Debra Bryant – The Secret Symptoms
Debra was diagnosed with blood clots about six years ago and has been a health advocate ever since. She is an Administrator of a Facebook Private Peer Support Group named Blood Clots: Surviving A Silent Killer, and a WEGO Health Patient Leader. You can also find her on Instagram and Twitter under MTSurvivorMama. This post was originally shared on her blog, MT Survivor Mama.
Blood clots can have a wide variety of effects on those diagnosed, both physically and mentally. Early on in the diagnosis and treatment the patient, their doctor(s), and loved ones are primarily focused on the physical effects of blood clots. You’re so busy researching treatment options and specialists that you aren’t taking time to notice the effects that the blood clots are having on your mental health.
When I was first diagnosed with blood clots, I was early into my second pregnancy. The pain and swelling were so severe that I could barely stand, let alone walk. I was placed on strict bed rest for the duration of the pregnancy and was eventually forced to go onto disability due to the long-term effects of blood clots. Having to stop working and not being able to continue as usual with my active and social life took a huge toll on my self-esteem and without realizing it, I had slipped into a deep depression. I mustered up the strength to ask my primary physician for help dealing with my feelings and emotions. He was helpful with a prescription for an antidepressant, but I still felt alone and useless. For a long time, I felt like a burden on my family and I really felt like I was letting my teenage daughter down.
I’ve been a blood clot survivor for a little over 6 years and it wasn’t until earlier this year that I realized I should have pushed my doctors harder about seeing a psychologist as I did about seeing specialists for my blood clots. It’s become clearer to me this year since my physical health issues are now a little more stabilized, that I should have focused on my mental health sooner. I realized that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, but rather proof of my inner strength and determination to thrive in my life after blood clots.
If you’re finding it difficult to talk about your feelings, to get out of the house, or even to get up in the morning then you should really consider talking to a psychologist or therapist that specializes in helping cope with chronic health issues. It’s so important to learn how to better manage stressful and scary situations, like hospital stays or even a recurrence of blood clots, which can greatly increase your anxiety and depression. I recommend looking at anxiety and depression as the secret symptoms of blood clots, and acknowledging that they deserve the absolute best treatment available just like your physical health. Take the time to care about ALL Of YOU, because YOU MATTER.