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  • Mental Illness and CKD

    I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder I in the mid-90's. I was on Eskalith/Lithium for about ten years. In 2008, I was diagnosed with CKD. By 2010 I was in stage 4. I pulled out of that, thanks to a great dietician, who helped me lose 80 pounds over the course of a year and a half. My GFR has ranged from 30-40 since. The nephrologist told me my CKD was caused by my years of lithium use.

    One of my biggest problems now is that I have gained weight and am 30 pounds from my goal. My moods and stress (I'm my mother's caregiver) have contributed to shopping for fresh food too infrequently and eating too many comfort foods. I don't know how to balance my fluctuating moods with a healthy lifestyle anymore. Does anyone else struggle with the combination of mental illness (not what people consider a typical depression,which is serious enough) and CKD? What a lot of people don't understand is that Bipolar depression is different than unipolar depression. Also, mania/hypomania contribute to a lack of concern about healthy eating. I could use some guidance, support and encouragement.
    Laurie

  • #2
    Yes I too was on Lithium for many years and have Bipolar Disorder and CKD. I also have a weight problem. All the doctor tells me is to lose weight but it is hard. I try to stick to a kidney diet but every now and then, I comfort eat. My GFR is 34 and fortunately seems to be stable. I no longer take lithium and have not for many years fortunately, but take another combination of drugs. I find that if I keep myself busy and not focus on my problems, I am better off. If I do have some bad days mentally I know that they will pass.

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    • #3
      Welcome to my bi-polar world. I was on lithium for 20+ years. I was diagnosed with ESRD in April/17. The renal team scared me so much about eating that I've been able to follow the renal diet. It's a lot of work to figure it all out but I know that if I cheat, I'm only cheating myself out of life. That's been enough to keep me on the straight and narrow so far (though I haven't hit a mental roadblock time yet). I'm only on an antidepressant now and the dosage varies according to how I'm feeling. I still have "black hole" days but find that sleep is the great escape (keeps me from grazing) and realize that it will pass even if it takes days. I'm fortunate to have a good health team that try to understand my state of mind and have been very helpful over the years.

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      • #4
        I too am bipolar with end stage renal disease. An experienced dialysis nurse told me that we bipolar patients make up most of her patients followed by diabetics. Food is my tranquilizer of choice also but as Weight Watchers say if it doesn't go in your cart, it doesn't go in your cupboard and past your lips and on your hips. I am overweight too and that is stopping me from signing up for a kidney transplant.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by chris436 View Post
          Yes I too was on Lithium for many years and have Bipolar Disorder and CKD. I also have a weight problem. All the doctor tells me is to lose weight but it is hard. I try to stick to a kidney diet but every now and then, I comfort eat. My GFR is 34 and fortunately seems to be stable. I no longer take lithium and have not for many years fortunately, but take another combination of drugs. I find that if I keep myself busy and not focus on my problems, I am better off. If I do have some bad days mentally I know that they will pass.
          I was on a whole lot of psych meds. Last year I suffered both bad and good news. The bad news was that I fell, had a brain injury and was in a Neuro ICU for a week. The good news was that they immediately took me off of seven medications, most of which were related to the bipolar disorder. They also lowered my lamictal to a much lower dose, which is now my only psych med. I'm relatively stable but the considerable stress I've been under for the past three years has really affected my overall health. My nephrologist is concerned and told me recently that he is more concerned with me dying of a heart attack than the CKD. That was a scary thought, but apparently not enough for me to change my eating pattern. I feel disgusted with myself.

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          • #6
            DO NOT beat yourself up because you can't stay on a diet. Just keep trying. With you being the caregiver for your mother is very stressful; have you considered getting someone in to help with her care? It could be a neighbor or a friend; doesn't have to be someone you have to pay.

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            • #7
              The Hardest Battles are fought in the mind. Stress. ect. After Finding out I had Kidney failure. and going through it. Its almost as though All MY stresses Doubled.
              Witch they do,The kidney regulate Blood pressure.
              But that is when I knew I had to fight to control My Thoughts. To catch myself in a negative thought and reverse it.
              Your Thoughts are the single Most Important Part to Your recovery. as Your Mind probably put you there in the first place.
              I meditated while I was on Hemo Dialysis, the treatment gave me no option but to single out everything in my life. and just clear it all away for 4 hears a day.
              It was All About me for 4 hears.I brought My blankets My sweater My Tablet. and I would Listen to Asmr Videos ON youtube with headphones on. Look it up.
              and I would Listen to music.
              watching videos spike your blood pressure, even if they are on mute. just because of eye strain.
              and also Keep In Mind when a scary part of movie Happens our blood pressure will spike high and take 15 mins to go back down. even if there is a funny moment afterword.
              Your Blood Pressure influences your mind and your mind can change your blood pressure.
              The Doctor ONly prescribes your medication to directly treat blood pressure but they don't prescribe medicine to keep your mind from thinking Bad Thoughts.
              That is your responsibility.
              Last edited by Martypants12; 09-08-2017, 11:12 PM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by crinkster View Post

                I was on a whole lot of psych meds. Last year I suffered both bad and good news. The bad news was that I fell, had a brain injury and was in a Neuro ICU for a week. The good news was that they immediately took me off of seven medications, most of which were related to the bipolar disorder. They also lowered my lamictal to a much lower dose, which is now my only psych med. I'm relatively stable but the considerable stress I've been under for the past three years has really affected my overall health. My nephrologist is concerned and told me recently that he is more concerned with me dying of a heart attack than the CKD. That was a scary thought, but apparently not enough for me to change my eating pattern. I feel disgusted with myself.
                Although I'm not bipolar, I do have Major Depressive Disorder. My daughter and grandson are bipolar. We all have weight issues and no matter what the doctors say, I swear the meds we're on contribute to it. You did so great to lose the weight working with that dietitian so don't sell yourself short! It's good to know you're "relatively stable" on a lower dose of Lamictal. I take that also along with Cymbalta, Clonapin and Amitriptyline for my Depression and Fibromyalgia. I also had a year with a ton of stress (lost my job, mother died, daughter had a stroke, started 2 new jobs, moved 3 hours away from my family and was separated from my husband for 6 months). The doctors think my fibromyalgia may be due to the stress I had. I just know I've been sick since then, it's just one thing after another. Some people don't realize how hard it is to lose weight when you're stressed and depressed. At least it has been for me. I'm lucky if I can take a shower on bad days let alone plan and track food! It's a lot of work! As for being "scared enough", it depends what your fears are. For me, it's CRF. It's been my fear for as long as I can remember. As for feeling "disgusted" with yourself, I hope you don't feel like that anymore. I've been there. It sucks. I've been suicidal twice and hospitalized for 2 weeks once and had to attend a "day" hospital program for 6 weeks once. So, I really can relate to you. Lamictal is strictly a mood stabilizer, not an antidepressant or anxiety med. I haven't seen my psychiatrist since I've been diagnosed with CRF but I'm on Cymbalta for 3 reasons; depression, anxiety and fibromyalgia. It is a combination med for depression and anxiety. You probably know all this but maybe you could talk to your psychiatrist about putting you on something. I know they just took you off 7 but maybe just adding 1 or 2 back would make you feel a lot better. Stress can cause a whole slew of problems, trust me. If you can control your anxiety, you'll feel better. When you feel better, it'll be easier to concentrate on your diet. Deep breathing, Meditation, Yoga...yeah, that all helps average anxiety but it's not a cure for the anxiety I had or what you may have. I wish the very best of luck to you!! Hugs!

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