Depression doesn’t only affect those struggling with mental illness; it affects their loved ones who support them as well. It’s important that you remember to take care of your own well-being so that you can be a more effective support system. Here are 5 ways to care for yourself while supporting someone with depression:
1. Ensure that you have continuous conversations with your loved one struggling with depression
Negative feelings and emotions can become internalized which can eventually become escalated. Allowing both parties to express their feelings allows for a healthier relationship. Although it may be difficult, ongoing communication allows you to better understand your role in your loved one’s struggle. Open communication also helps your loved one better understand that he or she has a support system; this is something that is extremely difficult for them to comprehend and requires reassurance when battling depression.
2. Take care of your own health and wellness by finding time for yourself
As a spouse, parent, or child of someone struggling with depression, your life can sometimes become consumed by the situation at hand. However, it’s important to remember that finding time for yourself is also important. This is increasingly crucial when you have a spouse battling depression and children are involved. Roles are likely to change as your partner will be unable to overcome many of his or her symptoms. Your spouse’s ability to participate in a variety of the parenting duties might become affected. Unfortunately, this could mean that your spouse’s mental illness can become evident to your children. In order to reduce the impact of your spouse’s depression on your children, ensuring that they have a healthy and positive influence in their everyday life can make a great deal of difference. If you don’t take care of your own health, you won’t be much help to anyone.
3. Don’t take your loved one’s feelings and emotions too much to heart
A depressed person may feel unhappy with the entirety of his or her existence. It may feel as if this means that he or she is unhappy with you, but this is most likely not the case. Expressed feelings of unhappiness are a result of the depression as this is a symptom of the mental illness; those with depression have ongoing feelings of sadness and discontent.
4. Seek counselling for yourself
It can be extremely difficult to navigate a loved one’s mood changes. Since a depressed person often feels guilty and embarrassed about the mental illness, try to refrain from speaking with someone within your relationship’s social circle. Instead, seek outside counselling to keep things private. Not only will outside counselling allow you to better provide help to your loved one, but you will be able to discuss your own personal feelings about your role as a support caregiver.
Closing the Gap Healthcare’s Social Workers can support individuals with mental health issues and help families cope with the complexities of difficult situations. Contact Us to learn more or to book an appointment today.
5. Being out in nature has shown to have positive affects on a person’s mood
Taking a long walk or hike, either alone or with your loved one, can allow you to get away from the stresses of everyday life. Wilderness therapy is the use of nature’s calming effect and the ability to boost endorphins through exercise to improve a person’s mood. Wilderness therapy allows individuals to sooth their soul; this is incredibly important for someone, like yourself, that is facing an increasing amount of stress.