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Forums / Depression / Rheumatoid Arthritis and Depression - How Do You Cope?

Topic: Rheumatoid Arthritis and Depression - How Do You Cope?

22 posts, 0 answered
  1. blondguy
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    11 August 2018

    Hello Everyone....and Readers of the forums too!

    I was only asking as I have a close friend that has Rheumatoid Arthritis and has developed clinical Depression/Anxiety as a result. I have had chronic anxiety followed by depression for years and doing okay..... yet am at a loss where Rheumatoid Arthritis & depression is concerned

    Any advice/counsel would be greatly appreciated on how people cope with RA and Depression/Anxiety

    Thankyou for taking the time to read my post :-)

    Paul

    1 person found this helpful
  2. Quercus
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    11 August 2018 in reply to blondguy

    Hi Paul,

    I feel for your friend. I have Psoriatic Arthritis (another autoimmune arthritis similar to RA) and know personally how chronic pain and physical restriction can cause depression and anxiety or make it worse.

    What helps...

    The obvious first. Medical support. Finding a good rheumatologist and psychologist who report to eachother is important. The meds for RA and of course pain can make your mental illness worse so it is really important they work together to treat you.

    I would also suggest your friend considers a physiotherapist. They are fabulous. Not only for helping with mobility but for bracing and strapping if required and excercise to strengthen. Even massage. Some swimming pools offer hydrotherapy under a physiotherapist which can help a lot. Walking laps in a pool is another gentle way which can work.

    For me another obvious point is weight. The more weight on your joints the more pain. So one of the best ways to help your mate is to encourage them eat well and be active.

    I'll stop there. Have realised your friend will see my suggestions anyway on the website I recommend. Sorry. This is excellent...

    https://arthritisaustralia.com.au

    There are support groups that meet and I know others who have found them fantastic. I found them triggering (people listing meds that failed for them freaks me out as I'm only 33 and have failed on a few already). But others found it hopeful.

    Your friend is lucky to have you in their corner.

    Nat

  3. blondguy
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    13 August 2018 in reply to Quercus

    Hello Quercus

    Thankyou so much for helping me out with this topic.

    You mentioned "I would also suggest your friend considers a physiotherapist. They are fabulous. Not only for helping with mobility but for bracing and strapping if required and excercise to strengthen"

    Your advice has been put into action Quercus!

    my kind thoughts

    Paul

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  4. Quercus
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    14 August 2018 in reply to blondguy

    Hi Paul,

    I'm so glad to hear that. I know it feels like spending a fortune on one specialist after another but I do feel a physio is worth it. Being in pain all the time makes everything harder. I really hope your friend finds some benefit in it too.

    Another thing worth looking into is hiring a TENS machine to see if it helps with pain relief. I have used one recently for my hands and it has helped a lot along with stretches and a brace. It feels odd though so worth hiring to see if they can tolerate the sensation first. You can hire them through companies like Able Living or even some chemists hire them out too.

    I hope your friend finds some relief. Has the rheumatologist found any meds that help yet? Jumping through the hoops testing medication after medication really is horrible to live through when you are hurting. Your friend is very lucky to have your help.

    ❤ Nat

  5. blondguy
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    14 August 2018 in reply to Quercus

    Hey Nat

    Her fingers on her right hand are pointing severely to the right (RA deformity) and she is taking one of the serious RA meds that start with H.

    She gets a lot of 'flare ups' and suffers from mega exhaustion and has to rest...a lot. She does go to the pain clinic where she mentioned physio (as a result of your assistance) to the doc so she has that starting soon :-)

    I will mention the TENS machine when I see her next and thankyou so much for the mega support Nat.

    kindest always

    Paul

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  6. geoff
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    14 August 2018 in reply to blondguy

    Hi Paul, I feel so sorry for your friend suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis as I know it's debilitating.

    My Mum had it and my eldest brother has told me he also has it and don't forget it's totally different than what us oldies are suffering from, osteoarthritis.

    I know that the medication people have to take is enormous.

    I wish your friend the very best for some relief.

    Geoff.

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  7. Elizabeth CP
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    14 August 2018 in reply to blondguy

    Hi Paul, Regarding the physio it is essential to find a physio with experience in arthritis. Last year my husband was seeing a physio. Unfortunately he was experienced in muscular- skeletal conditions rather than neuro muscular conditions which my husband had. The result was inappropriate treatment leading to injury which took weeks to recover.

    Rheumatoid arthritis requires careful treatment as overdoing exercises can lead to fatigue & cause further damage. When considering physios ask about their experience to ensure it matches with your friends needs. A good physio can make a massive difference to a person's condition.

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  8. blondguy
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    15 August 2018 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    Thankyou Geoff for your understanding on this vile illness. It definitely does run in families....I hope your brother isnt suffering from the depression that RA can cause in many cases

    Hey Elizabeth!..Thankyou heaps for your great advice....I will make sure the physio has the experience in neuro muscular (RA) I will pass on your last sentence...that is great to read "A good physio can make a massive difference to a person's condition"

    Thankyou so much :-)

    Paul

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  9. Elizabeth CP
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    15 August 2018 in reply to blondguy

    Hi Paul

    Sorry your friend needs a physio experienced in RA whereas my husband needs one experienced in neuromuscular issues. They are different but both very different to the work many physios do providing rehab following an injury. Sorry about the confusion.

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  10. blondguy
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    17 August 2018 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    Hi Elizabeth

    No worries at all. Your advice is great to have :-)

    The physio really sounds like an excellent idea with the RA and hopefully her depression may alleviate too

    I hope your day is good to you

    Paul

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  11. blondguy
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    6 November 2018 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    Hi everyone....any new input from new members is also welcome and appreciated :-)

    Thankyou Elizabeth and Quercus for your help so far

    Can I ask if anyone has a friend or relative with Rheumatoid Arthritis (not osteo arthritis) that has given up their meds and found relief with natural remedies?

    I have 36 years of experience with clinical anxiety and mental illness yet I have absolutely no idea on RA

    Any help would be greatly appreciated :-)

    My best always

    Paul

  12. geoff
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    7 November 2018 in reply to blondguy

    Hi Paul, I only wish I could help you but will endeavour to ask around to try and find at least something that will ease the constant pain.

    Best wishes.

    Geoff.

  13. Quercus
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    9 November 2018 in reply to blondguy

    Hi Paul,

    The idea of natural remedies is something I do lean towards but as someone who lives with autoimmune arthritis I am cautious.

    I once had a friend encourage me to see a natropath and combine natural supplements with a cleansing diet. The theory was that because my illness is caused by my body attacking itself and creating joint inflammation a cleanse could 'reset' my immune system. Natural therapies are facinating and do help many.

    The vital point though....

    We don't know what will work for us. Everyone is different.

    It truly comes down to whether your friend willing to take the risk of stopping meds and an increase of inflammation, pain, reduced mobility and the risk of permanent joint damage?

    My medications are far from perfect and have side effects I hate... but I remember the alternative so vividly. Facing the reality that I was desperate and in so much pain that I tried anything out there. And yet I was facing a wheelchair at 30 years old.

    For me the idea of natural therapies are good in addition to meds but the risk outweighs anything else.

    When you stop a medication there is no guarantee it will work if you return to it again later. This is a huge risk that needs to be discussed with their rheumatologist.

    TENS machines, physiotherapy and stretches all help me during huge flares. But the reality is if I stopped my injections in a matter of weeks I wouldn't be able to walk and that sends me back to where I was... suicidal.

    Whatever your friend decides I strongly hope that it is under the direction/supervision of their rheumatologist!

    I hope others reply too and Geoff finds some info too.

    ❤ Nat

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  14. Quercus
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    5 March 2019 in reply to blondguy

    Hi again Paul (and anyone reading),

    I wanted to bump up this thread in the hope someone reading had more advice on managing RA and depression.

    It is funny how when pain is managed and physical restrictions are reduced we forget so very quickly how deeply physical and mental health are tied together. Even in my last post I had forgotten how badly I fall apart when in severe pain.

    Even on meds sometimes you hit a flare up (or meds stop working). Or new joints are affected. And just like that your mental health takes a dive.

    That is where I am at. It has been a week of hell waiting until I could do my injection. Both knees are stuffed as usual but joyously both hands decided to join in too. So moving has been hard.

    I wanted to suggest something I found this week...

    Don't push through the pain.

    Yes movement helps to losen up the joints and reduce some pain. But rest is also required to reduce the inflammation.

    Let people see the worst.

    This has been a huge error of mine this week. Hubby and I have been fighting like mad. I didn't realise he had no idea how much pain I have been in this week.

    I carried on as normal. Helped paint the house. Moved furniture. Went to work gardening and cleaning. He would ask if I could help and I said yes because it had to be done. He would go to work and didn't see the effects. I said nothing and just hid the pain.

    Don't rely on meds as a cure all.

    That's where I am at. Injection day finally and I am clinging desperately to the hope that tomorrow I will be able to straighten my fingers. Or get out of bed without having to use my elbows.

    It is ridiculous how much I am holding on to the hope that the meds will work. And if they don't? What then?

    Does anyone have any ideas? I am kind of teary and so bloody sore.

    Nat

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  15. blondguy
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    5 March 2019 in reply to Quercus

    Hey Quercus

    Thankyou for your inspirational post and being able to provide some serious support on this awful auto immune illness and the depression that can spawn from it.

    My friends fingers are nearly horizontal when she hold her hand up.....Its bad (sorry...no words that I can use)

    My brother was also diagnosed with RA and was on Humira until he stopped taking it after having an aggressive skin cancer removed from his foot..ugh!

    I really appreciate you bumping up this thread as its not only a physiological illness....the psychological remafications can be just as problematic with sufferes of this crap illness

    You have spoken from the heart as usual Quercus....I will find the name of the 'treatment' (meds) that my friend is using now.

    my kind thoughts and appreciation

    Paul

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  16. grt123
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    5 March 2019 in reply to Quercus

    My husband had PTSD and I don't think he gave a hoot I was in pain. He spent his days in front of the TV. Nothing got done around the house unless I did it myself and sometimes I just couldn't - flushing the toilet hurt let alone running the vacuum around. He'd sleep in while and Mum would come over to help me get dressed for work. His favourite mongrel act was to deliberately tighten the jars and then sit back and watch me cry tears of frustration trying to open them. He could be violent too and one night I ended up on the floor and I just couldn't get up - I had to lay there wondering if he was going to come back and put the boot in. I'm so glad he's gone now and that's where I find a sense of achievement - even with RA I was strong in spirit if not body.

    Of course, eliminating a husband is a drastic move and not for everyone :) - but you could try cutting out wheat instead. That works for me.

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  17. Elizabeth CP
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    11 March 2019 in reply to grt123

    Quercus said Let people see the worst. I think that communication is essential & that includes letting people see what is really going on. Sometimes stubborness is essential to be able to push through the difficulties such as those caused by certain illnesses but that stubbornness & pride can stop you from letting others know what is really happening to you with disastrous results. I don't have RA but I've had other issues & I have sometimes pushed myself too far rather than admit that I'm struggling. That has led to me being unable to walk & in severe pain for several weeks & then long periods getting back to normal. It has also put huge strains on my relationship with my husband because he doesn't understand or doesn't help when I need it or says the wrong thing.... The reality looking back is that I expected him & other family members to understand what I was going through & then blamed them for my problems caused by being too proud to admit I I wasn't managing because or my long term shoulder & back problems.

    Of course if you have a husband who deliberately makes things worse then leaving him is the only sensible option but too often for me the problem is you putting on a brave front & doing what you can rather than letting him know what is happening until the damage is done.

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  18. blondguy
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    12 March 2019 in reply to grt123

    Hello GRT123 and a wave to ElizabethCP!

    Thankyou for helping out on this thread. Im sorry that you have doing it hard with your husband as you mentioned above. PTSD is never an excuse for abuse....emotional or violent. Its just not on...I hope you have some peace soon.....

    Thankyou for your help with RA.....You mentioned dumping wheat from your diet and that it worked. Did it reduce the pain/fatigue?

    you are not alone here GRT123

    my kind thoughts

    Paul

    I hope you can stick around the forums when convenient for you GRT123

    my kind thoughts

    Paul

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  19. grt123
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    14 March 2019 in reply to blondguy
    Hi Blondguy. Yes giving away wheat helped with pain. I'm not one for doing things if I don't see a benefit but it's been almost 10 years and I'll swear by this. I found almost immediately that fluid around my joints, hands, feet and face reduced. And today if I do eat wheat - which is bound to happen every now and then, the pain flares a couple of days later before settling down.
  20. blondguy
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    14 March 2019 in reply to grt123

    Hi GRT123

    I hope that you are doing okay at home after what you have been going through...Its unacceptable

    I really appreciate your help/experience with this awful auto immune illness as the people I know all eat wheat (bread mainly..wholegrain) and have clinical depression after trying to work out their meds

    You have helped more people than you know. I am trying to help a handful of people that have depression as a result of this illness

    Any other tips or information are welcome GRT ....at your convenience of course

    you are a legend and thankyou so much!

    my kind thoughts for you

    Paul

    2 people found this helpful
  21. grt123
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    15 March 2019 in reply to blondguy
    Thanks Blondguy:). One more thing. Treat wheat like it's an allergy. A bite of a sandwhich/splash of gravy has the same affect as eating a whole pizza. It needs to be eliminated completely. Read labels - even cans of tomatoes or bacon can contain little bits of cheeky wheat.
    1 person found this helpful
  22. demonblaster
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    15 March 2019 in reply to blondguy

    Hey Paul readers and everyone here ☺

    My full sympathies to people with this cruel painful ailment

    I heard just the other day about this and noted but theres a word I'll asterix which I'm not sure if its supposed to be no instead of not.

    Rheumatoid arthritis;

    Half ltre of low sugar cranberry juice a day for 90 days

    *Not placebo inflammatory markers went down ( I think it's meant to say inflammatory markers went down because I was thinking that's really good)

    41 people trialled and felt better less swelling and pain

    Also a girl I know was going to hydro therapy is where I learnt the cruel pain of this. I saw her yrs later not that long ago and she's a different person so happy and free. They got her meds working so there's hope people.

    🕊🤗

    1 person found this helpful

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