THE CONNECTION BETWEEN AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES & DEPRESSION #1000SPEAK
It’s May 20th and once again time for #1000SPEAK. This month’s theme is “connections”. Today is also Autoimmune Awareness Day so I decided to combine the two and discuss the connection between autoimmune diseases and depression.
There are lots of different autoimmune diseases. According to the aarda.org website there are between 80 and 100 different types of autoimmune diseases. They all have different symptoms, although, I am sure that many of them overlap with each other. There are also a multitude of ways they affect the body. One thing that they have in common is how they make the person feel who is dealing with one.
Imagine your body has been taken over by your immune system. That system that you once trusted to fight off bacteria and infections has suddenly turned against you. Going on a rampage throughout your body destroying perfectly good, healthy cells. I speak from experience when I tell you that it can and will knock you on your ass.
They can leave you severely fatigued, always running a low-grade fever, and often in unbelievable pain. You are constantly getting sick because your immune system is so busy kicking you while your down it no longer has the time to fight off infections and diseases from the outside world.
You basically have to hide from the rest of the human race and their insidious germs just to stay healthy and out of the hospital. A trip to the local Walmart is like jumping into a community Petrie dish and doing the back stroke. According to the statistics people who have an autoimmune disease are 45% more likely to suffer from depression than someone without.
There have been times during my voyage through the land of low white blood cells and bacteria laden objects that I have succumbed to the feelings of depression. Of being sucked into that giant black whole that has left me curled up in a fetal position, in dirty clothes, all while crying uncontrollably about my sad and miserable life. It’s hard, it’s lonely, and it sucks. I still live in fear of that deep, dark, black hole. I never want to go back there again. It’s easy to go in, but you have to fight like hell to get back out. I was one of the lucky ones I managed to get my depression under control with medication, a supportive husband who refused to give up, and a terrific doctor. There are many who aren’t so lucky. They go undiagnosed, under the radar, and suffering in silence. They need medication, they need a good doctor and more than anything they need your support.