Our Mental Health and Hep C
Last updated: October 2023
Generally, we can all agree that our physical health and well-being affect our mental health, and hep C is no exception. Living with a chronic condition like hep C can impact us in several ways, and I say this from personal experience and the shared experience of others.
Navigating mental health with hep C
I am not a mental health professional. To what extent is, once again, unique to each person?
It can manifest as a mild mood change to include more advanced depression affecting our cognitive ability and causing impairment in how well we function both physically and emotionally. In my own experience, I dealt with anxiety long before my hep C diagnosis, but I recognize that receiving a diagnosis can trigger anxious feelings.
Nobody looks forward to or enjoys a diagnosis like learning we have hep C, but how we deal with these things is, again, unique to us. I am of the view that the virus was causing me to have an anxiety disorder.
Living with undiagnosed symptoms of hep C added to my anxiety. The not-knowing and speculations I entertained fueled my fears.
Assessing personal impact
How have you been affected? If you have been affected positively, that is great. If so, do you think there is a connection between your own hep C experience and your mental wellness?
Have you seen changes in how you feel or think you can connect to your hep C experience? Understanding that not every health problem can be linked to having hep C is worth considering, and there are certainly causal connections that exist for many of us.
For some of us, we have experienced improved emotional wellness after treatment, but some of us have a different experience. If you are experiencing depression and/or anxiety, it may be time to talk to a professional who is trained in helping people experiencing mental health challenges.
Seeking support and breaking stigma
Please don’t isolate yourself. It never helps, in my experience.
If your spouse, partner, best friend, or someone you know has expressed a shared experience, it is worthwhile to reach out to them. They may have some insights that can help, and talking about your own difficulties can be helpful.
Remember, there is no shame in having any kind of mental health challenge. Unfortunately, stigma is still common, like with hep C, but things are changing and improving slowly and will get better the more we challenge it.
If you are experiencing changes in your moods or feelings in the wrong direction, seek out help. You are not alone in this, and your primary care provider may be a good place to start the conversation.
Remember that this is about you, and if any of the options don’t fit for you, there is more than one way to get help, whether it is talking therapy or a pharmaceutical approach.