Depression is common when people have to spend a long time in bed. You have an illness or injury that makes getting out of bed difficult or impossible. That’s stressful on its own. It’s made even worse by the massive change in lifestyle.
You can’t do simple tasks that were once part of your everyday life. You are isolated from your social circle. It can be frustrating, boring, and worrying. And that’s why the majority of people who are bedridden experience some depression.
The first and most important point to understand is that you’re not alone. What you’re feeling is normal. The technical term is dysthymia or persistent depressive disorder. It means you feel down for most days but don’t have a full depressive episode associated with major depressive disorder.
People feel sad or angry or hopeless in your situation. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. There is no easy solution, but it is essential to recognize the problem and take steps to make the time you spend in bed more bearable.
You don’t have to suffer through your depression alone. Talk to people you trust about how you feel. If there is something that you want or need to make staying in bed more pleasant, ask someone to get it for you.
Tell your doctor that you are depressed, or contact a medical professional who specializes in depression. They may be able to offer you medication or other treatment options.
If you are very depressed would prefer not to talk to the people around you, consider contacting a service such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or Samaritans USA, which offer free counseling and support.
Maintain Your Independence
One of the most frustrating things about being bedridden is the lack of independence. You can’t go where you want or do what you want. You may rely on caregivers who aren’t always available.
However, although you are in bed for the time being, that doesn’t mean you can’t exert some control over your surroundings.
- If you have limited mobility, devices like reachers and grabbers help you to pick up and move things that are out of reach.
- Hospital bed rails help you sit up or reposition yourself when you struggle to move around your bed.
- An overbed table provides storage and a space to put a phone, laptop, or book in a convenient position.
We wrote more about useful hospital bed accessories in this article.
If you suffer from bodily weakness, limited mobility, and various other health problems, you may benefit from an adjustable bed. A home hospital bed like Transfer Master’s Supernal 5 has adjustable head and foot sections that can be moved by remote control. It allows you to sit up, lie down, and change positions whenever you want.
Keep A Reasonable Sleep Schedule
When you spend all day and all night in bed, it isn’t easy to maintain a positive sleep schedule. You might sleep too much or too little. If you sleep a lot during the day, you might not be able to sleep at night.
An irregular sleep pattern can make your depression worse, and your depression can make your sleep pattern worse. It may be hard to break out of a destructive sleep cycle, but it’s worth the effort.
Create a schedule for yourself, and try to stick to it. Give yourself a time to “go to bed” and a time to “get up.” Set an alarm if you have to. It’s OK to take naps during the day, but not too many, or you won’t sleep well at night.
Create an Exercise Program
It is challenging to exercise when you are bedridden, and when you are depressed might not want to. But there is lots of evidence that exercise alleviates depression in many people.
People often find that exercise gives them energy during the day and improves their sleep at night. You might think it’s impossible to exercise when you’re bedridden. In fact, there are lots of exercise programs designed for people who are stuck in bed.
We wrote about some of the exercises you can do in bed in 5 Exercises to Do From Your Home Hospital Bed.
Caring for a Bedridden Person With Depression
If you care for someone bedridden, keep an eye out for signs that they are depressed. They may express feelings of sadness, anger, or emptiness. They may lose their appetite or overeat. Some people struggle to complete simple tasks because they have no energy.
If you think the person you care for is depressed, talk to them. Ask them if there is anything you can do to make life better. It’s important to ask because lots of people feel shy about being a nuisance, and they won’t tell you what they need unless you ask.
Being bedbound is emotionally and physically challenging. But you can reduce some of the negative impacts with exercise, a good diet, a positive sleep pattern, and independence. And remember, if you feel that you can’t cope, don’t hesitate to ask for help.