Psoriatic Arthritis and Mental Health
Last updated: March 2020
I was drowning and I didn’t even know it. Gasping for air makes asking for help something very difficult to do. You can’t step outside yourself and see what’s going on inside. I wasn’t only in denial, I was in complete and utter oblivion. I couldn’t see through the fog to identify the changes in my mental health because of psoriatic arthritis.
Call it depression. Call it anxiety. No matter what label you slap on it, the changes in my mental health as a result of my psoriatic arthritis were profound.
How is mental health connected to psoriatic arthritis?
Everything you read about chronic illness and mental health screams, “Get Help!”. I get it, I do. But before you can get help, you have to actually look in the mirror and see what is going on right in front of your face.
Yes, you may have people in your life who ask, “What’s going on?” or may mention, “This isn’t like you.” But when everyone is running around just managing to hold their own lives together, that doesn’t always happen. We don’t always recognize just how deep we have fallen down the hole until it is almost too late.
The signs of mental health issues with psoriatic arthritis
With is as much time as we spend faking our physical health, doesn’t it make sense that we spend at least equally as much time faking our mental health?
I blamed the fact that I couldn’t concentrate on anything on the brain fog.
I blamed my blasé attitude about everything going on in my life on the weight of the fatigue.
I blamed the tightness in my chest and heavy feeling on my PsA joint pain and inflammation.
Ask yourself the right questions about mental health
Perhaps as PsA patients, we worry that doctors will not “believe” that our pain is real. Perhaps, if we admit to mental health issues, we might worry that someone will tell us that our pain is “all in our head.” When really, nothing could be farther from the truth.
Are you having difficulty concentrating?
Do you avoid activities with friends, even if your disease is not causing too much trouble that day?
Do you have a history of struggling with anxiety or depression?
How physical health can affect mental health
Our physical health takes a certain amount of extra energy just to function, but our mental health can suck even more energy from us. So much of what we live with day in and day out takes a toll on our mental health.
The unpredictability of each day, never catching up with the to-do list of life, and the stress chronic illness puts on relationships all chip away at our mental health.
Prioritizing mental health can get lost in the shuffle of other doctor appointments and medications. Not to mention that even in this day and age, with all that we know, there still seems to be a lingering stigma around mental health.
Do you usually need to recover from a vacation?