This is not going to be easy to write, I already know that, but I don’t get defeated and so it’s gonna get written.
I touch on mental care here and there, and I tend to thread lightly but within the SCD community, it’s imperative that we address it.
I was at the SCD clinic a few weeks ago (because of COVID-19, they only accept a handful of people daily, helping us with distancing while still trying to take care of us, considering the ER is out of the question), and one of the ladies told the nurse that she has been depressed and scared, especially with this crazy virus spreading the way it is.
That young lady is not particularly my friend, but as a fellow SickleCeller, I felt I had to check on her the following day, and I did.
It was important for me to check on her because I went through depression, I know what that feels like, even if everyone experiences it differently but the thought that this young lady was in that dark hole made me feel uneasy. I don’t have have the skill set to counsel anyone going through anything mentally, but as a SickleCeller, a human being, an intelligent individual, God asked me to contact her and just have a conversation with her.
Years ago after my hips surgeries, my dance with depression started. My take on depression is this, you look well physically (because you don’t want anyone to suspect anything), so you keep up with the charade (hair done, nails done, etc.), you keep a smile on your face (again so that no one suspects a thing); but you’re in a dark hole. You have these crazy thoughts. You have no positive energy/attitude/outlook on life.
Getting out of that funk is not easy. They recommend a therapist and that is great. I think the care package for SickleCellers should include mental health care. We have a plethora of doctors to see; some are monthly appointments and adding a psychologist/counselor/therapist to the roster is something we all can benefit from.
In all honesty nonetheless, personally, I think that the person going through depression has to do a vast majority of the work themselves. Your mental health should be at the forefront of everything. You need to take it into consideration, work on it, push through and not only see the light at the end of the tunnel, but do what all is possible to get out of that tunnel.
SCD is not a joke. Mental illness is not a joke. Any “normal” person dealing with mental health issues/stress faces a real struggle. When these two get mixed together, it is something that is out of this world, so you can’t do it alone but you have to want to take care of it.
My personal experience is coming up next in another post, but in the meantime, please take care of your mental health. We’re in this together SCD community, and anyone else who wants to join the party!
Smile, it could be worse!!!