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Depression can be a killer. But a depressed person can be helped come out of it, with patience, timely medication and plenty of tender loving care.
“You are a good man and you don’t have to feel sorry for being good”. ” This phase will pass and you won’t even remember this time”.
All these statements were a part of our regular routine life. Hero of my life; a great leader, a great social activist, a great human being….my dad was undergoing a phase which he never ever had even dreamt of. We haven’t seen him this vulnerable. He was the pillar of our house and this pillar was shaking now. I had to accept that my father was going through a severe depression. The most important thing is to understand and accept the problem. Only then could we think of fighting it. We have to keep our flame ignited and only then we could protect and cure the sufferer.
Here are my suggestions for fighting this debilitating disease.
Although India has advanced quite a lot in terms of medical treatments, going to a psychiatrist as a medical practitioner still isn’t that popular. People don’t pay as much attention to their mental health, as to their physical health. We have often heard from our NRI friends and relatives, that in western countries people regularly consult their psychiatrist the way they meet their physician. This is still very uncommon in India.
When in depression, one should immediately seek the help of an experienced psychiatrist. We have to understand that medical science can help us fight our inner most emotional battles. Battles which can cause disastrous effects on our body. In depression, patients usually complaint of acute negativity, and uncontrollable thoughts which haunt them repetitively. There are medications which can break these thoughts and give relief to the patients.
Patients of depression often complain of some physical problem, such as gastric trouble, heartburn, body-ache, headache etc. Usually these are not the actual problems, but just the symptoms of the underlying depression. If we treat depression, all these symptoms will gradually disappear.
If you are the carer, the support, however, it isn’t easy to listen to these problems daily. Listening to the same complaints everyday with no signs of improvement can drain your energy drastically. It can pull you into a spiral of negativity. So it becomes so important to save your energy.
One has to understand that depression can’t kill anybody unless the person himself tries to harm himself. So the person who gives support has to be mentally strong and positive. Do pay attention to your recreation too at times to enrich your positive energy. Without the positive support from your side the suffering person can’t hope to heal.
When people deal with depressed family members they often start blaming the person himself /herself. They try to pinpoint his faulty attitude and expect rectification immediately. This makes the whole scenario even worse.
Depression is a disease which takes a person into self criticizing mode unknowingly. This disease devastates his self confidence to the extent that he questions his own existence. So it is important for the family to not pass judgement on his personality. Instead, try to portray the positive side of his personality, good qualities and great attitude that he might possess. Even though a patient of depression doesn’t seem to acknowledge and recognize it, continued positive support and belief heals the wound gradually.
Many people don’t actually think of depression as a medical condition to be treated; rather they believe that it’s all in the head and will cure by itself. This aggravates the whole problem.
Any unattended medical condition worsens if not treated and that’s the case with depression too. Counseling is just a part, but if the person doesn’t seem to be improving, seeking psychiatric help is a must. Don’t forget that it can save a life.
I have seen some suicide cases where in the person was in depression and never seeked psychiatric help due to ignorance of family members. This can lead to loss of the life which could have been saved.
I won’t say have patience and everything will be fine. But I firmly believe that time is the greatest healer. No matter how painful the wound is. So patience is a virtue, especially when you are a supporter side.
The only thing to be taken into account is that never let the first thought be your last thought.
Image source: depressed woman by Shutterstock.