Depression is a surprisingly common disorder and most of the population does not realize how many are affected by it. Something like one in every five adults will suffer from it during their lifetime. For example, two million new cases are diagnosed every year in the UK. The condition affects all age groups, though women are twice as likely to suffer from this problem in comparison to men. The rising stress level in today’s lifestyle has increased the stress level even further. A number of factors are responsible for this problem, but whatever the reason might be, you will surely need to care for someone around you suffering from depression, even if you never suffer from it yourself.
Caring for People with Depression
Caring for patients of depression is not at all easy. Though the end results feel extremely wonderful, the initial stages are quite difficult to handle and feel like an uphill task. A Carer needs to have immense perseverance and patience, as it is essential for the recovery of the patient. It is not possible to have nurses to take care of the patient all the time and this is where the Carer comes in.
How can a Carer help and support a person suffering from depression?
Lack of hope is the most common symptom that anyone suffering from depression would encounter. It is the job of the Caregiver to help the patient develop a positive outlook and hope in their lives. They need to be assured that there is a purpose of their life and a number of things can be done which can help them find a new meaning in life. The Carer also must not allow their own frustrations with the situation to show as then the feeling of guilt will surface and this will be detrimental to recovery.
Here are some ways in which a Carer can help someone suffering from mental health depression:
1. Understand Depression: It is important for the caregiver to have as much knowledge as possible about depression. The better comprehension they have about the condition, the better equipped they will be to respond in the correct manner when required.
2. Getting the Right Treatment For Depression: It is important for the Carer to avail themselves of all the available options in any given area and then suggest them to the patient. Depression can have very serious consequences if a person does not seek medical help and this needs to be done without delay. Medication and counseling are often prescribed together in order to resolve depression problems.
3. Emotional Support: The patient of depression requires understanding, care, and patience even more than those not suffering. Offering them ignorant unthinking ways to deal with depression will make them counterproductive as well as reinforce negative thinking in them.
4. Separate the Illness from the Person: It is important to remember that clinical depression is separate from the person who is suffering with depression. Thus, when they convey anger, pessimism, or frustration, it is not them who is talking but their illness. Separating the two will make it a lot easier to cope up with the situation emotionally.This is where the carer also needs to keep their emotions separate. By taking the point of view that it is the illness, not the person, will help the carer feel less frustration with the situation.
5. Spend Time With Them: Spend time with the patient of depression under as normal circumstances as possible and the Carer should reinforce that they care about the patient and are making efforts to understand their problem. The main aim of this is to help them lead a normal life. Although any suggestions may not be received that well, it is best to try to get them to do something, even if only for a few minutes. Often by sitting with them and doing the task too will encourage them to be involved because they will have someone to talk to to take their mind off their own situation. A new hobby like beading, knitting, cards or anything that is not too demanding will be great to help take their mind off themselves. It may take several attempts to get them to do anything at all.
A person suffering from depression will feel extreme tiredness. It is amazing how much a mental illness can make a person feel exhausted. A person with extreme depression will often need to rest and sit around and regain their strength just to cope with the illness.