Just A Thought… Depression and PD

imageDepression can be a debilitating thing to have.  It can be wearisome to be around who is chronically depressed.  It can steal one’s joy, it can kill the desire to live , and it candestroy relationships.  It  comes straight from the pit of hell.  It can drastically change your life and the effect the lives of those around you.  It’s unpredictable as to when it will strike and it sometimes seems to have no end.

You can try to think it away, will it away, but it has a “mind” of its own and so it wreaks havoc on yours, seeming to rob you of all that is good in your life.

How can you know it’s depression that resides within?  How can you know it isn’t someother kind of illness that is robbing you of your energy?

Depression itself is an illness.  It is not a sickness nor is it a ‘condition’.

It’s an illness.

For some, it feels like a black, dark cloud residing directly overhead.  Some can feel down for more than a day. More than a week. A Month.  Years.  Those who are afflicted with depression find it difficult to concentrate. They experience feeling of anxiousness and despair.

So, one who is not familiar with Parkinson’s disease might ask what depression has to do with Parkinson’s disease. Were you aware that depression is actually one of the first symptoms of PD?

In order to be treated for Parkinson’s Disease, you need to be treated for the wholedisease and that can often include depression.  Sometimes all the treatment that is needed is a low dose of an anti-depressant.  Others may need a higher dose, finding the change in their mood and outlook on life to be a welcome relief, realizing what a significant role depression was playing in their journey with Parkinson’s disease.

It has been proven that serious medical conditions (such as PD), can contribute to depression.  The physical weakness and mental stress that certain diseases bring on can make depression even worse.  In many chronic illnesses, the immune system weakens, making pain and other symptoms harder to tolerate and therefore depression can become worse rapidly.

How can we learn to live with depression and PD? Especially if you have Parkinson’s disease, the likelihood of experiencing depression is greater for the patient.  Therefore, the first step to take if you believe you are struggling with depression is to get into seeyour neurologist.  He will most likely prescribe an anti-depressant, which is not a bad thing at all, nor is it shameful.  It is a part of life.  Many lives.  And it can be part of your life with PD. You should not feel embarrassed about it at all. If the truth be told, most patients are probably on one anti-depressant or another.

Keep your mind focused on positive things.  Help other people.  Read to children.  Volunteer at a local hospital or animal shelter.  Do crosswords.  Keep your hands busy and your mind will most likely be busy and distracted as well.

If you have Parkinson’s Disease and have never discussed depression with your doctor, make a note to yourself to do so at your next visit.  If you are feeling desperate, as if you’re not sure you wait until your next appointment, call your doctor’s office, explain what’s going on and see if you can get in sooner.  Life can be really hard and adding a chronic illness such as Parkinson’s disease to the mix, only makes it more difficult. There’s no sense dealing with depression on top of it all if you don’t have to.

Journeying with you  ~Sherri

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