In these trying times, having a reliable support system may already be considered a luxury. The current public health crisis stripped off the “normal” people knew. The pandemic brought about increased uncertainty and heightened anxiety to those already suffering from it. People wake up every day not knowing when everything would be stable again.
According to Allison Abrams, LCSW-R, a licensed psychotherapist and mental health advocate, “Each one of us is dealing with the consequences of this public health problem in various forms, whether health-wise, economic, or other.” She adds that “All of us will react differently depending on our external and internal resources, our strength and our psychological wellness. Don’t hesitate to seek support.”
The effects, however, of this public health crisis may be more severe for people having dysautonomia. They are more at risk of developing mental health illnesses or even aggravating the current situation. At this point is where the role of their family as a support system comes into play.
Dysautonomia As A Disease
Dysautonomia is a disorder of the nervous system affecting other parts of the body, such as the heart and the blood vessels. There is no known cure to this disease. Usually, the treatment of dysautonomia is supportive.
Although dysautonomia is not a psychological disease, it still affects brain functions. Also, it may contribute to the stress experienced by patients daily. Medical experts say that strategies and techniques relating to psychological support are helpful for dysautonomia patients.
In line with that, stress management techniques are helpful not only in providing for temporary distractions but also in relieving symptoms and giving a sense of order and control. These techniques include yoga, meditation, massage, and acupuncture.
Increasing Escapism In A Public Health Crisis
In the context of a public health crisis, finding and maintaining a support system is vital. Most people are stuck at home or have their movements limited due to fear of contracting the virus, thereby further increasing the numbers. With that, there is no more separation between personal space and workspace. The tendency then is for people to feel burned out faster.
To compensate, people resort to different coping mechanisms, which may be healthy or unhealthy. Some people turn to activities that alleviate stress and help contribute to increased wellness. These activities include working out, meditating, gardening, baking, cooking, making music, writing, dancing, and walking.
On the flip side, other people resort to activities such as excessive sleeping, playing games, binge-watching television shows, and occasional drinking or smoking. These activities may well be a sign of “escapist” behavior, a mental diversion habit resorted to by people when faced with various stressors.
How The Family Can Help
Friends, apart from family members, also form part of a support system for dysautonomia patients. Patients can communicate with friends through various platforms, such as email, text messaging, and video calls or conferencing. However, for the following reasons, the family may be considered primary support for said patients.
- Providing Immediate Support
As most families live together under the same roof, family members can provide immediate support, whether emotional, financial, or psychological. It is in contrast with the patient having to resort to seeking help from friends, who, because of the public health crisis, may be living at a distance from the patient.
- Sense Of Togetherness
More than anything, dysautonomia patients have to feel that they are not alone. It helps in managing the stress that they accumulate. Having family members who are living under the same roof, probably a few doors away from the patient, can help tremendously, especially during times when the patient resorts to unhealthy coping mechanisms to alleviate stress.
- Better Understanding
Having family members who have lived with the patient for a longer time than any other friend or loved ones can help the patient be better understood. This advantage is visible in terms of the patient’s reaction to particular situations, or in dealing with the patients’ stressors. In turn, the family members can extend help faster and more effectively.
In sum, handling stress can be challenging, especially when we have a public health crisis. There are stressors on a regular basis. But there may be additional anxiety on top of those stressors since there is no certainty on how we move forward with the situation.
Generally, people have different ways to cope with stress. However, dysautonomia patients may have a tougher time dealing with the current situation, in addition to worrying about battling their disease.
Therefore, the family is an essential mix in the recipe for a dependable and effective support system for dysautonomia patients. Family members can offer help in various forms, all of which would likely contribute to the overall increase in the health and wellness of the patient.