Having depression is doubly hard. Hard for those who suffer and hard for those who live from the outside trying to accompany in that process the person who suffers. In this article, we are going to discuss how to develop emotional health when you live with a depressed person.
If you have never felt that you would prefer not to be alive, it is difficult no matter how hard you try to understand someone who is immersed in a depression process. Perhaps the key is precisely not to try to rationalize everything and understand it, but simply to learn to be there and at the same time find the balance between taking care of the other and yourself.
How to develop emotional health
I could focus here to explain how you should treat a person who is going through a process of depression. I assure you that I would leave running since I have lived and I have an internal list of a few things that are appreciated when you do not see the light at the end of the tunnel, but today I came to talk about you, what you should keep in mind to keep your emotional health very strong when you live with a loved one with depression. Because if you are well, everything will flow better.
DO NOT TAKE IT AS NOTHING PERSONAL
This is the first key point so that everyone else makes sense. When someone you love and with whom you share your life goes into depression, the first thing that comes to mind is: Why have not I known how to make you happy? What have I done wrong? And the answer is that you have not done anything wrong, on the contrary, because you are there he or she is not worse.
It is normal to tend to blame ourselves, but you can be sure that there are no culprits here. Depression is a mood disorder that may or may not have a specific trigger (for example, a poorly solved grief), but in most cases, its psychosocial, biological and genetic aspects influence its diagnosis.
So, take a deep breath and take off this burden that you have accepted because it is not real. You’re doing well, do not have any doubt about it.
DO NOT TRY TO UNDERSTAND IT ALL
Once you have assumed that you are not to blame for the depression process your loved one goes through. The most usual thing is to start looking for logic. Try to understand the other person and know why he does not want to go out, why he does not want to take a shower or why he would stay in bed all day.
I know that when you are rational, it is hard for you to understand that there is nothing to understand, but I am sorry to tell you that this is so, do not look for a logical explanation because you will not find it. It would be very long to explain, but when someone’s brain “clicks” and loops in, it is very difficult to reason with him from your caretaker role, and most likely you end up arguing.
With that, I’m telling you that you do not have to do anything? No, on the contrary! Precisely because I want the energies that you invest in being productive here, what I want to transmit to you is that you do not waste your time trying to find a rational answer, but focus your energy in finding small pacts that facilitate your day today.
Let me give you a practical example. In front of the fact that the depressed person does not feel like having a shower and can spend a week without doing it, two things can happen:
When the seventh day arrives, you have such anger that in the end, you end up getting into the shower by force, between tears and reproaches.
Knowing in advance that you do not want to get to the first option, you take a moment in which you are both calm, and you reach the agreement that you have to shower day yes no day. It is a negotiation in which the two have yielded because you would prefer to shower every day and the other person does not see the time to do it, but you have acquired a commitment, and even if it costs you, it is most likely that you try to fulfill it.
The situation that I have described of the shower is very extreme, but the same can happen with the fact of going for a walk, dressing in clothes that are not always the same tracksuit, staying with a friend or going to the park with the children. I know you think that this is emotional blackmail, you can call it what you want, the point is that if you reach an agreement in a moment of calm and tranquility, it is more difficult for the other person not to comply with the agreement.
Notice that what I propose to you is that you focus your energy on something that is going to bring you real results and is going to satisfy a climate of calm and harmony instead of wearing you out arguing.
SEEK YOUR SPACE
No matter how much you love someone, after so much struggle it is normal to feel exhausted, frustrated and without energy. That is why it is so important to have your own space to disconnect and recharge batteries.
Caring for someone and caring about him/her does not mean neglecting yourself. Although it seems obvious this is one of the most classic mistakes when you live with a person suffering from an illness, and should also be one of the first to amend.
It is more important to share fewer moments but that they are of quality, than not spending 24 hours a day side by side but without contributing anything. Reduce the amount and increase the quality, and from there the time you earn dedicate it to yourself.
It is essential that you can disconnect for a moment from the continuous struggle that involves being at the bottom of the cannon trying to help your loved one. Why? Well, because if you have your moments of disconnection, relaxation, and relaxation, it will be much easier for you to be able to face the challenges of everyday life, increase your patience and be able to relativize things more.
Think for a minute what you like to do, it does not have to be something good for you, just something that makes you enjoy and with what the hours fly by. Maybe you sing fatal, but you would be excited to learn to sing Operación Triunfo songs, then go ahead, reserve one day a week and sign up for those singing lessons, it’s YOUR time, YOUR space and you deserve it.
Do not feel guilty for needing to take a little distance from the situation you are living at home, not only is it normal, but it is healthy and desirable. You will see that when you come back after the rush that will give you having enjoyed your singing time (who says singing says to go for a walk, give yourself a massage, go to the gym, meditate … whatever it is but look for something that you like and book a hollow in the agenda minimum two days a week) you will return home with a different energy and this shows.
LEARN TO RELAX
In any relationship between two people, whether it is a couple, a friendship, a relationship between siblings or father and son, there are times when you have to talk about issues that from the first moment you intuit that it is possible to get rid of the matter and end up arguing.
Nothing happens, it is normal, but if you already know that you are going to play a tricky topic, or on the contrary, you did not have it planned but it arises spontaneously, and you will see that the atmosphere warms up … for a moment, breathe and try to relax. When you argue from passion and guts you have many chances to end up in a fight, and that, beyond helping you, what it will do is add another frustration to your backpack, and it’s not what you want, right?
Do not wait for the case of a fight to begin to relax. Start from now practicing mindfulness, meditation or relaxation and little by little you will notice how your capacity increases to keep calm, and without losing your nerves, at the same time you will have more self-control, and this will make you know how to negotiate with the more left hand.
When you get angry you have two tasks, getting angry and being light-headed, so if you can save them you can focus the energy on what matters; your well-being and that of your loved one.
If you want to start practicing mindfulness and meditation, Miriam has a 21-day course that will be great for you. I did it a while ago, and I recommend it!
Apart from helping you in the most critical moments to learn tools to solve specific difficult situations better, relaxation training will also be very useful to make a change in your way of facing life in general.
You will learn to relativize, prioritize and manage the feeling of helplessness that you often feel when you see that no matter how much you do not observe almost evolution in the illness of your relative. It is not miraculous, but it is an anime job that in the long run and without realizing it can be a turning point to improve your emotional health.
DO NOT EXPECT ANYTHING
We all tend to expect something from others. We hope that they act in a certain way, we expect them to tell us certain things, and we even hope that they feel something in particular. We can not avoid it; we do it unconsciously.
We always expect something from others, and when our expectations are not met comes frustration, anger, and sadness. Truly at that moment, the error is ours because we are expecting something that the other probably does not even know.
Without going any further, if you live with someone diagnosed with major depression and you arrive home hoping to find you more lively, able to propose a plan to do together this afternoon. Think what will have made a small change, and then when you open the door of hope it turns out that everything is the same … can you imagine what a feeling you are going to have, no? The world will fall on you, and you will have to start over from scratch to rebuild the pieces that have been broken inside.
That is why it is so important to try not to wait for the other. When all the work you are doing (helping you to go to therapy, supervising that you take the medication and relax to negotiate properly) bear fruit. The feeling of satisfaction will be real and will give you the energy to continue with the whole process. On the other hand, if you tend to imagine what is going to happen and then it is not fulfilled, you are likely to miss little changes or evolutions that are the first step to a remarkable improvement of your quality of life.
It is easier said than done, but whenever you realize that you are starting to expect too much from the other, stop, put your feet on the ground and try to find real things that are already happening to encourage you to continue. In the long run, you will see that when you do not expect everything is easier.
TRY TO GO TO SLEEP WITH THE RESOLVED THEMES
You have the right to have a bad day, and two and three, but do not let things pile up. Each day that begins is a new opportunity to start from scratch, do not waste it. Therefore, even if you have had the anger of the century, no matter how much you feel that you have taken steps backward or you simply can not see the light at the end of the tunnel, do not get enrolled.
When the night comes, try to solve the fronts that you have left open during the day, and never go to sleep angry, resentful or with a pending conversation, if you can avoid it. Dragging things for days and days only prolong the suffering and exquisite situations that analyzing them objectively do not deserve to waste time with them.
Before going to bed lying down breathing deeply and think of something that has happened and that has made you feel good, even if it was only fleetingly.
Stay with that moment and with that feeling; it will help you sleep better, rest and start the next day with positive energy.
VALUE THE SMALL CHANGES
Depression is cured, and although when you live it from within it seems impossible, you can get out of it. It is clear that there are exceptional cases in which the process becomes chronic, but as a general rule, we start from the basis that if good treatment is followed with both psychiatric and psychological support, it is possible to recover and smile each morning again.
Even so, it is a long process and with an ant work behind which requires a lot of patience and affection. We have already said before that it is important not to wait, but it is also essential not to expect huge changes from one day to the next because it is rare that this happens.
The expression “leave the depression” is the clear image of how it evolves in this disease and is that one is improving little by little and step by step can change their way of facing the world and live their lives. These are the small changes that we have to value, because they may seem like little at first, but they will undoubtedly be an indispensable grain of sand to reach the end of the road.
DO NOT BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP
In the beginning, I told you that if you are well everything will flow better, and reminded you of the need to take care of yourself so that you can help your loved one as both of you deserve.
Often when we take care of someone sick, we focus so much on the other that we neglect ourselves and we lose our essence. It’s easy to happen, but you should try to remedy it.
It seems that as someone who has the disease is the other person, you have the role of being there helping them, and while your feelings and emotions take a back seat. Do not kid yourself; it is very important that you are strong so that you can manage the whirlwind of emotions that can invade you in a process as difficult as the depression of a loved one.
You have come to be happy, do not forget, and for this, you have to be able to vent, work your fears, the feeling of guilt and anger, helplessness and sadness to finally take care of yourself and your family member with the affection that You both deserve it. So, do not hesitate, if you feel overwhelmed by the situation, ask for help.
If you feel like it, to start taking care of yourself and learn to identify how you feel, I give you the guide. Free guide of emotional management for caregivers so you can take care of your sick relative without losing your health. I hope you like it and that it is very useful for you.
And you, have you noticed that when you take care of yourself, it is easier to take care of your loved one? If you want to tell us in the comments what you do to stay healthy emotionally while taking care of your sick family member, we will love reading!