Be Informed, Be Inspired, Raise Awareness! Get Support!

Resilience Me is a mental health campaign by the Vasculitis Foundation in collaboration with Dr. Velma Mockett and the Calgary Vasculitis Association to support the mental health and well-being of those living with vasculitis. Living with vasculitis can be difficult for anyone. This condition can place substantial physical and emotional strains on those living with it.

Now, COVID-19 is adding to our present stress, which impacts us on many levels in terms of medical and physical health, and emotional and mental health. An increasingly important aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic is how the pandemic impacts our mental health, overall well-being, and how we cope with the pandemic, especially as it continues on for a longer period than we may have anticipated or hoped. Inspired by Dr. Mockett’s own experiences of working to gain an advantage over vasculitis, Resilience Me will provide the tools to help you work through the mental health challenges, strengthen your resilience capacities, build a management plan with your healthcare provider, and take a more active role in your care. 

Receiving the diagnosis of vasculitis is an overwhelming experience for anyone. Vasculitis changes the plot—it throws the body and mind for a loop. There has been an increasing recognition by many patients with vasculitis that their quality of life and mental well-being is also impacted. However, discussion about vasculitis and mental health has been scarce in both the medical and research context. Many individuals with vasculitis report struggling to cope.  This workshop series will explore vasculitis and mental well-being. In this five-part series you will learn about loss and grief, emotions, resilience, mindfulness and restorative movement, and over all well-being.

Time:  12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. CDT

Week 1: Friday, April 9, 2021: Coping with Loss & Grief of Vasculitis

As vasculitis patients, we must acknowledge the losses engendered by the illness. We have to be open to accept what has been lost, which then determines how we might go on into the future with a realistic appraisal of our situation.  

In this workshop we will explore:

  • What has changed
  • Losses
  • Grieving losses
  • Stories of loss
  • Moving beyond loss and grief

Note: We will develop a loss and grief survey, use some of the loss and Dr. Mockett’s grief diagrams (e.g., loss triangle, loss and grief iceberg; use metaphors as ways to engage in interactive activities)

Week 2: Friday, April 23, 2021: Emotions & Emotion Regulation

The emotional dimensions of vasculitis are often overlooked when medical care is considered. Many patients with vasculitis often have to adjust their aspirations, lifestyle, and employment. Many grieve about their predicament before adjusting to it. But others have protracted distress and may develop depression and anxiety. In fact, depressive manifestation is common in individuals with vasculitis and adds significant burden upon patients suffering from the disease.  Psychosocial factors, long periods of disablement and chronic pain, fatigue are common.

This session will explore:

  • Emotions typically experienced
  • The nature of emotions
  • The language of emotions
  • Ways to regulate emotions
  • Stories of emotional experience

Note: We can use diagrams such as the one Dr. Mockett showed in the earlier presentation and other ways to make this interactive.

Week 3: Friday, May 7, 2021: Resilience

Self‐care and patients’ own efforts are particularly important in managing vasculitis. Because of the demands of continuous self‐care, patients with vasculitis often experience repetitive psychological stress, and reduced confidence. In recognition of vulnerability that most patients feel, this session will focus on helping individuals with vasculitis improve their quality of life, as well as promote positive adaptation.

The session will explore:

  • Strengths
  • Attitude
  • Thinking
  • Optimism
  • Quality of life
  • Coping
  • Ways to enhance/build resilience capacities

Note: We can use different chronic illness quality of life surveys. Explore thinking traps, focus on what one can control – control circle etc.

Week 4: Friday, May 21, 2021: Mindfulness, Integrative & Holistic Care

Since vasculitis causes a wide range of symptoms, patients require an integrative and holistic approach that encompasses, for example, functional exercise therapy, and psychological therapy, strategies to improve fatigue and coping. Our ultimate goal in using this rehabilitation approach is to enable individuals with vasculitis to reach and maintain their optimal physical capacity, muscle strength, sensory, psychological and functional abilities, and to and helps to prevent secondary deconditioning due to reduced activity levels. Current literature indicates that strength exercises combined with stretching and respiratory exercises are safe and effective strategy to improve a number of clinical outcomes in individuals with auto-immune diseases, such as fatigue, depression, mindfulness capacity, autonomic control, and health-related quality of life.

In this session we will explore:

  • Somatic experiences
  • Mindfulness and grounding techniques
  • Bring a kinesiologist to teach light restorative movements

Notes: Use diagrams to demonstrate flight-fight-freeze mode and where in our bodies we store emotions.

Week 5: Friday, June 4, 2021: Well-Being & Moving Forward

When you are ill with a cold or headache for example, you recognize that you will feel better and back to normal within a short period of time. Vasculitis on the other hand, is different. Vasculitis tend to disrupt your life and your family’s life in a number of ways.

In this session we will explore:

  • Well-being
  • Acceptance & commitment
  • New normal
  • Stories of growth and overcoming

You can register for individual sessions or for all of the sessions.  

Registration fee: $35 per session (Canadian). 

Click here to register.