Dealing with Depression and Anxiety in CF

Last updated: February 2022

Cystic fibrosis (CF) brings its own sets of challenges that are unique to us as patients. I know everybody deals with depression and anxiety in their own ways, and have those feelings brought up for many different reasons.

CF is and will always be a roller coaster ride of emotional moments and different health stages. In my own personal journey with CF, I have found myself in many different emotional stages and things that I still deal with to this day.

Looming sense of depression and anxiety

One of the things I deal with is mentally coming to grips that I might die someday. Maybe sooner rather then later but I know it’s a looming sense of anxiety that I get often. I shouldn’t be thinking about death as often as I do but I am not going to lie, I think about it every day. Especially on my bad days when I am extra sick from my normal “sick”.

I can not help it and I wish I could stop, but it is there in my mind. And I get depressed because CF isolates me in a way where I get lonely. I have a wonderful family and husband, but lonely in the sense that I have no one to talk to about any of this.

People who can relate

I had two friends with CF that I met online, and they filled that void because I had people who could relate. Who went through the same things I did. People who I could make jokes with that would make other people uncomfortable.

When they passed away, I felt guilty for being alive. That made me more depressed because I hid my sadness inside. I would cry when I was alone. For a very long time their deaths still hurt me inside because I lost my best friends. The two people who I could talk to were gone and it broke me inside.

I learned to slowly get out of my grief and my head. Now I honor them on their birthdays and the anniversary of their passing with balloons, attached with letters I write them. It brings me peace, and helps me honor our friendship that I still hold dear to my heart.

When treatment options shrink

I got anxiety when the doctor told me that I became immune to another antibiotic, which of course limits my treatments for future lung infections. That scares me because it means that my treatment options shrink. When they shrink you cannot do anything about it. You have to find other options, or possibly face transplant when you get sicker. That gives me more anxiety because I just want to be strong as long as possible and survive.

I get tired of surviving honestly, because I want to wake up one day and not think about survival. I just want to live. To be able to walk and not be exhausted or super congested. I just want to be like everyone else - but that is not my life and that’s okay.

Finding a light

Life with CF is all I’ve ever known and it will be all I ever know. But I can make the best of it and try to do my best to be positive. Through the moments that are dark and sad and just awful, I am thankful when I can find a light somewhere in that darkness and smile again.

Have you experienced depression and/or anxiety as part of living with CF? Share with us in the comments or submit a story!

If you are struggling or feeling overwhelmed, here is a list of general resources that may help.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Cystic-Fibrosis.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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