How to Help a Depressed Person when Another Member of their Family is Sick

Today is day 19 of my mom’s hospital ordeal. We have received overwhelming love and support from so many people. Thank you so much!

gloria lucasi philippine heart center

There are actually 2 sick people in our family – my mom and I. While she suffers from Stage 4 Chronic Kidney Disease, I am a walking dead, diagnosed with Clinical Depression and Bipolar Disorder. I also have PTSD.

Hers is physical, mine is mental.

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While my mom has doctors and nurses to asses her needs, I have my medicine and people around me to keep me sane. We’re still new to the world of mental health but here’s what we’ve learned for the past weeks…

depression bipolar disorder PTSD

3-tips

3 TIPS TO DEAL WITH A DEPRESSED PERSON WHEN ANOTHER MEMBER OF THE FAMILY IS SICK

1. KNOW OUR TRIGGERS

Know what gives us anxiety or panic attacks. Keep us away from those. This is not the right time for trial and error, or facing fears or forcing us to be strong for another person. You might be pushing us to our limits and end up having another patient in the hospital.

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I have hospital-related triggers like the smell of the facility, the sound of wheels, blood, needles, machines, emergency patients, people crying, rushing doctors and snobby nurses.

Before I knew about my condition, I could not understand the inner torture I have each time I had to visit or stay in a hospital. But now, it helps that I know what’s wrong with me.

Here are the things my family did that made my past days more bearable:

  • They did not give me a shift in the hospital.
  • I go visit my mom only on days when I think I can.
  • I am allowed to disappear anytime I need to.
  • When I have a panic attack, I can go home without an explanation.
  • I do not have to talk to doctors and understand what is going on.
  • They try not to involve me with details on bills and finances.
  • My mom sends me reassuring text messages like, “Anak, it’s ok for you not to come to the hospital. I understand.”
  • When I am in the hospital, they make it fun. Which is not hard to do because my family is naturally joyful. 😛

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2. ALLOW US TO COPE IN OUR OWN WILL AND WAYS

Let us express our fears and feelings without being rebuked. Accept whatever small or big help we can offer. Avoid giving us important responsibilities like filling up forms or understanding medical records.

Do not compare our illness with the person in the hospital. Refrain from saying things like, “at least you’re not in physical pain.” Oh, if you can only get a glimpse of the internal torment we go through each day…

Expect inconsistencies. Foresee unanswered calls and messages. When our mood changes, do not take it personally.

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While my siblings worked together for mama’s hospitalization, bills and other medical stuff, they allowed me to do my thing.

Blogging was the best way I knew I can help and we were able to share mama’s story to more people. Help has poured in because of your likes, comments and shares. ❤

3

3. CARE AND SHARE

For people like us, who have black clouds looming over our heads, love is action. And actions speak louder than darkness.

depression bipolar disorder PTSD

Here are some of the things my friends did that helped me a lot:

  • They prayed and sent me words of encouragement.
  • They liked, commented and shared my online updates and blog posts.
  • They visited my mom even when I wasn’t in the hospital.
  • A friend stayed with me for a night when I felt I was going crazy.
  • A couple-friend invited me to their home, cooked dinner and gave me leftovers to take home.
  • Someone sent me coffee even when I was hiding from her in the hospital.
  • A dear friend paid a debt she owed me years ago.
  • My childhood friends sent help almost instantly.
  • My Ateneo football friends, who I haven’t seen for ages, sent financial help even without me asking them personally.
  • My best friends shouldered my mom’s plane ticket home.
  • An Etihad friend gave us staff travel ticket slots so my siblings can fly home.
  • My NuViz football friends bought products I sold online.

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I am not a mental health expert but these tips are from my own experiences. I hope they help you become a better support to your depressed friend or family member.

Do you have more tips to share? Leave them in the comment section below. 🙂

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Click here for my mom’s daily updates and virtual visitor log:
Gloria’s Hope Journals

Click here on ways to help:
Help Gloria’s Hope

 

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