How I Incorporate the Topic of AS into My College Work
Last updated: December 2021
I am a student studying Social Care Work. If you’ve read my article AS Doesn’t Give a Damn About College Deadlines or if you are a student, you will know the struggles of being a student with a chronic illness.
I am in the final year of my degree. This year I must write a dissertation. I have a lot of anxiety around this already because it is a lot of work. But I’ve decided to do my dissertation on the correlation between anxiety and AS. There isn’t a lot of academic research on this topic, which is why I think it is a good topic to research, but the lack of reputable sources will make my research harder.
I decided to do this topic as of course I would find it interesting having the condition and seeing the links but I want to learn more about the condition itself and the things that come along with this condition.
I’m hoping to use this online community as part of my research. If you are interested in being interviewed or taking part in a questionnaire let me know in the comments! It won't be happening for months anyways!
I have never been an anxious person
I would get anxious about things like public speaking, but I wouldn’t have considered myself an anxious person. Until I got sick! For me, anxiety may come for many reasons. It may be because it is an invisible illness and it is hard for others to understand, it may be caused by the unpredictability of this illness, the diagnosis process, the future, and many other reasons that I hope to find out during my research. Making plans and being out and about also makes me anxious. I always think what if I’m too sick and I need to go home.
So, I was happy when I found through my research that I am not alone with this feeling. From researching this topic, many studies have shown that mental health is affected in individuals with ankylosing spondylitis including an increased risk of depression and/or anxiety compared to the general population.
Ankylosing spondylitis is linked to higher rates of hospital admissions and work disability, leading to further economic burden, which causes anxiety. Living with the symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis, such as impaired physical functioning, pain, and fatigue, could cause depression and/or anxiety. When one has a mental health condition along with a physical health condition, life can become more isolating, painful, stressful and challenging.
What I found extremely interesting about this topic
I never knew before is that people with depression and/or anxiety have higher CRP levels when compared to people who do not suffer with their mental health. This suggests that inflammation physically contributes to depression and anxiety. I found this extremely interesting.
My bloods are checked every 2-3 months. They check my CRP levels. So, I’m going to try to see if there's a link between my high CRP levels and how I’m feeling emotionally. Journaling, which I do anyways, will help me to see if there is a link.
I haven't started writing my dissertation yet. I am hoping that there is enough academic research out there so I can write about this topic.
What are your experiences with anxiety and AS?
Do you notice worsening flares in colder weather?