Understanding Bipolar Disorder – Part 2 – Treatment and care.

Understanding Bipolar Disorder – Part 2 – Treatment and care.

Accepting that you have a problem, is half the battle won.

However, where mental illness is concerned, people stay in the denial mode way too long in the hope that the problem will vanish if they avoid dealing with it, and that is where they go wrong.

Accepting the truth, that Bipolar Disorder was a mental illness here to stay, was not only difficult, but also heartbreaking–it was an illness on which would depend quite a many decisions of our Life. But, no one said that Life would be a bed of roses! On the contrary, there are far fewer roses than there are thorns in our Life, isn’t it?

Last week, I shared a post on Causes and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder. Today, I write about the treatment for Bipolar Disorder. 

ACCEPTANCE IS KEY:

Accept the fact that the illness is going to be a permanent part of your life. It isn’t easy doing so. It’s an everyday process. But, you really have no other choice!

A visit to a psychiatrist is the first thing to do instead of waiting to see if the symptoms die down with time. If you see your loved one unable to sleep or if you observe changes in their usual behaviour, DO NOT try to question them/argue or fight with them.

Set an appointment with a psychiatrist who will be able to make the right diagnosis and give the necessary treatment before things get out of hand.

If the aggressive, violent behaviour of the patient gets impossible to manage, he/she might have to get admitted to a hospital, where the first thing they would do is sedate the patient. DO NOT worry if they have to be restrained to the bed–it’s for their own good lest they harm either themselves or others.

The manic phase as well as the depressive phase can be really difficult for the patient as well as for the caregivers, but following the doctor’s instructions is imperative.

However much the patient objects to the restraining, the sedation or the treatment, know that it is for their own good. You, as a caregiver, will have to be strong and adamant, too, and only follow your doctor’s instructions.

TREATMENT:

A psychiatrist who diagnoses and treats mental illnesses is the one who will decide upon the treatment for Bipolar Disorder.

Once admitted to the hospital, the patient will be sedated. This helps calm them down. Sedation results in the patient sleeping for hours together (esp. after a manic phase).

The medications prescribed as part of treatment of Bipolar Disorder are:

Mood stabilisers

Anti-psychotics

Anti-anxiety medications

Anti-depressants

Finding the right medications for every patient takes some trial and error. At times, some medications work like a charm, and at times, they don’t give the desired effect.

As a caregiver, one needs to be extremely patient and bank on their support system for emotional, physical and financial help.

Medications take quite some time to show the desired effect. At times, in a matter of days, the patient exhibits flashes of normal behaviour, but, it takes months before the patient is completely healthy again.

Medications also have side effects that can bother the patient.

The speech is slurred because of the sedatives, the movements are slow and the mind, foggy. The patient often forgets why he or she has landed in the hospital and since when they have been there.

At times, they get argumentative and insist upon returning home, or discontinuing medications because of the side effects. Talking to the psychiatrist about it is a must instead of agreeing with the patient, lest the symptoms return and the patient experiences withdrawal symptoms and their condition worsens.

The patient might have to stay in the hospital for about a week or 10 days, until the doctor feels the patient is ready to leave.

Once home, the patient has to follow the prescribed regimen. Regular visits to the psychiatrists are to be followed.

Once the patient shows signs of good health, the doctor makes the necessary changes in the medications. And, once the doctor permits, the patient can return to their earlier schedule of work or schooling.

Appointments with the doctor and the prescribed medications have to be regulated strictly despite busy schedules or travel plans.

OTHER SIDE EFFECTS:

The other side effects the patient experiences are trembling of the hands, forgetfulness, sleepiness, weight gain. Talk to the doctor about these side effects.

CARE:

If the patient accepts that he/she has to deal with the illness for life and take the medications as per the doctor’s instructions without fail, then it becomes easy to deal with the problem.

As a caregiver, it’s paramount that you personally take it upon yourself to administer the medications to the patient.

Make it a part of your daily schedule and you won’t miss out on any dosage.

Fixing appointments with the doctor as per the doctor’s advice is also the caregiver’s responsibility, as is accompanying the patient to the clinic each time.

Make a note of the changes made in the dosage and follow the instructions to the T.

If the patient has travel plans, make sure you pack enough medications and label the packets clearly in pouches big enough not to be missed. Explain the patient about these medications and how they can not, and must not, miss any dose.

WHEN LIFE GETS BACK TO NORMAL:

Yes, it does! Once the patient’s moods are brought under control with the help of the medications, slowly and steadily, Life comes back to normal. The patient, who, sometime ago, displayed manic and depressive moods, transforms into his/her ‘original’ self.

The calm and collected, well-balanced person who is dedicated to his/her career/academics; who has a wonderful, beautiful, caring heart and a fantastic sense of humour; who cares deeply about the family who dotes upon him/her, is the person you see, by and by.

As the caregiver, all you need to do is:

Pay attention to the patient’s sleeping pattern (whether they are sleeping too much, or too less)

Observe their reaction to crisis or stressful situations.

Contact the doctor if their anxieties feel abnormally high.

Keep a close watch on their spending habits.

Make sure they take their medications on time everyday.

And, religiously follow the doctor’s advice.

 

Bipolar Disorder is one of the most treatable mental illnesses, provided you take quick action.

Anybody can become the victim of a mental illness. Accepting it, instead of ignoring it, is the first step towards dealing with it.

 

Take care,

 

Love,

SHILPA…

 

 

Understanding Bipolar Disorder – Part 1 – Causes and symptoms.

Understanding Bipolar Disorder – Part 1 – Causes and symptoms.

May being the Mental Health Awareness Month, I am doing a two-part post on Bipolar Disorder–a mental illness I have witnessed from close quarters and learned to deal with over the years.

Bipolar disorder:

Meaning:

As the name suggests, Bipolar Disorder is an illness that alternates between extreme depression on the one hand, and extreme euphoria on the other.The mood swings, the energy levels and the activity of a patient oscillates between extreme highs and extreme lows that makes leading a normal life immensely difficult.

If left untreated, it can play havoc with a person’s Life, career, relationships and overall health.

The episodes of extreme elation, or manic episodes as they are called, can leave the patient sleepless, hyperactive and extremely positive and outgoing.

The episodes of depression, on the other hand, can leave the patient feeling totally negative, with no energy or enthusiasm about anything in Life. It can also make the patient suicidal.

Causes:

Bipolar disorder does not have a particular cause.

It could be genetic, in that, it could turn up in a person who has a family member ailing from the illness.

It could happen as a result of chemical imbalances in the brain.

And, it could also emerge as a result of hormonal imbalances, or circumstances, like, unbearable stress or a traumatic incident that could trigger the extreme mood swings.

Symptoms:

The mood swings related to Bipolar are very unlike the mood swings others experience every once in a while. While a mentally healthy person can get over his/her moods, patients of Bipolar find it difficult to get a handle on their moods.

Their mood swings are severe and they experience either a euphoria (manic phase), hypomania, or a serious bout of depression during an episode.

The manic phase is when it gets tremendously difficult managing the patient as their energy levels are uncontrollably high, as is their aggression.

They find it difficult to focus on one particular task and keep flitting about from one task to another.

The patient has grandiose plans for his/her life. They think big, as in, planning to buy a huge house, or a costly gadget, a high-end vehicle, in short, anything that exudes extravagance.

Patients in the manic phase often avoid reporting to work or school/college.

They are aggressive, angry, and can lose their temper for the minutest of issues.

They go on a spending spree and (in the words of a Bipolar patient) a Rs 500 note resembles a Rs 5 note, which encourages them to squander it away without a thought. In short, they spend recklessly.

Their confidence levels are at an all-time high, which results in the grand plans and squandering. Their speech is clearly not normal and they speak rapidly and in a loud voice.

They find it difficult to sit still in a place and get excessively restless.

They also find it difficult to sleep and find a mere couple hours of sleep enough.

They also experience hallucinations, and fear that the people around are trying to harm them.

They might display signs of Multiple Personality Disorder and/or schizophrenia while in the manic phase.

Indulgence in drugs, alcohol and smoking is also high in this phase, and any amount of cajoling them to slow down only has a negative effect.

At times, they also experience a high libido, which could lead to promiscuous behaviour.

The depression phase either precedes the manic phase or succeeds it.

The patient in a depressive state finds no meaning in Life.

He spends a lot of time in bed, sleeping away the hours.

No activity excites him and nothing you do can change their mood.

They feel helpless, hopeless, depressed, and despair over everything.

Because of the hopelessness, they worry immensely about every little thing.

Having lost interest in Life, they also find it difficult to eat and, as a result, lose weight and energy.

In the depressive state, too, they find it difficult to attend to their work or studies and prefer staying cooped up in their room. An atmosphere of gloom hangs heavy in their surroundings during this phase.

There is a high chance of suicide in this state if the patient doesn’t receive timely help and treatment.

Although Bipolar Disorder DOES NOT have a cure, all of the above symptoms can be treated with medications, therapy and counselling.

I have witnessed my hubby exhibiting most of the above symptoms when in both the phases–manic and depressive–hence, this post is based on what I have experienced as a care-giver.

In the next part, I will discuss the treatment and care for a Bipolar Disorder patient, which I will be sharing next Friday.

So, do visit Metanoia to know how you can look after your close ones if they are diagnosed with the illness.

Love,

SHILPA..

What causes Bipolar Disorder and what are its symptoms?

Managing anxiety.

Managing anxiety.

I discovered last month that after battling chronic stress and anxiety over a period of 19 years, I had developed Generalised Anxiety Disorder, which went unnoticed for a long time. There was Life to deal with. Earlier, it was MIL’s illness and her passing away, followed by my pet dog’s illness and his passing away, and then, last year, hubby’s illness and many other unimagined, unexpected events that turned my world upside down.

It is only so much that a person can handle without getting intensely affected by the events that take place in his or her life. But, when the stress, the fear and the exhaustion gets unbearable, it is sure to affect a person’s mental health.

I am glad I sought professional help when I realised I couldn’t take it any longer.

Generalised Anxiety Disorder can be managed provided you work on yourself and your thoughts that cause you the anxiety. And, yes, also seek medical help.

So, after a few sessions of counselling and medicines that help in controlling the anxiety and its thought process and get an 8 hour uninterrupted sleep (ah, sheer bliss!), I have been handling my anxiety much better. I have learned to distract my mind from thoughts that cause the anxiety to escalate; I have made a few changes in my daily life to help me loosen up a bit, relieve the stress and learn to live in the moment that makes things a lot easier for the mind.

Today, I would like to share the ways in which I manage my anxiety and am in a much calmer space despite the chaos around. Well, chaos is omnipresent, isn’t it? It’s always going to be your companion in Life!

ANXIETY:

Anxiety is a feeling we all experience in our life. Some anxiety is even necessary for us to be able to face and deal with any situation that comes in our life at every turn. However, when this anxiety takes over our mind to such an extent that it becomes difficult to deal with everyday life, we ought to seek professional help. There is no need for any embarrassment, really. Our body will function to its optimum only if we are in a healthy frame of mind.

So, if you do feel your anxiety and fear making life difficult for you, then:

  • Consult a mental health expert,

  • Seek counselling, and

  • Take the prescribed medications.

  • And sharing a doctor’s advice :

    Try and understand the thoughts that cause you the anxiety and look for solutions. Journaling helps. Write down the thoughts that cause you anxiety and find ways to tackle those issues if and when they do arise.

Most of the times, people with GAD imagine the worst case scenario which causes extreme anxiety. Know, that whatever happens, you will be able to face it, cope with it. Diverting your attention won’t help in the long run. But, assuring yourself that you can and will deal with the uncertainties in Life will arm you with the strength you need.

EASY AND EFFECTIVE WAYS TO MANAGE ANXIETY:

PRACTICE MINDFULNESS:

An easy way to practice mindfulness is to make it a goal to be followed for a particular number of days. Say, for a week or so. Every task you do, make sure your mind is in that very moment a 100%. Grab your mind by its collar when you feel it wandering and bring it back to the present. it isn’t easy, mind you, but you need to do it for yourself. Just do it a few times, while cooking/working/walking, and you will notice how it relieves the mind.

BREATHE:

Breathe. The one process our life depends on and the one process we often neglect. We aren’t even aware whether we are breathing correctly.

Sit cross-legged on the floor, or a chair; be comfortable and then inhale slowly and deeply, for as long as you can. Then, exhale the same way. Focus on your nostrils as you take in the air and let it out, or focus on your stomach as it inflates and deflates as it takes in the air and lets it out. Do it just for 10 counts, initially. And, then, do it whenever you are sitting idle, lost in thoughts. Bring your mind to the moment and begin to breathe. And, FOCUS on your breath. DO NOT let your mind wander.

SLEEP:

An uninterrupted sleep is so necessary for our body and mind to recover from the day’s exhaustion, to repair itself and to rejuvenate.

Switch off your gadgets–phones, laptops and TV–an hour or half an hour before bedtime. Carry a book or the newspaper to bed and read or solve puzzles. Within ten minutes of doing this, you are sure to feel drowsy. This is because there isn’t the blue light emitting from the book/newspapers, neither is there any movement on a screen in front of your eyes to keep your mind alert. Sudoku and crossword puzzles work for me. Find out what works for you.

DIVERT YOUR MIND:

Each time I used to travel in the car with hubby at the wheel, I would panic. So much so, that I used to beg for divine intervention to come and save me. I am mortally scared of speed. I feel at ease only when the vehicle runs at a speed of 60 Kmph. Slower than that is also welcome!

Now, thankfully, since hubby learned about my GAD, he drives real slow. And, if by chance, there is a nutcase driving like a maniac and hubby tries to veer away from his path, I hold on tight to my bag in my arms and go away to some far away fantasy land. This works like a charm. Although, what I do need to work on, is to tell myself that I can cope with the speed and assure myself that whatever happens, I will take care of it.

TAKE A WALK/PRACTICE YOGA:

Any form of exercise, when done with complete concentration, helps distract your anxious mind.

I practice yoga for 30 – 35 minutes in the morning and go for a 40 minutes walk in the evening, without fail. And, while doing these activities, I do not have any app guiding me or recording/calculating the number of steps or calories burned. I just stay in the moment. I breathe, take in the scenery, or concentrate on the asanas. That’s THE way to enjoy your workout!

LISTEN TO MUSIC:

Music is therapy for the mind and the soul. Agree?

Just put on some music of your choice while working or doing chores and feel your mind relax. It is, indeed, therapeutic. I have made a habit of listening to music at least once a day–morning or evening–and it leaves me feeling so fresh!

COMMUNICATE:

Talking things out with your close ones helps tremendously.

I have marked days of the week when I call up my close friends and cousins and have a heart to heart talk with them. I have set alarms in my phone that remind me of which day and at what time I am to talk to which person. Amusing, I know, but this helps me stay connected with my close ones and have my support system when I am in need.

INDULGE IN FRIVOLOUS ACTIVITIES:

Absolutely insignificant stuff like looking for matching accessories for your clothes, deciding what clothes you will wear for which occasion (even if there isn’t one anytime soon), pampering your body with a spa treatment at home, preparing face masks or body scrubs from stuff in your kitchen cabinets–it is super fun, I tell you! These things, though frivolous, push out the anxious thoughts that often find a snug spot in our mind. Try it. It’s silly, I know, but it helps.

READ:

Fiction, especially suspense-thrillers are my go-to books when I need to divert my mind. Self-help books seldom help me at such times, coz I don’t want any gyaan; all I want is some adventure to read about or some murder mystery that grips my attention like nothing else can.

PURSUE A HOBBY:

My favourite is art, and especially, the Zentangle. And, these days, I am bitten by the Mandala bug. I can forget the world and its hundred worries when I sit down to make a mandala.

Anxiety is a feeling that will always be lurking somewhere in your mind. Life is such. But, you need to show your anxiety who’s the boss!

Take care…

Love,

SHILPA…

P. S.

Do read my friend Sanch’s comment below. She is a psychologist and has shared some much-needed advice for us.

Thank you so much, Sanch! 💟

Love,

Shilpa.

Anxiety can be managed well, if we seek timely help.

 

 

 

When anxiety has a stranglehold on you.

When anxiety has a stranglehold on you.

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It’s midnight. The world around you is fast asleep. But, you aren’t. You are tossing and turning in bed, anxiously awaiting sleep that seems to be playing a game of hide-n-seek with you. Eventually, after what seem like hours, your eyelids begin to droop. But, just when you feel a sense of calm come over you, a thought creeps into your mind, unannounced, and at once you are awake. The sleep that was at the threshold, has turned around and left.

The thought has now taken over your mind. A thought that is scary, terrifying and only increasing in its enormity by the moment. You begin to breathe heavily, taking in lungful of air, but suddenly feel suffocated and feel a horrid kind of fear taking shape in the pit of your stomach. You start panting and the restlessness increases to such an extent, you just wish to get out of the room, which feels like it’s caving in on you.

The fear now feels like a claw that surges upwards towards your chest, grips your heart and squeezes the life out of it and the world comes crashing down on you. You beg the thought to leave your mind; you pray for the anxiety and the fear to leave you in peace, but it takes more than prayers for it to happen. Finally, after what seems like an eternity, the thought leaves you. Exhausted, you fall asleep.

Have you experienced this, ever?

For me, anxiety and fear have been my constant companions for years. Being a caregiver for two patients of mental illness took its toll. Not a day went by when I wasn’t nervous, scared and anxious about something untoward happening and things going wrong. Try as I might, I couldn’t control Life and all that She brought with Her.

It is exhausting, this living with anxiety, day in day out. You put up a brave face for your family, for the world; you put on a mask of serenity so that others around you stay happy. But, after some time, it feels like a burden that keeps getting heavier. A burden that threatens to crush you under its weight.

After fighting this battle with anxiety all these years, I decided it was time to seek help. I couldn’t go on with it anymore. Moreover, with all that happened few months ago, the situation had only worsened. Sharing my fears with others is not something that comes naturally to me. Each one of us is fighting a battle, and to burden others with my worries is not something I can imagine doing, ever.

Close ones chid me for being so guarded, so “closed”, but the fear that, what if I share my worries precisely when they are going through rough times, themselves? stops me from doing so. And, so, I sought the help of my psychiatrist.

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health disorders with 1 out of every 14 people being likely affected.

I never knew I would be one of those 14 suffering from Anxiety Disorder until my psychiatrist broke the news to me last month. Was I glad I sought his help? I was, of course, but I wished I had sought this help long ago. I would have dealt with Life much better.

Lack of sleep, panic and fear, breathlessness, heart palpitations, dizziness are all symptoms of Anxiety Disorder. Your rational thinking gets affected and the anxiety that you suffer from, becomes overwhelming–an everyday affair.

Sharing problems with your close family and friends does help to an extent. But, the best course is to seek professional help. Anxiety can interfere with your everyday life, and can lead to depression, and also an increased risk of suicide.

Before things get completely out of control, approach a psychiatrist who will counsel you in the best possible way, prescribe drugs that will not only help you sleep well, but also help you learn to control the thought processes that lead to anxiety. It could take some time, but it’s all worth it. YOU are worth it!

How I manage my anxieties today:

The meds prescribed by my doctor help me enjoy an uninterrupted sleep and keep me alert to the thoughts that take form in my mind.

Blogging, writing, reading and art have helped me stay afloat. My work helps me keep my mind occupied. It’s when I am busy in these activities that my anxieties are at bay.

My pets take care of me at other times. Earlier, when Chikoo was around, he provided the buffer against the stress and the fear. And, now, I have Cookie. She may be a bird, but she is very well attuned to me and my moods. She is the first one to sense my discomfort and perches on my shoulder when she sees me upset. And, for these babies, I will be ever so grateful!

Since the past some months, I have developed a habit of trying to live in the moment; of not thinking about the future or the past, but only the present. Practising mindfulness helps, but It’s not easy, really. It’s an everyday habit one needs to work on, consistently.

Gratitude helps, too. Ending the day by thanking all that the Universe brings for me; for all the things that work out, as well as all that don’t and the lessons that I learn from them all, further helps calm the mind.

Living every day as if it were my last and doing my best in everything I do also helps me reduce the amount of anxiety that still lurks around the corner, threatening to takeover my mind.

Listening to music, yoga, walking and chatting with my nephew helps me keep my mind busy. Focusing on my breath while doing my asanas helps me learn to concentrate, as does drawing complicated mandalas.

It’s so necessary that we find the activity that not only keeps us busy and our mind occupied, but also one that enriches us, refreshes us and calms our nerves. Something that acts like the lighthouse that guides you to safety.

Anxiety disorders, if left untreated, can take a toll on our entire system, so it’s better to seek help. Sooner, the better. Our mental health is at stake, and if our mind isn’t healthy, how can we live a healthy, happy life?

Dear reader, if you, or a loved one, suffers from extreme anxiety, or has been suffering from anxiety since some time now, please, seek help. Remember, there is no health without mental health.

Love,

SHILPA…

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Anxiety, if ignored, can ruin our mental health in the long run. Seek help, today!

 

Mental illness – Support for the caregiver. Part 2.

Mental illness – Support for the caregiver. Part 2.

Last month, I wrote about the caregiver’s journey as they traverse the difficult terrain called mental illness. Mental illness is debilitating not only for the patient, but also for the caregiver. It completely saps the family of its energy.

Having experienced schizophrenia as well as bi polar disorder in the family, I can vouch for the fact that it leaves the victim as well as the people around completely fatigued. The focus is wholly on the patient; their wellbeing, their medications, their sleep. Their peace and happiness being paramount, the family gives its all to the care of the patient.

Sadly, though, this often leaves the caregivers with hardly any time to think about themselves. The kind of support they need during the stressful moments is equally, if not more, important. Finding a few peaceful moments just for themselves, or a change of scene, feels like a luxury they can hardly afford.

It was during the first manic episode hubby suffered after our marriage that I realised how exhausting it can get for the family. And, how important it is to find some support for ourselves, for our wellbeing.

 

Counselling:

It was also then that I learned about counselling for the caregiver. Dr. Anand Nadkarni, the psychiatrist who we have always consulted for my mom-in-law as well as hubby suggested I give myself some respite through counselling.

I can’t emphasise enough how helpful those sessions proved to be. The therapist assigned to me encouraged me to talk–just talk all that passed through my mind. Be it anger, fear, frustration, hopelessness, sorrow–all she wanted was to give my emotions an outlet through my words.

It felt like a dam had burst. I just let it all out to a person who simply held my hand and let me be. There was no fear of being judged, or reprimanded for entertaining all sorts of horrid thoughts, or saying things I shouldn’t have. And, for all that she did for me, I will be ever so grateful, to her as well as to the good doctor.

There is this fear in people that seeking therapy could mean “something is wrong with them”. A thought process that is so untrue! It’s really simple, you know. If you would seek help for a physical ailment, why wouldn’t you seek help if you found your mind suffering?

And, it is for this very reason that I write this post.

If you are a caregiver for a patient of mental illness, you need help, too. You need every kind of support you can get because it’s you who has to look after the patient. And, if you fail to take good care of yourself, how would you look after your loved ones?

Support from family and friends:

The first people to offer help of any kind is your family. Those who know you and the victim; those who know your Life closely are the ones who can offer you their unconditional support–be it emotional or financial. So, just ask for it. In fact, you need not even ask. They will rally around even when you do not mention it.

Your friends are the next in line. Find those who are closest to you and whom you trust; who know what has to be said and when. And, who offer their silent support when words become redundant. Who understand your need for privacy and are there whenever you need them.

Support groups for caregivers:

Mental illness is slowly and steadily getting the attention it deserves. Families are coming together in caring for the patients as also coming forward and sharing their stories with the world. As a result, there are support groups for families/caregivers of mental illness patients that have been formed to help and support them as they tackle their trying situation.

Support groups (Online support groups included) at:

Institute for Psychological Health

Soumanasya Psychiatry Clinic and Counselling centre

Caregivers Link Online

Caregivers Link Online, SAATHI, Ahmedabad

National Alliance on Mental Illness

…are some support groups I came across online. The first one–Institute for Psychological health was founded by Dr. Nadkarni, and the second–Soumanasya Psychiatry clinic, by Dr. Chetan Vispute– the doctors who treated mom-in-law and hubby.

You will come across many more such support groups online that you may join. Mental illness has always has this stigma attached to it, which has been the main reason why patients and their families fear speaking about their troubles. With changing times, however, families are more open about the trauma they suffer and can get the help they need.

Caring for yourself–Make it a priority:

Sharing your fears, your insecurities about Life with someone who understands your situation helps a great deal in unburdening the nagging feelings of hopelessness.

Asking for help to give yourself a break from the busy schedule becomes a necessity when there is a mental illness patient at home. So, feel free to ask for it. Some time for yourself just to step outdoors for a walk, maybe, or even to rest, or sleep, is essential for your wellbeing.

Our sleep goes for a toss, frankly, when we are tending to a mental illness patient. Therefore, invite your close relatives or friends home to ‘babysit’ the patient for a while as you get some much-needed rest.

Read books, write down your thoughts, create an artwork, play an instrument, knit, sew, cook…work on just about anything that helps take away your attention for a while. It is so very important to give your mind that breather!

The depression that sets in can become a part of your life. So, the sooner you seek help, the better. You have enough to deal with already!

Look after your health; eat well even when you find it difficult swallowing food. I know, food is the last thing on your mind when in a tense situation. But, you need the fuel for your body to function to its optimum, don’t you?

Lastly, try not to keep your feelings, your emotions bottled up within you. Your patient and their happiness is important, no doubt, but then, so is yours. Give yourself the freedom to cry, feel bad, hurt, feel angry, but also remember to pat your back and congratulate yourself for having handled a tough situation so remarkably well! Remember, positivity helps.

You need all the cheering you can get, even if it’s coming from within you!

Caring for patients of mental illness is not easy. The most important steps you could take towards finding a balance in your Life is to speak about your troubles, look after yourself, find the support you so need and take it all one day at a time.

Remember: ONE DAY AT A TIME!

And, yes, ask for help.

Love,

SHILPA…

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help for the caregiver