Depression: How to Stay Healthy as a Patient
Depression is a serious disease that makes a person’s life a daily struggle. Depressed people need support from family and friends to defeat the disease. However, the fact that the lives of relatives of people with depression suffer from the disease is often forgotten. In this article, you will learn what means and ways there are to protect you as a relative in this situation.
Therefore, as a relative you do not have to do without many things and activities, but unfortunately you also have to see how the beloved person turns away from you more and more; simply because she is too busy with herself. This form of rejection is difficult to handle. In many cases, relatives are depressed themselves because they do not know how to take care of themselves in this situation.
What is depression?
Depression is a severe mental illness that belongs to mood disorders, ie clinically meaningful mood changes. Sufferers suffer from a severe depression, which – unlike normal sad phases – does not recur after a certain time.
The diagnosis of depression is based on symptoms and their course. Many people underestimate depression and often confuse it with a depressive period or simple moodiness. Patients often have to deal with much misunderstandings of other people, who believe that one can simply separate oneself from the negative thoughts. However, depression can not simply be shaken off.
The brain of a patient suffering from depression does not work normally. The neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine are released in the wrong amount in the disease and cause the bad feelings. The good news is that depression can be treated well, quickly and sustainably. The basis for this is a psychological therapy and the use of antidepressants that restore normal brain functions.
Signs of depression are not always limited to mood. Also on physical evidence you should pay attention. Indigestion, weakness, sexual dysfunction, heart and chest pain, as well as things like blurred vision can indicate depression. Consult a doctor if you suspect depression in one of your loved ones and seek advice. Often patients themselves do not know that they are suffering from depression.
So you support depressive people properly
When relatives change at once because they have depression, it is essential to handle them properly. People with severe depressive illness often have suicidal thoughts and need a lot of understanding, but also basic knowledge about illness, signs and treatment. The following measures were set up by the Foundation German Depressionshilfe :
- Consult a doctor: Many sufferers recognize their disease late, but as with all diseases, quick action is important. If you suspect a depression in a loved one, consult with a doctor and make an appointment for your loved one.
- Stay patient: depression sufferers need support and a strong environment to get out of the disease. Try to build understanding with your loved ones and remember in heavy phases that depression is a disease and NOT a character weakness.
- Be cautious with advice: Over-hasty advice, though well-intentioned, can have a negative effect on depression sufferers. Ideas such as holidays or excursions can overwhelm depressed people. Under no circumstances should you advise a sufferer to pull himself together! It can exacerbate the guilt feelings he or she already suffers anyway.
- Do not ask for important decisions: it can happen that depressive people make decisions during their illness that they would otherwise evaluate in a healthy state. You should take this into consideration when it comes to important, private matters.
- Dealing with suicidality: Through depression, sufferers often lose hope and the will to live. If you notice signs of possible suicidal thoughts on your loved one, there are certain things (here a detailed list of measures and advice) that should be followed when dealing with the individual. The important thing is to draw professional help in any case.
Care for yourself
When taking care of a depressed person, you also have to pay attention to yourself. The disease is a major burden – even for relatives. To the care of a loved one come changes in everyday life and sudden restrictions in dealing with the sick. Constant rejections often cause quarrels in which one person can not do otherwise because he is ill and the other is afraid of hurting the patient’s feelings and making things worse. Frustration builds up. You will grieve for past, happy times and miss the person the patient once was.
With all the negative sentiment and the huge change coming to you, the most important thing is that you do not forget to take care of yourself too. Only if you stay healthy yourself can you help your loved one. Even little things can help to cheer up your mood. Meet with friends, go to sports or go shopping in the city.
In most cases, relatives tend to abandon old habits, just to prevent the sufferer from realizing what he is missing and thus reducing his mood even more. That’s why you should not worry about it. Even if your partner, family member or friend does not want to participate in many activities, he is so concerned with his illness that he will not mind if you do something for you from time to time. Also, do not forget that they love you and only want the best for you.
What you both should pay attention to is that you speak openly in spite of everything. So on the one hand you can better decide if the patient needs professional help and he will certainly be well aware that he can talk to you about his problems.