Raising Awareness About Chronic Illness and Depression

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by Jill Price |

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Some days, I feel overwhelmed by the symptoms of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT), but I never feel like giving up. I know that having a disability or chronic illness can take a toll on one’s physical and emotional state. Lately, I have been seeing many people posting in online communities about how they just want to give up. I am saddened by this, and wonder what can be done to help those of us who feel this way.

Depression can be caused by many different things. It can be due to biological or chemical differences in the brain and body. Depression can also be due to circumstances, such as a tragic event, disability, or illness. Some medications may even cause depression.

Those with chronic illness or disabilities have an increased rate of depression. This could be due to the limitations of the illness or disability, the progression of it, or the mortality rate. Doctors are not always aware of the mental state of their patients, and they often do not diagnosis the depression. “Living With CMT: The Study,” conducted by the Hereditary Neuropathy Foundation, found that many CMT patients are dealing with emotional issues without having emotional or psychological support.

The fact that many CMT patients do not seek help for their depression may have to do with outside factors. Many are afraid of what others will think or how they will be viewed. That is a sad statement about how some in society view people with mental illness. It is hard to admit that there is a problem when you fear how you will be seen by your co-workers, schoolmates, or friends.

I know CMT is difficult and is different for everyone; yet, I wonder how bad it must be to feel that life is not worth living. What can be done to help those who are overwhelmed by their symptoms?

The Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association has a list of support groups for CMT. Some hospitals have outreach programs for depression and chronic illness. I find support in my friends and family. My circle may not always understand the trials of CMT, but they do their best to be there for me and help in any way they can. I know that I am very lucky, and not everyone has friends and family to lean on when they are having a bad day.

It is also important to talk to your healthcare provider about how you are feeling, both physically and emotionally. They need to know all of your symptoms and how they impact your everyday life. I know it can be hard to discuss emotions, but that is the only way they can help. CMT is not easy to deal with, and I know it can be awful at times! I also know that there are ways to cope and handle the emotional aspects of this disease. If you are overwhelmed, I hope you reach out and get the support you need.


Note: Charcot-Marie-Tooth News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Charcot-Marie-Tooth News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Charcot-Marie-Tooth.


Joy Aldrich avatar

Joy Aldrich

HNF also recently hosted a webinar, "Mental Health and CMT" that is available to watch anytime online here: https://www.hnf-cure.org/cmt-connect-webinars/

Jill Price avatar

Jill Price

Thank, I will watch it.


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