More Tips for Dealing With SMA-Related Depression

Sometimes spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) leads to mood disorders such as major depressive disorder (MDD) or dysthymia. We recently compiled some tips for dealing with SMA-related depression; and this week, we’re sharing a few more.

MORE: Three tips for dealing with SMA-related depression

Get social
It can sometimes be difficult to socialize with other SMA patients, especially when your closest relatives and/or friends are abled, but it’s important to surround yourself with people who understand what you’re going through. If you’re 6 to 17 years old and comfortable with spending extended periods of time with people other than your primary caregivers, MDA Summer Camp might help you cope with your depression.

MDA Summer Camp is a weeklong event that provides kids with outdoor experiences, such as horseback riding, and other fun opportunities, like arts and crafts, dances, and more. Camp adventures are tailored to muscular dystrophy (MD) and equivalent diseases, and onsite personnel are trained in medical care. Most importantly, participants leave camp with lifelong friendships — with other campers as well as volunteers — and increased self-esteem and confidence. Disability is oftentimes the exception, but at MDA Summer Camp, it’s the norm, which may help you find peace with your diagnosis.

Volunteer
If you’re too old for summer camp, you may enjoy volunteering. One SMA News Today reader mentioned that his son enjoys helping other people with SMA. If you’re struggling to find meaning in your disability, or even in your everyday life, focusing on the good you can do for others in similar situations will help you feel like you’re contributing to society, and will also prevent you from feeling helpless. Muscular Dystrophy Association is a great resource if you’re looking to help people with SMA, but there are plenty of organizations out there for disabled people in general. The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is one of them.

Be supportive
Depending on your diagnosis, you may not be able to volunteer or attend summer camp. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not important for you to socialize with other SMA patients. Group therapy and informal support groups are both great options, but we also suggest online community. Social media platforms (e.g., Facebook, Twitter) are full of people who, like you, are interested in forming, or even just participating in, a tightly knit network. To get involved, check out the hashtags #CripTheVote and #DisabledAndCute on Twitter — you’ll be able to tell who’s active in the community by scrolling through the newest or the most popular posts. Facebook also has a great selection of active groups, with several disability communities represented. If one stands out to you, join it! You’ll be surprised what it’ll do for your mood.

Have some tips of your own? Leave them in the comments below!

MORE: Three things to help with depression, part 2

SMA News Today 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 another 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.

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