if not addressed.
Find the Source
First, we must step back and as clearly as possible examine what could be causing our depression. What is the root of our emotional pain? Medications and their side effects can cause depression. There are some medicines that cause pain that could be making the depression set in or the medication itself causing emotional imbalances. I like to not only read the side effects of new medications from the pharmacy, but also look up the medicine online. My favorite website is www.webmd.com , but keep in mind everything you read online (even a reputable source) may have misleading/scary information. Also, discuss what you are feeling to your doctor. He/She may know the source and can help you better cope with the cause of your depression, whether it is medication side effects, pain management or another source.
Reach Out and Talk It Out
When I was depressed I wanted to just stay in bed with my head covered and block the whole world out. Some days I cry very easily. At first it was hard to open up about how I was feeling, but after I started to talk about it I started feeling better. There are different ways and people you can reach out and talk to about your feelings: close family and friends, PH support groups and mentors, and counselors. I have my husband to talk to, but my mom lives far from me so I call and email her. I have also attended support groups and counseling. Often, I communicate with my mentors about certain issues that may arise or just to talk to a friend. That constant communication helps me cope and provide clarity about what is stirring on inside my mind. A couple links to PH mentors are http://www.phassociation.org/Mentors and http://peernetwork.net/.
There are other ways to help with depression or even preventing from getting depressed although it does sneak up on you sometimes:
- Get involved with volunteering, clubs/organizations (like a book club), or use your special talents to help others
- Meditate on positive messages, such as Bible verses, quotes, or proverbs
- Journal-- writing it out is another way I found of releasing my feelings
- Relieve stress by making lists, delegating responsibilities, using planners and alarms
- Talk to your doctor about medication for depression
- Get out, not just seeing the doctor, getting your labs done, or going to work, but to have fun!
Living with PH and other chronic illnesses can be overpowering at times. I don’t want it to rule my life and I don’t want it to rule yours. If you have any other ways you cope with depression please share so we may help and uplift each other.
May peace be with you,