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Crohn's Disease Forum » General IBD Discussion » Depression and confidence levels


08-17-2007, 04:24 PM   #1
soupdragon69
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Depression and confidence levels

Thought I would ask this question....

Something I find is as my crohn's takes a grip on me my confidence drops through the floor...

It creeps up on me like the exhaustion I experience and I find that eventually I look at my colleagues and friends and think how much better they are than me and how useless I am..

I know depression can be part of Crohn's but I also think there is an element of not absorbing our nutrition having an impact on how we feel and the level of our self esteem. You then throw in the rollercoaster of steroids for instance and it can take days or weeks to feel your normal self again. I find I just cant think straight and have problems making decisions when normally I am not like that as a person and generally VERY cheery and direct. One of my signs of nosediving are finding myself just sitting staring at the computer screen in work wondering what the heck am I doing there cause I just aint taking anything in and not concentrating at all.

Does that make sense to anyone? I dont always put into words what I mean so ask me to clarify it more if you need to.
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Brittle asthma 1996, Hypothyroidism 1998, Severe Crohns ileitis 2006 , Severe IBS 2007, Inflammatory/Rheumatoid Arthritis 2008, Sebhorreic Eczema and Folliculitis 1992, Roseca, steroid induced acne and Hidradenitis Suppurativa 2008, Multiple allergies and food intolerances diagnosed from 2003. Newly diagnosed fibromyalgia Dec 2009. Newly diagnosed calcific tendonitis Jan 2010. Chronic Pain diagnosed Dec 2010.
08-17-2007, 09:21 PM   #2
D Bergy
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It sounds like you are going through a rough spot. I think you are likely correct that a flare up causes more problems due to the added burden on the whole body.

Bottom line is the root of the problem is in the digestive tract but the symptoms are all over the map. The worse the Crohn's is the worse all symptoms seem to be.

That is why I watch that damn Psoriasis so closely. It is like a dial indicator of my internal condition. Or at least it seems to work that way.

It is OK to be depressed. You have a good reason, both physical and mentally.

I noticed today when I get that blank brain dead tired feeling that sugar gets rid of it. That is not really how I would like to treat it since I generally do not think sugar is all that healthy for a person. It sure worked well though.

I think you just need some male stubbornness and arrogance to get you through the day. I have some to spare if you need some.

Seriously, you know this will pass and better days are ahead. You can't appreciate the good days without bad ones. No one is useless ever. That just does not happen. You will have to trust me on that one.

D Bergy
08-17-2007, 10:21 PM   #3
D Bergy
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My thoughts on the depression part of Crohn's is formed from my experience with Lyme disease, Hidradenitis Suppuritiva, and Crohn's.

Chronic Lyme disease often comes with depression and or anxiety. This is an induced condition that can come with the disease. One of the most common symptom in Lyme disease is arthritis like inflammation of the joints. But also involves other forms of inflammation. Many of the people suffering from this disease have endured long term antibiotic treatments that have devastated their stomach and intestinal tract flora.

Hydradenitis Suppuritiva is also a inflammatory condition that is related to Crohn's.
It also has the fairly common symptom of anxiety and depression. My son has had both of these symptoms. It is likely in my opinion that this is a disease directly linked to the digestive system also.

The conclusion I have come to is in many, but likely not all cases the inflammation of the digestive system and or bacterial and yeast imbalance of the same is a direct cause of the depression. Read the following that I cut from an article:

Serotonin is made in the body from the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is an “essential” amino acid that is transferred to our bodies by the proteins we eat. Diets that reduce brain tryptophan levels also reduce brain serotonin levels. Knowing this, researchers are able to alter serotonin function in the brain.

Digestion of proteins is important for Serotonin production so it stands to reason if that function is impaired you will have less of it. More depression.

This is why I believe that anything that counters inflammation, gets rid of yeast and bad bacteria and cleans up free radicals in the body is bound to have an effect on the depression as well as the disease itself.

The reason I pick natural substances to do this is not because I think there is anything magical about them. It just is more practical for a few reasons.

1. They are readily available. I do not need a prescription.

2. They is little to no danger to my health as a result of using them.

3. Some are simply food items. Since I have to eat, why not eat things that may help?

4. Some work well even better than any comparable prescription drug.

5. I can use them as I see fit without the help of a health professional. This may not be true if you are using prescription drugs, but I am not.

6. Many address several problems in one product. Prescriptions almost never do.

That is my thinking on the subject in a nutshell. It is easily said, difficult to do. But I do think it is quite possible to improve ones condition using simple items easily obtained without risking your health.

Sorry for the long post.

D Bergy
08-18-2007, 12:22 AM   #4
soupdragon69
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Glad you have posted I appreciate your input as always!

I am not down at the minute but have been thinking things through - I guess in some respects trying to prepare myself for the next time so I can cope or deal with it better if that makes sense D Bergy?

So despite my Irish stubborness I may well come and lean on you and the folks here from time to time! My GP despairs at me some days because I am so stubborn and he gets quite frustrated but as I have told him he doesnt have to live with this and my Crohn's lives with me not ME with it!!

I think you are right about the seretonin aspects as I discovered recently there is more seretonin in the gut than there is in the brain. Seretonin and the amount of it has been linked to depression in research and it makes logical sense to me that if we have absorption problems with our Crohn's then that balance is off and it impacts on us mentally and emotionally too as a result.

I also agree with your thoughts on using as much non-synthetic supplement/support for our body as that is the way it functions best. I guess its a bit like taking a multivit supplement when our body actually is designed to siphon the nutrients we need from our food. The supplement wont have the same impact because again we arent absorbing well but also it contains a set amount of the things we need whereas the body takes what it needs of each vit and mineral from our food each day. OOhhh long winded I hope that made sense! Prescriptions are usually guaranteed also come with side effects even though natural substances do too but less likely to do damage with small amounts.

So yeah makes sense to me. Any other thoughts? Anyone else any thoughts or want to chip in about how they feel?
08-18-2007, 12:27 AM   #5
soupdragon69
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You also mentioned how you watch your skin problem... I agree with you completely on this too.

My skin is flaring the last few days again and when I saw my GP yesterday and we talked about my raised inflammatory markers on my blood tests he sat there and said if he were to hedge his bets he would say my gut was going to kick off again!

We talked about the possibilities of my remicade infusion a few weeks back now wearing off too and am due my next one on Sept 4th. I find it all interesting and will see what my GI says on 24th Sept in clinic. Think we will have to do some tweaking....
08-18-2007, 01:17 AM   #6
Sojourn
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I think depression, self-confidence/esteem, issues are very common with many chronic illnesses and Crohn's is no exception. One thing that it does is forces one to think about oneself a lot which causes many to turn inward. I've often found that one good remedy for depression is to get out of oneself, and to go out and help somebody else at an outreach, church, volunteer, or just as a random act of kindness. I've found that the less I think about myself, the less depressed I am.

Of course, it's not always easy to get out and do things when you're going through all these symptoms, surgeries, etc. which compounds the problem of spending so much time isolated where it is difficult for one not to think a lot about oneself. I'm not saying it's an easy thing to overcome. Being out of work for 2 months, I can say, has effected me mentally and I've gone through many ups and downs. Then I start thinking about the future, what could have been, what would have been, etc. and I have to stop because it doesn't help any. Then there's the financial angle as discussed in another thread not to mention relationships or the lack thereof.
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Last edited by Sojourn; 08-18-2007 at 02:32 AM.
08-18-2007, 06:36 AM   #7
soupdragon69
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I agree having a chronic illness of any kind can lead to low self esteem, depression etc because you fight a daily battle and it can be wearing over time.

Its difficult to go off and do things however if you simply dont have the physical ability to and are normally running round after everyone else anyway as its part of your nature. This can result in a "flat battery" too as a cause if that makes sense so the issue could actually be striking a balance...

"Examining one's navel" or being self focused in other words is not a good thing either from a long term perspective but again its utilising the time to work through some things perhaps?

I still cant seem to get across what I meant at the outset... hmmm... its a feeling of blankness, being totally drained physically to the extent I just literally cant think straight. Its the physical impacting on mental function. Does that make any more sense??

From that over time I would end up "down" because I think lord here we are again fighting uphill and wonder where I am going to get the energy from to get to the top once more.
08-18-2007, 02:00 PM   #8
Sojourn
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soupdragon69 said:
I still cant seem to get across what I meant at the outset... hmmm... its a feeling of blankness, being totally drained physically to the extent I just literally cant think straight. Its the physical impacting on mental function. Does that make any more sense??
That makes sense to me. "Depression" can be a strong word, especially, if one is referring to it in a clinical sense which I don't think you were. Certainly, depression can be a serious thing which requires medication for chemical imbalances and such.

Despite what you're going through, it sounds to me like you have the will to carry on and move forward which a lot of people with depression can't do. I wouldn't exactly use the term "depressed" to describe what I've been going through, maybe discouraged when I think about it too much. It hasn't been as much of the physical aspect affecting my mental state, but I believe if you are worn out physically it can have that effect.
08-18-2007, 03:32 PM   #9
soupdragon69
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Discouraged is a good word Sojourn..

I have been through depression in my early twenties due to family issues beyond my control so know how serious it can be and this isnt it.

I used the word Depression in the title because of a post D Bergy made on another thread and wanted to include these aspects for everyone here.

I know 4mths ago I just got to the stage where I told my GP I really just didnt care anymore and he could put me off work (he knows how much I fight to stay at work and keep as normal a life as possible and hate giving in). His words to me were "you have lost your spark Jan and that isnt like you at all and I want it back". Last Friday he said " look at you now and think back 4mths and you can see vast improvement" which I agreed. We both agreed we didnt want to see me that sick again because physically I just couldnt continue trying to work fulltime and cope with everything else that was going on for me along with getting my head round the Crohns diagnosis and what sort of level it was at along with treatment decisions.

I am just really trying to work out how best to tackle the mental onslaught that I face each time I physically nosedive. I think its almost an inward groaning of here we go again sometimes!

It is probably a case of just working through it as I have always done but recognising earlier when I need to stop and rest etc rather than trying so hard to continue..
08-18-2007, 04:48 PM   #10
Kev
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Hi soup... What you wrote touched me... in so many ways. Depression is one thing, think the nosedives you talk about (which plague me more often than I like to admit) are similar, but different. I think typical, clinical depression is a mental illness, with links to hormonal or chemical changes in the brain, that has effects that can cause a lot of physical effects. I believe what we suffer from is sort of a reverse of that. The physical effects of our illness creates hormonal and chemical imbalances that wrecks havoc with our emotional centres.. I think that is why studies seem to fail to find a definitive link between crohns and textbook depression. I know that when I flare, my emotional stability goes into a tailspin.. I also note similar issues, although not so severe, act as an mental or emotional early warning sign of a pending flare (took me a while to catch onto that, though).
I also notice that there are times... times when I feel so tired, so worn out, that I really don't know what to do or where to turn next. Sometimes think that those are the worst to deal with.. Like, I look around, and get the sense that everyone else in the world is better off than I am... I have to force myself to re-examine the feeling. I mean, all I have to do is think about the rescue miners in Huntington, UT to wipe that thought out. or of the 6 miners they were trying so hard to rescue.
But, when I let myself overlook the 'reality' of my situation.. I get too self focused.
Frinstance.. trying to keep going when I am exhausted. WHY? doing so only makes things worse (per se).. Get run down, get exhausted, tired, can't think or concentrate.. Why not stop and rest? That would be the sensible thing to do. At first I thought it was just stubborn, male pride. Then I slowly realized I'd adopted a 'facade'. Prestended that I was in charge, in control. not my disease. If it wanted me to rest, then I dug in my heels. Refused! I'd show it who was boss. I admit it was a pretty juvenile attitude.. took me a while to wise up. Now, when my disease tells me I'm tired, should rest, I do just that. I don't allow myself to see it as the disease winning, or being in control. No, I see it as me outsmarting my illness, even if it means taking a nap like a little baby, so I can rest up to fight it all the better. Remember, you can lose a few battles and still win the war, right?

anyway, enuff of my ramble. Male/female, stubborn, whatever, any emotion that you care to mention. We have them, the disease doesn't. to fight this to win we need to control/manage our emotions, our mental foibles, rather than trying to delude ourselves that we are in control of those things we can never control. OK?
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08-19-2007, 02:59 AM   #11
soupdragon69
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Good post Kev, I really appreciate your thoughts on this too.

I agree with you on the reverse aspect and our absorption issues. It has helped me that someone else has an idea or some experience of what I am talking about too.

I was talking to a colleague a few weeks back about the nature of the work we both do/did (I had to change jobs last year as just couldnt cope physically). One of the things she said was because we work with (I still do the odd day to "keep my hand in") folk right on the edge of life, on life support etc our own perspective of what "sick" is is skewed. The problem then for us is we only go for help when we literally cant take the pain or stand upright anymore!

I agreed with her and have thought about this off and on since. I have asked my GP, occ health cons and boss to tell me when they think I am on the nosedive so I can try and pull the handbrake on earlier and not end up so sick again. My GP told me last fri as I think I said before the first sniff of a nosedive and I am off work again. I absolutely hate the thought of that but at the end of the day if it works and prevents long term off work then I should give it a go until I get to grips more with what boundaries and limits I have.

I agree we need to rest and its very hard to give in some days. As you say whats a few battles when you can still win the war!
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