You are certainly not alone. I have struggled with depression both before and after the transplant. I long have had low self-esteem problems and tend to worry and doubt myself easily. I think my transplant experience has provided me with better ways to deal with it when the depression comes, but I still experience it. It can be so easy to let myself be isolated as since the transplant I am not yet strong enough to go out and get a job or return to school, can not drive, nor do I live near major bus routes. I find that one activity that really helps me is participating in online groups like this as it helps to remind me that I am not alone and that there are many other perspectives of the world out there. I try to make sure that I get outside when I can as if I stay too long in the four walls of my parents (with whom I still live) house, I am also more likely to become depressed. Something in nature just uplifts me almost every time. I also find that listening to certain types of music can be very uplifting and sometimes seems to fill me with more energy than I thought I had. I have also found that a good cry can be very therapeutic as long as I do not linger in it. I find it best if I do not deny my negative thoughts but rather that I express them by using them to fuel productive activities such as writing, supporting a cause, doing something artistic, talking with someone else, etc. I am also on an antidepressant to help with this too. My faith in God is also the major reason I am still hear today as He is the one who has given me strength when I am always so weak. He reminds that I have purpose and am of value, and it is His love for me that I want to share with others through showing them love and kindness. I will be sure to keep you in my thoughts and prayers, and know that no matter what you are going through, you can find a shoulder on which to lean here. I hope that new reasons to smile and hope may brighten your days. Many, many hugs are being sent your way on the wings of hope.
I honestly don't know of anyone who hasn't suffered from post TX depression! I think it's one of the side effects the docs (mostly) don't tell you about. I also haven't heard of anyone being denied an anti-depressant to combat the problem. Hopefully, you'll only need a short course of them. The depression isn't all that surprising when you stop & think about all we've been thru &, are still going thru, & that's just the mental part. Just think about all we're asking our bodies to accept.....a foreign body; a tremendous amount of often toxic drugs, not to mention the trauma of being cut open & having many other organs moved out of their rightful places, even if it's just for a short time! I'd be ticked off, too! LOL! So, talk to your docs, let them know what's happening &, if they don't offer, DEMAND some relief. Keep in mind that this may also include some psych help, just so you can learn how to deal w/all the changes. To me, it would be a miracle if no one has ever needed help, post TX. Just remember, you are not alone, EVER! We are all walking the same path, right next to you. Prayers & Blessings, Paula
I lost my first kidney graft to depression and psychological stressors which resulted in noncompliance. Unfortunately, insurance coverage of TxP does not include mental health services for the stressors that result from transplantation. Talk with your team, your coordinator, your social worker....make them aware of the difficulties you are having. I currently am trying to create a program wthat will bring psych services to the transplant follow-up routine, but every center handles these things differently, or not at all. Unfortunately, I dont have any silver bullets to help you through, but I know I required about 6 months with a very gifted psychologist with a specialization in chronic health conditions.
Everyone has commented very well so far. I think it's true that no matter what you are like as a person, the transplant process, even when it goes well, is INCREDIBLY stressful and depression is often how we, as human beings, react to that stress. I was always an EXTREMELY positive, light-hearted, person before transplant. After transplant for about two weeks I was on cloud nine. I had incredible energy, was always "up" and couldn't imagine life being any better. My doctors kept asking me how I was feeling emotionally, and I kept assuring them I was fine and not understanding why I would be anything else. Then about week 4 it hit, and it hit hard! I didn't want to get out of bed. I felt like I had no purpose and that I had gone through all of this for nothing. I had some VERY dark days. What I can tell you, like the others have, is that it CAN/DOES get better. Absolutely tell your docs. If they recommend anti-depressants, I would take them. I've been on mine for 8 years. Didn't want to go on one, but felt like I had no other option, and they helped so much and fairly quickly. Hang in there, it will get better.
Francis, I really experinced depression the first year post, and of course they wanted to gice me anti-depressents. This is protocol in 99.9% centers. I refused for personal reasons. I went to my primary and told him my anxiety attacks are getting worse and worse. He prescribed my clorazapam that really helped. I dont take it daily, but if I get anxious I take it.I only go to clinic every 6 mos now, but my blood work is excellent and I went back to work 9mos ago. I just want to mention this transplant clinic protocol once again and speaking personally on some problems I feel it is bullshit. I am so,so grateful to be on this earth, and life is so precious. Itry not to emphasize on the Drs that saved my life. Good Luck, Nick
I am only depressed when I am on prednisone. That is a side effect that I get from it. I was only on it for the first two years after my transplant (now they try to get patients off of it within a few months) and the few times that the enzymes were high in my liver. Now that I know what it is caused from, I try to keep myself busier and especially try to spend more time with friends during the time that I am on it. If I stay at home alone, then I feel the depression more and have a hard time controlling it. At one time I went on an anti-depressant, but all it did was make me feel neutral, which I didn't like-would rather feel highs and lows then neutral. However, I have talked to other transplant recipients who say that an anti-depressant worked well for them. Hope this helps.
Yes, its a side effect that NO ONE told me about, then were like "what you didnt know??" afterwords...I was sick for a long time..a childhood illness, which lastest into my 20s when i got my loving gift of life from my husband. After surgery I felt great, but then realized I had NO IDEA how to function "normally". I knew how to function sick, heck, I was a pro at that!! But now, I take some pills, and off I go?? huh?? I stuggled, had depression, anxiety, panic attacks. I ended up going to a psychiatrist and a therapist for several months, and now follow up with a pyschiatrist. It has really helped to learn and talk about new coping mechanisms and learned how to really live!!
Good luck in your endevours, and know you are not alone!!!
I haven't "talked" to anyone who hasn't suffered some form of depression after their TX! Some opt for chemical help & some opt for talk therapy. It's all depends on which you think would help you more. The one thing you always need to remember is, you're not alone! We are always here for you. It might not always be the same person, but, someone will always answer. Something else to consider. We've been told that we're probably going to die, then, someone comes along & gives us another chance. All this after we've accepted the "fact" that there won't be many tomorrows for us! We just get used to one mind set & then we have to figure out how to deal with another, totally different, lifestyle. It's a lot to take in, not to mention all the physical shocks the docs have put our bodys' thru. A double whammy, if you will. The surprising thing would be if you didn't have some sort of mental trauma. In a way, you could say we're suffering from PTSD. It does get better, eventually. You just need to find the right path, for you. Hopes this helps some. Hugs & Blessings, Paula Heart 2-14-2001
Having an end stage disease such as kidney or liver, is a very scary experience. However, with all the pre-op tests, the anticipation of receiving a transplant, and the post-op attention, it is not uprising that someone would feel depressed once you enter the very long and difficult recovery stage. The recovery is the most difficult stage of a transplant. My PCP put me on a low dosage of Lexapro to help with feelings of depression. You may want to consider such a drug to hekp yourself.
Keep up the faith. Eventually you will get your energy and life back.
Yep ... I called them "Predneson days". My transplant was in 2001; 911 happened during my first week back home and I thought that was the reason for my feeling down ... Now I feel it's like "poison and anti dote. We need to take our meds to keep our transplants meaning to stay alive. At the same time these medications really change our bodies' reactions.
Now I am taking my anti rejection meds and also anti depressants and feel balanced .
I hope this helps.
I did not read about anyone not having depression. Well I can say that I really haven't had any depression. Sure lots of ROID-rage from the prednisone but that is more like an upper to me. ( just don't p*** me off, or you will hear about it.)
I am one of those that goes to bed thinking... fun day, wonder what tomorrow will bring. After the ride this year ( diagnosed one year ago Dec 1,) having and LVAD for 2.5 months and a borrowed heart now for 7 months... I do not have the why me? or damn my fingers are numb all the time ... boo hoo poor me, attitude... I can't. I AM ALIVE.. a year ago I wasn't quite sure it would happen.
I do not find blame in those that feel depressed, but I wonder how many had kind of a depressed attitude before all the issues leading to transplant. I am soooooo happy to have a working brain again, it overrides the problems with the MANY side effects of the Meds. Big thing for me is to be involved... politics, work, family what ever... takes your mind off your problems, and another thing is check out other peoples health issues ... ya know we really don't have it all that bad.... modern medical science has saved us, now don't waste it.
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