This is a subject that is difficult to discuss, but I believe a very important one. I could have changed the title to “Depression with A, B or C health condition,” because it’s a likelihood for all who have chronic health issues or even a one-time health epidemic or condition. However, I choose to always write about “what I know” so will share with you some of my opinions, relating to my journey in heart disease and depression.
I believe that depression may be higher in women, although I don’t have facts to back it up; as the primary caretaker of our family units, we tend to bear the brunt of “doing” for our family – so they don’t have to ‘do.’ And in all this ‘doing’ we actually push aside our own needs in order to care for them. It’s a vicious, vicious cycle.
When we are ignoring our needs, it tends to spiral out of control. First comes physical neglect. We are so busy running around to care for others (keep in mind, we may be home just a few days from having a pacemaker implanted or open heart surgery), and yet, it’s our job to keep the ship afloat. We let ourselves go; not meaning to, or even wanting to, it’s just easier than trying to squeeze the time into our already crammed schedule.
Mental neglect sneaks in the back door. We are forgetful, frustrated, we miss appointments and even trash day. We snap at the people we love and are nice to the people we don’t know.
Somewhere in the middle comes depression. It’s not just being bummed out that you can’t manage your life, it’s a deep, heavy cloak of judgement and pain. It comes on gradually, people may comment that you seem so down, or if you would just take some time for yourself, you’d be okay. (Oh wouldn’t that be a joy, to take time for yourself!). But you cannot. There is stuff to be done, and you’ve not been doing a good job getting it done, so the hole you dig, continues.
Let’s step WAY BACK for a minute.
Hey — you just had something wrong with your heart. Maybe you had a heart attack, or a device implanted in your chest, maybe your arteries were clogged and now you are the owner of a new stent, or heart valve. Blood thinners and appointments with cardiology and a list of things you can’t do and a list of things you MUST do, and sure – there is a support group on Thursday nights at the local library for those with heart disease, but it runs from 5-6 pm and you must get dinner on the table. (Ooops, but I digress)….you — yes YOU have experienced something that takes some time to mentally and physically heal from.
You will be NO good to anyone else, if you can’t take care of yourself first.
Ask for help. Reach out to those who really love you and you can trust to be honest with; “Hey, I’m drowning here.”
Depression can continue if not addressed.
Heart disease rarely is healed with a pacemaker or even a new heart. If you’ve got heart disease, YOU’VE GOT HEART DISEASE.
So this is something to remember. You are not alone. You may feel alone, you may live alone, but we are here. 365/24/7 WIRED4LIFE — here for you, here to talk, to cry, to learn or teach. We need what you have; a heart!
Option 1 Facebook: WIRED4LIFE (Free resource, daily posts, drawings for goodies, a place to ask questions and learn)
Option 2 Core Group: $20 yearly due. Includes all of Option 1, Saturday morning chats, newsletter 4x a year, snail mail birthday card, member-only conferences and/or local events, private access to groups, special prize drawings and more! Membership is by approval.
Whichever you choose, we are glad you are here on the journey with us. No one is an island. You need people. You need support. And we’ve got literally hundreds of years of experience living with heart disease. And for those who think to themselves: “I’m okay, I’m managing, don’t worry about me, because I have everything under control,” we are here — for when you decide it’s too much, or you just need a friend.
Because there is no such thing as “just needing a friend.”