Like any chronic illness, suffering from chronic kidney disease (CKD) is likely to lead to some form of mental health struggles. Living with kidney disease is a major life change. It forces you to re-evaluate your day-to-day living, and you might have to make different sacrifices along the way.
Experiencing anxiety, depression, or any other difficulties adjusting is normal. However, that doesn’t mean you have to suffer in silence. There are many options for managing and treating these mental health concerns.
Start with counselling
One of the most important first steps is to seek counselling. Talking about how you’re feeling is great when you have loved ones you can turn to, but sometimes an outside expert is more helpful. Your doctor or social worker can direct you to an experienced counselor for support.
Counselling will help you not only talk through your concerns in a positive way, but it will also open you to more coping strategies specific to your situation. Don’t feel like you’re not allowed to talk openly about your worries, anxieties, and fears. This is what counseling is intended for.
Find a local support group
Sometimes there are limits to talking to your friends and family. While these individuals might love and support you, they likely don’t have personal experience to contribute that’s specific to kidney disease.
Joining a local support group helps you connect with others who are experiencing the same symptoms and concerns as you. If you’re unable to find one in your area, you can still find support through an online kidney disease forum.
Choose a healthy diet
When it comes to dialysis patients, your diet plays a large role in how you feel every day. Good nutrition will always pay off with your health. Research the best diet of renal patients that suits your needs and talk with your doctor. While you shouldn’t feel limited by your diet, taking the time to reevaluate your food choices will go a long way toward building a healthier future.
Talk to your doctor
If the above steps aren’t helping your overall mental state, it might be time to talk to your doctor about medication. Many people who suffer from daily anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions choose medicine as a way to regulate their mental state in a healthy way.
Despite the stigma, medicine is completely normal and acceptable. You shouldn’t feel bad about deciding to take medication for your mental health. Medication like anti-depressants are successful for many patients, and they can be combined with counseling for additional support.
Living with kidney disease
Living with a chronic illness like kidney disease is certainly a challenge. Yet, this doesn’t mean you can’t rise above your condition and lead a wonderful, fulfilling life. While your mental health will likely struggle at times, use the tips above to create a management strategy that positions your health for long term success.
There is no shame in admitting you need help along the way. Just make sure you actually take advantage of the resources available to you. From talking to your doctor about medication to seeking counseling, these small changes add up in a big way.
Wendy Whitehead worked as a teaching assistant at two special needs schools in London before embarking on a different career as a marketing consultant. Her passion for special education still remains with her, however. She is passionate about mental health and well-being and she write articles in these areas. Wendy did her undergraduate degree in business administration from the University of Leicester. She later on did a short course in counselling from the University of Hertfordshire.
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