May 23, 2016

Lupus Awareness And Mental Health Awareness In May, Plus Web Event June 16

By Tai of Allsup

Chronic pain and fatigue are hard to measure. But an estimated 1.5 million Americans living with lupus know these symptoms only too well.

According to the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA), men, children, and teenagers develop lupus, but lupus strikes mostly women of childbearing age (15-44). Women of color are two to three times more likely to develop lupus than those who are Caucasian. There are many unknowns: what causes lupus, why people have different reactions, and what will cure this autoimmune disease.

May is Lupus Awareness Month, and Allsup is pleased to support the LFA, which is devoted to solving the cruel mystery that is lupus. Earlier this month, I participated in the St. Louis Walk to End Lupus Now! Allsup has sponsored these events in cities across the nation.

Interacting with “lupus thrivers,” their friends and families is a bittersweet experience. On one hand, the love, encouragement and unity demonstrated at the walks is inspiring. On the other hand, T-shirts and signs paying honor to those who have died are sober reminders of lupus’ cruelty. So are the conversations I have, mostly with young women of color, who may find it increasingly difficult or impossible to continue working. Often, even when their doctors have told them they should stop working, they feel they cannot afford to leave the workforce.

While I can counsel them about their rights and eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance, and explain the benefits, I cannot presume to tell them what they should do. The Walk to End Lupus Now! events are heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time.

Mental Toll Of Chronic Illness

Living with a chronic disease like lupus can make you and the people who care about you feel powerless. LFA recognizes the psychological toll lupus has on individuals and families. It’s significant to note that May is also Mental Health Month.

My friends from LFA North Carolina, and LFA Heartland understand the connection. They support individuals with lupus every day and recognize the importance of helping them learn how to determine the difference between temporary negative feelings and negative feelings that become overwhelming and long-lasting, which may signal a serious but treatable mental illness.

Please join us for “True Help Claiming Power to Improve Your Mental Health,” on Thursday, June 16, at Noon CT.

Whether you are living with lupus or another chronic condition or disability, it’s an opportunity to meet others who are dealing with similar challenges. You’ll be able to interact with mental health, public health and vocational experts who will answer your questions and provide resources you may not have realized existed.

I look forward to seeing you in the chat room. Visit this page for details.


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