It has been just over 7 months since all of us became aware of the pandemic, and during this time as we began adjusting to the "new normal", one feature of the illness has become perhaps its most defining element. And that is the need to heal together as a family. Dr. Kedar Tilwe, Psychiatrist at Fortis Mulund & Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi- A Fortis Network Hospital, says that because of the nature of the illness, quarantine requirements and relatively long convalescence period; the help provided by your support groups like family and friends is of crucial importance in making the road to recovering from the infection smoother."
Taking a look at the hurdles, Dr. Tilwe suggested a few possible solutions that you need to be aware of if any of your loved ones are recuperating from the illness, to enable their smoother recovery:
The stigma associated with COVID19 can be a cause for concern, especially as the person may blame themselves for being the point source of spread, and possible exposure for other loved ones. Constant reassurance and patience needs to be shown when dealing with such a situation; as well as keeping the focus on recovery rather than the cause/ source of the infection
The daily routine activities can also be one of the areas of difficulty for a person recovering from a moderate to severe form of the illness; especially on the account of the fatigue produced by it. Helping them deal with their daily chores not only allows for the person to get much needed physical rest, but also is a gesture of mental assurance and show of support
Anxiety is frequently being seen in patients recovering from the illness; causes of which can vary from the social distancing norms in place for care, fear of progression of the illness and fear of contaminating others, as well as worries about the future and sense of being a burden on the family. Having an open discussion with your loved ones, discussing their anxieties and helping them cope through relaxation exercises or mindfulness practices can help in this regard.
Major Psychiatric disorders such as depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may also get precipitated due to the stress associated with the diagnosis, the unfamiliar experience during admission while the treatment process. Helping them identify and adapt to these situations is perhaps one of the most important roles that you will play as a caregiver. If needed, you can also seek the help of a mental health professional nearby.
The unpredictable nature of the illness and the diverse nature of complications can also be a source of constant rumination and worry for the patient. Helping them distract their mind as well as helping them filter and limit the flow of information to an authentic & accurate source, can help reduce unnecessary rumination of negative thoughts and worries.
The caregiver burden is a known issue and also a major one that people are very unaware of. One thing we really need to remember is, if you yourself are or if you know anyone you know is seen or witnessed getting stressed and worried, do remember to reach out for help.
Do take care of your loved ones, be their biggest support and pillar through these tough times and stay tuned to HerZindagi for more on how important it is to take care of your and your folks' mental health.