Recognizing symptoms and sharing them with your doctor can help treat depression and aid recovery. Symptoms of depression include feeling down, a loss of interest in activities that were previously enjoyed, changes in sleep patterns and appetite. While some stroke symptoms, such as lesser emotional expression or difficulty in communicating, may make it tough to identify depression, it is important for stroke survivors and their care partners to notice warning signs of sadness and share this with their doctors.
1. Start with the basics. After a stroke, it is difficult to imagine being able to do things like before. However, a sense of routine enables stroke survivors to regain a sense of urgency over their lives, especially when there are changes to their lifestyles. Set a short-term achievable goal as simple as getting out of bed and taking a shower. It does not matter if they do not achieve anything else for that day. With that first step taken, slowly identify the next small step and add that to the next day’s activity. Care partners can offer encouragement by allowing the stroke survivor to perform such basic tasks as independently as possible.
2. Contribute even in the smallest way. Perhaps, they are unable to do tasks they previously were proud of doing independently. Some stroke survivors may have given up their jobs or stopped activities that kept them occupied and made them feel useful. Identify tasks such as cleaning and cutting vegetables, doing the laundry, washing dishes, or minding the grandchildren, that the stroke survivor is still able to perform to help them focus and feel they are not a burden to others.
Reposted with permission from Dr Kinjal Doshi