Effects of Chronic Illness on our Moods

Effects of Chronic Illness on Our Moods

Sounds like depression by another name, but is it necessarily as simple as that? I am not suggesting that depression is simple or should ever be dismissed as “nothing” as some might suggest. That is not my view on the subject. I should say that I am not a psychologist and only write from personal experience and the things I have observed, read, and seen in others. It is like so many things in medicine, if enough of the right boxes are ticked, there is a conclusion made. The thing is that these methods are not as exacting as we might hope or think.

Depression Can Take on Many Forms

I have written about the effects of medical fatigue in the past, as others have spoken to it in their own way. I have learned enough about living with a chronic infection like hep C there is a toll on our sense of purpose and being, which may or may not fit within the clinical model for depression, but certainly, it affects many people. We all deal with pain in different ways just like everything else, with some common and shared experience.

That familiar brain fog and memory deficit, along with the endless pain or discomfort of illness, does take a toll on us over time. Some of you may ask, “why would anyone get depressed”, while others say “yes that is me”. Is it predictable? No way to predict that I am aware of but there has been some investigation into the effects of trauma and past illness and injury. I recently attended a predominantly science-based conference on hep C that included some study results looking at the impact of chronic hep C infection causing what is termed as immune exhaustion.

As I understand, immune exhaustion occurs over time, and affects how our body’s immune response is suppressed or simply exhausted-used up. The ramifications are many and I am not a scientist although I understand that a diminished immune response puts us all at higher risk in developing subsequent diseases. As I am a believer in the holistic approach to wellness and health it is not a leap to understand how chronic illness can impact our moods and general health as much, or as little as it impacts an organ like the liver or any other part of our whole person.

No Simple Solutions

Is it depression? It could be, and I am not about to suggest it is or is not here or anywhere else, it just is not so simple. The idea that all these things are connected is clear to me. And whether we feel hopeless due to a disease of some kind is not the main point, but recognizing what is a potential cause or effect is just more understanding in my books I see that as worth some thought.

There are few easy solutions to these complex questions or conditions. And a simple diagnosis does not reach into the cause, but as we learn more we gain knowledge and better understanding which is a good thing for most of us.

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