Introduction: I would like to thank Kachana Balasubramanian who sent GriefandRenewal.Com her article about coping with a depressed family member. Mental illness in a family member is a source of grief and loss as well as a challenge to find strength and hope, patience, and renewal. Helping those who are bereaved often involves helping family and close friends who may be clinically depressed. It requires patience and persistence as Kanchana so aptly describes below. I hope you enjoy this inspiring piece.
DO YOU HAVE A "DEPRESSED" DAD?
by Kanchana Balasubramanian
All of us go through depression at some point in our lives. But for most
of us, we are able to move on while depressed and we soon return to our
usual selves. But there are those who cannot come out of the depressive
phase in their lives. For them, it may take months or even years to get
back to normal moods. No doubt, it is very tough for the depressed
individual but what about the people who deal with him/her everyday?
What do they go through? There is no denying that it is a hard, hard
road to dealing with a depressed member in the family. Sometimes, you
just feel like screaming, banging your head on the wall, or even dying.
There have been times when i have contemplated suicide , when i've felt
that i could go no more. I used to feel like I was in a trap -- a trap
that I hadn't wantedly put myself into, so why should I have to go
through all this? Why can't i just say aloud that i've had enough and
that i don't want to be a part of this anymore?
Later on i realized that how much ever I craved to free myself, i
wouldn't, because after all i am doing this for the person i love -- the
person to whom i owe my existence today -- my father. The times he's bore
up with all my temper tantrums, the sleepless nights he's spent putting
me to sleep, times when he's been there for me when I needed him the
most -- and at his hour of need, i told myself, i had to be there for him.
It's been 2 and a half years since I'm dealing with my father and he is
gradually improving, although he still has a long, long way to go in
terms of focussing, co-ordination and decision-making. The process to
recovery is a very slow one, sometimes months pass and there still
doesn't seem to be a difference at all.
For all those dealing with a depressed family member, the important
thing is co-operation. Let all the other members of the family assure
and re-assure the patient that they are there for him and that we are
all gonna fight this together. Keep talking to your doctor regularly.
And yeah, now for the most important thing -- donít give up. Depression is
definitely curable and people have come out of it successfully. And
slowly but surely, it is soon going to be dawn.
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