Fibromyalgia and Suicide

Fibro Cloud

Fibromyalgia and suicide. It’s one of the main ways that fibromyalgia is fatal, as depression and anxiety are often present in fibromyalgia patients.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition that affects the muscles and tissues of the body, causing them to ache and become stiff. This pain can range from moderate to severe, and can cause pain and aches all over the body. This pain can be debilitating, and can cause people to become lonely, anxious and depressed. People with fibromyalgia suffer from pain that can be so bad, they do not want to leave their bed or even get dressed in the morning.  This is terribly sad, as people often begin to feel despair and loneliness. Which means there can be a higher coincidence of fibromyalgia and suicide, as in some cases, people with fibromyalgia lose the will to live, as their depression becomes more and more severe.

Fibromyalgia & Suicide

Although pain of fibromyalgia may bring great suffering to people- both mentally and physically- people need to work hard to maintain optimism and positive outlook. It is important to maintain as regular a schedule as possible, even if this schedule only takes place in the house and in the front or backyard of a person’s home.

This routine could be simple, including beginning the morning with a warm bath to loosen muscles, eating healthy meals, spending some time outside, and taking time to socialize with others. Maintaining a routine can take some of the exhaustion out of the day, as surprises and activities can be overwhelming for those who have fibromyalgia and are in a great amount of pain. People can have flare-ups that occur at any time, and therefore need to be prepared for their course of action if a flare-up should occur.  Maintaining a regular schedule as much as possible can help reduce fatigue.

Extreme fatigue is a symptom of fibromyalgia that can be debilitating.  This fatigue gets worse as sleeping gets more difficult due to pain. People who are very tired and not rested will have a difficult time waking up in the morning and carrying on with their day.

But this is why maintaining a schedule is so important- because tiredness is hard to kick. Waking up and going to bed at the same time can help, as can taking multiple breaks throughout the day to relax and recharge.

There are many different ways people choose to relax- they may listen to music, create art, play with a pet, or others. It is only important that a person identifies what relaxes them and brings them joy- and then do that activity as much as possible. It is important to maintain interests and hobbies, especially those that can be done at home or close to home.

Some people are naturally more social than others, and for these very social beings, it can be extremely difficult to deal with the pains of fibromyalgia and still maintain their very active social life.

But just because it is more difficult does not at all mean it is impossible.  People who are naturally social need to maintain social activities in order to keep their spirits up. Being around others is energizing for social people and cutting others off because of pain will be more harmful in the end. Having social activities nearby one’s house can be very beneficial.

If there is a restaurant nearby that a person enjoys, they should try to go there once or more a month, just to be in the world and around others, in an energetic environment. The same is true of people who love music, and enjoy seeing concerts and other live events.

Even though it may seem like the pain is too much to bear, it can be even worse to stay home in bed alone for days, weeks, and months on end. This is when depression strikes, and this is definitely not a place anyone wants to end up. It can be difficult to gain any energy to get out and participate in activities, but it is definitely possible and very beneficial.

If getting out of the house seems overwhelming, it is just as fair to invite a close friend over to the house for an hour or two, just to catch up and chat.

Speaking with friends and family, and maintaining regular positive contact is not only beneficial for those dealing with chronic pain, but is also necessary. It can be difficult to stay positive when experiencing so much pain, but people need to focus on maintaining positivity in their lives in whatever brings them happiness and joy.

Some people may enjoy socializing, while others may enjoy cooking, reading, listening to music, or millions of other things.  The most important thing to do is to continuously bring joyful activities into one’s life.

What are you suggestions for preventing incidents of fibromyalgia and suicide?

The preceding article is from RedOrbit.com and posted here for sharing purposes only. No copyright infringement is intended.

 

The Reality of Depression

depression
Image from Pixabay

Recently I wrote about those who question the reality of depression. What sparked the article was a Twitter thread wherein a professional kickboxer launched a very derogatory speech about how “depression isn’t real” and how depressed people are “too lazy to change it.” Most of the responses to him were emotionally charged, but some people offered several articles and resources that discussed the reality and consequences of depression. Occasionally someone would agree with the original post, including one person who charged: “I challenge anyone to come up with a study definitively proving the medical cause of depression.” That statement is, of course, absurd. People turn up with scores of diseases and conditions everyday for which there is no known cause.

Basically, we have two claims here, but in three forms. The first blatantly states that depression is a fake problem. The second says that anyone with so-called symptoms of depression is just lazy and needs to just get up and get better. The third essentially implies the same as the first, and uses a lack of cause to justify the argument. Hopefully these are the kind of people who just remove all their filters once they get behind a keyboard. But in case you ever have to engage with someone so ignorant and contentious, let’s go ahead and address each of these so that you can be armed with reason.

“Depression isn’t real”

In the interest of full disclosure, I need to once again say that I’m personally skeptical of Psychology as a field of medicine. Ironically, I started my degree as a Psych major but changed it to a minor after I got further into the relativity of it. That’s because I was also studying other cultures and quickly found that one country’s abnormal case that supposedly requires medication or institutionalization is another country’s priest or mayor. It should be noted that many non-Western countries offer a vastly different support system through communal living. We, on the other hand, are very isolated and hyper-focused on independence. Non-Western areas also tend to have a much different view of spirituality and are not obsessed with tangible evidence to validate their beliefs. I would not be surprised to find that depression is often a culturally specific condition. But that doesn’t negate its reality.

For example, while living in the suburbs, I suffered from severe postpartum depression. However, I believe I would not have had the same experience if I lived in a place where I was not isolated from my community and family. In no way does that mean my experience wasn’t real. Indeed, extreme poverty in places like Brazil causes malnutrition and dehydration. It’s so profound, that if a mother can carry a child to term, there is a very high risk that the baby will die because the mother cannot even produce milk with which to nurse the infant (from Death Without Weeping by Nancy Scheper-Hughes). Those people, too, are suffering from severe depression. Go figure.

The Mayo Clinic summarizes that “depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems…More than just a bout of the blues, depression isn’t a weakness and you can’t simply “snap out” of it. Depression may require long-term treatment.” Furthermore, Harvard Medical School adds that “there are many possible causes of depression, including faulty mood regulation by the brain, genetic vulnerability, stressful life events, medications, and medical problems. It’s believed that several of these forces interact to bring on depression.”

Depressed People are “too lazy to change it”

Remember those starving folks in Brazil? Are they just lazy? Did you know that in the United States alone, an average of 20 veterans commits suicide every day? So, they had the fortitude to go into combat and/or serve in any capacity of the military, but somehow they just got lazy and killed themselves? Depression is one of the hallmarks of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The Anxiety and Depression Association of America says that “PTSD affects 7.7 million adults, or 3.5% of the U.S. population. Women are more likely to be affected than men. Rape is the most likely trigger of PTSD: 65% of men and 45.9% of women who are raped will develop the disorder. Childhood sexual abuse is a strong predictor of lifetime likelihood for developing PTSD.” But our kickboxing Twitter ranter says these victims are just too lazy to change themselves. I guess ignorance really is bliss.

‘No Cause = Not Real’

I’m not going to spend much time here. I usually try to be relatively diplomatic, but this is one of the dumbest arguments I’ve ever heard in my life. The National Institutes of Health lists 14 autoimmune diseases alone. These have no known cause, but the condition is really happening. We don’t know definitive causes of depression, but you can compare brain scans of depressed and non-depressed people and see a definitive difference in function.

Please take the time to check the links in this article. They offer a wealth of information regarding the reality of depression. And if you or someone you know or love is in bad shape right now, do not hesitate to get help. What’s happening is real and it needs to be addressed, lest it lead to greater health problems or worse, even death.

The Crisis Text Line offers 24/7 support. Text for free at 741741 for immediate help.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is also a 24/7 support system available by phone, text, or online chat. 800-273-8255. They also have options for deaf or hard-of-hearing as well as Spanish speakers.

International callers: The Lifeline Canada Foundation. They also offer International Crisis Hotlines and Worldwide Emergency Numbers and include call, text, email, and online chat options.

 

The preceding article is from FibromyalgiaTreating.com and posted here for sharing purposes only. No copyright infringement is intended.

Fibromyalgia and Mental Health

Fibro Cloud

Life can be a struggle for anyone. But when you have a chronic illness like fibromyalgia, it can sometimes seem unbearable. And often, managing the mental health aspect of a chronic illness can be just as important as the physical aspect.

After all, the mental health struggles that people with fibromyalgia endure can have tragic consequences. And while fibromyalgia itself can’t kill you, the mental toll it takes can. Suicide rates for people with fibromyalgia are far higher than average.

So clearly, taking charge of your mental well-being is important if you’re suffering from fibromyalgia. But how do you manage your mental health when you’re suffering from such a terrible disease?

Managing Mental Health When You Have Fibromyalgia

First, let’s admit that it’s totally understandable that people with fibro would feel depressed. Usually, we think of depression as something that people suffer from with no obvious cause. And that is often the case. Depression can be caused by many things, including an imbalance of chemicals in the brain that leads to long-term depression even when events in your life are generally going well.

And many people with fibromyalgia may have this kind of depression. But there’s also another form of depression that is likely common in people with fibromyalgia. The most familiar term for it is “situational depression.” Put simply, it’s a form of depression caused by a reaction to events in your life.

And when you consider what someone with fibromyalgia goes through on a daily basis, it would be surprising if they didn’t experience this kind of depression sometimes. They have a reason to be depressed when they’re in chronic pain.

The truth is, of course, that while there are ways to manage the symptoms of fibromyalgia, there’s no way to get rid of them completely. Instead, people with fibromyalgia have to find ways to maintain their mental health in spite of them.

It’s not an easy answer. And in an age where there seems to be a pill for just about anything, the idea that the medical community can’t cure you can be a hard thing to accept. But it’s something that everyone with fibromyalgia comes to understand early on.

However, one of the hardest parts of living with fibromyalgia is that sometimes people around you expect you to “get over it,” or they offer up some advice about how you can cure yourself with some bogus remedy. It sometimes seems like the one thing no one wants to accept is that the people in their lives with fibromyalgia are really suffering and that they can’t do much about it.

The first step to improving your mental health is to realize that it is ok to be depressed. It isn’t your fault, and you don’t have to hide how much you’re suffering from others to make their lives easier. If you’re in chronic pain, you’re going to be depressed about it sometimes. It’s a natural reaction to the situation you’re in. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about it, including yourself.

After all, people who don’t have fibromyalgia can’t truly understand what you’re going through. And if they were in your position, they would be going through the same emotions. They have no right to make you feel bad about the fact that you’re suffering.

At the same time, the people who manage fibromyalgia best are those who realize that, at a certain point, they need to take charge of their own health. There simply isn’t another way to do it. And the good news is that there are a number of things you can do to improve your mental health when you have fibromyalgia.

Tips For Improving Mental Health

There’s no cure for fibromyalgia yet. So you won’t be able to completely fix the things in your life that are making you depressed. But you can do some things to make them better. And if that sounds daunting, remember that you don’t have to do it alone.

For example, one of the most common issues that people with fibromyalgia suffer from is that they don’t feel like their medications are working. And the fact is that sometimes, they don’t. There are few drugs designed specifically to treat fibromyalgia, which means that doctors often prescribe drugs for other conditions like depression to treat the condition. And these work differently for different people.

If the drugs you’re taking aren’t working, tell your doctor. It may be as simple as trying new medications until you find one that works for you.

But it might also be a good idea to try another doctor. Treating fibromyalgia sometimes requires a doctor who specializes in the condition, so consider researching doctors in your area who have experience treating fibromyalgia. Or you might try a chronic pain clinic, where the healthcare professionals on staff may have more experience treating chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia.

Of course, there are times when the physical symptoms of fibromyalgia aren’t the only problems you’re facing. Fibromyalgia can take a toll on your relationships with friends or loved ones, and it can make it hard to work, which leads to a host of financial stresses.

Luckily, there are professionals who specialize in dealing with these problems as well. If you are worried that your relationship with a spouse is suffering, consider seeing a marriage counselor. They can help you work through some of the issues that you might be facing.

If managing your responsibilities at work or trying to find a job is getting you down, consider seeing an occupational therapist. Occupational therapists work with people who have chronic health conditions to find jobs that will work around their health issues and provide therapies that can help them rejoin the workforce.

Often, one of the best ways to manage depression caused by fibromyalgia is exercise. Of course, if you’ve had fibromyalgia for a while, you’re probably tired of hearing this advice. After all, it’s hard to exercise when you’re constantly tired and in pain and the effort can make your symptoms worse.

That’s completely understandable. But there’s a lot of evidence that even light exercise can significantly improve fibromyalgia symptoms and mental health. Start slow, with a short walk. Build up to more advanced forms of exercise. Or try another, low impact alternative like yoga.

Again, consider working with a professional therapist who has experience helping people with chronic conditions exercise and develop a healthy diet. They’ll be able to give you advice on your situation.

A large part of managing your mental health when you have fibromyalgia is seeking out the people who can help you and learn to deal with the people who just make your life worse.

Most of all, you’re struggling with depression or thoughts of suicide, talk to a mental health professional. It’s not a situation you should try to manage on your own.

Start with small steps and do the best you can. By taking charge of your mental health, you can improve your overall quality of life.

 

 

 

The preceding article is from FibromyalgiaTreating.com and posted here for sharing purposes only. No copyright infringement is intended.

“Worth the Effort: Ella’s Story” by Kai Strand

Cover

Worth the Effort: Ella’s Story (Love’s an Effort Book 1)

by Kai Strand

Genre: Young Adult/Depression/Mental Illness

FREE at time of posting!

The morning Ella Jones forces herself to sit down and make a true connection with the homeless teen living behind the café where she works, she changes both their lives.

A senior in high school and a barista, seventeen-year-old Ella seems to be going places. Yet her parents’ ideas for her future are as fractured as their marriage and neither wants her to pursue her own dreams.

Ayden Worth lives on the streets.

Their friendship buds in alleys and public libraries. His quiet ways and his gentle treatment teach her about true courage. He inspires her to look beyond herself and to be a better person.

But there’s more to Ayden’s story than Ella knows. When their worlds collide in the most unexpected place, Ella feels betrayed. Has her courage grown enough to forgive Ayden’s misrepresentation?

WORTH THE EFFORT: Ella’s Story is a young adult contemporary romance novella at 19,000 words.

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Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain and Depression

Fibro Cloud

If you’re dealing with fibromyalgia, then you’re in a lot of pain. It may flare up out of nowhere and it may leave just as quickly. Or it may stay for a year. But it’s a regularly occurring and debilitating event in your life. And it has definitely lasted for more than six months. That’s why they call it “chronic pain.” To make matters worse, people with fibro usually have a greater than average sensitivity to pain. In fact, research shows that chronic pain leads to unusually high levels of stress hormones, low energy, mood disorders, muscle pain, and lower-than-normal mental and physical performance. Throw in the added “bonus” of exceptionally painful nights that keep you from sleeping and you have a recipe for chronic pain and depression – if you don’t already have it to start with – and worse pain symptoms.

The Cycle of Chronic Pain and Depression

Many people with fibromyalgia cannot work a traditional job that requires them to leave home. Indeed, many fibro patients can’t even work from home. Why? The pain, depression, and constant side effects can be so debilitating that many feel they have been robbed of their lives. And if you are able to work or simply have no choice, that only exacerbates the problems, especially the pain and depression. Add in caring for children, grand kids, a partner, and even yourself. With or without those people, the pain of fibromaylgia makes you irritable and frustrated. When you feel like your hands are tied and there is no way out, it’s very common to get depressed. And then depression makes your pain worse. It’s a vicious cycle, isn’t it?

A Harvard Medical School publication explains that chronic pain “resembles depression, and the relationship is intimate. Pain is depressing, and depression causes and intensifies pain. People with chronic pain have three times the average risk of developing psychiatric symptoms — usually mood or anxiety disorders — and depressed patients have three times the average risk of developing chronic pain.” Because of the connection to pain and depression, they add that nearly every drug used in psychiatry can also be used to treat pain.

Interestingly, after Harvard authors describe the experience of pain in relation to the central nervous system and the body, the article moves directly to fibromyalgia as a noteworthy case: “Fibromyalgia may illustrate these biological links between pain and depression. Its symptoms include widespread muscle pain and tenderness at certain pressure points, with no evidence of tissue damage. Brain scans of people with fibromyalgia show highly active pain centers, and the disorder is more closely associated with depression than most other medical conditions.Fibromyalgia could be caused by a brain malfunction that heightens sensitivity to both physical discomfort and mood changes.” [emphasis added]

Treating Chronic Pain and Depression Together

The Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Daniel K. Hall-Flavin offers four key treatments that simultaneously address chronic pain and depression. As a fibro patient, most of these won’t be surprising to you, but it’s good to hear as a reminder. These treatments have helped so many fibromyalgia patients get their lives back. It usually takes a lot of trial and error and even combinations of treatments. Nevertheless, Dr. Hall Flavin recommends the following for treating chronic pain and depression:

  • Antidepressants: As was just made clear by Harvard Medical School, antidepressants can be highly effective in treating chronic pain as well as their obvious intent of treating depression. That’s due to shared chemical messengers in the brain.
  • Talk Therapy/Psychotherapy: If you’ve ever been to a good therapist or counselor, you know that they are wonderful at pointing out your “automatic” thoughts. Those are the unconscious connections we make that can wreak havoc in our lives without us even knowing. This kind of therapy is designed to reshape your thinking which can have a radical impact on both your depression and chronic pain.
  • Stress-reduction Techniques: Nearly every article related to treating fibromyalgia addresses these techniques. If you’ve never tried them or given up because you didn’t see results right away, reading about them all the time should at least make you think twice. Techniques like physical activity, exercise, meditation, journaling, and learning coping skills are all very effective in addressing many fibromyalgia symptoms, especially depression and chronic pain.
  • Pain Rehabilitation Programs: This might not be a common method you hear about for treating fibro, but it’s a gem! The best kind of programs are those that use a team approach to address your chronic pain holistically and with a team looking out for your mental and physical well-being.

Dr. Hall-Flavin adds that, “treatment for co-occurring pain and depression may be most effective when it involves a combination of treatments.” Again, this make take some more trial and error. What works for me, might not work for you and vice versa.

 

The preceding article is from FibromyalgiaTreating.com and posted here for sharing purposes only. No copyright infringement intended. For additional information, please visit their website or consult your physician.

 

Self-Care For When You’re Depressed

Excellent tips for dealing with depression! 😉

Keri L.

Depression. It happens to the best of us, and it is nothing to be ashamed of. I want you to walk away from this post feeling encouraged, and understanding that depression happens, no matter who you are, what you do, or how good life is. As someone who struggles with feeling down at times, I wanted to put together a list of things that help me get through it – they work for me, I know they’ll work for you. So let’s get started.

  • Firstly, understand that being depressed does not make you a bad person. It does not mean you are unworthy, or that you deserve to die. Some of us suffer from depression with no triggers, and some of us feel its claws only after we’ve gone through something painful. Depression happens, but it doesn’t have to control you.
  • As a Christian, this is the best piece of…

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Fibromyalgia and Dysthymia

Fibro Cloud

If you have fibromyalgia, you know how much of a mental toll it can take on you. Living with that kind of constant, agonizing pain is hard. And not having the energy or the focus to do the things you used to can be even worse. So, it’s easy to understand why so many people with fibromyalgia struggle with depression.

In fact, while fibromyalgia isn’t fatal, the suicide rate for fibromyalgia sufferers is tragically high. Anything we can learn about the unique mental health challenges that people with the condition face is extremely valuable in helping those who are suffering.

For instance, did you know that there are actually many different kinds of depression? Doctors grade the condition based on the cause, symptoms, and duration. And one of the longest-lasting forms is dysthymia. So what is dysthymia, and what can you do to help manage it?

What Is Dysthymia?

Dysthymia, or persistent depressive disorder, is a condition that causes long-term depressive episodes. While other types of depression may strike suddenly and resolve the worst of the symptoms within a month or two, dysthymia can last for years. The symptoms are generally similar though. They include a loss of interest in everyday activities, fatigue, mental fog, irritability, and a loss of appetite.

But the symptoms can be less obvious as well. Usually, people who struggle with depression are consumed by negative thoughts. They get caught up thinking about how they’ve made mistakes, or about how they are worthless. Those thoughts can be so consuming that it can make even getting out of bed difficult some days.

When it comes to dysthymia, these symptoms can often be milder than those of other forms of depression. But they can also vary in intensity. Simply put, some days you feel much worse than others. Think about it like a rain cloud following you. Sometimes, the storm is worse, but it’s always raining.

The main difference between dysthymia and other forms of depression is that dysthymia lasts much longer. The main criterion for a diagnosis is that the patient shows that kind of negative thinking patterns for at least two years. Some days, when the condition is worse, they may also show the physical symptoms as well, like mental fog and loss of appetite.

It’s hard to say what causes someone to develop depression. A number of factors probably play some role like:

  • Brain Chemistry- Our brains are formed from complicated systems of chemicals called neurotransmitters and electrical signals. When the system gets out of balance, it can lead to depression. People with depression usually have a lower level of a neurotransmitter called serotonin, which regulates our moods.
  • Genetics- There’s a strong link between depression and genetics. People with a family history of the condition are more likely to develop the condition themselves. This is probably due to inherited traits affecting the chemistry of the brain.
  • Circumstances- Obviously, negative life events- like developing fibromyalgia- can leave us feeling depressed. But they can also affect the chemistry in our brains, which can lead to clinical depression.

If you’ve been struggling with the condition for a long time, it might actually be hard to recognize it. You adjust to that way of thinking and begin to believe that it is normal. And while it can seem like there’s no way out of those thoughts, there are a number of things that can help.

Management Methods

There are three basic medications used to treat dysthymia: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).

They work in a similar way, helping to regulate the balance of the neurotransmitters in your brain. But everyone’s brain is different. And an antidepressant that works for one person may be useless for someone else. Finding the right antidepressant for you usually takes a bit of trial and error. So it’s important to stay in close contact with your doctor about what you’re feeling until you find something that works for you.

But antidepressants sometimes aren’t enough on their own, especially when you have fibromyalgia. The depressing struggles of living with fibromyalgia can’t be medicated away. So, it’s usually best to look for a therapist who can help you find ways to cope with them. A good therapist can help you with new ways to manage the daily problems of fibromyalgia and help develop new thinking patterns that can relieve your depression.

Always remember that if you’re having a hard time managing your depression and feel like you might be a risk to yourself or others, you need to get help. You can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255.

 

The preceding article is from FibromyalgiaTreating.com and posted here for sharing purposes only. No copyright infringement intended. For additional information, please visit their website or consult your physician.