If you live with a person with heart failure or if you are very close, you can make the biggest impact in following the recommendations of doctors and nurses. However, as a patient relative, it will take time to adapt to your new role. Many people may have to take on this role in addition to other responsibilities, such as working in a job or raising a child. Although this situation is sometimes stressful or disappointing, the rewards will be great.
In such a situation, the emotional responses of everyone will be different. However, as a relative of the patient, you may feel as follows from time to time:
- You may think that you should always be positive and cheerful, even when dealing with problems. In this case, you constantly suppress your negative emotions, but acting in this way may lead to depression in the future.
- You may feel anxious because you don’t know what awaits you and you feel responsible for his health. It will be difficult not to experience this feeling with him if he is extremely concerned about you.
- You may feel offended. You may be disappointed by the changes in your life and see your relative as responsible for this situation. If your relative is not cooperating enough to adapt to the new situation, you may feel that your sacrifices are not appreciated.
- You may feel that you are angry with him because your relative is sick. You can question why this happened to you, or you may be angry because he did not take care of yourself enough, for example, he did not stop smoking on time.
- You may feel guilty because of your negative thoughts. You may think that you are not strong enough and that you cannot support your family sufficiently.
- Sometimes you may feel completely alone and think that no one understands you.
You are not the only one who experiences such thoughts and emotions. Do not ignore your own needs and feelings while giving all your energy to people who need your care and support together with your sick relative. Express your feelings and remember that if you experience serious discomfort, you can seek professional help.
Do not neglect yourself
In this process, you have the right to protect your own health. Here are some suggestions:
- You shouldn’t neglect yourself. This is not selfish behavior, it will give you more support to the person you love.
- You can ask for help from others even if your relative is against. You don’t have to do everything alone.
- You have the right to be angry, depressed and express your distressed emotions.
- It is important to take time for yourself. From time to time, it is important to do activities that will make you feel like visiting friends or going to the movies.
- Sleep well at night. Research has shown that people who do not feel rested or get enough sleep are often more depressed. If you are constantly having trouble sleeping, consult your doctor or nurse for information about medications or techniques to help you.
- Take care of your health. Protecting your physical health is a good way to protect your emotional health. Do not smoke, lead a more active life and eat healthy.
Don’t overlook depression
You may be depressed if you have been experiencing several of the following symptoms for more than two weeks:
- Bad mood
- Significant decrease in interest in what is enjoyed
- Feeling guilty and worthless
- Not being able to prevent anxiety and negative thoughts
- Change in appetite and weight
- Restlessness and tension
- Sleeping more or less than usual
- Concentration problems and difficulty in making decisions
- Loss of sexual desire
- Personal hygiene is neglected
- Feeling tired and energized
- Cry easily
Clinical depression is a serious disease. If you think you are depressed, always consult a psychologist or psychiatrist.
References: one. Enç N, Yiğit Z, Altıok M. Heart failure patient handbook. Istanbul, Hayykitap, Barış printing house; 2007. 2nd. HOW YOU MAY BE FEELING. http://www.heartfailurematters.org/en_gb/for-caregivers/how-you-may-be-feeling. Accessed August 11, 2015. 3. Heart Failure Society of America. Module 6: Managing Feelings About Heart Failure. http://www.hfsa.org/hfsa-wp/content/uploads/2014/10/module6.pdf. Accessed August 11, 2015. 4. American Heart Association. What Is Caregiver Burnout? http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@hcm/documents/downloadable/ucm_ 300657.pdf. Accessed August 11, 2015.