A PROBLEM SHARED
It's hard to watch a loved one struggle with major depression, and even tougher when your attempts to help are pushed away. Unfortunately, people with depression often pull away from friends and family -- isolating or withdrawing due to depression symptoms. Don't give up. Your depressed loved one needs you most before treatment starts.
One day a client of mine called Tom said to me.It was impossible to recover by myself.'" His and my story begins.
I was privileged to meet Tom when he came to my door looking for help. He wanted to find out about reflexology.
Tom knew something was wrong and he felt ashamed about it,and less of a man.
He was feeling low isolating himself
Tom was in denial and believed he was not going to get better. We discussed he needed to to seek professional diagnosis and treatment for depression .Also,he had not told his wife.
His wife had noticed the change in him and asked him "I notice you haven't really been yourself lately. I care about you, and I want to know if I can be of help. What's going on?"
If you are depressed, you may feel that nothing can help. But this is untrue Tom I told him. Most people recover from bouts of depression, and some even look back on it as a useful experience, which forced them to take stock of their lives and make changes in their lifestyle.We often use the expression ‘I feel depressed’ when we’re feeling sad or miserable about life. Usually, these feelings pass in due course. But, if the feelings are interfering with your life and don't go away after a couple of weeks, or if they come back, over and over again, for a few days at a time, it could be a sign that you're depressed in the medical sense of the term.
Tom explained he felt he had fallen into a deep hole… Even when I tried scrambling up the sides, it was no good, as exhaustion and an overwhelming feeling of nothingness pulled me back down again. I feel like I will never see the light again...
Tom was very thankful for the advice and yes he did tell his wife that evening and did seek medical help from his Doctor. It took him a while to find the right medication to suit him and his symptoms.
He continued to come in and have reflexology. Some days he would talk , other times laugh and ocassionaly cry. I respect what ever he wanted to do when he came in to me. This was his time and his hour just to be him self.
His wife was very thankful and we established once Tom started depression treatment, he still needed her support but different support. "Self-worth plummets when someone is depressed,"Kay says. Feeling like the one who always needs help reinforces a negative self-image. Tom understood he was getting a boost of self-esteem knowing his wife knew.
From talking to his wife we established avoid using the J word with him -- "just" -- which can minimize what your depressed loved one is going through. Don't tell the depressed person to "just think positively," "just quit moping," or "just go out and have some fun, "The J word reflects wishful thinking." It also implies there's a simple solution to major depression when, in fact, there's not. Overcoming depression is never easy, but it can be a lot less daunting with loving support.
We decided Tom,s wife was going to involve him around round the house. Giving him jobs.
Weeding the garden, going shopping with her, even just laying the table for dinner.Keeping him involved.
The trouble is that while you focus on your loved one's sadness, it's easy to neglect your own needs. This inevitably leads to caregiver fatigue, frustration, stress, and burnout. Read on to learn ways to nurture yourself while providing support for your loved one. The emotional demands on the caregiver to be patient and supportive can be overwhelming at times.
Constantly "being there" for a friend or family member struggling with depression can be stressful, so it's vital to have a few simple self-care techniques to help you through moments of impatience or irritability. Deep breathing exercises, and progressive relaxation techniques can help release tension and manage stress so you can find calm even in your most difficult moments.
Tom and his wife began to eat Well for High EnergyWhen you're frazzled, you may turn to food for comfort. If you're not careful, this can lead to bad food choices, overeating, energy crashes, and resentment toward your depressed loved one. As a depression caregiver, it's important to make smart food choices to maintain energy and control your weight. Pair complex carbs that are high in fiber (e.g. beans and whole grains) with unsaturated fats (e.g. avocado, walnuts, or mixed greens with olive oil) to help maintain steady energy levels. Add lean protein, such as chicken or fish, and you have a meal. Sesame seeds are full of magnesium -- a mineral that cells need to turn food into energy. Try sprinkling toasted sesame seeds on peanut butter toast; add them to trail mix, or toss a tablespoonful into a stir-fry or pasta salad.
Tom loved this and was very focused and said on many occasions it was tempting to pick the couch over the treadmill, but exercise can do a world of good to manage stress, boost your energy, and nurture your immune system. Even on days when he did not feel up to it,he tried to do some kind of physical activity.
Taking a few mini-walks. even a 10-minute spin around the block will get your feel-good endorphins flowing. It also counteracts anxiety-fueled threats, such as jumps in your blood pressure and blood sugar. Plus, it's a great way to clear your head and collect your thoughts.
Reminding yourself that depression doe not last actually makes your stages of depression seem a lot less potent. I noticed this for myself when working with Tom and his wife.
I sometimes wonder whether telling yourself “I have depression” really makes things better. From my own experience at work I can tell you that it actually made my clients a whole heap worse. Why? Because the diagnosis “you have depression” is very solid. It is very fixed. It seems unchangeable. It does not last. But when you are told you have depression you run the risk of labeling yourself as a depressed person.
Of course, diagnosing people with depression and depression related disorders is very important. It is vital to the health and recovery of that person. Without that diagnosis the person might not get the drugs or the counseling that they need. It is not the diagnosis, as such, that I have an issue with. My issue is with labeling yourself as a depressed person.
The two lessons I learned from Tom and his wife are about helping people with depression and helping yourself when you have depression. If you are depressed you need to get out and be around people. It does not matter how you do it, science has shown that having human contact helps depression. The second thing is that if you know someone who is feeling down you should go and help them. Get them out of the house, take them out for a walk and get them out with people. This will not only help their situation, it will also help your depression. Eating healthy and exercising helps enormously.
What Toms says.
One thing about suffering from depression is that it's made me a better, stronger person.It is easy to view happiness as the by-product of achieving the things you want in life.It is much more powerful to understand that irrespective of what is going on in the present moment, you have the choice to be happy, if you are prepared to take ownership of this emotion.
"I am useless" becomes "At the moment I am feeling useless, but I may not always feel useless."