I often see or hear people complaining that their doctor didn’t tell them about the effects a chronic illness can have on their mental health. Why?
On the other hand people get upset with medical professionals when they suggest that there is a mental health problem. No one wants to be told that their illness is all in their heads.
For me depression and anxiety were my first symptoms. Someone once told me that is often the case in autoimmune and chronic illnesses. That being said this is not the cause of the illness, but a symptom.
Unfortunately, these issues can also cause flares. Getting your anxiety and depression under control may lessen your symptoms. For instance anxiety is a big trigger for my Meniere’s. When I am anxious my symptoms increase. Sometimes it even triggers vertigo.
At the same time it is understandable that you may get depression or anxiety as a result of your condition. It is a lot to take in. And if your illness is unpredictable like Meniere’s, the anxiety of an impending attack is tremendous. The loss of your former quality of life can lead to depression.
It’s a vicious circle. It’s beneficial to treat your mental health as well as treating your chronic illness. I am proactive in this. When anxiety begins to overwhelm me, (meaning it wakes me in the middle of the night or I get a constant out of control feeling) I will seek my doctor’s help.
I have learned breathing exercise to squash anxiety as it arises. I tend to not worry if an attack will strike while I am living life. If it happens, I deal with it, rest and move on.
I never want to be trapped in my house due to the fear of what could happen. So, I live on the good days and rest on the bad days. Seeking treatment for your mental health is as proactive as treating any illness. And in the case of autoimmune or chronic illnesses highly beneficial.
Keeping my depression and anxiety at bay allows me to live a better quality of life. These are not things I can ignore no matter how much I want to pretend they don’t exist. My advice is to seek help if you suspect you are in a depression or if anxiety keeps you from doing things you want to do. Remember these two things lie to you. They make everything seem worse than it actually is and can contribute to worse episodes. Take care of all aspects of your health.
Last weekend, I had vertigo attacks throughout the night and into the morning. We were, also, out of town. I could have given into the anxiety, which would have increased my symptoms, but I chose not to worry about having vertigo out in public.
Does that mean I ignored it? No. I just prepared for it. I had to buy a cane because for some reason I didn’t bring one of mine. I didn’t have my meclizine (which no longer works anymore) nor did I have my Valium (which would have knocked me out). What I did have was my anti-anxiety medication, which I doubled up.
I was able to enjoy the days. Fortunately, my vertigo seemed to be at night.
If I had let my anxiety rule my days, I would have missed out on fun with friends. I never want to stop living, due to this chronic debilitating illness. I will rest on the bad days and enjoy the good days. And some so-so days.
If the vertigo had lasted into the day, then I would have rested. Fortunately for me it did not. I was off balance at first, but as the day went on it subsided. Unfortunately the vertigo returned at night and I repeated the process. Just as quickly as it began it stopped.
Meniere’s is so unpredictable, I can understand why people live in a constant state of anxiety. It’s a bit frightening to not know when it’s going to hit. I refuse to be stuck in between episodes.
Many of you may not know this, because I really cannot remember if I mentioned this before… When my illnesses started they hit me hard and fast. Many times I’d go to work and the fluorescent lights would trigger a migraine or vertigo/dizziness. My fibromyalgia was in a flare that never went away. I was so fatigued all the time. The Lichen Sclerosus was itchy and burned as it transformed my vagina into something unrecognizable. I was miserable and spent more money in gas than I made due to my illnesses.
When I stopped working everything, except my asthma was in a full flare. My depression and anxiety were through the roof. I could barely move.
So I didn’t move much. I only got out of bed when I needed to eat or go to the restroom or shower. Unless I needed to visit family I did not leave the house. I gained weight. To this day my weight yo-yo’s back and forth.
I had began writing again before I stopped working. I did a lot of writing in bed. I started going to the library to research and to get reading material.
I learned there was a local writing group a year before I took the plunge. Finally, I called the library and was given a contact number for The Y-City Writers. It happened that there was a meeting that night. I didn’t have time to let the anxiety stop me from going. That was the best decision I ever made.
Even though I moved across the country, I still get out of bed daily. I have an online community of writers that I connect with daily. I am writing again. And my husband makes sure I get out of the house.
The pandemic set me back a little and I found that I am okay not peopling. In fact, my anxiety reached an all time high for a bit. Right now it’s under control. I went to see Garth Brooks a few weeks ago. I went to an Aviators game last weekend and this weekend I went to a charity softball game.
I am getting back out. I realize that my anxiety is my biggest roadblock and since the numbers of covid are on the rise, I may end up being a recluse again.
Fortunately even housebound I have friends in Ohio and Washington whom I meet with once a week. I have a book club weekly. And I have my House of Ink peeps. That money was the best I ever spent, because it gave me a writing community. The tools to rewrite my book which is keeping me occupied.
I guess what I wanted to say is that no matter how bad off you are, I hope you can find something that brings you joy. In this day and age you don’t have to be alone if you have a smartphone, tablet or computer. Sometimes taking one small step can get you back in society.
I miss have independence which the doctor took away when she took my license. I am going to ask my new doctor if he can reinstate it. I miss being able to go to grab a bite to eat when I don’t want anything in my kitchen. Or to meet a friend for lunch. Lyft was a nightmare when I called one in March. It took over an hour to get a ride. The first driver backed out when he was a couple blocks from me after dropping off another ride. Hopefully this will get better, but it would be nice to drive again.
I have noticed people complaining when something they post on Twitter/Facebook etc. gets removed. What they fail to realize is that they do not own these sites. They aren’t even paying for them. The company can decide to remove anything or anyone they choose, because these services are a freebie.
If you have something to say, start a blog. That way the people who want to see whatever it is that social media deemed inappropriate for their site can see it.
Most likely, though, when a post has been removed it was deemed inappropriate. You’re probably spreading disinformation. I have had a few posts removed because I chose the wrong article to link to my post. Did I get upset? No. I just make sure I do due diligence when posting, which means I research both sides.
If you want to continue posting then look into all sides of the issue. Or get a blog.
If you blog, you can relax. Since most blogs are opinions. Yes, they can be informative or the person may have knowledge on the subject, but it’s still your perspective.
Not everyone has my experience with chronic illness. Many cannot live on the good days and rest on the bad, because for some there are no good days. I wish it wasn’t true, but it is what it is. I really want people to find something in their day to day lives that give them some happiness. I’ll post more on this in my next blog.
It’s nearly a week after the Garth Brooks Concert and I am still not fully recovered. It was hot, we walked more than I am used to and then the climb to the nose bleed seats. It’s taking my body time to recover this time.
Don’t get me wrong, it was definitely worth it. Living life is always worth the payback. My only other alternative is to stay home and not do anything.
It’s bad enough that there are things I miss out on when I don’t feel well. I missed Rick Springfield because my back decided it was a good day for spasms. Occasionally anxiety keeps me from doing things, though this is getting less frequent as I recognize it for what it is. Unless it triggers vertigo or something I don’t listen to the anxiety.
Live on the good days and rest on the bad. I keep this in my mind and I even live on some so-so days.
Saturday night we went to see Garth Brooks. It was fantastic.
I expected to be exhausted on Sunday, but I am still fatigued today. I managed to close all my rings on my iWatch just getting into the concert without turning on the exercise thing. We had to walk to get to the arena as there was no way to drop us in front. Then we trudged around the stadium to get to the door. Once inside we had to walk around to get to our seat. We didn’t think this out. Then because we were in the nosebleed seats we had to climb steps.
So was it worth it? Absolutely. Even though I hadn’t been feeling well for days before the concert, probably stress, I made the decision to go have fun.
I chose to live on the good (so-so) day even though I knew there might be consequences. So, here I am on Monday morning still exhausted. You know what? I’d do it all again.
My hiatal hernia got blocked from one bite of a rib. I tried washing it down with water. That turned out to be a big mistake as it tried to choke me. Fortunately I was able to expel the water. Over and over. One might have thought I drank gallons of water with as much that came back out.
I have never went to the ER before for something like this. Only twice before for severe asthma attacks. Since tomorrow is a holiday I didn’t want to wait to go. Nor did I want to choke in my sleep.
I decided to go to the ER when I couldn’t even keep Mylanta down. Then when I tried to lie down I started expelling water/phlegm/Mylanta. Since I couldn’t take my medication and I was afraid to sleep in case I had reflux or vomiting while I slept, I thought it might be a good idea to go to the hospital.
Whatever nausea medication they gave me has the vomiting under control or maybe there simply isn’t any liquid left in there.
I’ve had my heart checked. I could have told them it’s not my heart. X-rays of my stomach and a CT Scan of my stomach.
I had morphine for the first time and I don’t ever want to again. How people can do that for fun is beyond me. I don’t recommend it. By the way… It hasn’t stopped the pain from the hernia nor anywhere else I have pain.
I am waiting on the results of all the tests now. I just hope I will be able to keep water down if they ever let me have some.
I am keeping water down now. The morphine must have relaxed the hernia, I think. My tests revealed a small mass in my left lobe of my chest that I will need to follow up on with my doctor.
Yesterday I spoke about how to stop anxiety. Today, I want to focus on why this is so important.
First what is anxiety? The dictionary says it’s a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
Many people with chronic diseases may live in a constant state of anxiety. The fear of the unknown can be debilitating. The Meniere’s can certainly cause anxiety, because it can change without warning.
Anxiety is something I can control. In fact at the beginning of the pandemic my anxiety rose out of control. This is when I asked my doctor for medication. The pandemic was an unknown to me. I was afraid of not being able to breathe. That’s my biggest fear. Asthma is scary to have when you have attacksand pneumonia is not something I ever want again.
One little pill a day helped me control the anxiety stemming from the pandemic. It was something my coping skills couldn’t stop, because it was my resting mind that woke me in a panic on a nightly basis.
I do not dwell on what will happen with the Meniere’s. If I did, I wouldn’t ever be able to do anything. If I get dizzy I take a breath, wait a moment or too until it passes and then I go on. If it doesn’t pass then I rest because my body is telling me to.
If I have vertigo I rest. Sometimes the vertigo is short or what I have learned is called mini spins to the Meniere’s community. Sometimes I have one or two and then nothing so I can get on with living. If they are more frequent I rest.
I bounce of walls frequently and hold on to things because of disequilibrium, but if I let anxiety about this control me, I wouldn’t do anything.
The one thing about anxiety is that it makes my symptoms worse, so I need to keep it at bay. If I lived everyday in a high state of anxiety I would be too sick to live.