As caregivers we tend to push past the things that are bothering us and focus on caring for our loved one but, ignoring the signs of caregiver depression can hurt not only yourself but your loved one as well.
Below is a list of symptoms of caregiver depression. If you can identify with these symptoms for more than two weeks please contact your doctor. You cannot be an effective caregiver to your loved one if you do not first take care of yourself.
· An “empty” feeling, ongoing sadness, and anxiety
· Lack of energy
· Loss of pleasure in activities you once enjoyed
· Sexual problems or a drop in your sex drive
· Change in sleep patterns, such as waking up earlier than normal in the morning, trouble getting to sleep, or needing more sleep
· Weight gain or loss
· Regular episodes of crying
· Aches and pains that won’t go away
· Trouble staying focused, remembering, or making decisions
· Grim feelings about the future
· Feeling guilty, helpless, or worthless
· Feeling irritable or stressed
· Thoughts of death or suicide
· Stomachache and digestive problems
Many people avoid getting help for depression out of a sense of obligation to their loved one or because of the stigma of mental illness. Avoiding caring for your mental health will increase your chances of becoming physically ill and preventing you from continuing to care for your loved one.