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The Emotional Side of Bleeding Disorders


Find Your Silver Lining

Managing a bleeding disorder impacts you and the lives of those you love. It may seem overwhelming at times but managing a bleeding disorder can also bring opportunities for building confidence and strengthening relationships.

In this video, you'll hear the personal experiences of those who have not only met the challenges of managing a bleeding disorder but have reaped the benefits of a positive outlook.

The Emotional Side of Bleeding Disorders

Most of Next Step focuses on the physical impact of stress on your body. An important part of understanding your bleeding disorder is recognizing its emotional impact—how it makes you feel.

This section of Next Step covers a little bit about the wide range of emotions—happiness, sadness, nervousness, excitement, fear, and hope—everyone feels.

Your emotions can affect your daily life. Just think how active you are when you're in a good mood versus a bad mood. Being a kid or teen may be stressful at times. Living with a bleeding disorder can present many more challenges. A bleeding disorder can cause pain, make you tired, and sometimes gets in the way of your daily life. Having a bleeding disorder also brings more responsibilities, from taking medicine to seeing doctors regularly.

Emotions often present in different ways. They may be so hidden that you're unaware of your true feelings. There are various ways you may react to your emotions. You may turn inward, blaming yourself for misfortune, or become depressed; you may lash out at others or become gloomy and quiet.

How Do You Feel?

  • Angry
  • Sad
  • Alone or lonely
  • Tired, worn out
  • Stressed
  • Guilty
  • Helpless or hopeless
  • Confused
  • Resentful
  • Empty
  • Rebellious
  • Awkward

Here are some facts to remember as you think about your feelings:

  • You're not alone. If you're going through it, it's guaranteed someone else has, and probably is, going through the same thing.
  • Your emotions and feelings are very real. Pay attention to them; work through them, and you'll be a much happier person in the long run.
  • Is what you're going through because of your bleeding disorder or because life as a young adult is just hard sometimes? Many of the emotions and feelings you're having are very normal for this time in your life. Almost every aspect of your life could be changing, both on the inside and outside. It makes sense that you have fairly strong emotional reactions.
  • Create a network of friends who will support you. Find someone, or more than one, person you can talk to. It can be an adult or a peer. It may be someone who can give you advice or it may be just someone who'll sit and listen to you. Don't forget social networking and technology when looking for support.

How Do You Get Out of a Funk?

  • Communicate with someone. Let them know what's going on. You're not alone in whatever you're feeling.
  • Get out and do something. Even going just to the library or park can pick up your mood. Sometimes downtime increases down feelings. You feel bad, so you mope and do less. The result: you feel worse and do even less.
  • Contact your Hemophilia Treatment Center (HTC) and local hemophilia chapter. Many times they'll have social events you might like to attend; maybe you might even want to volunteer for events.
  • Talk to a social worker or counselor. They'll help explain why you're feeling the way you do, and they can give you advice on how to deal with your feelings and overcome your challenges.
  • Focus on the good things. Make time for fun activities.

Understanding Stress

Stress is a feeling that's created when we react to particular events. In general, stress is the body's way of responding to what you see as a challenge and preparing to meet a new or tough situation.

Stress Facts

  • Stress is a normal human reaction.
  • Young people experience stress, too.
  • Many situations can cause stress.
  • Stress can be different for each person.
  • Not all stress is bad.
    • Positive stress can help motivate a person to meet a goal.
    • Negative stress gets in the way and puts demands on the body. If negative stress goes on for a long time, it can take a toll on a person's health and well-being.

Types of Stress

Many situations can cause stress. There are three types of stress.

  • Physical stress. You have a bleed. You have pain.
  • Mental stress. You're a perfectionist. You're a pessimist. You find it hard to speak up for yourself.
  • Emotional stress. You're anxious that you'll get a bleed. You're depressed because you can't do what your friends are doing.

Stress Signs

Here are some signs that point to stress:

  • Poor concentration
  • Irritability or moodiness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Tiredness (called fatigue)
  • Reduced activity
  • Stomachache
  • Headache
  • Heartburn
  • Diarrhea
  • Social withdrawal; not wanting to be with friends

Stress Busters

Everyone needs a way to relax and take a break from a stressful situation!

Here are some simple ways to relieve stress:

  • Physical activity
  • Yoga
  • Relaxation techniques.
    • Deep breathing
    • Muscle relaxation
    • Meditation
    • Massage
  • Music
Don't Forget a Pet. Just stroking a cat or taking a dog for a walk can be a great stress reducer.

When Stress Gets Serious—Depression

Stress and depression are two different feelings, but can go hand in hand. Depression can be triggered by a wide range of things. Stress can affect people of all ages.

Here are some signs that may point to depression:

  • Sad, anxious, or empty feelings that last longer than 2 weeks.
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism.
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness.
  • Irritability, restlessness.
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies you used to enjoy.
  • Fatigue and lack of energy.
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions.
  • Insomnia, waking up early, or excessive sleeping.
  • Overeating or loss of appetite.
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts, or general thoughts of death.
  • Persistent aches or pains, such as headaches, cramps, or stomach problems, that don't get better even with treatment.
If you're depressed, remember: Help is available.

If you think you might be depressed, it's important to get professional help as soon as possible, especially if you're having thoughts of suicide. Talk to your parents and your Hemophilia Treatment Center (HTC) team.