MPN stands for myeloproliferative neoplasms, a group of rare blood cancers that affect the production of blood cells in the bone marrow. MPN patients often face physical challenges such as fatigue, pain, itching, and increased risk of infections and bleeding. They also must cope with emotional and psychological issues such as depression and anxiety.
Depression and anxiety are common among MPN patients, affecting their quality of life and well-being. Depression is a mood disorder that causes persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest in activities. Anxiety is a feeling of nervousness, fear, or worry that interferes with daily functioning. Both depression and anxiety can affect MPN patients' ability to adhere to treatment, communicate with their healthcare team, and cope with their condition.
However, depression and anxiety are not inevitable consequences of having MPN. There are ways that MPN patients can lead with depression and anxiety and manage their mental health. Here are some tips:
Seek professional help. If you are experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety that last for more than two weeks or interfere with your daily life, you should consult your doctor or a mental health professional. They can diagnose your condition and offer you appropriate treatment options such as medication, psychotherapy, or both. Treatment can help you reduce your distress and improve your mood and functioning.
Join a support group. Connecting with other MPN patients who understand what you are going through can provide you with emotional support, information, and coping strategies. You can join a local or online support group where you can share your feelings, experiences, and challenges with others who can relate and empathize. You can also learn from their stories and insights and get encouragement and advice.
Practice self-care. Taking care of yourself physically and emotionally can help you cope with depression and anxiety. You should try to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating well, sleeping enough, exercising regularly, and avoiding alcohol and tobacco. You should also engage in activities that make you happy and relaxed, such as hobbies, meditation, music, or reading. You should also set realistic goals and expectations for yourself and celebrate your achievements.
Seek social support. Having a strong network of family and friends who care about you can help you deal with depression and anxiety. You should reach out to them when you need help or just want to talk. You should also accept their offers of assistance or companionship. You should not isolate yourself or feel guilty for asking for support. You should also try to maintain your social life and participate in activities that you enjoy with others.
Educate yourself. Learning more about MPN and its treatment can help you feel more in control and less anxious about your condition. You should ask your doctor or nurse any questions you have about your diagnosis, prognosis, treatment options, side effects, or complications. You should also seek reliable sources of information such as websites, books, or pamphlets that provide accurate and up-to-date information about MPN. You should avoid sources that are misleading, sensationalized, or biased.
Depression and anxiety are common but treatable conditions that can affect MPN patients' quality of life. By seeking professional help, joining a support group, practicing self-care, seeking social support, and educating yourself, you can lead with depression and anxiety and improve your mental health.