Tips for Coping with the Emotional Side of Lupus

Counseling, Journalling, and Support Groups Can Help

When you’re first diagnosed with lupus, you may hear about medications and stopping inflammation and preventing flares—but you may not hear that lupus can have an emotional effect on you. Living with a chronic condition can make you feel overwhelmed, frustrated, sad, and anxious, but here’s some good news: There are ways to help you cope with those feelings.

As part of your lupus treatment plan, your doctor may recommend ways to help you cope with the emotional side of lupus—because your overall emotional well-being is just as important as your overall physical well-being. For example, he or she may recommend you talk with a therapist or join a support group.

How a Therapist Can Help

Your doctor can recommend a therapist, or ask a friend or family member if they can recommend someone. Having someone to talk to about the effect lupus has on your life is important—and a therapist is there to listen to you.

He or she can help you sort through the emotions and thoughts that come up, such as ‘Because lupus limits how much I can do day-to-day, my life is worthless.’ That certainly isn’t true, but it’s also an understandable response to living with a chronic disease such as lupus.

A therapist can help you confront your negative thoughts, and he or she can also help you deal with any feelings of depression, anxiety, or stress that come up because of lupus.

There are multiple techniques your therapist may use to help you cope with your feelings, and he or she will create a specific therapy plan for you.

An example of a common technique your therapist may use during treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)—a type of talk therapy. CBT includes a mixture of approaches to help you cope with your feelings. Specifically, CBT helps you become aware of your negative thoughts and gives you the tools to cope with those thoughts.

Other Tips for Coping with Lupus

In addition to seeing a therapist, here are some other things you can do to cope with the emotional side of lupus:

Jot down your feelings: Keep a journal to track your emotions. Sometimes, simply writing about how lupus makes you feel—getting out any anger, frustration, or sadness—can help.

Take time to relax: Stress, fatigue, and a lack of energy are common in people with lupus, so make sure you take time to relax throughout your day. Pay attention to what your body is telling you. To help you relax, you can do some deep breathing exercises or read a book.

Seek support: It’s important to understand that you’re not alone—many people deal with lupus. You can connect with others who have lupus by joining a support group. Find one at the Lupus Foundation of America. Also, talk about your feelings with your doctor, family members, and friends.

Read about other ways to deal with lupus in our lifestyle tips for lupus article.

When it comes to lupus, there are several things you can do to maintain your emotional health—from seeing a therapist to joining a support group. Remember, it’s understandable to feel depressed, concerned, and scared—lupus is a lot to deal with. But with the specific coping tools in this article, you have the ability to deal with these feelings.

Updated on: 01/24/13