It is natural to feel sad or blue from time to time. But if sadness fills most of your days and has lasted longer than a couple of weeks, you may have depression. Depression is the most common emotional result of living with chronic pain. Depression is not caused by the pain itself. Instead, you may become depressed because of the disabling impact of the pain. If your chronic pain condition interferes with your ability to work, socialize, raise your family, or enjoy leisure activities, you may feel depressed to some degree.
To learn more about the symptoms of depression and get information about treatment, visit the following websites:
The following pages in this section provide strategies to help you manage your pain and in turn improve your mood:
- Relaxation Techniques. Make sure to practice these daily.
- "5 P's" of Pain Management. This page gives five easy tips for controlling your pain.
- Exercise. Regular physical activity can improve both pain and mood.
- Cognitive Restructuring. Negative thinking can often make pain worse. This page shows you how to challenge your negative thinking.
- Pleasurable Activities. This page talks about the importance of doing things you enjoy as this can help distract you from the pain, keep you active and improve your mood.
- Identifying Personal Values. This page helps you re-evaluate what is important to you and therefore what you want to spend your energy on.
Some words of caution
Self-help resources may be all you need to help you better manage your depressed mood. However, if you have been depressed for more than a few weeks or if you are feeling hopeless, you should consult a psychologist or your family physician for help. Also see a psychologist or your physician if you have been sleeping or eating more or less than usual. If you are having thoughts of suicide, talk to your family physician immediately - professional assistance is a must.