Bummer Time: Lupus Depression
When our pain and struggles start to get us down, it’s easy to overlook the other symptom that affects all of us…depression! It is a vicious emotion that can exaggerate a bad situation or make a small problem seem much worse.
I’ve had a rough couple of months with deaths in my family. We’ve lost several members of our family and it’s hard to see where the up side is when you are dealing with grief. Depression is a huge part of the grieving process and for me, in particular, it seems to be the longest of those five stages of grieving. You know what I’m talking about, denial, bargaining, all the steps until you get to acceptance of a loss.
For those of us with Lupus, that is our loss a lot of the time. We grieve for the life we thought we would always have, our hopes for the future, and the journey of struggles that we see ahead of us. It is very hard to go through all of those five stages with this illness, because for most people, getting diagnosed is such a trial in itself, that you have always held out the hope that whatever is wrong with you has a treatment. Hearing that your diagnosis is just the beginning can start a huge bout of lupus depression.
I won’t lie, for me, I spent at least the first year in denial that I was going to have to deal with this disease and then when things got really bad, it started to hit me that this was my life. I was forever going to be in pain and having the huge swings of healthy time and sick time. Spending two years of my life living off of my couch was not really dealing with the problem, that’s for sure.
But I have to tell you that without those two years and getting to a place where I finally accepted that I can be sick at home on my couch or I can be sick while still living my life was a big turning point for me. It’s not an easy realization to come to, nor do I mean to minimize everyone else’s struggle because it is a struggle to get to this place.
I wish that I had some magic words to tell you how to get through depression, and of course, I do not, but I do believe that you have to let yourself grieve for the life you once knew and the life that is now your future. I can’t tell you how long you have to go through all of those five stages, just that one day you will wake up and realize you have accepted Lupus as a part of your life (notice I say a part of your life, not your identity) and start to move on a little bit at a time.