Simply put, living with Hidradenitis Suppurativa is hard. It puts a tremendous burden on us physically and emotionally. The mental health toll may be one that comes as a result of living with HS, or it may be one that is a result of inflammation manifesting in both the gut and the skin. But the end result is the same – a tremendously reduced quality of life due in no small part to the mental health aspect of a life with HS.
Anxiety and depression among people diagnosed with Hidradenitis Suppurativa is well documented; someday, I hope that dermatologists will give an automatic referral to mental health with an HS diagnosis. But until that time, we are forced to navigate and advocate for ourselves. Finding the right mental health professional to treat the emotional damage is an important piece of the puzzle.
One tool that is free and easy to use is the Psychology Today website with filters that allow for you to search not just by location, but by specialties. Of particular interest to families dealing with HS might be Chronic Illness, Chronic Pain, Anxiety, Depression, Suicidal Ideation, Sex Therapy, and Self Esteem. Caregivers can also benefit from regular mental health support, as supporting a loved one is undeniably taxing and although the patient may be the person closest to you, it can feel like the last person that should hear your venting about HS.
And although we aren’t mental health professionals, we do know what you’re going through! There is simply no substitute for human interaction, and the burden that is lifted by speaking face to face with another human that has gone through what you are going through is invaluable. Join us at an in-person or virtual meeting, and you may even find a local therapist or psychologist recommendation from another person living with HS.
And lastly, you can turn to ours or any number of online support groups for Hidradenitis Suppurativa. A search for that term on any social media will point you toward one of many choices, including our private Facebook support group.