Self preservation when someone you love has depression
- you can only give to others if your well doesn't run dry -
The reason I wanted to set up this blog was to write about things I often get asked about and hopefully share ideas and stories that would help others, be it multitasking frazzled parents, someone on their journey of self discovery, or someone looking for support or an answer to a question I myself have asked myself. Another aspect of what I wanted to put out there however was mental health. I have experienced various challenges when it comes to mental health in the past due to a turbulent childhood, but have grown up to be as balanced as I can be due to lots of self reflection and self growth. There are, however, new skills I have learned, and ones I am still discovering and that is how to deal with post concussion syndrome following a traumatic brain injury and also how to cope when a loved one suffers from depression. A brain injury or depression does not define a person, it does however change someone when they are affected by that state, and in order to live with this or be a bystander, certain tools and skills and plain out new ways of loving oneself and the other person have to be learned. So in this blog I would also like to share my experiences of this with you while maintaining respect and honourability for all persons involved. I do feel that these subjects need to be moved out of the shadows more as that is where they have more power to grow, and it is through education and support we can all understand ourselves and loved ones more and be there for each other.
So hereby I'd like to share 6 ways you could practice self preservation if a loved one in your life suffers from depression. A lot of articles out there support the person going through the depression, and rightly so, but I feel more could be done to help those in their company stay strong and remain balanced during an episode as this can be very difficult over a longer period of time.These tips can all be used during the current Covid-19 lockdown situation bar the last one. I hope these help at any stage, but especially now when times may be tougher.
This may be a common go to in advice posts, but I'll just join that brigade as I feel there really is an immense power behind meditation. It takes practice to make that time for yourself and be consistent, but try it. A 20 minute meditation can rebalance you if you feel the mood has gone askew and you're becoming influenced too much by what is going on around you. You Tube do great guided mediations, even Spotify, and all have ones for different topics, for different durations. Find someone you like listening to and make it a daily practice if you can. The key is in the word practice. If you feel you can't settle straight away, don't worry. Try again later or tomorrow, someday it will click and in the meantime you are making some quiet time for yourself where you can regain your strength to be supportive in the future.
- Run a bath
If you live in a house with kids there's a high chance you will find it hard to find the time to meditate or get a certain amount of time by yourself for some peace. Even going to the toilet isn't a viable excuse for not being available at times. A bath however is different. If the kids are in bed or with another adult, take the opportunity to sink into a bath and announce that that is where you will be for the next hour. Undisturbed. It's less temporary than a toilet visit so it will be taken more seriously, and if you lock the door, that's it. An hour to yourself to do what you like while you do some self-care. An hour to find yourself again and refuel.
- Awake/Asleep variations
When a loved one suffers from depression it's important to keep your own integrity intact so you can not only be there for them as a support in whatever way is right at that time, but also to make sure you don't loose yourself and your sense of 'normality' in the process. To do this, time apart from the person in question can sometimes refuel you tenfold where, when you return, you have a lot more to bring to the table. As currently going away from home is not an option, maybe looking at sleep routines is an alternative. When is your loved one asleep? When are they awake? Maybe two or three nights a week you can go to bed a few hours later or rise a few hours earlier. Get in your 'me-time' and sit with your cuppa or get productive things done for you so you have more freedom of thought in the day ahead.
- Seek the support of a friend
Talk to someone. You might feel like you don't want to burden someone with your troubles when actually it is the person you love that is going through much harder struggles, but you need to allow yourself time and support too in order to be able to give your own. I fall flat on my face at this one as I would never want to speak bad about someone I love and respect even if I was to get support from that conversation. A good friend offered a different angle of looking at it however - you wouldn't be speaking bad about the person you love, you would be talking about how you feel, there's a difference. And sometimes that's just what's needed to clarify your thoughts and get some fresh energy. Try to not feel guilty or like a burden, you are worth looking after yourself.
- Find your 'support' song
This is short and sweet, but effective. I'm sure you have a song that makes you feel empowered, a song that reminds you of the love you have for this person or maybe a song that reminds you who you are if you feel you have gotten lost in some blue feelings yourself. 'This is me' from The Greatest Showman might have that vibe, ...there's lots out there. Play it, on repeat and loud if you have to. Sing to it, or even dance. Music is a great mood booster to get you right back on track of being your positive self again.
- Visit friends, have some fun
Home life can get busy sometimes and visiting friends and having fun can be a rare treat. Well now more than ever it might be a good idea to undertake that road trip you've been putting off to see a friend or that camping trip with the kids. If you feel showing more support at home isn't beneficial at that time then space in your household might be a good idea . Space for you and your own thoughts is needed for all people involved, plus if you decide to reconnect with people you haven't seen in a while at the same time or make some memories then the positive vibes will surely spread. You can return with a car full of sand and dirty laundry but new energy to show your loved one the support and positive mindset that will hopefully be contagious and just the thing that's needed for your relationship.
I hope these ideas will help somewhat in times of turmoil. If you like the idea of reading more about related topics then feel free to follow Seekuilibriums facebook and instagram pages or YouTube channel to stay up to date with new posts.