Many of us who have endured a chronic illness will suffer from depression. Being unable to do what we think we ought to be doing is frustrating and in some ways devastating. When I injured my back in 2017 I spent what felt like the entire summer in bed, much of it unable to walk without crutches. My right leg was weak and numb from the knee down. My back was healing from my S-5 disc rupturing and surgery so Sitting up with out good support was very painful. In that time I could barely get dressed, couldn’t drive. There were a million things I thought I needed to do but I couldn’t get up to do them. It was depressing and hard when I tried to do something and couldn’t succeed.
I have also suffered from migraines since my 20’s. Migraines is one of the many chronic illnesses where you can be fine on day and flat on your back the next. It makes it difficult to plan, to make commitments and function in a normal way. Fibromyalgia, multiple sycosis and many other illnesses work the same way. Not being able to live a normal life can result in depression and trying to plan can result in anxiety as you don’t know what will happen next.
Having a chronic illness, in my opinion, is very humbling. I have learned to rely on my faith for guidance, prayers for strength and mercy for the things I just cannot do. Setting my expectations a little lower is something my therapist told me a long time ago. It’s hard not to expect so much of myself but when migraines or bad back and leg days creep in I need to be kind to myself, not beat myself up over all I can’t do.
Accepting help from others is also vital although a very hard thing to do. But it’s necessary. There is nothing wrong with your spouse helping you whether its to the bathroom or doing the laundry. It’s hard to let them, I get it, but you have to let go of that guilt and let them help you. If someone offers, take them up on it. God blesses those who serve in obedience. God will bless the person helping you for helping you.
There is also a difficulty of understanding a chronic illness for those who don’t have a chronic illness. It’s not a cop out or a thing to complain about, its a real illness and it comes with lots of baggage. Having empathy and helping without complaining is the best thing you can do for someone you love with chronic illness.
In dealing with depression and anxiety with a chronic illness my suggestion is to be kind to yourself and let go of your expectations. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It takes a long time to heal and to learn to manage how to live with a chronic illness. I am thankful God is healing me everyday. I pray the same for those of you who struggle with this.