Wednesday, 31 July 2013

My Arthritis Depression

In this post, I talk about a very hard time after I was diagnosed with arthritis. I share this because I think it's important for others to know that this is a hard disease. For the longest time I felt weak and that I was the only one weak enough to feel this way. But I know now that that is far from the truth: Many people feel this way and it's because they are strong.

I know I'm not the first when I say 'I don't want to be alone in this disease.' I don't think anyone has ever said, 'I want to fight this alone,' and actually meant it. It's an ongoing thing that never seems to end, with surprises at every corner. I couldn't go on if it weren't for the wonderful people behind me. I know that for a fact because there was a point when I had almost no one.

I did it almost alone for a long time. I had my mum, and she had me. Even then, sometimes there was a wall of fatigue between us. I was newly diagnosed and was taking methotrexate. It didn't work for me, and the side effects were horrible: everytime I saw my doctor he told me that I had 'better make sure the Methotrexate was working.' Despite that, my grades were perfect. But I had to quit all my school clubs and was absent from school quite frequently because I was always seeing doctors. When I was in school, I felt sick and cold all the time. Nobody wanted to be friends with the sick one and I lost all my friends that yearSeveral teachers enjoyed to pick on me as well, one going so far to say that people who require constant medical treatment are likely to become addicted to drugs. I rarely talked and took to independent things like drawing, writing and making music. That helped a bit, but I was still depressed.

It was summer when my doctor made me see a consular. I only saw her once because she told me that I needed changes in my healthcare before I would start feeling better. I immediately switched doctors and stopped methotrexate. That lifted the weight of the world off my shoulders and I started feeling good again. My new doctor realised that I needed friends just as much as I needed new medication, so he got me involved with the Arthritis Foundation. I got to meet tons of other children with arthritis, which was fantastic. I also started a new year in school with new found confidence and began taking art classes: I gained so many new friends there. Starting this blog brought me to many of the most amazing people I could ever have imagined.

I've done it alone before and I never want to do it again. I have so many people who are right there with me. It fluctuates sometimes, but I have a steady few and that's all that matters. There are some who say they're there for me and care and stuff, and I know that's not true. There are others who say nothing but seem to be there when I need it. There is family who couldn't care and strangers who cared so much. And then there are the people who have gone through it (or are going through it) who are there for me (as I am there for them), and I have a special place in my heart for them.

There are a lot of factors in our emotions. If your experiencing extreme sadness, please don't hesitate to reach out. I wish I did much earlier. You don't have to go through this alone. There are so many resources out there, whether online or in your community. You are very strong to deal with this, but I don't think anyone could handle it alone. I shared my story so no one would think they're ever alone in these emotions: These feelings are not a sign of weakness at all, it's a sign of all the strength you have. No one will ever be happy, upbeat and positive all the time.  Please, don't try to do it alone.

4 comments:

  1. Great post, Elizabeth :) About a year after developing symptoms, I found myself getting very depressed. It was like I was in this dark hole I couldn't climb out of it and I felt guilty because I thought it was my fault. Maybe I wasn't being positive enough or maybe I was being a baby about the pain.

    Now I realize that depression and sadness are normal emotions that come with chronic illnesses and it's OK to not be OK. And that there's absolutely NO shame in getting help, whether that's going to therapy sessions, joining a support group, taking meds, whatever you need.

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    1. Thanks :)

      You're right, there's absolutely no shame in getting help: There's no shame in taking care of yourself.

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  2. Loved this post Elizabeth. So true. I didn't grow up with the internet, so when I did later find RA blogs by young people it was an amazing feeling for me. You're right, it helps us so much when we know we have that support. Hope you are well and have a great weekend! :)

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    1. Thanks!
      It helped a lot when I found the Internet as well. I hope you have a great weekend too! :)

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