Having or living with someone who suffers from depression can be hard. Here’s how to care for someone with depression and yourself, as a caretaker.
Living with someone with depression can be hard, here’s how you can help them and yourself
Depression is a very common yet serious medical condition. It has a negative impact on how you feel, think, and behave. Depression induces feelings of unhappiness and a lack of interest in activities you previously enjoyed. It can cause plenty of mental and physical issues, as well as a reduction in your capacity to operate and engage with people around you.
Even though depression is curable, it can be very stressful to deal with depression or live with someone that is suffering from Depression. Some of the most common treatments for depression are therapy and medications. However, while treating depression we often overlook the impact it causes on the people around us and how their actions might also greatly influence the recovery.
If you are someone who knows or lives with someone with depression, the first step is to understand that how they are feeling or acting is not in their control. Someone suffering from depression might show these symptoms:
- Feeling sad, a constant state of sadness
- Loss of appetite/ hike in appetite
- Facing difficulty making decisions, thinking
- Loss of energy
- Sleeping more than usual/ experiencing trouble sleeping
- Loss of interest in activities and things that were once enjoyable
- Feeling helpless, worthless
- Thoughts of suicide
- Excessive purposeless movement (shaking, pacing, etc.)/ significant loss in movement and speaking
How to care for someone with depression?
These symptoms may come and go and the intensity may vary. If you live with someone with depression, this is how you can help and care for them.
It is important to make them feel heard and understood. Try talking to them and discuss how are they doing. Frequent checkups can help them feel important and seen.
Encourage seeing the doctor
Another reason for the delay in treatment is denial. If you believe someone you know might be suffering from depression, encourage them to take an expert opinion. Just like we see a doctor when we have an injury, we must see a doctor if we feel our mind is not the fittest. Discuss this with the affected person and explain how necessary and normal it is to treat any abnormality in the body or brain.
People suffering from depression might experience feelings of worthlessness or that they do not matter. It is essential to communicate to them how important they are to you and show adequate support while pursuing treatments.
Provide a positive environment
A person suffering from depression might have trouble feeling joy and happiness. Providing them with a positive environment might help them overcome their feelings of sadness and helplessness. Although correct medication and therapy are also essential. Anger or negative behaviors from the people around them might make their symptoms worse.
Someone suffering from depression might find it difficult to even shower every day. Provide necessary assistance and help them maintain their mental as well as physical wellbeing.
Keep them occupied
Oftentimes, feelings of helplessness, and worthlessness might worsen if the person affected is spending too much time staying alone or not engaging with anyone or anything. Going out on picnics, movies, engaging in hobbies, and hanging out with family and friends might help them feel better. However, only insist, do not force them to engage in activities if they resist.
How to care for yourself as a caretaker?
Caring for a loved one while they suffer from depression can be mentally and physically straining. Even if you are providing support to someone suffering from depression, it does not mean you cannot feel negative feelings or feel overwhelmed.
Here are some things you can do to make this journey easy for yourself:
Constantly catering to the needs and wants of someone else can be exhausting. People suffering from depression may be difficult to engage with due to their symptoms. This can also cause feelings of disagreement between you and them. Furthermore, seeing someone close to you suffering from depression can cause sadness and feelings of helplessness in yourself as well. Seeking guidance on how to better understand your moods and dynamics can be very helpful in bettering the treatment altogether. Therapy can help you navigate why you are feeling what you are feeling and how to make yourself feel better. It can also help you understand the correct ways in which you can deal and communicate with someone suffering from depression.
If you are a direct guardian of the person suffering from depression, taking care of yourself can take a backseat. However, it is important to listen to your own needs and wants as well. It is okay to feel frustrated or burned out. You can engage in activities that bring you joy such as sports, painting, going out with friends, reading, etc.
Trust the process
Oftentimes, finding the right doctor and/or treatment can be frustrating. You must understand that navigating what works best might take some time. Adding to that, treatments also take some time to show positive changes. Hence, it is important to stay patient.
Dealing with depression or dealing with someone that suffers from depression, can both be very stressful and time-consuming. It is important to understand everyone’s feelings are valid. Taking care of yourself is also necessary in order to maintain a positive environment for growth and betterment.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.