I have written about mental health before but felt I needed to touch on the subject again. Some for your reading pleasure but mainly for my wellbeing. My last post was about a Study from the University of Cincinnati as it followed a patient’s long-term health after having pancreatic surgery. At 10 years out after surgery, 4 out of 10 patients had died. The study listed that people died from infection, cancer, cardiovascular problems, diabetes, suicide and so on. The aftermath of pancreatic disease likely contributed to those problems. I started thinking about a reason that wasn’t listed. What about people who just plain gave up? Patients who didn’t commit suicide but said enough is enough and mentally quit. They stopped eating or taking supplements, maybe stopped taking medication, or stopped taking treatments of some sort. They might become isolated and won’t go out or engage in social activities. These people are physically depleted and mentally defeated. They give up trying to live anymore and continue to decline until death.
After years of being sick they are tired of –
– mental fog
-unable to work
-not keeping the housework up
-being socially awkward
-feeling like a failure or burden
-feeling abandoned by doctors
-being in the hospital
-fighting for good care
or any number of things.
I didn’t see a category for people who just gave up. I know a few people who gave up and died soon after. A couple of them were likely included in the UC study. I wonder what category they were listed under? What is the breaking point for people to just give up? I’m sure it is different for everyone depending on many of the reasons listed above. A study from 2018 found that people can die from giving up. Yes, People Can Die From Giving Up on Life (usnews.com)
I recently watched a few news stories and another TV show on college athletes who commit suicide. In most cases nobody knew they were depressed let alone suicidal. Most were excellent students and excelled in sports. They didn’t have any serious physical health conditions. A common theme with them however seemed to be how negative they were on themselves. If they made a mistake in the classroom or in their sport, they had very negative images of themselves. Many felt pressure or bullied from multiple people like coaches, family, teammates or social media. They would hide the thoughts and stress they were feeling. They would not seek help because of the stigma attached to mental health. Often people who are depressed are very good at hiding the depression. Putting on the mask as I say. https://dspracklen.wordpress.com/2019/02/12/the-mask/
Family and friends get the impression that everything is going great for the person and don’t suspect anything. Maybe they wonder about it but don’t ask because of the mask one puts on.
The large majority of doctors, nurses and councilors do not have a good understanding of the connection between pancreatic disease, pain and mental health. I have mentioned before that I think people when talking with their doctor, or councilors are not always truthful. Being labeled a drug seeker, alcoholic or other is an all too often problem. Mention the wrong word (suicide) and you will end up going to the hospital for evaluation for admission to the mental health wing. Been there done that. When asked if I thought about suicide, I said yes it had crossed my mind but no intention to do it. I was given 2 choices, go to the hospital willingly for evaluation or be escorted by the police. I was just being honest. If I can’t speak honestly to my councilor without them freaking out, what good is it? Who can I trust with my deepest memories and thoughts if I’m truthful about what I think? Sometimes digging up old memories isn’t the best thing to do?
I’m trying to write more again and post my blogs for others to read. Writing has been a way for me to vent and get out some frustration while helping others learn about the issues involved with pancreatitis and chronic illness. I know only a handful of people read my blogs which is OK. Sometimes I feel stupid sharing my struggles at my age. I get my therapy writing and hopefully others can learn or know they are not alone in their fight. This is made harder because of difficulty concentrating. I’m going to work on writing about things that involve my everyday world in a good way. Somedays it is very difficult to see the sun though the clouds, but it is there. I must be careful because that is one of the ways I use a mask when things are not so well. Getting up some mornings is extremely difficult while trying to convince myself that good things are going to happen. I am cautiously planning a few things to do this summer. I did the same last year and almost everything was derailed by two problems and three surgeries. I spent most of the time recovering.
Mental health is certainly a much needed and appropriate treatment for many people, myself included. I encourage anyone who has depression, anxiety or thoughts of suicide to seek counseling. I still struggle with depression and anxiety but have learned how to deal with it. Most of the time I’m successful in using the tools I have learned to keep it in check. It isn’t always easy.