Dealing with kidney disease can be stressful and take a toll on people’s daily life. So it makes sense that kidney patients may be more likely to experience depression than the general population. Because Mental Health Awareness Week is coming up on October 4th – 10th, now is a good time to look at some mental health self-care tips that can help you cope with managing your illness.
Kidney Disease and Depression
According to the American Kidney Fund, people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage renal disease (ESRD or kidney failure) face higher rates of depression as a group. It’s taxing on mental health to deal with a chronic illness and all the pressure it puts on a patient’s life.
Kidney patients may experience the following symptoms of depression:
- Regular pain
- Difficulty sleeping
- Feelings of lack of control over their daily routine and lives
- Feeling like they’re powerless over the disease
- Feeling hopeless because there is no “cure” for kidney disease
- Unwanted feelings of dependence on healthcare providers and/or dialysis equipment
- Feeling excluded from social experiences due to their illness or its limitations (like having to keep dialysis appointments or follow a certain diet)
Mental Health Self-Care Tips for People with Kidney Disease
These tips can help you maintain better mental health when managing your kidney disease:
1. Advocate for Yourself
One of the reasons people with chronic illness are prone to mental health issues like depression is because they feel like they don’t have control over their illness and how it affects their life. So our first mental health self-care tip is to be a proactive part of your treatment plan and advocate for yourself.
2. Work Closely with Your Doctors
Part of being an advocate for yourself is being an active part of your own healthcare team. Share your concerns about treatment with your doctors and other care providers. Let them know how you are feeling about your health and how your condition is affecting your life.
3. Take Advantage of Available Resources
A great mental health self-care tip is to make sure that you tap into all the resources that are available. There are social workers and mental health professionals that are well-versed in assisting kidney patients. You may also find useful information in self-help books or support groups.
4. Ask for Support from Loved Ones
Trying to manage a chronic illness along with handling the everyday stresses of life can seem almost impossible when you are dealing with everything on your own. That’s why a great self-care tip is to reach out for help from your loved ones when you need them.
5. Follow Your Treatment Plan
Once you have spoken to your doctor and care team about the treatment plan that is right for you, follow it closely. Doing so will help you feel better physically over time. And physical wellness will naturally feed into mental wellness.
6. Get Plenty of Rest
Staying rested isn’t only important for your physical health. Being tired and fatigued takes a big toll on mental health. So make sure your daily schedule allows for rest and that you are getting enough sleep at night. Many kidney patients find it difficult to sleep sometimes, so talk to your doctor about ways you can try to get more sleep.
7. Eat Well
Following a kidney-friendly diet may seem difficult at times, but it will help you feel better in a number of ways. It should improve your physical wellness, which as we mentioned before, will help with mental health. Also, getting the nutrients you need can help ward off the symptoms of depression.
8. Stay Active
Following a doctor-approved fitness routine can do wonders for your mental health. People who get regular exercise often find that activity relieves the symptoms of depression or helps prevent them in the first place. Just make sure you consult your nephrologist or another healthcare provider to make sure you are getting the appropriate amount of exercise and are not overdoing it.
9. Focus on What Makes You Happy
A great mental health self-care tip is to focus on things that make you happy. Find hobbies that bring you joy and work them into your routine as much as you can. Read books and watch movies that make you feel good. Spend quality time with loved ones. All these things can help you cope with chronic illness and lift your mood.
10. Speak Up
If you’re feeling the symptoms of depression while dealing with CKD or ESRD, don’t keep it to yourself. It’s crucial that you speak up to your doctor, another professional, or even a loved one so they can help you get the support you need.
Make an Appointment
At Durham Nephrology, our team is experienced in providing treatment and guidance to kidney patients. When you visit our offices, you can be confident that we are taking the necessary precautions to protect the health of our patients as well as our staff. If you have questions about taking care of yourself while dealing with kidney disease, call us at 919-477-3005 to talk to a staff member and make an appointment.