Supporting Depression?

I’m out in Ohio visiting my sister who was recently diagnosed with Mantel Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and the treatment is vigorous. Everyone – family and friends – is helping in someway to make this journey padded with love.

In her living room is a stack of books from well wishers one of which is a cookbook entitled The Cancer Fighting Kitchen by Rebeccca Katz with Mat Edelson. As I was browsing through it I came across a page that talked about the importance of having a culinary support team. and the author recommended the book Share the Care by Cappy Capossela and Sheila Warnock, written following the illness of a close friend.

After reading these,I thought how great it would be to form Depression Support Teams for family and friends coping with this unpredictable illness. Some of their suggestions for the culinary support team (which would be easily adaptable for Depression Support Teams) include:

  • Give people tasks they enjoy
  • Have only one captain to delegate assignments
  • Rotate the captain weekly, if possible
  • Take everyone’s emotional temperature every few weeks to make sure no one is getting crunched
  • Recognize that caregivers have other responsibilities they need to attend to
  • Always keep feelers out for other people who want to join the team.

Cancer and other challenges in life often bring along depression and that often complicates the primary illness. Cancer treatment can cause loss of appetite well as depression and the combination can spell disaster for a healthy body trying to fight a crippling disease.

Depression support teams have the ability to help not only the depressed individual to continue to feel connected but also to help the primary caregivers stay healthy. I want to look into the possibilities of this further and someday, hopefully, teams of support will help depression dissipate in this country and the world because of the force of love and care.

Sites to check out about caregiving and such teams include: http://www.sharethecare.org, http://www.lotshelpinghands.com, and http://www.caring bridge.com. And please send us your suggestions for forming such teams, what has worked for you and what you feel has been missing.

– Bernadette

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