Coping & Caring for Your Mental Health

Living with a chronic disease like IgA Nephropathy isn’t easy

It’s not like having a headache, cold or upset stomach that, while unpleasant, will soon pass. Instead, with IgA Nephropathy, you’ll need to: 

  • Spend time learning about it, 
  • Make certain life changes, depending on your kidney function and how you’re feeling; and,
  • Take steps to manage it and protect your kidneys over the course of your lifetime. 

Everyone deals with IgA Nephropathy differently

There’s no question that it can take a toll on your mental health at times. You may be flooded by different feelings – fear, sadness, anxiety, even anger – at various times, especially when you or a loved one are first diagnosed. Finding support and playing an active role in your care is an essential part of managing the condition well and preserving your mental health.

Yet too often the emotional and mental side of living with IgA Nephropathy isn’t talked about or routinely assessed during follow-up health visits. 

Some patients may hesitate to broach the subject, perhaps because of the stigma that continues to surround mental health or not wanting to be a burden or take medical attention away from their kidneys.  

Other people – even those who’ve been living with the condition for a long time – will tell you they struggle sometimes. Some feel crippled with anxiety every time they await their test results, fearing it may show their kidney function has worsened.

Still, we know long-term stress can affect your overall health

For example, chronic stress can raise blood pressure, lead to depression, and make it harder to eat healthy, exercise, and keep up with other things that can help protect your kidneys and manage the condition over the long haul. 

Remember, it’s OK to have big feelings, but talk them through and don’t let them take over.

You may feel overwhelmed sometimes. But try to stay ahead of it. And remember, you’re not alone!

Be sure to speak up and ask for help if you need it.

Learning to recognize the feelings you have and manage them can help you feel better overall. Use the IgA Nephropathy Foundation’s Coping and Self-Care worksheet to help you: 

1: Tune into your mental health and coping and 

2: Broach the topic of coping and your mental well-being with your healthcare provider 

Explore this featured topic section to learn more and find healthy ways to cope and support your mental health and well-being. Many of the things you can do to ease stress will boost your overall health too.

Read on to learn more about 

Mental Health & Common Stressors
Mental Health & Coping Self-Check & Tips 
Questions to Ask & Resources to Help

Coping & Self-Care Worksheet

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