Rheumatoid Arthritis makes me Depressed

Hollybgroovin Health Guide
  • We all know it too well, the depression that comes with Rheumatoid Arthritis.  It's so frustrating that the doctors don't tell you that this is a side-effect.  It's not in any of the books.  But there it is, lurking right behind the diagnosis, and sometimes it comes before the diagnosis as well.  You can't escape it.  So what do you do when you find you're depressed?

    The truth is that most of us experience depression.  It may not be on a day-to-day basis, but it't there, waiting to pop up at the times we feel least capable to handle it.  When I first became sick the depression hit me with a vengence.  It was the waiting for a diagnosis.  It was the not knowing what was going on.  It was the doctors not listening to me or taking me seriously.  Depression was the reason for my insanity.  After I received my diagnosis it was better.  Not knowing that depression was an unofficial side effect of RA, I thought I had been cured.  I now knew the reason for my insanity and it was called Rheumatoid Arthritis.  I felt refreshed to have my diagnosis and knew that now that we knew what was going on we could fix it, right?  WRONG!  

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    The depression hit hard
    The depression hit even harder after my diagnosis. I laid in bed for three months straight avoiding everyone.  I had no relationship with friends.  I had no relationship with my family.  My husband was a stranger to me and my kids just didn't understand what was happening to their mother who at once was so full of life.  For me life was over.  I had lost my career as a court reporter because the damage in my fingers was so great that I could barely move them.  I had lost all the plans I had made for the future.  I just knew my husband would leave me when faced with having to help me get dressed and feed me.  And I knew my kids would resent me for taking all the fun out of their life.  There was no light at the end of the tunnel for me.  

    When you have depression there is a choice to be made.  While it's easier to spend your life feeling sorry for yourself, and you have every right to do so,  you miss out on a little something I like to call life.  Now I am not saying it's not okay to be depressed, because it is.  It is a natural feeling to an awful disease.  But only you can make the decision to live your life according to your depression.  I know, I have been there.  It's an awful place filled full of the "what if's" and the "why me's".  It''s a place that leave you feeling helpless, and hopeless.  It is a place that leaves you questioning your life, your abilities, and your relationships.  It's a place that leaves you feeling like there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

    How do I handle depression
    What do I do when I am depressed, you ask?  I cry.  I cry because of my circumstances.  I cry because having this disease is so unfair.  I cry because I am in pain.  I cry because my medications don't always provide relief.  I cry because of the burden I feel I have caused to all those who love me.  And I cry because I know that those plans I once made for the future may never be.  I cry because that's what I do when I am in depressed


  • It's okay to be depressed.  It's okay to cry.  It's only when you feel that there is no way out of the depression that is unhealthy.  When I cry, with every tear I feel a bit stronger.  It's like my depression leaves my body in the form of tears and I once again feel revived.  Crying is my way of working things out in my head.  I release all my fears, all my insecurities, and all my doubts, and I am able to manage once again.  I was tired of being depressed about being depressed.  I was embarrassed about the way I felt.  But the truth is that we have all been there in that dark lonely place, but we have never been alone!  We are all here for support.  The best part about that is that we have all felt the same way.  How refreshing is it to feel so normal about our feelings when the disease we suffer from has tried to take everything normal away from us?

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    When I am depressed I cry.  How do you handle your depression?  Are you stuck there in that lonely place, feeling like there is no hope for you?  I have been there too.  I decided that the rest of my life could either be filled with depression, or it could be filled with hope.  I chose hope.  It's a much happier way for me to live.  I enjoy it much better than the depression.  My depression is always there, and it is something I will probable always struggle with.  But I am not alone...and that gives me hope!

    You are not alone!
    Please know you are never alone in your fight against Rheumatoid Arthritis or depression.  And if you have overcome your depression, please just reach out a hand for your fellow RA sufferer who feels like they are drowning in it.  If we want to fight this disease, and I mean really fight, we have to stick together.  How are you feeling today?  I am here for you if you need me!

Published On: December 03, 2008