Depression is a common reality among fibromyalgia patients. Here are some ways to help patients cope.
Chronic pain can cause you to feel hopelessness and depression. You never know what you will be able to do, from one day to the next. Fibromyalgia is real and a disease that can cause you to have chronic pain.
Understanding what you can and can’t do will help you manage our chronic pain. You need to assess yourself when you get up in the morning and be honest. Be okay with yourself and only do what you can do.
Fibromyalgia energy, pain, and working through the day (like other chronic diseases) can be explained by the Spoon Theory.
The Spoon Theory is a comparison you can use to explain the low amount of energy accessible for the day. Use spoons for a “visual image” as a unit of measurement to quantify how much energy you have throughout your day.
Every activity during the day takes a given number of spoons. Spoons can only be replaced as you recharge the next day. If you run out of spoons, you must rest until your spoons are replenished.
The Spoon Theory is used to explain the planning that those with fibromyalgia have to do to conserve and ratio their energy reserves.
An example, you have five spoons or energy markers for the day. You get up and use three of these spoons getting dressed, fixing breakfast and cleaning up. Now you have two spoons of energy to do something else for the day. It may be weeding the garden, going shopping, or cleaning your house. At the end of the day, your spoons are depleted. Take the next day to replenish your “spoons.”
The moral of the story? When you have a chronic exhausting and painful illness, it takes planning to get through your life.
Other Coping Mechanisms
Use self-assessment. Don’t let this self-assessment lead to guilt and being difficult on yourself. There will be times when you feel guilty for breaking appointments or not going to activities. It’s hard to miss out on memories with friends and families, but you need to realize that you need to be fair to yourself.
Change your mindset. It is easy to feel sorry for yourself, but this is something you can manage. Stay in a positive mindset and don’t worry about others and how they will feel if you don’t show up for an activity.
Be honest with yourself and those around you. Know your limitations and listen to your body. These are some of the most critical parts of pain management. Focus on taking care of yourself. Think actively about not falling into hopelessness.
Depression and Fibromyalgia: The Connection
Fibromyalgia and depression are linked. The constant fatigue and aching pains and the feelings of having “no support” are ongoing. These thoughts and feelings make life difficult.
Research proves that patients who have chronic pain are likely to develop depression. How can you tell if you have depression? Some of the sign of depressions include:
- Lack of interest in what’s going on around you.
- Feelings of anger or despair.
- Decreased energy.
Remember that you aren’t the only one who has fibromyalgia and feels depressed. The feelings are normal. It would be weird if you did not feel hopeless or angry when dealing with a chronic and very painful disease.
Ways to Fight Depression
Depression causes you to feel unhappy with everything. It is a devious disorder, and the symptoms often discourage you from doing the very actions that help your recovery. Lack of energy, low self-esteem and no excitement for life are some signs of increasing depression.
Depression is ubiquitous in chronic diseases like fibromyalgia, and it is highly treatable. Some steps to conquering your fibromyalgia depression include:
- Think about why you are angry. The absence of feeling that deteriorates all joy and keeps you from feeling causes depression. You cut off all emotions and focus on your pain. You are masking your anger and turning your rage inward to yourself. Acknowledge, discuss and accept why you are angry.
- Be as active as you can. When you are depressed, your energy levels drop, and the last thing you want to do is stay still. Try moving; take a walk, do some light exercises, or work on doing light chores. Moving rises the neuro-plasticity of your brain and releases endorphins that help elevate moods.
- Don’t stay isolated. When you are depressed and in pain, it is more comfortable to sit in a dark room and cry. When you feel bad, confide in a friend will help lighten your burden. It’s okay to talk about our pain and worries. You are not self-centered. Those who love you will appreciate knowing what’s going on in your life.
- Do something you like, even if you don’t feel like it. Don’t give in to being lethargic. Stay active and pursue hobbies that light up your spark and keep you moving and doing.
- Watch a funny movie or TV show. Funny shows might seem simple, but if you can make yourself laugh or smile, you can convince your brain you are happy. Look at depression as your inner voice tricking you into feeling bad. Find your tricks to fight depression.
- Avoid punishing yourself for feeling down and blue. If you self-hate yourself because of fibromyalgia and depression, you will only increase your symptoms. Your critical thoughts will keep you from trying to help yourself. Be more open, loving and accepting towards yourself. Make a game of making yourself feel better. A good friend with fibromyalgia makes herself happy by actually talking to herself. It is weird to come upon her answering herself back, but it makes her feel happier and dissolves the depression of fibromyalgia.
- Try therapy. Talking is a powerful way of combating both fibromyalgia and depression. Don’t let people tell you, “you look fine”, “it’s no big deal,” or “just get over it.” There is nothing wrong about recognizing your need help. You can resolve your depression with the help of someone else. Asking for help is smart, brave and healthy.
It doesn’t help when you are told that an estimated 10 million people in America have the disorder. You have the condition, and it is hard to work through. Be honest with yourself, above all, and you can manage chronic pain. You know your limitations and listening to your body are parts of pain management. Keep your mindset strong, don’t let depressions take over your life. It is up to you to create an environment for taking back your life.