Receiving a diagnosis of an autoimmune disease can be overwhelming. There is so much information to take in.
There are many resources available to educate us about our symptoms and treatment options. However, there aren’t many resources for patients to be made aware of the changes that could become an issue.
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In the beginning
I received diagnosis fairly quick and easily. I hadn’t even suspected psoriatic arthritis. It was my rheumatologist who spotted the state of my toenails.
What I was told after each diagnosis:
- There isn’t a cure.
- We can decrease your pain with medication.
That was in 2003. Not one conversation with my doctor could have prepared me for what lied ahead. Sadly, I don’t see much difference today.
#Fibromyalgia and #psoriaticarthritis are more than physically painful. Without proper support and education these #chronicillnesses destroy lives!Tweet
I wished I had been told about the hit my mental health would take
Living with daily pain from a chronic illness will take a toll on your mental health.
It is common for those who have a chronic illness like fibromyalgia and autoimmune arthritis to battle both depression and anxiety.Tweet
Warning and reassuring patients that it is normal to mourn their old lives will help them work through emotions instead of hiding them.
What we need to know
They need to know that their doctors recognize that the depression and anxiety that follows a diagnosis is normal and won’t be used against them.
There are many reasons patients will not discuss feelings of depression or anxiety. They fear that their doctors will turn the tables and blame their chronic pain on those feelings. This has happened to me.
Depression and anxiety do not cause arthritis! Poorly managed autoimmune diseases cause depression and anxiety!Tweet
What could help a newly diagnosed patient
- A pamphlet or similar resource outlining the stages of grief and how they relate to losing the life they had.
- Inform patients that it is normal to go through stages of depression and anxiety.
- Most importantly, patients need to know that thoughts of suicide are possible and that they need to reach out for help if they are experiencing any. If you are currently experiencing thoughts of suicide please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or click here to chat with someone online now.
Thank you for reading part one of this nine-part series.
Continue reading 9 Things I Wish I Had Been Told:
- 1 Mental Health
- 2 Therapy is Important
- 3 Intimacy Issues
- 4 What is Health Journaling?
- 5 Pain Relief Options
- 6 Relationship Troubles
- 7 Need for Assistance
- 8 Importance of Self-Care
- 9 Keep Moving with a Mobility Aid
- The Cost of Living with Fibromyalgia
- Invasion of the Brain Snatcher! Tips for Dealing with Fibro Fog
- Four Wearable Pain Relief Devices for Fibromyalgia and Arthritis
- Seven Embarrassing Fibromyalgia Symptoms
- F words that describe what it is like to live with Fibromyalgia
- 5 Ways to Reduce Fibromyalgia Pain