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So, a family member is covid-19 positive. Here’s how you can cope

Updated on:11 June 2020, 10:50am IST
What happens when a family member gets diagnosed with covid-19? This extremely tough situation requires us to take care of our mental health and find strength.
Dr. Ambrish Dharmadhikari
Apparently the blood group that your mama gave you might put at risk of covid-19. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

Sachin went out on the pretext of buying groceries. However, he wanted some space to think, some fresh air to breathe, and some time clear his thoughts. Priya, his banker wife, had just broken the news of being coronavirus positive.

She was working in a bank and developed a cough along with fever. What they had initially thought to be seasonal flu turned out to be covid-19. Due to mild symptoms, she was home quarantined. Sachin wasn’t sure what he was supposed to do now, of how he should react or behave. How was he going to explain this to his children? Is he being a bad husband? All these questions overwhelmed him and he had no answers to them! 

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Anyone of us can be in Sachin’s shoes. It is something we are not prepared for. It is an unprecedented situation, at the end of the day. And unfortunately, some of us might have to be in a situation where a loved one is tested positive for coronavirus. 

Let us understand how to cope with a family member who is tested covid-19 positive:

1. S/he is more scared than you
You might be confused or even scared about your actions but remember your family member is more scared than you. They are worried about transmitting covid-19 to their own family apart from the fear of losing their life. They need support, comfort, and a cooperative environment to feel secure.

covid-19
It’s important to have an open conversation with your partner. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

It is advisable to discuss their feelings and listen to them patiently. You may reassure them and alleviate their fear. You should extend support in this difficult time and assure them of being together in this fight. This is the time when you need to step up and be a pillar for your loved one.

However, it is easier said than done when there is an emotional hurricane going on in your mind. What you need to realize is that just like you’re supporting your family member, you also need support and be able to make sense of your feelings by talking about them. In such a situation, it is advisable to seek support from a mental health professional.

Also, Read: Govt allows covid-19 patients with mild symptoms to recuperate at home

2. It’s tricky situation to be in
Having a covid-19 positive family member is a tricky situation to be in. Apart from supporting them, you will have to face society, relatives, and acquaintances. It has been reported that many have faced negative reactions from society due to the fear of contracting covid-19. It is difficult to handle both ends and may end up feeling like walking on a tightrope. Communication skills and empathy are the best weapons in this battle.

covid-19
Life, as you know, shall change but you must be compassionate to those who might feel fear around your family. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

You will have to be calm but also empathetic towards anxious people surrounding you. At the same time, you would be required to shield your affected family member from feeling guilty. Having honest communication and empathetic understanding will reduce your burden as well. You can spend time in meditation to calm yourself. You can also engage in any hobby to give yourself a break.

3. Find your balance
This situation will see you putting a lot of focus on preventing the spread of covid-19 while caring for the covid-19 positive person. However, you cannot be crippled by the situation and let your work, as well as daily routine, get affected. One needs to find the right balance between everything.

Plan your day well in advance to manage all the tasks efficiently. Keep taking breaks and engage in meaningful activity. Try to maintain your daily routine as much as possible. Adapt to new situations by being innovative like joining online Zumba instead of going to the gym. Having a sense of normalcy in your life will help to keep a balance between mental health and your family.

4. Self-care
Along with taking care of covid-19 positive family members, it is equally important to take care of yourself and avoid burnout. It is not at all selfish to seek a break or breather to get away from the family environment.

Even if you are not able to physically get some space to yourself; you can find a way to be away virtually. Connecting with your friends, spending time in leisure activity, watching your favourite content, talking about your woes, and taking up new skills are the many ways by which you can distance yourself from the ongoing situation.

Lastly, there is no shame in seeking help and learning to cope with this unprecedented situation. Mental health organisations are always there to help you and your family! All you have to do is call.

2 Comments

  1. I would like to thank you guys for sharing this great information. We all are going through so much of stress with thinking of this infection. Reading different news and messages how they treat corona patients, what is quarantine, diet, medication etc is depressing. Though in my family , friends and nearby neighbours all are fine, but still one do think what if someone in family catches this invisible virus. This article has described every detail what one should do in this kind of problem. We all get ill and after treatment we get fine, but Corona is different and scary. This article clearly tells how to deal with this situation. how to stay positive and support the patient. while taking care of the ill one you must look after your health as well. We know after getting cured from this infection also the society would be questioning. But with family support, good care and mental strength one can win critical time.

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Dr. Ambrish Dharmadhikari Dr. Ambrish Dharmadhikari

Dr Ambrish is the Head of Medical Services (Psychiatrist) at Mpower – The Foundation