Understanding Your Emotions After Transplant

The transplant process can be a very difficult emotional process and journey. Before the transplant you experienced a period of unknown waiting for the transplant. Afterward, you may encounter stresses learning how to deal with the new lifestyle changes and medication regimens that you have to adhere to. In the early months after transplant, it is common to experience a wide range of emotions from guilt to anger to frustration to depression to joy. (1)


These feelings can affect you for different reasons and in different ways. What is stressful or hard on you may not be stressful or difficult for another person. Some common symptoms people experience when they are dealing with emotional problems include:

  • Feeling sad, depressed, angry, anxious, or overwhelmed.

  • Crying frequently or easily.

  • Being unable to focus or concentrate.

  • Not sleeping well, sleeping too much, or being unable to.

  • Fall asleep.

  • Mood changes.

  • Changes in appetite.

Feeling emotional can also be related to side effects of medications or related to underlying medical problems. When you are feeling particularly overwhelmed by feelings or emotions, you should talk to your transplant team, social worker, or psychologist for support and to see if there is any underlying issue that may be causing your extremes of emotion.


If there isn’t an underlying health problem that is causing your emotionally difficulties, there are many things you can do to help yourself deal with your feelings and emotions including:

  • Exercise regularly and be as active as possible.


  • Participate in social activities with friends and family at home and in your community.


  • Eat a healthy diet.


  • Establish a good sleeping routine. Take naps if needed and get adequate rest.


  • Find a way to relax through music, social activities, arts and crafts, yoga, and/or meditation and deep breathing.


  • Recognize and understand how you feel.


  • Let your family and friends know that you need their support. Talk to them about how you feel. Talking or just spending time with them can be helpful.


  • Talk to other transplant patients through support groups. Sometimes it is helpful to talk to other people who have shared the same experience.


  • Talking to a professional counselor may also be helpful. Your transplant team can refer you to someone who can help.



References:

1. Transplantation and Pregnancy. Practice Essentials, Overview, Important Points to be Considered in Female Transplant Recipients. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/429932-overview#a1. Published November 9, 2019. Accessed May 6, 2020.

Understanding Your Emotions After Transplant