Imagine, for weeks at a time, you are unable to sleep, eat, or even function. Your mind is so heavy and so clouded, that you are unable to see the wonderful things in your life. Some time has passed and now you are able to see the beauty in things that you weren’t able to before. Spiritually, you feel hopeful and that every challenge is just one step closer to becoming who God wants you to be. Well, this is definitely me! I struggle with depression, but instead of seeing the glass half empty, I embrace the knowledge that every glass is half full. All because of I am learning about managing my stress and mindfulness, which is, “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”
What is Depression? A lot of people have a misconception of what depression is and how it can develop a life of its own. There are two main types of depression that you may be experiencing; reactive depression and clinical depression.
- Medications, such as steroids, are known to make you more emotional and prone to depression.
- Common in people with Lupus
- Since Lupus directly involves our nervous system, it causes such symptoms like memory issues, difficulty concentrating, confusion, and mood swings.
- Overall, sickness can cause more sickness
Symptoms of Clinical Depression
- Feeling like a failure and that nobody loves you
- Feelings of hopeless, empty, or lost
- Losing interest in things you once enjoyed to do
- Feeling like life is worthless and that you can’t go on
If you have Lupus or any other auto-immune disorder, you may be experiencing one of these or both. Personally, I’ve struggled with depression way before I was diagnosed with Lupus. Depression is a lifelong struggle for me. It is something that I’ve had to come to grips with and accept. It’s like any other illness, such as Lupus, that I have to manage, most times on a daily basis. Giving up is not an option and money is extremely tight, so I’ve had to research free ways to become healthier; meditation, maintain a healthy diet (which is hard!), prayer, and mindfulness.
I am mindful of my condition in this present moment while acknowledging my feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. I have Lupus, there I said it. But, Lupus doesn’t have me! I have accepted that stress is apart of everyday life. It’s how I choose to deal with stress that determines how I feel overall. Chronic stress is like kryptonite to lupus warriors. It makes our flare up so much more difficult. So we have to reduce our stress.
Ways I’m Learning To Reduce Stress
- Eliminate triggers- I’ve had to think long and hard about what and who stresses me out. Example, Facebook stresses me out. The only thing that I get when I walk away from scrolling down my timeliness is stress, worry, anger, and frustration. So, I deactivated my profile. Right now, I am unable to separate those feelings. When I close the app, I still have the world’s destruction and everyone’s opinion about it, on my mind. It is so unhealthy.
- You don’t have to exercise, exactly. You can do yoga, walk around the block, or simply walk to the mailbox. There are days that we can’t or won’t move due to pain, but being proactive helps you feel better, more accomplished.
- You can do this 2-3 times a week. Pace yourself and know your limits.
- Eat Healthier Foods
- For lupus warriors, it would be best if we ate more anti-inflammatory foods.
- Foods That Fight Inflammation
- Avoid foods that worsen inflammation, such as, soda, pastries, margarine, lard, white bread, and red meat.
- Mindfulness Meditation
- Mindfulness Meditation is all about directing your attention to the current moment and accepting that things are the way that they are. In regards to lupus warriors, we have to accept that this is what we are dealing with and calmly regain a sense of control over our lives and this disease.
- Make time to meditate, even if for a few minutes, every day.
- Find a quiet space
- Sit up straight with your legs and upper body relaxed. Good posture helps you breath easier.
- Be aware of each body part, and try to become completely relaxed.
- Focus on your breathing. Breathe in through your nose (extending your belly outwards) and slowly out through your mouth.
- Start in slow increments; meditate for 5 minutes and increase daily or weekly.
- Personally, I like to have mediation music playing in the background to help me focus.
- How to Guide to Mindful Meditation
Being a lupus warrior is exactly that, I am a warrior. I fight battles every day. Some caused by everyday life and some caused this illness. There are some circumstances that I am unable to change, but how I choose to deal with them is half the battle.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from any of the symptoms above, please talk to somebody about them and/or your doctor. Depression is life-altering and should be taken seriously. Be your own advocate. You simply may be dealing with receptive depression, but there is a fine line between that and clinical depression. Also, here is a Stress Test that helps you determine how stressed you are. There are others like it online.
“In this moment, there is plenty of time. In this moment, you are precisely as you should be. In this moment, there is infinite possibility.” ~Victoria Moran