Hospital appointments: Tips for Carers
Apologies to start this with a feast full of negativity ... but I look at a hospital visit that I experienced with my loved one with ill mental health this year as a particularly tough experience.
Being shouted and sworn at, told how horrible I was (for trying to help) and over 30 people in a busy waiting room staring at me was probably not one of my life highlights ... and actually I understand it ALL!
However, even though I understand it, I wish I could say it made it easier. It didn’t on this occasion, sadly!
I always say understanding someone’s condition does really help, however often heart rules logic and my heart certainly felt like it shattered into a thousand tiny pieces in the 2 hours I was there.
As with any hospital appointment, they can cause anybody a high degree of distress - the waiting around, the unknown, the clinical atmosphere and the amount of people everywhere.
However, I did try out some strategies that really did help to make the scenario more bearable so hopefully they can help you too :-)
⁃ Ask for a separate room to sit in (where possible) whilst you’re waiting. Part of the anxiety and upset being experienced was being in a full and busy hospital waiting room, with lots of people staring and whispering. I asked for the room, through my bloodshot eyes - next time, I’ll ask sooner pre-tears :) and the hospital staff were more than happy to accommodate! They really were absolute stars.
- Go for a walk - take a breather and get some fresh air. Understandably, if you are concerned about leaving your loved one on their own, perhaps ask someone to keep an eye on them and let them know you will be back shortly.
⁃ Call a friend - Sometimes it's great to hear someone say it will be OK and to remind yourself that you're doing your best for your loved one.
⁃ Reward yourself - This is something great I have learnt...and it really helps!! Going through an emotional distressing situation is so tough so having a light at the end of the experience really helps you keep a bit more uplifted!
⁃Use breathing exercises - I don’t particularly follow any specific ones (although Richard Nicholls at www.motivateyourself.co.uk does fab ones). I just take really deep breaths in and out.
⁃Pop an earphone in (I opted for Mike Oldfield - The Bell) I’ve loved his music since 5 years old and it honestly soothes me a lot - have a listen and see what you think :-)
And last but not least, remember you are doing amazing! And it is the environment and scenario that causes the distress, not you :-) it’s tough ... and it’s totally OK to feel that!
x Rebecca x