Sorting Through Emotions: Anxiety, Guilt, Depression — and Joy

Rebecca Lidenberg avatar

by Rebecca Lidenberg |

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I’ve been struggling to come up with an idea for this column. Or rather, I’ve been struggling to narrow it down to one idea. My thoughts lately have been jumbled and scattered. I’ve been jumpy and anxious. So, this will focus on lots of emotions.

Guilt. Guilt is a major emotion of the chronically ill. The feelings of, “I can’t do that,” or, “I’m letting everyone down,” are harsh and real. You feel like a burden. Friends, I am here to remind you that you are a treasure. To your family, your friends, and whatever higher power you claim. You are valued and loved. Your limitations do not define who you are.

Anxiety. Ooh, baby. This world is unpredictable, and sometimes that unpredictability or fear can send us into anxious messes. I deal with anxiety on a daily basis. Sometimes I cry all day. Other times I am furious at nothing. Other times I feel sick to my stomach, and I feel like my heart is shrinking into a raisin. In times like this, it is important to remember that you have survived 100% of your anxiety-ridden moments. Every second you thought, “I cannot possibly survive this,” You did. You did it. You can keep doing it. Take things in small steps, one tiny shuffle at a time.

Depression. My loves, we are dealing with heavy stuff. Terminal illnesses, failing bodies, disappointments. Your brain has stopped producing large amounts of dopamine and serotonin. It’s focusing all its energy on keeping your body alive. Things may seem bleak and dark and impossible. In times like this, go to your doctor. Please talk to a professional. Sometimes these things are just bigger than us. Treat yourself with the utmost care, and take medication if it’s prescribed. And remember: It gets better. Things will not be like this always.

Joy. You will begin to find joy in the small things. Cups of coffee, warm blankets, sunsets. You’ll realize that these things are precious and beautiful and special. It sounds so cliché and cheesy, but it’s true.

Take all these emotions in stride. One is not more important than the other. One may seem bigger at times, but dig deep, and remember you are a vast creature. And, in times of despair, I lean on this quote: “The moment you realize your bones are made of the same dust as the planets, your lungs are breathing the same air as the migrating butterflies, and your blood is pumping because of the love and care of thousands, is when you realize you are not as broken as you think you are. You are full of the world.”


Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.


Andrea Rice avatar

Andrea Rice

Enjoy reading little bits of information here and there. Had no idea this illness affects so many people because I have never heard of it before now.

Grateful to cardiologist met while in hospital, he's young about 40's and is compassionate and very caring to how I'm doing and always makes me feel better. Learned because of a family history of blood clots this is why I was recently diagnosed with PH. Now hopefully I can find a support group for this illness near where I live so I can go and be supported and give support to others. Continue to send me little bits worth reading.


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