5 Ways I Plan to Beat the Depression That Followed My Meniere's Disease Diagnosis
When my doctor diagnosed me with Meniere’s disease I was crushed and fell deep into depression. I had a chronic illness that had no cure – who wouldn’t be depressed? Those two words alone, chronic illness, were terrifying.
If you’re like me, you’re also one of the 63 percent of Meniere’s disease patients who struggle with depression. It’s real, and it sucks. But if you’re also like me, you’re ready to do something about it (which is probably why you clicked on this article). It’s a new year and my biggest resolution this year is to beat my depression that stems from my Meniere’s disease! Someone once told me that when you set a goal you can’t just keep it inside your head – you have to vocalize it, put it out into the universe and then take action! So this is me putting my goal out into the world for all to read and hold me accountable for. Here are five things I’m going to do to beat my depression this year (that you can also try):
1. Find something I love and pursue it.
When you’re dealing with Meniere’s disease, it is easy to feel like you can’t accomplish anything. Between vertigo spells, brain fog and tinnitus, life can be challenging to say the least! Set a few small goals first to start, then ease your way to bigger goals. When you consume yourself in something you love to do, you’ll find your purpose in life.
Plan of Action: I love to write so I will continue blogging and write as regularly as I can throughout the year. In the future I’d like to write a book (bigger goal for later).
2. Change my mindset about Meniere’s disease.
I participate in vestibular physical therapy to manage my vertigo symptoms. During a conversation about my physical activity I told my physical therapist I have a difficult time losing weight because the only thing I can do is ride a stationary bike. She replied, “Why do you say it that way? You should say that you’re still able to exercise on a stationary bike, and that’s a great accomplishment from not being able to exercise at all a year ago!” She was definitely right! I was so focused on the negative that I didn’t see the progress I had made! Changing your negative mindset is so important. Instead of focusing on the limitations Meniere’s disease can bring, focus on the things you’re still able to do.
Plan of Action: For every “I can’t” I will find my “But I still can…”
3. Create a routine.
Getting yourself into a regular routine is important when battling depression. Depression can bring days that sort of melt each other and you can find yourself unmotivated to do anything. Creating a routine will keep your mind focused on completing tasks instead of focused on your Meniere’s disease symptoms and depression.
Plan of Action: I do calendars, to-do lists and phone reminders to keep up with my daily routine and responsibilities. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I look back on the day and see what I’ve crossed off from my list. I will keep myself busy so I don’t have time to think about my symptoms or depression.
4. Take care of yourself.
Love yourself. Exercising, eating right, and getting a good night’s rest are all part of managing your Meniere’s disease symptoms. It’s also important to take care of your emotional/mental health. Know you are not alone in the fight against Meniere’s disease or depression. Join a support group! Can’t find one in your area? Start one!
Plan of Action: I just signed up for a local gym to take care of my physical health and I plan to take part in the online support group offered by the Vestibular Disorders Association (VEDA). I’m going to do my best to get to bed earlier as well (no more Netflix binges at night).
5. Don’t let Meniere’s disease define you.
You are more than your diagnosis. You are more than your symptoms. You are important and your needs matter. Meniere’s disease has caused me to turn to a life of “avoidance” – avoiding social situations, avoiding friendships, avoiding activity I think will trigger my symptoms, avoiding living. I’ve isolated myself which is the easiest way to spiral into depression. Everyone dealing with Meniere’s disease has struggles and setbacks, but it doesn’t have to define you or single you out from others.
Plan of Action: I’m going to spend more time doing things that make me happy – dancing, singing, hiking, etc. I’m going to surround myself with people who make me feel happy and enjoy the same things I do. I’m going to step out of my comfort zone and actually try to make new friends this year.
I’m excited to see what 2018 will bring! May you all find happy and symptom-free days this year. Stay positive and keep fighting!
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