If you have discovered that a friend or family member is going through depression/ stress/ anxiety issues and have decided to be their constant support, here are a few things that you must be prepared for before starting to tend to them:
There are plenty of websites, blogs and articles on the internet that will help you identify what type of malady the person is experiencing. You can read up on symptoms and causes to narrow down on one cause that you think is affecting them.
Observe and log
Observe the person’s behaviour, daily routine and activities and then log them. This will help you identify the symptoms, causes and behavioural patterns to get a clearer picture of what exactly the individual is going through. Remember to do it in an unobvious and unintrusive way.
Talk to a therapist
Sometimes complex conditions have varied symptoms and it may be hard to find out what exactly is wrong. Often, such symptoms of the mind may be a combination of two or more conditions, for example – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder may be accompanied with chronic depression. See a therapist and explain the behaviour and symptoms before you start to attend to that person.
Manage time and work
If you have decided to get involved directly, remember that it may have diverse effects on you as well. So dealing with two stressful situations may not be good. Get a part time job (if possible) to reduce the stress on yourself and devote energy to the individual.
In case you are caring for a person who is battling through such concerns, you might have to spend extra money on therapist visits and medication. So working out a budget in advance will help reduce the burden.
We understand that it is quite a challenge to care for a person who is low and down for the major part of the time. Consider yourself gifted because it’s a role that not many can do justice to. It requires immense patience, understanding and the will to go on. Here are a few tips that will make it easier for you and the person you are caring for:
Understand the person
The situation that they are going through cannot be quantified or categorized. Getting upset might seem to be an easier way to deal with the pressure, but always remember that the person you are caring for cannot function or think the way you do. So if something you did or said caused some kind of tension between you two, try to rephrase or explain it in a calm way.
Think of the person as a knotted mind, undoing it will take time and for that you will need a lot of patience. It is not something that can be sorted solely with medication; it might require therapy, medication or even a combination of both. Whatever it is, it will still take time.
Caring for someone who is facing the doldrums of life will require you to constantly motivate them for the smallest of things. There may be certain everyday activities that they might not like or be able to perform with full capacity, it’s your motivation that will play a key role in urging them to complete such tasks.
You might keep trying but even then don’t see the desired results. This might break your confidence and more often force you to give up. Please remember that it can be a difficult experience for the people you are caring for as they are already comfortable with your care. So be confident and don’t blame yourself for everything.
Give time outs
Being around the individual constantly doesn’t help. You need to decide on how much time the one you’re tending to needs to spend alone. Although being solitary all the time might not be good for him/ her, at least an hour or two alone can be beneficial.