Real Talk Tuesday: CF and Mental Health
On Instagram, I’ve started a series called Real Talk Tuesday where we delve into the parts of CF (and life in general) that are sometimes difficult to talk about. This week, we’re discussing mental health. Join the conversation on Instagram or here in the forum.
𝐑𝐄𝐀𝐋 𝐓𝐀𝐋𝐊 𝐓𝐔𝐄𝐒𝐃𝐀𝐘: 𝐂𝐅 𝐀𝐍𝐃 𝐌𝐄𝐍𝐓𝐀𝐋 𝐇𝐄𝐀𝐋𝐓𝐇
Let’s face it – CF isn’t easy. In addition to the physical burden, the mental weight of CF can sometimes feel unbearable.
Research has shown that people with CF and their caregivers are 2 to 3 times more likely to experience depression and/or anxiety than the general population. That’s HUGE!
Depression in people with CF is associated with lower lung function, more frequent hospitalizations, lower BMI, lower quality of life, and increased healthcare costs. When left untreated, depression and anxiety can make it difficult to effectively manage CF.
I have personally experienced some challenges regarding my mental health, largely because of CF. In recent years, my anxiety has skyrocketed! Sometimes, it feels as if it’s going to swallow me up entirely.
Last year, for the first time, I admitted all of this out loud.
Even though I regularly preach about the importance of mental health, it was hard for me to admit that things were out of my control. My CF team took my concerns seriously and I’ve been able to work with the CF social worker through a lot of my hospital-related anxiety. I also recently started therapy to learn coping skills outside of the hospital.
My therapist recently said, “given what you’ve gone through regarding your health, it makes perfect sense that you’re here. I can logically connect all the dots. In fact, I’d be surprised if anyone in your shoes didn’t experience some level of depression or anxiety.”
If you’re reading this and any of it sounds familiar to you, please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for help. You are not alone! Your CF team can recommend further treatment if needed. You can also visit the CF Foundation’s Emotional Wellness page for more information and some great resources.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you feel like your CF team has incorporated mental and emotional wellness into your CF care?
Quittner AL, Goldbeck L, Abbott J, Duff A, Lambrecht P, Solé A, Tiboshc MM, Brucefors AB, Yüksel H, Catastini P, Blackwell L, Barker D. Prevalence of depression and anxiety in patients with cystic fibrosis and parent caregivers: results of The International Depression Epidemiological Study across nine countries. Thorax. 2014;69:1090-1097.
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