Becoming a carer can raise many feelings in you and some people find comfort by sharing these feelings with others. Not everyone can do this or want to do this. If you are feeling very anxious or depressed or these feelings are becoming overwhelming you should seek help. This can take several forms.
- Informal talk- with friends and family. With other carers at a carers group. Sometimes just knowing you have told someone else who understands is enough to make you feel better. Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland Advice line is another place to talk in confidence. 0845 077 6000 or informally on the Stroke Chat forum on the CHSS website
- Formal talk- with your GP or stroke nurse. If they feel you need specialist help they can direct you to the right form of help for you.
- Courses- some carer organisations run courses for carers to help manage stress or have one to one counselling in confidence. Many of these courses are free and in some instances a sitter service can be provided to allow you to attend knowing the person you care for is safe.
- Medicine – if you would benefit from medicine to help you cope with depression or anxiety your GP can discuss and prescribe this for you. You should expect to take antidepressants for two to four weeks before you may notice your mood change. Once on antidepressants it may take several months on your medication before your GP can advise you to gradually reduce or stop the medication. Ask about any side effects or alternatives if you are not sure about taking medicine.
- Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. This will give you a better understanding of your feelings. It focuses on a “here and now” approach looking at how your thoughts and feelings affect your behaviour and how you can make changes to move forward. Expect several sessions with a therapist and also expect some work to do or tasks to practice at home. The CBT method is very structured and requires you to want to change.
- Talking Therapies and counselling- psychologists, psychiatrists or counsellors all offer different forms of talking therapy to help you to cope with anxiety and depression which is treatable. Counselling will not tell you what to do but will give you space to think and reflect on what is happening to you and how you can take control again. The following website Counselling Directory – Find a Counsellor Near You has information on finding a counsellor in your area.