Everybody Gets the Blues Sometimes
Call it a funk, call it down in the dumps, call it what you will - everyone experiences times when they're feeling sad. But that sadness can linger and become more serious depression, which can affect your health and well-being. Depression is extremely common among family caregivers. Try to stay tuned into your feelings, and watch for indications that a simple case of the blues may have turned into a black cloud of clinical depression.
Ten signs of depression:
- Sadness or anxiety that doesn't let up
- Loss of interest in people or things you once enjoyed
- Loss or increase in appetite
- Chronic pain
- Feeling that nothing you do is good enough
- Overeating or loss of appetite
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Getting Help Really Does Help
If these symptoms persist for more than two weeks, talk to your doctor, or a psychiatrist, psychologist or therapist. Many sufferers of depression have had excellent results by combining talk therapy with medication.
Ten more steps to take to feeling better:
- Break overwhelming tasks into baby steps
- Confide in a friend
- Get out and do things you once enjoyed
- Postpone making major decisions until depression has lifted
- Try to exchange a negative thought for a positive one
- Ask your family and friends for help with caregiving responsibilities
- Set realistic goals
- Try to get plenty of sleep
- Eat healthy foods
Grin While You Bear It
Life is difficult. It's also downright miraculous. When you feel bombarded by the negative, try gently shifting your focus onto something you're truly grateful for. Even if you have to think through the mire and muck, there's a jewel in there somewhere. Probably many jewels. Focus on those things that make you feel good. And smile, even when you're not feeling it. Studies show that the physical act of smiling, even forced smiling, can lift your spirits.