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Why a Warrior’s Mental Health is Just as Important as Physical Health

October 12, 2016 by Andrea
Photo: CreateHER Stock

Photo: CreateHER Stock

Patients with sickle cell combat more than just physical complications -- anxiety and depression can also prove difficult. Besides the pain that comes with a sickle cell crisis, if you throw an added layer of anxiety into the mix, that can lead to even more hurt. "Pain can be a common symptom ... of an anxiety disorder," states the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. "And a co-occuring chronic pain disease can make functioning even more difficult for someone with an anxiety disorder."

It's the same with depression. According to the Mayo Clinic, "Depression can cause pain -- and pain can cause depression. Sometimes pain and depression create a vicious cycle in which pain worsens symptoms of depression, and then the resulting depression worsens feelings of pain." And suffering from all three at once? Just imagine. Oftentimes, though, the stigma associated with anxiety and depression hinder healing the most.

Here's how you can help yourself -- or a warrior in your life -- manage mental health successfully.

1) Break the Stigma.
Recognize the importance of strong mental health -- and do not allow yourself to feel shamed for seeking help. On the contrary, enlisting the assistance of a mental health professional shows that you are proactive and take your entire well-being seriously. Anxiety and depression can be treated, allowing you to life a happier, healthier life.

2) Meditate.
This can be as simple as purposeful deep breathing exercises that last a few minutes; or, you can set aside some time each day to sit in silence, reflect, and relax. There are several free meditation apps that can help get you started.

3) Work Out.
Of course, we don't recommend anything too strenuous, but taking up something like yoga, Pilates, or tai chi can help promote relaxation and actually lessen stress and anxiety.

Are you a sickle cell warrior who has dealt with anxiety and depression? How have you  managed a health mental and physical lifestyle? Tell us in the comments below!

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