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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.
GAR

DO YOU HAVE A "DEPRESSED" DAD?
by Kanchana Balasubramanian
June 18,2002

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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