Fears and Depression
In Chronic illness
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Fear and depression are somewhat cyclic in Fibromyalgia, or any major chronic illness.

8 Fears of A person with a Chronic Illness:

"Even as you (the care giver) are struggling with your own problems and feelings, you may find that the one you are caring for seems moody, withdrawn, depressed, or perhaps - even more unsettling - unnaturally cheerful. It can help you to cope with your position if you have a better understanding of what your loved one is experiencing.

People facing a chronic illness suffer great emotional turmoil. The prospect of being sick and a burden to someone else, can be devastating.

1. The fear of loss of control: Your family members may fear that they have lost control over their life because of their illness. They may have made plans for their future, which are put into question. They do not know from one day to the next, how they will feel or whether they will ever be able to regain control of their life.

2. The fear of changed self image: Sometimes the one who is ill, no longer views their self as the same person. They feel less confident, no longer attractive, physically weaker, and somehow damaged. Maybe they lost their fertility/virility, their gracefulness, their ability to earn a living. They tend to see themselves as defective and unlovable.

3. The fear of dependency: Once the reality of the illness has settled in and the one you are caring for recognizes that their condition is not going away, they, too, fear their loss of independence. Hating to show any vulnerability, they may have difficulty accepting outside help, or the reverse, they may become overly needy and dependent on you.

4. The fear of stigma: Another of the respondents commented "I share some with friends, but friends 'pull back' due to the illness." The one you are caring for may become frightened that others will distance themselves from them once they know they are sick, as if illness brought with it some sort of shame.

5. The fear of abandonment: As a natural part of infancy, babies fear that their parents won't be available or loving when they need them. They cry when parents leave the room. These feelings stay within us and actually become intensified with an illness. Even if yours is the most affectionate and giving of families, your ill family member may grow frightened that you will tire of the drudgery that the constant care involves. This normal and universal anxiety stems from the disease threatening their personal sense of security.

6. The fear of expressing anger: When those suffering realize that they have done everything possible, yet can "never" be cured of their disease, they may become intensely angry. It's easy to see how a chronic condition could give rise to lots of anger. Anger is a consequence of frustration. Yet many people are afraid to express anger because they have been taught that this is an unacceptable emotion or because they're afraid of driving others away with their rage. Or they're afraid of flying out of control. Anger kept inside can cause depression and a lack of energy.

7. The fear of isolation: Physical, social, and emotional isolation can result from a chronic illness. Ill ones, physically confined, lose the opportunity to socialize with old friends and often find themselves withdrawing from them. The fear of isolation usually doesn't occur immediately after their diagnosis. It takes time for ill ones to pull away from society, or to recognize that friends, family, acquaintances, and co workers are avoiding them.

8. The fear of death: Although everyone who is diagnosed with a serious chronic illness fears death, Irene Pollin says that, ironically, death is usually not what they fear the most. Rather, their greatest fears revolve around how they will live with the illness, until they die. "

"Taking Charge: Overcoming the Challenges of Long-Term Illness", Irene Pollin


It must be clearly understood at the onset, a person with Fibromyalgia or other chronic illness, may become depressed, but depression is not the cause of their illness, it's a by-product. As treatment for depression alone, will not cure FM. Thorsten Giesecke, MD

FM is not caused by depression on site link

"According to depression specialist Arthur Rifkin, M.D., a psychiatrist at Albert Einstein Medical Center in New York, the most common misconception about depression and chronic illness, is that it's understandable in the face of chronic illness. Perhaps, but only during the initial adjustment, a period that should last no longer than a few months. If depression lasts longer without treatment, it shortens life span, according to a study of 3,529 people with serious illnesses by researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland"

Which means, that although bouts of depression are normal and understandable in the case of chronic illness, for short duration's. It cannot be allowed to stand, unchallenged.

"Patients and their family members, often overlook the symptoms of depression, assuming that feeling depressed is normal for someone struggling with a serious, chronic illness. Symptoms of depression such as fatigue, poor appetite, impaired concentration, and insomnia ... are also common features of chronic medical conditions, adding to the difficulty of deciding whether they are due to depression, or to the underlying illness. When depression is present, it is extremely important to treat both the depression, and the chronic illness, at the same time.

Common symptoms of clinical depression include:

  • Depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities
  • Significant weight loss or weight gain
  • Sleep disturbances -- sleeping too much or not able to sleep
  • Problems with concentration
  • Apathy (lack of feeling or emotion)
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Repeated thoughts of death or suicide
Depression, disability, and chronic illness form a vicious circle. Chronic illness can bring on bouts of depression, which, in turn, can lead to a rundown physical condition that interferes with successful treatment of the chronic condition.Health Net

"Any chronic condition can trigger depression, but the risk increases in direct proportion to the severity of the illness, and the life disruption it causes. In the general population, the lifetime risk of depression is 10% to 25% for women and 5% to 12% for men. However, the prevalence of depression in those with chronic illnesses is much higher -- 25% to 33%.

Depression caused by chronic illness often aggravates the illness, especially if the condition causes pain, fatigue, or disruption of social life. Depression makes pain hurt more. It causes fatigue and lethargy, that can exacerbate the loss of energy of many chronic conditions. Depression also aggravates social disruption, because it tends to make people withdraw into social isolation. Depression also impairs the immune system, which can hurt the body's efforts to combat the chronic illness."Crescent Life

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