Friday, November 22, 2019

Are You Looking After A #Depressed Family Member ?

This is not about how to care for a mental patient,which I covered comprehensively in an earlier post.It is about you who are caring for one such family member.Only those who look after a depressed kin,know how very taxing it can be.To make matters worse,the improvements are often slow and erratic in coming.You need to pool all your physical,mental and emotional resources to continue this crusade of pulling your dear one out of this morass.

What's more,even though you must be doing a lot to take care of his basic and emotional needs,you may not get any thanks in return.It is common.He is engrossed in a jungle of his own worries and fears;least mindful of the common codes of conduct.He may even accuse you of doing things you could not have dreamt of doing.Don't complain or snap at him.Just say you are sorry and will be more careful in future.He needs compassion,not rebukes or judgments.

He also needs the understanding of others who live with him or come in contact with him.
You will have to act as a buffer between him and those other people.The key to maintaining a harmonious atmosphere in the home and shielding him from abuse or humiliation is in your hands.Convey his limitations to those who are not adequately attuned.It requires a lot of sagacity,patience and tolerance.The love and support of family  are like lifeboats for someone floundering in tempestuous waters.

Your main task is to pull him out of depression.Research informs us that exercise is the best way to combat mental ailments.Exercise,and following a modicum of daily routine every day are excellent antidotes to anxiety and depression.Depression can drain out physical as well as emotional energy therefore you will have to be persuasive and innovative in order to have him moving about again.Cajole him to start with tiny baby steps.Motivate him to introduce a small change in his routine which must have gone haywire after he succumbed to depression.

It could be anything like sitting with the family when they are relaxing and chatting,having meals with them,getting up at a given time,bathing regularly,changing into fresh clothes,straightening his bed etcetera,etcetera. Let him choose at least one action which he can do daily and easily.Once he picks up that habit he can graduate to more difficult tasks.This will increase his self confidence.Goad him to join the mainstream once again,encouraging and praising all the way.Since emotional problems tend to isolate a person,calling over friends and arranging casual get togethers  will provide a refreshing change to both of you.

Doing all this without an iota of thanks in return is not easy.At times you may wonder what you had done to deserve this life but just consider,he is at a much,much worse place than you.You will have to guard against anger,frustration and defeatism in your own self too.So gather all your emotional reserves and carry on.Only you can draw him out of this hole.Forget thanks and gratitude for now.Your rewards will come when you see an improvement in him-no matter how slight.

You are human.Along with emotional forbearance you also need plenty of strength to shuttle between looking after him and tending to other responsibilities.Look after your own health and happiness.Take proper nourishment and enough sleep to conserve your energy.You can synchronize your own siesta with that of the patient.If you feel too tired,consider out-sourcing the tasks which you find too demanding.Take time out to do what you like doing.

Doing all this should hopefully improve his condition but if this does not happen then you will at least have no reason to chastise yourself that you did not do your duty.

It is only for convenience that I have used the male gender.It does not signify anything.

Image taken from google search.