Dealing with a chronic illness such as scoliosis is already devastating for most teens. But with the condition accompanied by teen mental health and emotional struggle, the whole experience can become a total disaster.
Depression In Silence
Teenagers dealing with depression often talk about how they feel stuck in a situation that locks them alone in a specific area. They compared it to a maze that is impossible to get out of. Often, they discuss their thoughts and feelings with others, but they can’t genuinely get the help they need because they lack the ability to trust. Eventually, they begin to like the dark place they are in, and that’s quite alarming because it would be difficult to help them in that critical state.
A lot of teenagers do not have that ideal support. Often, they are faced with individuals unaware of their condition that gets confused whenever they show unusual behaviors. Usually, these people dismiss and ignore their situation, thus making it worse. It becomes more difficult for them to seek assistance. They become more confused, lonely, and devastated.
How To Know If People Don’t Understand The Situation?
Not Letting Teens Seek Professional Help
Teenagers coming to terms with their mental health disorder and realizing they are currently unsupported by the people they trust can negatively impact recovery. It ruins their remaining hope of getting better. Since it takes a lot of courage and strength to deal with a mental illness, teenagers not given an opportunity to seek medical treatment or professional advice might handle it differently. It can extremely cause unfortunate consequences and may result in suicide or self-harm.
Telling Teens, It’s Nothing, And They Are Fine
One thing that ruins teenagers’ ability to engage and trust the people around them is when they try to reach out, and these people shut them down. Teenagers might subtly explain or show their emotional and mental crisis, but when the people around them do not care and insist they are fine, teens may feel the need to invalidate the negative emotions. As a result, they will start feeding their minds with depleting thoughts and negatively encouraging themselves that what they are dealing with is nothing and does not require attention.
Considering The Condition As An Act Of Rebellion
People who don’t understand the situation often tell teens that they only use their mental condition to act out the way they want. Most individuals unfamiliar with the signs and symptoms of depression often see it as a form of rebellion. They do not take teen depression seriously. These unbelievable people are using teenagers’ struggles to convince others that they are just kids seeking attention. It creates a long-term effect as teens would have problems with isolation, alcohol and drug abuse, self-harm, bullying, and other self-destructive behaviors.
Starting To Make A Joke Out Of It
Most times, people do not care enough to understand a situation. And when mental health is a concern, they often make fun of or joke about it because there’s not enough evidence to convince them that it is currently on the teenagers’ plate. It is entirely dangerous because it leaves teens with serious and untreated mental health disorders. It’s more likely to spiral into something that hurts the kids and other people. The idea of joking about other people’s mental disorders and using them for entertainment can cause teens to build resentment that can damage connections and relationships.
Having A Hard Time Adjusting To The Changes
Teenagers struggling with depression may view the world differently. They might not care about themselves or not engage with peers anymore. They may even hate the things they once loved. When people around them feel upset about the changes and start blaming the teens for making it difficult for them to adjust, they are not worthy of being around. They will only make the teenagers’ depression even worse. These people won’t compromise as they only want to direct attention to themselves and make the whole situation about them. It’s sad because it leaves depressed teens unsupported.
Not Wanting To Learn About The Condition
Depressed teenagers choose not to seek professional help because not everyone around them is willing to engage and learn about their condition. These individuals are often hands-off in assisting. Perhaps that is because they do not want to carry the burden of thinking about how to help their loved ones and do not want to suffer the way their kids do. A selfish act as it is. They do not want to acknowledge that they need a better understanding of the situation because mental health disorder is imagination and not their teens’ reality.
Sadly, some teens feel unsupported when all they wanted was help from the people around them.
I was always a victim of bullying at school. Some kids used to think that I was a deformed human being due to my scoliosis. However, I didn’t pay too much attention to what they were saying; it kind of sucks that I have to deal with them every day emotionally. At times, I get tired of trying to explain to these individuals what my condition is. Others are seemed open and aware of it. At the same time, few don’t want to educate themselves. I am not comfortable with other people’s help, so I would rather isolate myself most of the time. I believe that my troubles are mine and alone.
Honestly, as much as I want to stay positive and just let it go, I somehow feel trapped. My whole life, I had to deal with different people who didn’t seem to care about what I was going through. And the worse part of that is I am beginning to believe that what everybody thinks of me is my reality. But fortunately, after talking to my therapist, she said I shouldn’t feel bad about my condition. My healthcare provider asked me to examine my mental and emotional state because she thinks I might be too hard on myself. Here’s how she confidently managed to identify that.
I Always Allow People To Bully Me – There is nothing much I can do with my current condition. I don’t see myself in such positive light. Perhaps that is the reason why I sometimes spit out some stupid statements such as “I am not worthy of living.” I allowed people to constantly bully me because I didn’t think that my feelings would matter. I hold on to this mentality that I don’t deserve to be friends with anyone at school because soon after, I know they will leave me. It is weird, but I just let others say mean things to me because that’s what I am used to. Besides, what they are saying is sometimes partially true, like “You’re ugly,” “You look disgusting,” “You look like you struggled your whole life with scoliosis” Surely, those are hurtful words, but I know deep down those are the truth I need to live with.
I Neglect Taking Care Of Myself – My therapist said that I possibly hate myself because I neglect to take care of it. I could deny it immediately because I wouldn’t consider teen counseling and therapy if I had bad blood between myself. However, when I think of it, the habits I do and my lifestyle can tell otherwise. With the anxiety and emotional distraught caused by some people around me who used to view my physical condition negatively, I can’t help but lose focus. I admit I don’t sleep well, eat right, and do not exert any effort to look nice for myself. I already forgot how to smile and genuinely make myself happy. I refuse to pamper myself because soon enough, others would immediately cut that pleasant feeling I give to myself.
I Don’t Acknowledge My Achievements – I don’t brag, but I know I am intelligent. I am good at Math, and I am probably one of the most articulate students in our class. But unfortunately, I do not feel proud about it. And no matter how far I often made it to the top, and despite my ability to single-handedly accomplish things, I still feel not worthy enough. I grapple with feelings of self-loathing because I am dealing with a physical condition that takes away my confidence. Don’t get me wrong, I do not self-sabotage, and I am not planning to do it ever. However, I still hold onto the negative view of myself. I am aware of my skills, but I can’t find the right courage to appreciate myself. I would rather not expose myself to avoid becoming a constant target of physical, emotional, and mental torture.
I Am My Own Worst Enemy – I often pressure myself to excel at something due to my scoliosis. It sometimes suffocates me because I find it unnecessary for my mental and emotional health. I dislike my current self, which is why I can probably say tons of negative things about myself. Tearing myself down has become a daily habit, and I often stick to the insecurities inside of my head. I am quick to blame myself for every bad thing happening, and I take all the responsibility even if it is not my fault. I feel hate towards myself whenever things go wrong because I believe it is all because of me. I often criticize myself for every bit of mistake I make because that’s what people say. Every time I look in the mirror, all I see is a reflection of a girl who has scoliosis, which is unworthy of love, care, and attention. As a teen, it is important to take care of your teen mental health, talk to a professional if you need help.
I had been training as a gymnast for as long as I could remember, and each day I loved it more and more. The feeling of executing perfect moves on the mats was exhilarating, especially when I saw my coaches’ faces light up with pride at my achievements. Every time I won a competition, they would say to me, “How can someone look so sweet and fierce on the mat?” They didn’t know I was having issues with depression.
I Lived And Breathed For Competition
The competitions were always fun but also nerve-wracking. Every time before going onstage to compete, butterflies fluttered in my stomach, and my heart raced faster than usual. But no matter how scared or anxious I felt beforehand, when the music started playing, and it was time to show off all of my hard work – nothing else mattered anymore except giving an unforgettable performance.
I Dress To Kill…On The Mat
My favorite part about being a gymnast was not only competing but also dressing up for it. From applying makeup that matched perfectly with my leotard’s colors to picking out accessories like hairpins or bows – getting ready for meets was almost like preparing for a fashion show! It made me feel glamorous yet powerful, which motivated me even further during performances.
Gymnastics has become such an integral part of who I am today: from making new friends to learning valuable life lessons along the way – being able to do something that brings me joy is truly a blessing!
A Glitch In My Plans
Despite the glitz and glam that came with gymnastics, it was no different from other sports in training difficulty. Every morning, I had to stretch all my limbs to stay as flexible as possible, even when there was no competition. If I had to compete, I would have to wake up earlier than everybody, head to the gym for an hour, go to school, do my homework, and train for two to four hours after that. I managed to juggle my activities easily when I was still in elementary school, although things became challenging as the years passed by.
It came to the point where I had to be homeschooled for half a year as I started competing out of state in middle school. What little I got to rest, I had to spend half of it studying. More than once, I cried to my parents out of exhaustion and wanted to quit school to focus on gymnastics, but they said that I needed a fallback plan. “Sports is not a lifetime job. While it’s great to compete as much as you can now, there will come a time when you’ll need to retire,” Dad said.
When I heard that, I laughed. Though I knew that my father only spoke the truth, I was only 16 years old then – I thought I still had a decade to become a legendary gymnast. That’s what I had been aiming for all this time; that’s why I had been pushing my body to the limit whenever I trained and competed.
Then Life Threw A Curved Ball At Me
Unfortunately, during an executive checkup, the doctor saw a slight curvature in my spine. It was not too prominent at the time, but the doctor advised me to avoid training too much. I did not speak back then, though I was screaming in my head. How could I tell my coaches to lessen my activities when we were on a roll at the time? I had many competitions lined up, and everyone counted on me to bring home medals and trophies.
It Was All Downhill From There
As stubborn as I was, I did not listen to the doctor. After several months, I woke up with a painful back, and my parents took me to the nearest hospital emergency room. Eventually, I also felt that something was wrong whenever I stood up straight, so I asked my parents to take me to the doctor again. That’s when the doctor told me that I had scoliosis. It was what was causing the chronic pain in my back. While the news shook me, I was not prepared for my parents’ mutual decision to make me retire at 16 years old.
When The Lights Went Out
Of course, I could not disagree with Mom and Dad. They were right – my health was more important than anything. Despite that, I could not help but feel sad about it. My entire career had already been mapped out years ago. I was always a strong competitor, so my coaches believed that I could hold world records in no time. But then, scoliosis came into the picture and derailed everything.
I felt lost and unmotivated to do anything for a while after that. My parents did not know about it until much later, but I often came home past 8 p.m. and told them that I already ate with my friends. In reality, I merely stayed at the park and stared into nothing until the sky went dark. I had always been slim, so they did not notice that I had lost a little weight from my appetite loss. Some days, I would lie to my parents about feeling ill to avoid going to school.
I did not think much about my emotional and physical symptoms until I read an article about clinical depression. I ticked off most – if not all – the symptoms, making me believe that I had a mental disorder.
What Happened Next
The day I found out about my scoliosis was the most devastating of my life. It felt like all of my dreams were crumbling around me, and I had no idea what to do next. One thing was for certain – going to the gym would never be the same again.
For years I had been pushing myself harder than anyone else at our local gymnastics club, always striving for excellence in each routine that I performed. But now, this condition threatened to put an end to all of that progress. How could I ever compete on a global stage if something as simple as standing upright became impossible?
Although it was difficult at first, eventually, I accepted that things weren’t going to be quite the same anymore; but instead of letting it stop me from achieving greatness, it only pushed me even further towards success. With every step forward came a newfound appreciation for how far I’d come in such a short amount of time – something which helped keep me motivated when times got tough or when fear began creeping into my thoughts.
After meeting with a doctor about some back pain that had been bothering me for months, she informed us that I had scoliosis – a condition where my spine curved abnormally from side to side instead of remaining straight up and down – which meant there were risks associated with continuing to compete at such high levels given the extreme physical demands placed on gymnasts’ bodies during competition.
My mom and dad decided it would be best if we retired from competitive gymnastics altogether; although this news broke my heart into pieces, ultimately, they were right: It just wasn’t safe anymore for me to continue competing professionally, given how severe my scoliosis was becoming. So while others around me continued chasing their dreams of Olympic glory, all of mine were put on hold indefinitely as we came up with alternative plans moving forward; although nothing could replace what was lost due to this diagnosis or change what happened next in life’s journey, eventually over time things began looking up once more as we adapted our goals accordingly towards something attainable given our new circumstances.
Is It Viable To Diagnose Yourself With Depression?
It is impossible to diagnose yourself with depression, considering you are not trained to do so. This is true even if you show some depressive symptoms. The best thing you can do is download a screening self-test and check which depression symptoms you possibly have. But then again, that is nothing compared to booking an appointment with a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health professional and letting the expert assess your condition. Only a qualified healthcare professional can accurately diagnose depression.
What Are The Chances Of Getting Diagnosed With The Mental Health Condition?
In reality, everyone can experience depression, just as anyone can have a mood disorder. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that an estimated 280 million individuals worldwide suffer from depression. This mental illness does not even choose what age it manifests, considering kids diagnosed with depression. However, your chances of getting depressed increase if:
You have a direct relative with depression.
You have a pre-existing mental disorder that makes you feel sad and lonely all the time.
You have dealt with some form of abuse, and nothing seems to help you get over it.
You have acquired a new physical illness, but you cannot accept it.
What Is The Highest Cause Of Depression?
Genetics is perhaps the highest cause of the mental health condition. Studies reveal that it covers 40% of the problem – a percentage that becomes more probable if depression has been detected in your parents, siblings, and other direct relatives. The remaining 60% can then be divided into abuse, stress, peer pressure, low self-esteem, and various environmental factors.
How Does The Mental Illness Affect Synapses?
Depression affects neural synapses by technically cutting them off and giving them no chance to regrow. The longer you don’t treat depression, the more synapses will most likely get destroyed. The only way to reverse this problem is by taking antidepressants or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. These would tremendously help calm your nerves and prevent you from having severe or manic depression with psychosis symptoms.
Is School The Cause Of Depression?
Yes, school can trigger depression for some people – particularly students. This issue is not prevalent among bullied individuals alone. In reality, even high-achieving students tend to get depressed because of academic pressure. They have severe depression or major depressive disorder as their neural connections start to die and cause short-term memory and forgetfulness.
How Do I Know If I’m Bipolar?
Bipolar disorder is one of the trickiest mood disorders to diagnose, considering you may keep on experiencing symptoms of depression and mania. Still, if you are looking for the early signs of bipolar disorder, here they are:
You do not merely feel down. Instead, you cannot sleep, or you oversleep, lose interest in everything you used to enjoy, feel sluggish, and are unable to concentrate.
Some days, you feel like you will never run out of energy. You want to do everything at once or be everywhere at once. Even if you experience failure, you shake it off and move on to the next adventure.
Dealing with manic symptoms may make you happy at first, but you will eventually feel out of control. While you may know that you should not do something, you still do it. Because of these complexities, treating depression can definitely be difficult.
Is It Okay To Self-Diagnose Anxiety?
No, it is not okay to self-diagnose anxiety. Self-tests exist so that individuals can assess their likelihood of having a specific mental disorder with mild, moderate, or severe symptoms. However, considering you are neither a psychologist nor a psychiatrist, you can’t determine your condition or how severe it may be.
Can You Self-Diagnose A Mental Illness?
Technically, there are many screening self-tests that you can consult if you want to guarantee that you have a mental illness before contacting a psychiatrist or psychologist. These typically come in the form of questionnaires or checklists, and the more items you tick off, the higher your chances of having a psychological condition.
Despite self-tests, many mental health professionals discourage people from trying them, considering it can trivialize the disorder or cause depression relapse. Others tend to avoid getting an official diagnosis as they believe they already know what’s happening to them.
Who Is At The Most Significant Risk For This Mental Condition?
A young female adult has the highest chance of getting what’s called major depressive disorder than anyone. In truth, studies reveal that females are twice more likely than males to get depressed. Though more research must be conducted regarding the matter, it may have something to do with the fact that men can compartmentalize their thoughts while women cannot.
Which Age Group Has The Highest Rate Of This Mental Health Condition?
The young adult group has the highest depression rate. This ranges from 18 to 25 years old, and some of these youngsters suffer from the worst types of depression, including psychotic depression.
Assuming you wonder why young adults are more prone to getting depressed than others, there are many possible reasons for that, such as:
Young adults have a twisted standard of beauty in their minds, no thanks to the physical enhancements that they may have seen on TV personalities.
Young adults are dealing with more stress than they admit. Stress is one of the commonly known trigger factors for various mental disorders, including depression.
Young adults have experienced irreversible life changes. For instance, their parents may have divorced, failed to enter their dream college, etc.
What Is The Primary Cause Of This Mental Health Issue?
There is no primary cause of depression because that will imply that one cause is more prevalent than the other. In reality, depression results from various causes acting together, such as genetics or family history, stressful events, pre-existing psychological disorders, etc. Despite that, studies suggest that if you have a family member with depression, there is a high likelihood that you or another close relative will get diagnosed with it too.
General Facts About The Mental Health Condition
Which Country Has The Highest Depression Rate?
China has been reported to have the highest depression rate globally, considering more than 100 million individuals were affected by mental disorders in 2016. However, the problem is that not all of them have received a diagnosis, so their depression is left untreated. That’s one reason China has seen an increase in the number of suicide cases in the country.
Does The Mental Health Issue Count As A Disability?
Yes, depression counts as a disability. The more severe it gets, the more it prevents you from living naturally and doing your daily tasks. However, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not recognize a mild form of depression. Depression symptoms can range from mild to severe, and the ADA’s recognition largely depends on the severity and impact of these symptoms on daily life.
What Part Of The Brain Causes This Mental Health Problem?
The changes in the brain’s three vital parts – the amygdala, hippocampus, and hypothalamus – cause depression. After all, most types of depression begin with a decrease in a person’s serotonin levels. When that happens, the hippocampus fills the void with cortisol, the stress hormone. Instead of helping, though, it makes matters worse; hence, it makes depression worse.
As if that is not enough, the oxygen supply in the brain decreases, causing inflammation. The longer there is no oxygen in the brain, the more neural connections will die. Because of that, people develop short-term memory loss and mood swings, which are also common symptoms of depression.
What Are Some Pertinent Details You Need To Know About Depression?
As a mental health disorder, depression comes with a plethora of symptoms, from the feeling of intense sadness, low energy, loss of appetite, changes in sleeping patterns, and difficulty concentrating to thoughts of emptiness, worthlessness, and even guilt. The combinations of these emotions vary from person to person, but one thing is common; depression significantly impacts a person’s life, relationships, and overall well-being.
Like most mental health issues, depression is caused by a combination of various factors, ranging from genetic, environmental, and psychological factors, etc. Interestingly, it affects people with depression of all ages, races, social statuses, and backgrounds.
Treatment for depression also varies from one person to another. Usually, it involves a combination of therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. But for the most part, the treatment plan is personalized for the exact needs and preferences of the individual. It is crucial to seek professional help for proper diagnosis and treatment plans for this mental health condition.
How Is A Person Evaluated For This Mental Health Issue?
Only qualified healthcare professionals can properly diagnose a person for depression. Primary care providers, psychologists, and psychiatrists can diagnose this mental health condition. They often employ combinations of diagnostic methods for thorough assessments, which include a detailed discussion of the person’s symptoms of depression, medical history, and family background in mental health conditions.
Often, clinicians use standardized questionnaires or scales such as the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) to properly assess the severity of the depression symptoms. In some cases, they will have to perform physical examinations and laboratory tests (blood tests) to help rule out any underlying medical conditions that could be contributing to the symptoms.
The evaluation process for the condition involves duration, intensity, and impact of symptoms on one’s life. Thus, it is crucial for people to experience depression to open up and be completely honest in answering these questions during the assessment to accurately diagnose their case and get an appropriate treatment plan.
What Are The Most Common Triggers For Depression?
Causes and triggers for depression differ from one person to another. Some of the most common triggers are significant life events such as financial difficulties, job loss, relationship problems, major life transitions, and the loss of interest in a loved one. Moreover, trauma, abuse, and chronic stress can also contribute to the development of depression, which may sometimes manifest as bipolar disorder or another depressive disorder.
For many, biological factors such as hormonal imbalances and chemical imbalances in the brain can trigger a variety of mental health issues. Certain medical conditions can also contribute to an increased risk of developing affective disorder and other types of mental health issues, including clinical depression.
Is Depression Really Just In Your Head?
No, absolutely not. Depression is not “just in your head”, it’s not something that you can just turn off and not think about. As with other mental health disorders, it is beyond just one’s thoughts and emotions. Rather, it is a complex anomaly in the interactions between biological, psychological, and social factors. Moreover, neurochemical imbalances in the brain, hormonal changes, alterations in the brain structure, and genetic predisposition can all contribute to the increased risk of mental health issues.
What Are Simple Ways To Comfort Someone Who Is Probably Depressed?
When you suspect someone is possibly having depression, it is important to offer support, understanding, and, more importantly, empathy. This means giving them a safe space for them to express their emotions, validate their feelings and listen without judgment.
The goal is to let them know and feel that you are there for them and that someone cares for them. Help them through depression and make them feel supported. Encourage them to engage in activities that they enjoy or find comforting and relaxing, such as walking, watching movies, or starting a fun hobby. Offer a helping hand and do tasks for them. More importantly, encourage them to seek professional help. Accompany them to their appointments if they are uncomfortable.
I came clean to my parents about my possible mental health condition and told them everything I had been doing in the past months. It was the first time I saw them cry out of helplessness, but I assured them that I wanted to be okay. After my revelation, they helped me contact a psychologist and went on to do psychotherapy, which is a form of interpersonal therapy. Electroconvulsive therapy was also recommended for me, but I didn’t get the chance to try it.
I was once in a deep and dark place. I had been struggling with depression (and possibly other mental health problems) for what felt like an eternity, and it seemed like there was no end in sight. But then something changed within me – I don’t know if it was some kind of internal shift or the start of healing, but whatever it was, it gave me hope that things could be different.
With newfound optimism, I set out to make my dreams come true. My primary focus became getting into college, so I worked hard on my applications and essays until finally submitting them all with a sense of pride and accomplishment.
The waiting period between submissions and acceptance letters stretched on longer than anticipated; at times, it felt like the darkness from before might consume me again… but eventually, the letter arrived! It said, “Congratulations! You have been accepted…” And just like that, everything changed forever.
My life has never been better since then – sure, depression may still try to creep back in every now and again, but seeing how far I have come fills me with the strength to keep going forward no matter what challenges lie ahead. Nowhere else can you find such joy as when you get accepted into your dream school, not even close!
During my adolescent years, I encountered the biggest challenge that would change the course of my entire life. I thought it was the end of the world but that is not the whole story.
I was diagnosed with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) at 14 years old, almost during my adolescent years. This scoliosis diagnosis meant that my spinal column had a slight yet defined abnormal curvature that simple stretching or walking with books on top of my head could not fix.
Yes, I understood how unbelievable this scoliosis diagnosis sounded to many. When I mentioned the scoliosis diagnosis to my friends and their parents, they even said, “Get out of here! You’re just pulling our legs, and we’re not falling for it, sister.”
They only believed that I had scoliosis when I turned my body back and asked them to trace my spinal curvature. Most of them didn’t know what to say immediately after that, except for one who exclaimed, “Dang, it was like a snake in there!”
Despite that comment, my friends cared for me throughout middle school up to high school. They didn’t treat me like a child which helps in managing stress and my mental health.
Whenever my back and spine hurt from carrying a bag full of books for too long, they took turns holding it for me. They often asked how I was, too, especially when we were doing exhausting things for P.E. classes. E.g., running, volleyball, basketball, etc.
The Real Problem
Some people thought that my life was still relatively easy, even though I was dealing with my scoliosis diagnosis. After all, I had never been bullied because of scoliosis, and everyone wanted to give me moral support.
However, because of my scoliosis, I needed to quit cheerleading, which had been a massive part of my life for as long as I could remember.
Being a teenager, having a scoliosis diagnosis made me question my status and body image at school. I used to be among the cool kids at school because I was poised to become a head cheerleader, you see.
People knew my name or the girl who could more flip in the air than you could count. Then, when I left cheerleading, I realized that that’s all I was. I did not join any other club; my grades were only a little above average, too.
It was an identity and self-image crisis that I did not have time to prepare for. In truth, I made up a few excuses for months to avoid going to school because of that.
I felt like drowning in worries about my mental health after scoliosis diagnosis, and I could hardly come up for air. I didn’t have any emotional support to process my thoughts and feelings which didn’t do any good about my mental health.
My mother eventually caught up in my alibis. I thought that she would ground me for life due to how much she scolded me that day, but she ended up hugging and crying with me.
She said, “I disagree with your methods, but I understand why you’ve done what you did. I just wish you had told me about it early.”
This revelation did me more good, especially on my mental health than I could ever imagine. It allowed me to see how I could keep my mental health intact despite having scoliosis.
Stop Thinking Negatively About Scoliosis
The first thing I did for my mental health was recalibrate my brain. Just like other severe cases of scoliosis, the diagnosis caused me to think about everything negatively.
For instance, when I was no longer a cheerleader, I assumed that no one would know me or want to get to know me because of my scoliosis diagnosis. Whenever my friends offered their help, I thought that they were doing it out of pity because I have a scoliosis diagnosis.
Instead of thinking like that, I tried to tell myself that I could still be known for other things, such as academics and other sports. I also pushed away the feeling of helplessness that always lurked inside me and welcomed my loved ones’ help.
I figured that if scoliosis happened to them, I would have done the same because we all loved each other.
Work Around Scoliosis
When I got diagnosed with scoliosis, I honestly thought that I could never do any physical activity again. As my friend mentioned above, my spine curved like a snake and that has negatively affected my physical strength, and they were correct.
In my mind, it meant that I could not be a part of a human pyramid anymore and that I would have to watch my diet now because exercising was out of the picture.
However, during one of my scoliosis checkups, the doctor noticed one of my physical symptoms such as my weight gain due to stress eating, and he wasn’t happy about the possible development of an eating disorder.
The reason was that my spinal curvature might worsen if I had more fat than the muscles in my body. Based on numerous studies, he suggested doing core exercises that would not require me to be on my feet.
I must say it was a tough challenge at first given my scoliosis and considering I was too scared to feel pain and hurt my back further. Over time, though, I learned how to work around my scoliosis diagnosis and strengthen my body.
Try Not To Disobey The Doctor’s Orders After Scoliosis Diagnosis
It also helped that I talked to the doctor before I tried anything or considered scoliosis surgery. Aside from the conservative treatment of medication for my scoliosis treatment, they gave me an idea of how to live to the max, even if I might need to deal with scoliosis for a long while. They even had previous scoliosis patients willing to talk to new patients like me and practically inform us that the diagnosis wouldn’t alter our lives if we didn’t allow it.
Final Thoughts After Scoliosis Diagnosis
I was in emotional limbo from my mental health problems for six whole months. I regretted having mental health conditions, like depression and anxiety, happen to me, but I could only move forward and try to make the most of everything to improve my quality of life.
Hopefully, you, as another member of the general population, find enlightenment during your darkest moments, too. Good luck!
Scoliosis Diagnosis FAQs
Can Scoliosis Affect Your Mental Health?
Scoliosis can indeed affect your mental health. The visible physical changes, potential pain, and the social challenges associated with this condition can lead to self-esteem issues, anxiety, and even depression. Coping with scoliosis may require emotional support and self-acceptance, and seeking help from healthcare professionals or support groups can be essential for maintaining good mental well-being in addition to managing the physical aspects of the condition.
Can AIS Make You Depressed?
Certainly. Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) can lead to depression, with symptoms such as self-consciousness about physical changes, chronic pain related to the scoliosis curve, social withdrawal, and heightened stress due to scoliosis treatment. Seeking help from a healthcare professional is vital for addressing and managing depression related to AIS.
Can People With AIS Lead A Normal Life?
Yes, individuals with Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) can lead normal lives. With proper treatment and pain management, including options like wearing a brace, physical therapy, and scoliosis surgery when necessary, they can pursue education, careers, physical activities, and social interactions like anyone else. The key is early diagnosis and appropriate medical care to support their spinal health and overall well-being.
Can AIS Cause Mood Swings?
How Do People With AIS Feel?
How Does AIS Affect Daily Life?
Can People With AIS Lead A Normal Life?
How Do People With AIS Feel?
Individuals with Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) may experience concerns about their spine curvature, leading to self-consciousness and, at times, discomfort. Adolescents, in particular, may worry about their appearance and its impact on social interactions. Over time, with support, many develop resilience and find ways to manage both the condition and their confidence in their spinal health, addressing any related health issues that may arise.
How Does AIS Affect The Mind?
What Should I Avoid If I Have AIS?
What Triggers AIS?
How Do You Calm AIS?
Is Milk Good For AIS?
How Can I Stop AIS From Growing?
Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) cannot be completely stopped, but it can be managed to slow its progression. Regular medical check-ups, physical therapy, bracing if necessary, maintaining good posture, exercising, and adopting a balanced diet are all important as treatment scoliosis strategies. In severe cases or when the curvature progresses significantly despite conservative treatments, spinal fusion surgery may be considered as a treatment option. Consulting a scoliosis specialist is crucial for personalized guidance, especially when spinal fusion surgery is being considered. While AIS may not be entirely preventable, these measures can help manage the condition, maintain spinal health, and improve the quality of life.
When someone in the family suffers from a spinal cord injury or SCI, the news can feel overwhelming to the whole family, and feelings of helplessness, depression, and overall sadness can arise. Unexpectedly, a loved one who has been diagnosed of SCI can evoke a gamut of emotions for a lot of people, including worry about the future, the level of disability that the family member has sustained, and just how the whole family is going to deal with their loved one’s injury and his life. Nothing can ever prepare us for the effects of spinal cord injury.
Feeling miserable during this time is a naturally acceptable feeling any time since the injury happened, even the period of rehabilitation or when the loved one has left the hospital to try to cope at home. Not everyone feels the same, though, and there is no wrong or right way to feel.
From the time of injury, the family may feel that nothing is going to be the same again. With time, reassurance, and guidance from the medical health professional team as well as the loved one’s family, life could again be lived with meaning. In fact, oftentimes, relationships are strengthened, and bonds get deeper. Perhaps this is because the SCI patient is most often at home. Thus he has more time spent with the family with the opportunity to develop deeper relationships with their spouse, child, or other family members, for that matter. This may be something that he previously did not do before he suffered the injury.
The Family’s Challenges
After a spinal cord injury, the whole family would have to make the necessary adjustments. This will also depend on the level of injury that the loved one has sustained. As mentioned, the family’s relationship with the SCI loved one may change too, and he or she may be staying in the hospital only for a while to recuperate at home, or maybe hospitalized for a longer period. If it is the latter, then emotions such as a yearning for physical and emotional intimacy, stress, thoughts of retirement and the future, and other things that were part of the loved one’s life with his family before the injury. There are some days when you feel hopeful and optimistic about your loved one’s prognosis and rehabilitation. Other days, though, may feel challenging, tiring, and depressing for both the patient and the family.
The SCI patient also faces a myriad of challenges, as he is the most affected of all. His activities will now have to be managed differently, and the whole family, including the patient himself, must work together to learn and find ways to adapt to the different aspects of the patient’s life. As the patient undergoes rehabilitation, he may be able to come home to his family for a few days. This often inspires the patient to cooperate with his treatment and get better, making it easier for him to shift move from hospital to home.
All of us feel strained at some point in our lives, and we all try to manage it in our ways. The increase or decrease in our adrenaline levels influences how stress affects us mentally and physically. Physically, people may manifest symptoms like dry mouth, lack of sleep, headaches, mood swings, muscle weakness, and anxiety, among others. Your close friends would ask you if you are fine and if you’re coping well, but these questions may not be easy to answer. Some patients are stronger and more resilient, while others have weaker spirits and are more difficult to encourage.
We can’t always control the outside sources of stress, but how we feel and act during these times will impact the way SCI patients and their families will cope with the problems that may confront them. One simple way to help deal with stress is to imagine yourself in a certain situation that might cause you stress and then imagine what you can do to change the situation and be able to resolve it. It could also help if you list the things that you prioritize and do what needs to be done first – and do it head-on.
Help And Support
Support for the family and the SCI patient is available for dealing with emotions such as stress, depression, sadness, and others. A doctor must be consulted if these feelings do not go away for quite some time. Additionally, most spinal facilities have a psychologist or counselor who is capable of providing professional emotional support and guidance. Seeking emotional help is not a mistake at all, especially during a challenging time, like having someone from the family diagnosed with spinal cord injury. When a loved one in the family suffers from SCI, it does take time to take it all in. This starts from when the information is disclosed to the patient and then to the family, making wise decisions about the loved one’s treatment and rehabilitation, and adapting to the changes caused by the injury. Nothing is easy, and asking help for dealing with the emotional journey is acceptable.
Scoliosis differs from one person to another. It can be a bunch of things altogether. It can be a medical condition that an individual had in his whole life or can be posturally induced. People with scoliosis can have a C or S curve, and these types get to be evaluated by a licensed physical therapist.
In this pandemic crisis, since many individuals with scoliosis face different physical challenges, working on some exercises can be beneficial for their health. But disclaimer: these exercises are for self-development purposes only. It does not cure or treat scoliosis, especially the ones with severe conditions. So before anyone tries these physical activities, please consult a medical health professional first.
Side Lean – It is an advisable exercise for people with scoliosis because it is easy and comfortable. An individual can start by putting his body in a good stance position, and hold a weight on one side of his hand. From there, he’s just going to lean over on the side and then come back up. But note, the goal is not to entirely lean forward or twist the body exaggeratedly.
Bridging – It is a type of exercise that is super easy and comfortable to do. It helps in strengthening the core, the pelvis, as well as the back muscles. With bridging, the body lies down on a flat surface while propping the knee. The arms are positioned on the sides, touching the ground. Then the back gets pushed up and down, putting the whole body into a slant position. The exercise ensures an individual to have control over his movement. Shoulders are not coming off the floor, but the entire body is. An individual can go for one segment at a time.
Bird-Dog Exercise – It is one of the most challenging exercises for individuals with scoliosis. Not only it’s a bit uncomfortable, but also some might find it hard to put their bodies in a neutral position. In this exercise, the body is positioned in a chair-like state where an individual should keep the back flat and neutral. From there, the arm and opposite leg are stretched out alternately. It is important to note that it is unnecessary to twist the whole body when doing this.
Side Crunch – For some individuals struggling with a severe scoliosis condition, they do not have to come to a full sit-up. That is to prevent the cause of some back issues. Side crunch is an exercise that can become a little uncomfortable to do. That is why some people like to put their hands at the back of their heads to support their neck while others try to place it crossing in their chest. The position requires the body to lie down. An individual attempted to pull up the upper body towards a couple of inches and then crunch from side to side.
Side Plank – So, with the side plank, the body is placed in a slant position using one side of the body. It should use the elbow, supported by the shoulder, as a stand to align the body. It might feel a little complicated, and there might be some discomfort in doing this. But that is okay. The feeling of the hips collapsing is what makes the exercise effective. So for individuals with scoliosis, it is vital to note that a 10-second hold is more than enough at first. There is no need to go for long minutes. So don’t try and force it to avoid ending up being in pain.
Depending on how severe the scoliosis condition, these exercises might be a little tough to do. Thus, if an individual wants to work on this, he should consult his physical therapist for a modification.
Living life with scoliosis is complicated. And now that there’s a pandemic, well, it seems like it is all the same. I am not saying that I need to complain about it. But individuals like me who suffer from chronic conditions are less likely to feel anxious about the whole situation. For all I know, I cannot already do things I want because of my scoliosis. Therefore, what else do I have to worry about?
Should I worry About My Social Life?
Some people assume that because one is suffering from a chronic condition, they are incapable of social interaction. Well, that is entirely not true. Individuals with scoliosis like me may have a different physical appearance from others, but we are capable of communicating and interacting socially. Though I must say, we can become a topic of judgment and humiliation at some point due to our spinal “deformity.” But in the state of social communication during this COVID-19 pandemic, I say all are good. Yes, we can’t go to school and hang out with our friends due to the lockdown. But that is okay. We are still connecting with them through social media platforms, and that’s pretty much the best of what we can do.
Should I Worry About Isolation?
No, of course not. I know there are some individuals out there with scoliosis that already suffered enough from isolation. Not that it is a good thing, though. But the point is, the whole lockdown thing is not going to make individuals like me more worried than ever. Some of us perhaps mastered the art of not interacting with any people. Some of us have this idea that it will be useless to participate in any activities because it might cost us our lives. Honestly, I can say that most of us consider isolation as a way to prevent ourselves from harm. Since the severity of our conditions differs from one another, I am sure there are individuals like me with scoliosis who appreciate isolation more than anything else. Isolation is not that bad, as a therapist from BetterHelp explains.
Should I Worry About My Health?
Well, that is one thing. For those mild conditions of scoliosis, one can shrug the idea of dying. Perhaps some of us think that a spinal curve can cause no harm. However, in some instances, scoliosis can cause severe health complications. These may include broken rib cages, as well as lung and heart damages. That is because severe cases of scoliosis can make the ribs press against the lung and heart. When that befalls, there is a tendency that an individual will have difficulty breathing, and it will more likely make his heart unable to pump blood. And with COVID-19, this particular condition of a person with scoliosis is at stake. That is because weak lungs and heart are what makes this virus stronger. Somehow, that particular information creates worries.
Should I Worry About What I Do?
Honestly, there is nothing to worry about the things that I should do. Of all people in the world who require themselves to have a better immune system, I know exactly why I need it. Living with scoliosis has its limitations. Frankly, I understand the risk. For people like me who suffer from the condition, we know that our priority right now is to take care of ourselves and be healthy. We do not need to remind ourselves of the importance of eating nutritional food because that is where we get our strength. We do not force ourselves to get into physical activities in an instant because we know it can be dangerous. We do not let ourselves get overwhelmed with accomplishing the small task in the house because we know it triggers our progressions.
Scoliosis is a disease that affects the spinal cord, forming an S or C shaped curvature. The disease can cause the victim severe discomfort, chronic pain, and is fatal in extreme cases. Fortunately, scoliosis patients usually suffer only from minor versions of the illness. There are many ways to deal with scoliosis, which include invasive methods, such as surgery and bracing, and non-invasive methods, such as exercise and diet restriction. Exercise, in particular, has proven to be beneficial in relieving pain caused by scoliosis. Moreover, some exercise techniques are believed to lessen the degree of the curve and improve the patient’s condition overall. Here are 5 of the best physical workouts to combat the disease. Before trying any of these workouts, however, be sure to consult with your physician or an experienced professional.
Scoliosis, defined as the abnormal curvature of the spine, affects nearly 7 million people in America adults and children alike. Its cause is usually unknown. Most people with scoliosis don’t need surgical treatment, but there is a higher likelihood that they will frequently suffer from neck and back pain and breathing difficulties. So though it may not be a deadly spinal condition, scoliosis can reduce one’s quality of life. Thus, sufficient attention should be given to it.
If you’ve been diagnosed with scoliosis, you’ll be glad to know that there are many things you can do to deal with your condition. You don’t have to constantly live uncomfortably, and the earlier you understand that the sooner you can feel better. From physical activity to choosing the appropriate desk and chair, it’s the simple things that can make a tremendous difference in your life.
Be Conscious Of Your Posture. It’s difficult to stand or sit straight when you’re flaunting an unnaturally curved spine, but keeping it straight is of absolute importance. When you slouch or lean to one side consistently, you are aggravating the twist that is primarily causing your pain in the back. Imagine that when you’re standing, you’re leaning against a wall with your chin parallel to the floor. Practice walking with books on top of your head (yes, it does help) and keeping your balance throughout your walk. Relax your shoulders, keeping them down while your head is looking up towards where you’re heading.
Crossing your legs is also a position that causes low back pain, plus the potential to result in spider veins in the legs. It misaligns the spine and may lead to further abnormal curvature.
Sit Comfortably. Often, when we sit down, we don’t think about how we do it or what we sit on. This usually happens when you visit your child’s school or even at your workplace. Perhaps it’s time you demand replacement because you deserve to be seated on comfortable chairs – for your health! In the home, take time to choose chairs that your body will fit in, not those where your butts don’t manage to be seated fully. The height should be set in a way that your feet land on the ground, a backrest that accommodates your back conveniently, and cushions that provide sufficient softness and comfort.
Buy A Good Quality Mattress And Pillows. The memory foams and ergonomic pillows are worth every penny. You must sacrifice cost for quality. You’ll see the difference when you try sleeping with small and very soft pillows where your neck doesn’t seem to relax in the appropriate position when you go to bed, and then when you finally decide to purchase that Layla pillow you’ve been saving up for, or that easy sleeper from Nest Bedding. Memory foam mattresses are also the way to go, and a lot of people with back pain or scoliosis can swear to this.
Incorporate Yoga Into Your Daily Routine. Regularly doing yoga poses or enrolling in a yoga class is one of the best things you can do for your back pain and your overall health as well. However, choose the type of yoga that you practice. For instance, don’t choose a fast or high impact yoga practice like Ashtanga. The most preferable are Vinyasa and Hatha. And remember not to skip on the backbends. They are very beneficial in strengthening your back muscles.
Look For A Medical Professional That You Trust. A doctor that is credible and trustworthy can be a great support when you’re living with chronic back pain and scoliosis. You can have yourself monitored routinely for any development or progress. Your doctor can also provide sound advice on how to alleviate your pain and treat them conservatively or medically in case you need it. If you don’t have one yet, then now is the time to find someone in your area.