Regaining Control: Chronic Disease Related Depression

Depression and chronic illness walk hand in hand, and it makes sense why: Painful, long-term illnesses can cause a devastating impact on your life, in large part, by stealing your control.

The impact of being diagnosed with PSC can affect quality of life, future plans and life goals. Everyone deals differently with his or her life experience.

Depression can however be treated, mitigated, and controlled, even when the disease itself cannot. A few ways of how are presented through the the acronym, 'CONTROL' as follows:

Community: When you're depressed, you feel the urge to retreat from the world and isolate yourself from your community. Resist that urge. Reach out to family and friends or ask your doctor about support groups and other resources. You might feel alone in your struggle, but you never have to be.

Open Channel: Keep an open channel of communication with medical experts you trust. Speak frequently with them about your concerns and questions. Share what's working and what's not. If the depression intensifies, alert them immediately.

Nutrition & Exercise: Healthy diet and exercise are an age-old remedy for depression. Try subbing out sugary foods for whole foods like grains, vegetables, beans, fruits, lean meats, and food items high in vitamins and nutrition. Try exercising at least three times a week, if and when you're able. Exercise releases endorphins, a hormone which can reduce pain and can alleviate depression.

Personal note: I lived in Edinburgh, Scotland for a year which is an incredible city. The weather on the other hand is not so fabulous -- it's rainy and often overcast. I regularly exercised and never got the common "seasonal affective disorder."

Treatment: If depression intensifies, seek professional help from a psychologist, therapist, psychiatrist, or psychiatric nurse. Ask your doctor for a recommendation or get in touch with organizations like NAMI (the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill), which can recommend a professional in your area.

Routine: Develop a routine. Often, when you're depressed, one day seems to slip into the next. So set up a daily schedule and fill it, as often as possible, with activities you enjoy. Even a small daily chore, like watering the flowers every morning, can give you a sense of accomplishment and improve your mood.

Objectives: When you're depressed, you feel terrible about yourself. "I can't accomplish anything," you might tell yourself, so you shirk your responsibilities and give up on former goals. Don't. Keep up your day-to-day objectives and responsibilities. Keep working toward your goals, whether little daily ones or larger life ones.

Learn: An important way to battle depression is to learn everything you can about your disease (as my Olympian patient did). Study up on it. Read everything you can. Not only might it lead to a treatment option, it will give you a sense of independence and restore that all-important sense of CONTROL.

The following is the link to the article "Regaining Control: Chronic Disease-Related Depression" from which I have taken the above advise... do read for further information: