About Lupus

Coping with Depression

Feeling helpless and hopeless, having difficulty sleeping and concentrating–these are a few of the symptoms of depression, an illness that is common in people with lupus.

The struggle of living with lupus can bring on depression. It can also be a side effect of your medications or from lupus in the brain–talk to your doctor to be sure.

Depression affects moods and thoughts. It can change the way a person eats, sleeps, feels and thinks. It's not a sign of personal weakness, and it doesn't just go away by itself. Without treatment, depression can last months and even years.

What is the difference between depression and feeling unhappy? One difference is that sadness may come and go, but depression stays longer and can cause serious problems if it isn't treated.

Depression can show up in many ways: loss of self-esteem, difficulty enjoying things, frequent headaches, eating too much or too little, a lack of energy.

If you think you (or someone you know) suffers from depression, take action. Try a support group where there are others who understand what you're going through. In some cases, your doctor may suggest you see a psychiatrist who can give you medicine to fight your depression. Together, therapy and medication can make a big difference in how you feel.

How to cope with depression:

  • Join a support group!
  • Seek help from a doctor/therapist
  • Exercise
  • Eat well
  • Stay involved in activities
  • Let people know what you need
  • Stay on schedule and finish tasks
  • Quit smoking
  • Find joy in life

Common Question:

I was recently diagnosed with lupus. How can I share what I am going through with my family?

Suggestion: Get your family together to learn all you can about lupus. Knowledge leads to understanding. Your pain will affect your family members just as much as it affects you. Invite a family member to your next doctor's appointment. Encourage discussion about the disease and allow everyone to express their feelings. They may be as confused, upset, angry, discouraged or scared as you are–these are normal reactions that shouldn't be ignored.

One of the most important factors in managing a life with lupus is the support of your family. Sharing your feelings and experiences with each other is the key to taking on the challenges you will face together.