Mental Health Mondays- Coping with Chronic Conditions

Having been through two serious problems with autoimmune from onset and being sick, through the process of diagnosis. to adjusting to life after diagnosis, I can see how easy it would be to give in to depression and anxiety.

With autoimmune, the problem is ALWAYS there. It is a constant companion we wish would go away. In the days of trying to find out what the problem is, there are doctors to see, tests to be performed on us, and living with the symptoms. After getting diagnosed, each day we need to be vigilant. Depression can set in.

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Anxiety can also set in.

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With Celiacs Disease depression and anxiety can become an issue especially before going gluten free but also even after going gluten free. I will never forget the first ten days in August 2017. On July 31 the rheumatologist office called to say the blood test came back positive for Celiacs and that I should eat “normal” until I saw the GI specialist for confirmation. I had stopped eating bread and was perhaps 90% gluten free over the summer because I read that white flour and sugar cause inflammation in the body. I went back to eating bread and a “normal diet” and after one day depression and anxiety HIT HARD. The pain was severe and I couldn’t sleep much. On August 10, I was in the rheumatologist office with a PA to go over the results of all of my tests and I broke down telling her I can’t do it. She left the office; I thought they might come back with a straight jacket; she talked with the doctor, the doctor contacted the GI specialist who said I could go back to gluten free.

My biggest concern was to be able to be there for my students and for the people I help through my ministry. My faith is important to me, therefore, prayer is a big part of my life. I found a video by Kristene DiMarco on YouTube early last year and began to listen to it everyday during my times of prayer and it got to the point that I would listen to it ten or more times a day. The song is It Is Well.

 

This is the official Bethel Music video for the song. This song helped me keep going through all of the testing, all of the pain, all of the down days, and through the adjustment period to my new life of gluten free. I still listen to it each day along with other songs. It is how I start my day and it helps me to focus on God and not myself.

I would like to encourage anyone who is struggling with depression and/or anxiety as a result of chronic conditions like Celiacs to seek help. Talk with someone, a friend, a doctor, someone. There is hope. For me, it was talking with Jesus and seeking him. Please do not stay alone in your struggle. There is hope.

 

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