Medically Reviewed by Beth Hendrickson, RN
For people with a chronic illness like Lupus, Scleroderma, or Rheumatoid Arthritis, the holidays can be a time of utter loneliness, depression, and even despair. This is especially true for the letdown period after the holidays. After the New Year, for example, there are at least 3 months of winter looming ahead, with dreary days, and cold weather.
During the holidays, more people are treated for mental illnesses and severe depression, and suicide rates escalate dramatically. Other factors that can contribute to depression are Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in which a person becomes depressed during the winter months, and cabin fever when a person who is partially disabled is unable to leave home due to snow, ice, and winter conditions, and chronic pain that is aggravated by the cold and damp weather.
Depression can overwhelm even the most together and happy-go-lucky individual. So it's not surprising that even a mild case of depression can be traumatic, or even dangerous, to a lupus patient. So what do you do if you, or someone you love is being consumed with depression, or even the blues?
If you are the one who is experiencing depression, you should definitely tell your doctor or health care provider about it. Even if you blow it off as the blues or the blahs, it could be caused by a number of different things, including your medications, so be sure to address it! You don't have to feel like that! Your doctor may recommend a med change, a referral to a specialist, therapy, or any number of other things that can help you! Remember: You're not alone, and depression is nothing to be ashamed of!
Karyn Moran Holton is a nurse who has been diagnosed with Lupus for the past 3 years, and has spent most of that time trying to raise awareness about lupus and other under-appreciated autoimmune diseases.