Sunday, October 19, 2008

Depression and Fibromyalgia

Hello Everyone,

I want to talk to you today about dealing with depression while living with Fibromyalgia. As I meet others living with Fibromyalgia, it has become clear that depression is a very real, very important topic that we need to talk about.

It seems to be a universal situation: We deal with our symptoms as privately as we can, not wanting to impose on those around us or seem "weak". We silently deal with our fears, our doubts, our limitations, and our overwhelming questions about our future. In many cases, this can lead to mild or even severe depression.

One of the biggest obstacles that faces those of us living with Fibromyalgia is the fact that no one can see our illness. It's not readily identifiable to those around us. Therefore unfortunately, the problem becomes having to justify our pain, our fatigue, and our limitations. It weighs us down and causes us to feel isolated and defenseless in many cases. Having to constantly "prove" that there really IS something tangibly wrong going on in our bodies not only adds to the burdens we are already carrying, but many times adds unnecessary triggers that make the pain and fatigue worse! If we're not careful, and we don't make sure to have a good support system around us, we can get trapped into feelings of despair and hopelessness. Over a period of time, this can lead to depression.

It's VERY important to keep communication open. If your loved ones are not your best supporters, I want to encourage you to find a group or an online forum of others living with Fibromyalgia that you can talk to and bounce ideas and information off of. If you are experiencing difficulty talking with your doctor or their staff about your symptoms, emotional needs, or medications, don't settle! If there is ANY way at all to find help elsewhere I encourage you to keep looking for a medical team who specializes in Fibromyalgia or at least is willing to LISTEN to you and get you the help you need. Don't under any circumstances settle for "it's all in your head". Although some of the symptoms of Fibro can worsen because of emotional triggers and reactions, it is NOT true that Fibromyalgia is all made up in your mind. That's a myth. You deserve a proper diagnosis and proper treatment to help you regain your quality of life.

There are some fantastic links to groups and resources here on my blog. Look over in the right hand column for information.

If you believe that you are experiencing depression and it seems to be lingering or getting worse, please get help right away. You can choose to consult a counselor, a doctor, or a holistic physician to help you for instance. Don't just do nothing though. Depression is nothing to be ashamed of!

When I faced depression recently, my doctor was wonderful and listened very carefully to what I was saying. My personal choices were extremely important to me and I was nervous that he wouldn't take them seriously. However I should have known better. He and his Physician Assistant have been marvelous since the first visit I had with them after 2 years of searching for a doctor who could help me. (I have a link for my doctor down on the right hand side of my blog as well. See "John Tesser") At any rate, for me it was important that I didn't have a long term medication prescribed that I was going to have problems with. I don't like taking medication to begin with, so I didn't want to add any more to what I'm taking already. My doctor listened carefully and recommended 10mg of Nortriptyline at night. This medication is not one that has to be taken every day, nor do I have to wean off of it. It can be taken on and off as I need it. I was so happy! Not only that but it also helps with pain too. I have virtually no side effects when I take it at night and I sleep much better.

Now you may not need medication, this was a personal choice after my doctor and I talked it over. Perhaps you may just need a short term counselor, or any number of other things that can help you. The point is to take care of yourself and find help in any way that you can. Depression is not a situation to take lightly!

Here's to your success!


God's Girl said...

Thanks for all of your wisdom and insight on the subject. You are truly an encouragement to me!

Love you,

Sherri said...

Hi Julie,

You encourage me just as much!((HUG))

Love you too,

Carolynne said...

Hi Sherri

Thank you for your post! I want to explore more of your blog - good to know I'm not alone with the fibro.

Blessings to you