Managing Emotions

Depression and anxiety are common reactions for people living with arthritis. There are many things you can do to manage depression and anxiety. Remember, you are not alone. There are many resources to help if you are feeling overwhelmed.

You may feel depressed or anxious about losses that you experienced due to living with arthritis. Some common losses are when:

  • You have to give up a sport, hobby, leisure activity or a job that you love
  • You have less money because of the medical costs related to your arthritis
  • Your feel like arthritis has turned you into a different person

Signs of depression

Depression is something that can sneak up on you. Beware of the following signs of depression:

  • Eating more or less than usual
  • Sleeping more or less than usual
  • Having little energy
  • Crying more easily
  • Having a hard time making decisions
  • Feeling lonely or isolated
  • Having little interest in sex
  • Feeling suicidal

Other warning signs

  • Being angry when your body can no longer do what you want it to do
  • Getting frustrated at having to ask for help
  • Feeling that you are a burden on others
  • Thinking things will never get better
  • Feeling overwhelmed by simple tasks or responsibilities

Managing emotional changes

Managing your emotions during a period of change can be difficult but remember you are not alone.

  • Recognize and grieve what has changed in your life due to your chronic condition
  • Express your emotions in a way that feels safe – talk to others, journal, cry, laugh
  • Don’t lose sight of the good things that remain or have come into your life
  • Meet new challenges with a sense of humour
  • Find someone or something that inspires you and from which you can gain strength
  • Explore new passions and interests to replace what you have lost
  • Get help and support from others, such as friends, family, or a mental health professional

Sources of help

Social workers at the Mary Pack Arthritis Program provide individual  or group clinical counselling to people struggling with their mood (depression, anxiety, poor self-esteem) primarily due to living with a rheumatic disease. Along with helping your emotional adjustment, the social workers are available to address relationship stress, social isolation, and the ways in which self-management strategies can improve your ability to cope. You can also ask for a review of community resources to ensure that you are in contact with all appropriate agency services, programs, and financial benefits for which you are eligible to receive. Ask your GP or your rheumatologist for a referral to Social Work Services