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My Mental Health Challenges With Chronic Kidney Disease

I’ve only been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease for a short while now. Living with this illness has been a challenging experience for me to say the least.

Can CKD impact my mental health?

One thing I have learned is that understanding how CKD might impact your mental health is just as important as managing the medical issue itself.  I've gained a lot of knowledge about maintaining my mental health, taking care of myself, and asking for assistance when I need it.

I felt as though my entire world had been flipped upside down when I learned that I had CKD. It was not just my body that felt odd, but my mind was also shaken as fear and disbelief overcame me. I quickly understood that my physical health and emotional health are both intertwined. I am beginning to realize that I need to take care of both.

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For me personally, uncertainty is one of the hardest aspects of CKD. I am no spring chicken and uncertainty might make you feel like an enormous, heavy cloud is hovering over you. But I've discovered that being in the present is very helpful. I recently started practicing mindfulness and meditation, which act as anchors to keep me calm when things turn blab for me.

Taking care of my mental health is important, too

Just as vital as looking after my physical health, is taking care of my mental well-being as well. Even taking a quick walk can improve my mood, and eating well benefits more than just my kidneys. It also makes me feel better mentally.

Talking about the emotions I'm feeling has been a huge game-changer. It is not a good idea to keep emotions pent up because doing so is like trying to stop a wave. Sharing my fears with my family, and close friends has been a big relief. It turns out that a lot of people get it, particularly those who are also experiencing this for themselves. Their compassion and encouragement act as a lifeboat in rough waters when I just need a lifeline.

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Knowing I am not alone has helped so much

Anyone can experience despair and anxiety, but CKD can increase the risk. We can feel depressed because of all the changes and the ongoing reminders of our health. I’m 65, so there are times I feel this is it. I've experienced my share of hardships, and that's okay. I've gotten better at treating myself well in those circumstances.

One of the things I have preached about for years is finding others who are experiencing the same symptoms you are. This can be extremely beneficial. There are many online forums and communities that have served as a shelter for many of us. Knowing that I'm not alone on this journey, getting advice, and sharing my journey has helped a lot. CKD has taught me that maintaining my emotional health is equally important as maintaining my physical health.

It's like sailing in a rocky water, I have to control the emotional waves, take care of myself, and know when to call for help. We are not alone.

This or That

In addition to chronic kidney disease, do you also live with diabetes?

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