Update: 10/13/13: Wow! It’s a year later. How things have changed! I don’t really have time to be depressed. My suggestion is working very well on myself. I got involved in advocating for dialysis patients and dog rescue. With all that, I’m busy and productive… oh and I have this blog.
Anywhoo… as my Dad used to say… I came across this article about a study of depression in dialysis patients and chair-side therapy. It’s very interesting: CLICK HERE to read it.
Updated: 10/11/12: Found a posting by a counselor who may not agree with my suggestions and has some of his own. I encourage you, if you’re depressed, to check out his posting: “Depression, How to feel like a loser”
I just read a posting in a discussion forum at http://www.IHateDialysis.com where the writer said:
“I had dialysis yesterday, and it seemed endless. It has been hurting, stinging, throbbing, infliltrating, fistulagrams, balloons, rogue veins, narrow arteries, and it’s been just over 4 months. I went to bed crying and I woke up crying. I am as alone as I can ever remember.”
She went on at length about the details which didn’t get any better. Later in the post, she wrote:
“But, it doesn’t seem like enough. All I do is go to dialysis, spend time alone, try to cook and clean for myself, with no appetite and no energy. I have tried to hire help and food services, but I have to watch things as I am not wealthy. I am handling everything from the bills to finding help myself, and it is not easy to say the least. When I am not at dialysis, I am spending my days off on the phone with doctors or on here or something like that, documenting the latest damage, so I never get a break. There is no joy to offset this experience.”
It reminded me of how we need to look to the part of our lives that is NOT dialysis and to make that our “life” rather than the time we spend in dialysis. Dialysis sucks! But, for that 12-15 hours a week, we get 150 or so hours to live our lives so it’s only 1/10 of the time we have in a week.
I know what it’s like to lack the energy to go out and meet other people, to get up on Sunday morning to go to church, or to go to a local event or exhibit, or even go to the mall to “hang out”. I’m fortunate that I have a friend who comes by every couple weeks and we go out to lunch and spend a couple hours together. I have that to look forward to and it’s time that I can not think about dialysis or my next doctor’s appointment. We just share some moments of mutual, human comfort.
But life on dialysis can build up to the point that it’s all we can think about and the writer I mentioned is buried under that ton of bricks. If I could give her my best advice, it would be two things: 1) don’t look at your time on dialysis as “life”. Look at it as “life giving”and 2) look for activities your can do in the real life between dialysis sessions. I would suggest getting into twitter, or discussion boards, or any interactive activities like that, volunteering to make phone calls to house-bound people, etc. Look to what you CAN do rather than what you CAN’T do.
If the house chores build up because you don’t have energy to do them, do what you can. Break the task into smaller portions and complete each as you can, resting in between each part. Eventually you’ll get the whole thing done but, as you complete a portion, you’ll feel better and know you’re getting something accomplished with the little energy you have. For example, don’t try to vacuum the whole house. Do one room or portion of a room, rest a bit, then another portion.
For interaction, if you have a church you go to, contact the minister and ask that someone come visit on a regular basis. Many churches have volunteers who will come and spend time with you. Looking forward to the visit is almost as good as the time you’ll spend with the visitor and it gives you something to focus on other than dialysis. Some communities have non-religious volunteers who visit house-bound people, too. Contact your local Meals-on-Wheels, Senior Center or Council on Aging to see if they have programs for home-bound people.
We have to pull ourselves out of the whirlpool of dialysis so it doesn’t continue to suck us under. It’s a dilemma though because it’s so easy to get sucked in and, with little energy and drive, it’s hard to get out.
That’s why I started this blog. It gives me a reason to keep moving forward and something to focus on between dialysis sessions. It solidly fills my day as I read, research, collect information, and write. I went from dreading Monday, Wednesday and Friday “dialysis days” to eagerly looking forward to Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday “blogging days” when I would be working on my blog. Now I find myself worrying over what my next blog will be about! I also work on my Twitter account and, recently, on my Facebook page, to keep advancing the needs of other dialysis patients and to, frankly, keep myself busy and productive. In between, I play some games on the AARP.org games website.
So, if you’re being dragged down by dialysis, look beyond it to the life you have that is NOT dialysis. Or, as this blogger does, relieve the boredom with comedy. Also, here’s another site that may offer some ideas.
DevonTexas © 2012