Lupus Support

Keeping Your Spirits Up When Suffering From Lupus

Categories :Tips For Living

 

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Chronic illness can take a huge toll on life. Lupus with its ever changing symptoms, impact on daily tasks and excruciating pain can be particularly difficult to cope with. Experiencing something like this each day can become very isolating and can foster feelings of low mood, anxiety, and even envy. It can be difficult to keep your spirits up when battling pain on a daily basis, especially when you are no longer able to do many of the things you used to enjoy. Below are some tips on how you can survive lupus and still enjoy a good quality of life.

 

Give yourself a break

Allow yourself some time to feel sad. Lupus causes crippling pain, limits your abilities, it can isolate you from your loved ones and even lead you to envy them. With all of this going on, it is okay to spend some time just being sad. Don’t expect to just pick up your life where you left it before you started getting sick. Lupus is not a cold that will get better and go away. It may have periods of remission where you do get a break from the symptoms but unfortunately, medicine is yet to find a cure. Lupus has stolen some things from you. Give yourself some time to grieve for this loss and then when you are ready, pick yourself up again (or have someone give you a hand).

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Accept

What a lot of people don’t realize is that the pain and stress of being diagnosed are often multiplied through trying to fight the diagnosis. It can be difficult to accept this disease and the fact that it will be a part of your life from now. Accepting does not mean giving up and letting lupus consume you, but it does mean knowing your strengths and limitations. If you have given yourself time to grieve than accepting can be a little easier. Accepting lupus means knowing what you can and can’t do, knowing your strengths and not pushing yourself or having unrealistic expectations of yourself. This helps you set realistic goals that you can achieve and helps you feel a sense of accomplishment (no matter how small in the beginning).

 

Join a support network

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Many of the symptoms of lupus are invisible to the non-medical eye. This means that often people surrounding those with lupus (such as partners and family) can have difficulty understanding exactly what they are going through and they may even feel as though they are exaggerating their symptoms. This can be extremely upsetting and isolate those with lupus. It is important that you have some good support around you to prevent you from feeling isolated. In addition to staying in touch with your existing friends, it can be very helpful to join a support group with other people experiencing lupus or chronic illnesses.

 

Learn pain management techniques

One of the main aspects of lupus that can have a negative impact on mood is the pain. Doctors can provide prescription medications to help manage pain but this is always a process of trial and error. Often you are already on so many medications (for some people at least 20 different medications per day) that adding pain medications with their side effects is just not worth it. For this reason, it can be helpful to find ways to manage your pain without (or in addition to) the prescription medications. Head over to our page on self-pain management {pain management tips for lupus} for further details about this.

 

Exercise and take care of your body

It is true that if we are taking care of our bodies, we feel better and happier. Just because you have a diagnosis of lupus does not mean you can’t take other measures to keep your body healthy. Try and engage in some regular, low impact exercise with the guidance of your doctor. This can significantly improve muscle and joint pain and lift mood. Keeping a healthy diet, good fluid intake and ensuring you get enough sleep will all work to keep your spirits up also.

 

Seek therapy

Therapy can be an excellent tool to help you accept and adjust to a diagnosis of lupus. Not only can it provide a safe space to talk about your concerns, fears, and air exactly how you are feeling without having to worry about burning out loved ones; it can also show you techniques such as relaxation strategies, meditation, adaptive coping strategies, and mindfulness. Working with your therapist can help you to identify your strengths and limitations and find meaning in your life while still experiencing setbacks that lupus creates.  For information on how to access a therapist, you can speak to your doctor.

For further information about finding ways to still enjoy your life with a lupus diagnosis, please see the links below.

References:

http://www.resources.lupus.org/entry/lupus-and-depression

http://www.everydayhealth.com/lupus/lupus-emotional-stress-and-depression.aspx

Lupus (SLE) patients suffer from mood disorders, anxiety and depression