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How NMO Changed My Perspective on Mental Health

Prior to my NMO diagnosis, I never took my mental health seriously. I was always told by doctors to basically "get over it" and that "things will get better." But they never did.

Mental health misinformation and stigma hurt me

Taking antidepressants wasn’t an option for me because of my mindset at the time. Everyone told me that taking them would make my mental health worse rather than better. And I really didn’t need that. There is a stigma around mental health and needing help from someone or something that’s looked down upon, and it really should not be that way.

Losing hope

I genuinely wish I had taken action to help my mental health way earlier than I already did. My NMO diagnosis truly broke me. I felt like my world had fallen apart, and nothing was going to fix it. I lost all hope for the future and thought life wasn’t worth living. I was going to die anyway.

The "normal" things felt impossible

Being unable to function like a normal person was completely draining. I spent my days and nights crying about my life, barely sleeping, and in constant pain.

That’s when I realized I needed help. This wasn’t something I was going to get over on my own.

Finding support through loved ones

During that time, my family and 3 of my friends were the biggest help and support for me. I was so lucky to have them in my life at such a difficult time. Having your loved ones near you makes these situations slightly more bearable. I spoke to my GP, and they gave me antidepressants. I was so nervous to try them. They took a while to work, but when they finally did, I felt like I was finally getting better.

Support, medication and actionable changes

Now I can say I’ve unlearned some of my negative behaviours. The antidepressants saved my life, and so did my friends and family.

Your - and my - body is a temple!

It is so important to think of yourself before anything else. Your mind and body are precious, and you need to look after them. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health.

Poor mental health doesn't help NMO

Stress, anxiety, and depression all have an effect on your body. It can cause flares and even relapses. You will have bad days, but that doesn’t mean all your progress has gone down the drain.

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Be patient, accept change, love yourself

Life isn’t perfect, and things will get to you. We are all human, after all. All you have to do is prioritize yourself, take breaks if you feel overwhelmed, let go of people that aren’t good for you, find someone trustworthy to speak to, and remember life isn’t in your control. Things will settle. I just have hope.

If you feel down or stressed, speak to someone. The rest of the NMO advocates and I are always here to talk about anything that’s on your mind. That’s what our community is for. This community embraced me with open arms when I had no clue about what my life would turn out to be like with this disease. We are here to do the same for you.

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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 Neuromyelitis-Optica.net 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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