Advice from the Experts

Who better to give advice than those that have been there? No one! We asked our “experts”-others with arthritis, to give us some advice for others with arthritis who may be dealing with depression.

“I don’t know if this is possible for some people but one thing that helps me get through the bad times is my dog Inkie. He somehow knows when I am down or in severe pain. He is very loving and he stays close by my side at all times. Just the simple act of petting him helps me to feel better and makes my will to get through the rough times stronger. After all, he needs me and it helps to know that I am needed.”

“Avoid solitude. Get out and do what you can…just being around other people can distract your mind from those depressing thoughts.”
“I’m now corresponding with 3 AI members and that is helping me a great deal. Sharing feelings with those who can relate, somehow helps.” -Linda

“I surround myself with things that make me feel happy; with my family and close friends. I decorate my home with things I like, rather than with trendy things. My home reflects my spirit and personality. I volunteer at our Church and in our community so I feel like I have a purpose and like I have something worth sharing. During times of depression, I stop and remind myself of all the beauty and goodness my life has in it and of how truly blessed I am.” -Terri

“I believe that depression is normal of those of us living with chronic pain, etc. Getting over the idea that if I was handling my OA “right” then I wouldn’t be depressed helped tremendously. Learn to be gentle with yourself. Each day is different.” -Raven

“Don’t focus on yourself. Accept the things you cannot change, while making yourself the best you can possibly be. Find things to think about and do that are positive. I get really frustrated sometimes b/c the medical community has not pinned down which of the 100 types of arthritis I have, but when I focus on that, my thoughts get really negative.” -Peggy

“Go to someone for help. That could be anyone, a doctor, friend, pastor, anyone who can and will listen.” -Vickie

“Look around you. There is bound to be someone you know who could use a hug or a surprise visit. Pick someone and put together a gift or a card or even a telephone call. Trying to brighten someone else’s life will inevitably brighten yours.”
“There are always people in worse condition than you are and people who are in better condition than you are. Spending your time making others’ lives a little brighter will make yours brighter. I love the quote (and of course I can’t remember who said it!) “You cannot hold a lantern to light another’s path without brightening your own.”” -DeeTee

“Talk about it. Seek help as soon as you feel uncomfortable and are not sure what to do. Do not feel alone, unique, or different. All people feel sadness to some degree. When it is deep enough, it is depression and it is certainly common in chronic illness sufferers. There is help. This is not a part of the illness we have to endure. We can take care of this, with a little help from our friends.” -Melanie

“Turn to the Lord and He will help you” -Gloria

“Try to think of wellness and what IS going right with your body.” -Gaye

“You can always find someone who is worse off than you. Look for how you can help others in difficult situations. Sometimes even being just a listening ear for them. We might not be able to get around like we would like but I’ve learned I have more patiences with others and can listen.” -Barbara

“Trying to focus on small happy things. Plan events even if it is going out for a meal or a drink with a friend. Don’t criticise yourself when you can’t do things just accept it and say ‘heh ho'”
“Keep the website going, I am not as bad as most of the stories I read and although it isn’t close contact, it still provides comfort.”

“The more inactive you are physically and mentally, the worse depression gets. I get busy doing something, whether or not I feel like it or I have one of my grandchildren come over.” -Marion

“My advice would be to definitely NOT be afraid to seek help. Ask your primary care doc or rheumy to refer you to a psychiatrist, who can prescribe an antidepressant if you need one. If you and he don’t think that’s necessary, at least consider counseling or going to a support group. You will be surprised how much a professional might help you even if you think you are coping pretty well.” -Robin

“It’s hard to be depressed if you smile – or sing a happy song. Burn a scented candle, put some flowers in a vase and just enjoy. Help a friend with a problem.” -Marilyn

“I’ve been told to keep moving, no matter how slight. Try something creative. I like to cross stitch and play the guitar. Buy some flowers.” -Susan

Click here if you have advice to share.