I think there are three main contributors to developing depression while living with RA:
- Constant pain: it is relentless and never easy to relieve
- Chronic, progressive, incurable nature of the disease: it never stops, it will get worse and we still don't know how to cure it
- Invisible illness: no one can see or feel the pain, fatigue, the stress, or the daily difficulties... and sometimes people refuse to believe or support what they can't see
There are two main types of depression:
- Major Depression is a disabling episode that interferes with daily life for at least a two-week period. The most characterizing symptom is thoughts of suicide or attempts to end life. At least five of these symptoms must also be present.
- Persistent Depressive Disorder (also known as dysthymia) is less severe than major depression but has been present for at least two years. Symptoms are similar to major depression but generally include low energy, insomnia/oversleeping and poor appetite/overeating. Stress and irritability are usually present with this form of depression.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
American Psychological Association