About Lupus

Jessica’s Coping with Lupus Corner

"How Can I Get Help? I Feel Trapped."

Jessica Rowshandel, M.S.W.
Jessica, Rowshandel, M.S.W.
Director of Social Services
S.L.E. Lupus Foundation

Dear Jessica,

How can I get help in my area? I have no help or support from my doctor anymore. I just hate where I am in my life and how things are working out in my own body. I feel trapped.


Dear TW,

People who come to see me here at the Foundation have made it very clear that living with lupus takes a lot of work, both emotionally and physically, and going it at alone makes it more difficult. If you, or anyone else out there, would like to speak with me about finding support in your specific area, please feel free to email or call me.

Of course the unfortunate reality is that in some parts of the country, and the world, there is little to no support for people with lupus. Counselors and support groups can be hard to come by, which is why we have created this advice column and have a page on Facebook – to reach out to as many people across the globe as possible. Many other online support communities are out there as well.

Some people even go to local support groups that aren’t specifically for lupus, but for an illness with similar symptoms, like arthritis or kidney disease.

Finding Your “New Normal”

I also hear that you are experiencing grief about the life that you want and the life that you actually have. You quite appropriately use strong language, like hate and trapped. It is important to know that strong feelings are normal, and expected to come up—and even come and go—during the grieving process.

Once you are diagnosed with lupus, your life changes, forever. You have to find your new normal. This is a really hard reality to accept and it’s a process (a journey) to get to the point of finding and accepting that new normal.

In the grieving process, people experience a loss of something or someone very important to them. With lupus, you might feel like you have lost many things, including your sense of who you are and who you wanted to be.

Many people have told me that they feel that they lost:

  • their health and sense of well-being
  • the ability to be able to generally predict how their body will behave
  • the ability to achieve certain goals, maintain hobbies or passions, and even keep certain relationships.

Having lupus has a very deep impact that is not to be ignored. It takes a lot of emotional work to get through the grieving process, and having support along the way is really important.

To learn more about the process of grieving, I encourage you to read the wonderful article “Coping with Grief and Loss” on Helpguide.org.

Learning about grief and talking things through with others (receiving support) won’t make the lupus go away, but it will help you get through the bad days.

Do you have tips for TW? Tell us about them in the comments section below.

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Disclaimer: This website and its contents are designed for educational purposes only. Jessica Rowshandel, MSW is the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation’s Director of Social Services. She is not a physician. The advice provided is for educational and informational purposes and the Foundation does not recommend or endorse any particular treatment or therapy. The information provided here should not be used for the purposes of diagnosing or treating a medical or psychiatric illness. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional care. Lupus is a very individualized illness; consult a healthcare professional before making any decisions about your care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider. Telephone calls, emails, and online content do not constitute counseling services in any way. The S.L.E. Lupus Foundation does not provide any medical or psychological services to its patients and users. For an accurate medical or mental health evaluation, participants should seek an evaluation from a qualified healthcare professional. S.L.E. Lupus Foundation employees, consultants, and agents shall not be liable for any claims or damages, and expressly disclaim all liability of any nature for any action or non-action taken as a result of the information generated by the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation programs and its website, as well as the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation Facebook and Twitter pages.