Living with Lupus can have a huge effect on someone’s mental and emotional well-being. Being diagnosed with a chronic illness brings emotions like grief, fear, anxiety and depression. The uncertainty that comes with being told you now have an illness that has no cure is frightening. I was first diagnosed at 23 and because my uncle has been surviving with Lupus I already was familiar with the disease but I was still terrified. Due to lack of knowledge about Lupus the people around me did not understand what I was going through. I wasn’t willing to share my feelings and kept it bottled inside. I began carrying a weight on my shoulders that would eventually pull me down.
I was able to manage my Lupus for years without being on medications. It wasn’t until I got married to an abusive man that the stress caused my Lupus to really flare up. I experienced physical and emotional abuse for a few years not understanding the emotions I was experiencing was not only mentally draining but also draining to my body. I was constantly in the emergency rooms and hospitals being treated for my Lupus flare ups and consequently other illnesses began to arise thanks to Lupus attacking my organs. With all the constant hospitalizations, abusive marriage, losing my job and independence to my illness, chemo treatments and taking multiple daily medications I was unknowingly spiraling straight into a deep depression. My physical illness quickly became a mental illness as well. Thanks to my lupus flare ups I wasn’t able to physically care for myself let alone my kids. I began losing motivation to do basic tasks. I’d sit in my room in darkness. I remember crying one day praying to God take away my pain, and going to sleep wishing I wouldn’t wake up. It’s not that I didn’t love my kids or my family, it’s that the pain was so intense I knew no other way to make it stop. When I woke up in the morning it’s like an angel said, no Rosa you’re time here isn’t done. My purpose wasn’t fulfilled yet. I can’t tell you exactly what my purpose is but I know I am meant to be on this earth still. Slowly I was making effort to return to my kids, to me, the woman who i used to be. Before Lupus took over. Before I lost my self worth. I learned to give God my pain, my worries, my troubles and trust that He will carry my burdens. I am humbled by my pain and I welcome Gods grace. Yes I still have pain days. Sure, bad things still happen. God said it would happen. But He also said no weapon formed shall prosper. So that’s what I will continue to remember when I have my struggle days. Let go and let God. That was just a chapter of sadness but it is not the conclusion to my story.
In May of 2019 I sat down with my good friend Patty Medina, founder of Hooper Mentality, and we discussed Lupus and Mental Health. I am learning to release my fear of being uncomfortable and so I share this vulnerable post with you all in hopes that if you are struggling with feeling sad, or unworthy, or damaged, insecure..just know that you are not alone. I also want you to know that just because you feel those things does not make them true. You are worthy, you are restored and you are confident. The road to healing is a process, don’t expect to reach it overnight. Don’t try to do it alone. I leave you with this verse from 1 Peters 5:7 Since God cares for you, let him carry all of your burdens.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
Rosadela Durruthy is founder of She’s Got Lupus, a non profit organization aimed to improve the lives of those living with chronic illnesses by advocating for mental health, healthy living and raising awareness.