We all have our ups and our downs. But even if you’re on top of managing your haemophilia, everyday pressures can creep up on you and knock you off course.
Here are some ways to help you get back on track.
Remember: your mind matters
Your mental health is important – just as important as your physical health.1,2 Mental health problems can be more than just feeling down, they can take over your entire life.1,2 Signs that you might be struggling include low mood, loss of interest in activities you usually enjoy, feeling unable to relax, and trouble sleeping or concentrating.3,4
Share your problem
Talking about your worries can be a great source of emotional relief.3,5 Consider confiding in your partner, a close relative, a trusted friend or someone from the haemophilia care team about what’s on your mind – if they offer support, suggest ways they can help out.
Speak up about your pain
Unexpected bleeds, ongoing pain or a difficult treatment routine could really impact how you feel. If any part of your haemophilia treatment or care is not working for you, speak up and talk with your haemophilia team about improving it.
Challenge your thought process
Sometimes we spiral into patterns of negative thinking that can be difficult to get out of. Mindfulness, the practice of being more aware of ourselves and the world around us, can be of great help.4-6 Reframing your thinking to challenge, or just acknowledge, your negative thoughts is a great start.6
Small steps lead to bigger things
Finding joy and happiness in little things can have a huge impact.4 Whatever works for you – be that going for a walk or cooking your favourite meal – keep it up!
Invest in self-care
Looking after yourself can fall by the wayside if you’re not feeling up to it. Even if exercising and eating well may seem less important, they are an important part of feeling more positive.4,7
Steer clear of unhealthy choices
Although we might turn to unhealthy behaviours to help us cope, relying on substances such as alcohol or drugs to get through hard times can be very harmful.1,2,4,5 If you’re worried this is getting out of control, reach out to a healthcare professional as soon as you can.
Ask for help
Don’t feel you have to face your problems alone. Get the support you need from your haemophilia team – they will help you throughout your journey, including the good days and the bad.
If you feel you need urgent support because of your mental health, reach out to emergency services or a confidential helpline straight away.
References: 1. Walker ER, et al. JAMA Psychiatry. 2015;72(4):334-41. 2. Eaton WW, et al. Epidemiol Rev. 2008;30:1-14. 3. Srivastava A, et al. Haemophilia. 2020 Aug 3. doi: 10.1111/hae.14046. Online ahead of print. 4. Duggal HS. Perm J. 2019;23:18-295. doi: 10.7812/TPP/18-295. Epub 2019 May 31. 5. NICE impact mental health. Available at: https://www.nice.org.uk/Media/Default/About/what-we-do/Into-practice/measuring-uptake/NICEimpact-mental-health.pdf. Accessed: September 2020. 6. Wielgosz J, et al. Annu Rev Clin Psychol. 20197;15:285-316. 7. Pelletier L, et al. Health Promot Chronic Dis Prev Can. 2017;37(5):149-159. doi: 10.24095/hpcdp.37.5.03.