How to Deal With Mood Changes Caused by Lupus
There are many moments when we with lupus wish for simple, precious things: less pain, more energy, all organs functioning as they should, or a decent night’s sleep. Sometimes, these things appear out of nowhere to offer us peace.
Those moments for most of us are few and far between. In these rare hours of feeling, dare I say normal again, I return to the woman I once knew. The mood swings I have been stuck riding for years halt for a brief respite.
As a member of many lupus support groups and a writer for New Life Outlook, I have had many of fellow lupus survivors bring up the fact that they have mood swings and it impacts their life, their family and their other relationships. Typically, the mood changes were first noted around the time symptoms of their disease first appeared.
So, there is good news if you experience moods swings: you are not alone. The question is why do they occur and what can you do about it?
Who Is Pushing the Swing?
Sometimes I can be sitting on the floor playing with Lego with my sons and suddenly I feel my mood shifting to the darker side, a side where I am annoyed at every little thing.
I look around the living room and see a billion Lego pieces on the floor and think about the arguments that are about to take place regarding cleaning up, and my mood quickly shifts to agitation. Sadly, I am ready for an argument before one even begins, and I become a snippy, annoyed shell of a human being.
Often, I attribute this to mood swings, but I believe it may also be from the frustration of not being able to do what I used to do.
I can’t sit on the floor without pain. I can’t pull small Lego pieces apart when my youngest asks for help doing so. I can’t attend every baseball practice because it is 40 degrees out and that will cause horrible joint pain, and Raynaud’s Syndrome (which accompanies lupus for many of us warriors) will turn my hands, feet and nose numb — yet burning like they are on fire.
The list is endless, but you get the gist. There is loss and pain wherever I turn.
Helpless and Angry
Though it is true that medications prescribed for lupus — steroids in particular — can trigger changes in mood, and the disease itself can actually attack the brain, there is more to lupus mood issues.
We are angry. We feel helpless at times and at the mercy of our disease. We built a good life and our disease keeps appearing and knocking it down.
Some of us don’t even get that occasional respite where, for a brief moment, we feel normal again. We have reasons to feel helpless and angry at times.
We hear so much today about positive thought, and I agree it can impact how you face your challenges. But we must not forget to allow ourselves to have human feelings and work through the grief that comes with losing an important part of who you once were.
Ignoring it only leads to more mood swings because, essentially, you are in denial. You are repressing the grief and anger you feel at being denied health, activities you once loved, and even being the parent you wish to be.
Next page: how to slow down mood swings once they hit