How to Slow the Mood Swings
It is great to be strong and chant a positive mantra about how lupus does not have you, but it ignores the feelings you have about what this disease has taken from you. Strength is not found in denying anything has happened, but rather that you have survived it and are fighting against this enemy.
You are strong despite lupus, not because it does not impact your life. Here are some ways to shut down these mood swings when they occur:
Say, for example, you’re going on your annual family trip to the lake. You pack everything for everybody, and you organize once you get there. You make beds, dinner and fetch swimsuits and sunscreen. Everyone is having fun — except you. Lupus makes you feel like you might curl up into a ball of pain and never move again.
What to Do
- Halt the mood swing here. Allow yourself to feel angry or even grief at the loss of what should be a fun adventure for you. It is not fair that others are having a blast and lupus has kicked your — well, you know.
- Take a few moments to think through the emotions you are feeling. Talk about what you are feeling (grief, annoyance, anger) out loud, even if it is just to yourself. It is important to find a moment alone and put those feeling out there, verbally. It acknowledges your emotions so you can let them go, at least a little, and mood swings usually slow when your emotions are acknowledged.
- Make a list of everything that you want to do, but can’t. Putting it down on paper helps to get what you are holding onto inside (anger, frustration or sadness) out of you. It is the opposite of what we are told to do (be positive and cram your feelings down deep inside of you).
- Find small ways to triumph over it. Now that you have thought through and processed the feelings if injustice, pain, grief and frustration that comes with everything lupus has robbed you of, look at what you can do. Focus on the good that still remains. There is always good, you just may have to look deeper than others. Yes, this is looking and focusing on the positive, but it is done with respect, after all the other emotions have been acknowledged, so now it actually works.
What If the Mood Swings Remain?
Working through your feelings and losses will not “cure” you of mood swings. You are human. There are other things influencing your mood, like medications and the actual disease itself attacking the systems of your body. But you can help avoid some of the mood issues and maybe take action when you feel a big swing coming on:
- If you feel your mood changing, think about why. Are you in pain? Is that pain increasing? Is there something you can do to help ease it or stop it from getting worse? Take something for the pain, remove yourself from the sun, cold, wind, standing too long, sitting too long — whatever might aggravate the pain further.
- If you are depressed, have you sought help? Talk to your doctor, who can connect you to resources to help deal with these feelings.
- Eat balanced, healthy meals — and don’t skip eating. Mood can be directly associated with hunger and sugar levels being off because of skipped meals.
- Focus on you. That’s right, you deserve it. Do something you love when your mood is swinging to sadness or anger. Sometimes simply changing our focus for an hour can make all the difference.
Finally, think about the fact that you are not alone in all of this. Stay active with lupus support groups and chat online with fellow survivors. There is peace in knowing that others feel exactly as you do.