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Depression in Care Partners

Depressive disorders can make one feel exhausted, helpless and hopeless. Such negative thoughts and feelings make some people feel like giving up. It is important to realize that these negative views are part of the depression and may not accurately reflect the situation. The National Institute of Mental Health offers the following recommendations for dealing with depression:

• Set realistic goals in light of the depression and assume a reasonable amount of responsibility.
• Break large tasks into small ones, set some priorities, and do what you can as you can.
• Try to be with other people and to confide in someone; it is usually better than being alone and secretive.
• Participate in activities that may make you feel better, such as mild exercise, going to a movie or ballgame, or attending a religious, social or community event.
• Expect your mood to improve gradually, not immediately. Feeling better takes time.
• It is advisable to postpone important decisions until the depression has lifted. Before deciding to make a significant transition—change jobs, get married or divorced—discuss it with others who know you well and have a more objective view of your situation.
• People rarely “snap out of” a depression. But they can feel a little better day-by-day.
• Remember, positive thinking will replace the negative thinking that is part of the depression. The negative thinking will be reduced as your depression responds to treatment.
• Let your family and friends help you.

Direct assistance in providing care for your loved one, such as respite care relief, as well as positive feedback from others, positive self-talk, and recreational activities are linked to lower levels of depression. Look for classes and support groups available through caregiver support
organizations to help you learn or practice effective problem-solving and coping strategies needed for caregiving. For your health and the health of those around you, take some time to care for yourself

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