Monday, November 29, 2010

Bringing the Ho-Ho-Ho Back to the Holidays

Has the ho-ho-ho gone out of your holiday experience? Does having a chronic illness like interstitial cystitis seem to overpower the joy you used to feel at this time of year? All of us have our ups and downs. However, if you have been feeling down more than upbeat lately, you may consider being evaluated for depression. In fact, if you have five or more of these symptoms lasting two or more weeks, it is critical that you seek medical attention:
  • Feelings of sadness or emptiness
  • Loss of interest in most activities
  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Feelings of mental/physical slowness or agitation
  • Feelings of worthlessness, helplessness, or guilt
  • Feeling tired and/or difficulty concentrating
  • Sleep disturbances (sleeping less or more than usual)
  • Thoughts of death or suicide (For information about suicide prevention call 911 or 1-800-784-2433--the National Suicide Prevention Line)
Sometimes it is too easy to blame these symptoms on the fact you have a chronic illness like painful bladder syndrome, but it is important to be appropriately evaluated so that you know for sure. If you learn that you have depression, you will want to follow through with your doctor’s treatment recommendations, which may include medication and therapy. Not surprisingly, you will play a major role in how fast you feel better. There are many things you can do to take care of yourself, whether you are receiving treatment or you have early signs of depression and want to prevent it from getting out of hand.
  • Foster friendships and a social support network. Positive friends and family members can be a source of joy and support in anyone’s life but especially if you are struggling with self-doubt.
  • Join a self-help group. In person or online, groups such as these where people are facing similar problems can provide a safe place for sharing.
  • Exercise regularly. Aerobic exercise like walking or biking is particularly helpful for improving mood. Yoga and tai chi can help reduce stress.
  • Reactivate your life. What enjoyable activity have you dropped because you didn’t feel up to it? Don’t wait. Pick it up again now.
  • Write it down. Some people find that writing in a journal is a good outlet for negative emotions .like anger, fear, and frustration.
For more information, visit the WebMD Depression Information Center.


 Holidays with chronic illness

Julie Beyer, MA, RDN
Author, Speaker, Patient Advocate Just Tell Me What to Eat!

For step by step guidance for creating your own personal interstitial cystitis meal plan, see: Confident Choices®: Customizing the Interstitial Cystitis Diet.

For some basic, family-style, IC bladder-friendly recipes, see: Confident Choices®: A Cookbook for Interstitial Cystitis and Overactive Bladder

For health care workers:  Interstitial Cystitis: A Guide for Nutrition Educators 

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1 comment:

  1. I am finding your blog a wonderful inspirational site. I was suicidal in November, in constant pain and so so low. My doctor put me on antidepressants, and I saw a therapist a few times. I am learning to destress and following the ic diet. I will get there in the end.