Written by Jodie Pilgrim | Gastroparesis patient and advocate
Depression and Anxiety commonly go hand in hand when we are living with Gastroparesis. Often we find it very difficult to open up about it and talk freely about how we are feeling. A lot of the time we don’t open up, we don’t talk about it, we keep it inside and more often than not we put on a “happy” mask to conceal the roller coaster of emotions we are experiencing. Think about it for a minute…..how much less scary is it to share a ride on a roller coaster with someone other than just sitting on that roller coaster alone.
As difficult as it may seem, sharing our feelings and emotions can often help lift that dark cloud that seems to be hovering over our heads. Talking to family and friends can help but also speaking with those not emotionally involved with you and your life with Gastroparesis can be very beneficial too.
BECOMING A MEMBER OF GASTROPARESIS SUPPORT GROUPS
Becoming a member helps us realise we are not on this Gastroparesis journey alone. Here we find others who understand what we experience in our lives day to day. We find support, advice, information or just general chit chat from others who understand because they are also living with all that comes with Gastroparesis.
PSYCHIATRISTIS | PSYCHOLOGISTS | COUNSELLORS
Some of us find this group of specialists a little scary, yet they can be incredibly helpful. Finding the right one for you seems to be the hardest process. When you find one you are comfortable with the benefits of being able to completely open up feels good….really good. It’s a bit of research on your part to find one that you “click” with but you will find one if you are open to going down this road. There are Psychiatrists, Psychologists and Counsellors who specifically see clients with Chronic Illness, it is their specialty, and these are the ones you need to look for. Your General Practitioner can sometimes help here by doing a Healthcare Management Plan with these Specialists. This will entitle you to a much lower consult fee or up to 6 free consults depending on the Specialist.
YOUR GENERAL PRACTITIONER | FAMILY DOCTOR
If you have a good General Practitioner/Family Doctor then they should be willing to actually talk with you. They know your medical and mental health history. I am lucky enough to have a fantastic one and am able to make appointments to just talk to him. They aren’t there just to diagnose, refer or write scripts. They are there to listen too.
CHAPLAINS | PRIESTS | MINISTERS | RELIGIOUS LEADERS
This group is a very personal choice for us yet they are also there to listen and help guide us. I am not overly religious myself but the many times I have been in Hospital I have often asked to see the Hospital Chaplain or wandered down to the Hospital Chapel. When I see the Hospital Chaplain the first words out of my mouth are “I just need someone to listen”…. and that is what they do. Again, this is a very personal choice for us all.
MENTAL HEALTH HELPLINES AND SERVICES NATIONWIDE
These are services that will also provide you with support during times of Depression and Anxiety. Most Hospitals have a Mental Health Crisis team you can call 24/7. Others include:
- BEYOND BLUE 1300 22 4636
- LIFELINE 13 11 14
- EHEADSPACE (12 to 25 years of age and family members) 1800 650 890
- THE MIND SPOT CLINIC 1800 614 434
- SANE AUSTRALIA 1800 187 263
- SUICIDE CALL BACK LINE 1300 659 467
- KIDS HELPLINE (5 to 25 years of age including Parents and Carers) 1800 551 800
- BLACK DOG INSTITUTE SELF HELP TOOL FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH https://www.mycompass.org.au/
- MENTAL HEALTH CARERS AUSTRALIA (Carers and Family Members) 1300 554 660
Some of the above services may operate 24/7. Others operate between certain hours.
The majority of these services are available whether you are at Home or in Hospital. Online or face to face use the tools and services that are available to you. Don’t suffer in silence; don’t feel you are a burden for reaching out, as a lot us feel we are a burden.
If you are in that dark place, look up and whether you see a familiar hand or the hand of a stranger…grab hold of that hand for it is there to help you.
Always remember, regardless of what you are going through….the world is a more beautiful place with you in it!