Anxiety and Depression
Feeling anxious and/or depressed about a diagnosis of cystic fibrosis is perfectly normal.
A 2013 study of 6,000 patients and 4,500 caregivers from nine different countries showed the rate of anxiety and depression in adolescents with CF was 25% higher than the average population, and 35% higher amongst caregivers.
Understanding the difference between the two, the triggers and how to manage the feelings will help you and/or the person with CF through the tough times.
Depression is characterised by feeling intensely sad or low for long periods, weeks, months or years.
Anxiety is when anxious feelings (that are a common response to stressful situation) last for prolonged periods of time and exist without any particular reason or cause. It is the most common mental health condition in Australia.
The diagnosis of CF in your child can be a traumatic event and you can read more on the New Diagnosis page.
You can overcome your anxiety and depression, and there is plenty of help available to you along the way. BeyondBlue is a good first stop, and your GP can help you find professional help.
That’s not to say you will be cured, they may return, but you will be better equipped to manage the symptoms by then. Admitting that your feelings are more than just stress and sadness is the best first step. And it’s probably fair to say that everyone with CF will at some time feel anxious and/or depressed.
Exercise, eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, relaxing and participating in fun activities are good ways to help chronic stress. So are mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction has been recommended by a number of people with CF, as well others who suffer from chronic pain, addiction, anxiety and depression. Lots has been written about the benefits of mindfulness and programs are not offered in hospitals and community centres around Australia.
It’s been proven that the structure of the brain can change with focused mindfulness practice; the areas of the brain associated with empathy, emotions and compassion grow, while areas involved with anxiety and stress shrink. Therefore it’s believed mindfulness helps foster emotional balance and self-compassion in stressful times.
Excellent resource for understanding anxiety and depression. They also have a 24/7 support phone line: 1300 22 46 36 and can help you through tough times.
Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy®
Includes workbooks, guided meditations and community based programs.
Carly-Jay is an adult with CF from Queensland talks about how she manages extreme stress.
Free web and app based guided meditations for all ages.
Sick and happy®
“Sick and happy” includes great articles on developing emotional resilience.