Are you worried about someone who is sad or anxious?

There are lots of different ways people experience emotional difficulties. Some of the common groups of difficulties are described below. Have a look and see if any apply to your loved one. Often these difficulties start when we experience difficult life events. These can be major events or a build up of smaller events which reduce our ability to cope. However your loved one is feeling, help and support is available and you will find ideas for ways to help them as well as how to access support from us.

Is the person you care for feeling low, tired, a lack of interest in activities, struggling with sleep and eating?

Your loved one might be feeling tired much of the time, but then struggle to sleep at night. Maybe some days they don’t even get out of bed. Perhaps they can’t be bothered to do their usual activities, and are finding it harder to pick up the phone and talk to people in their life. When they do go out with you, perhaps they find it harder to enjoy the occasion. You might notice that your loved one is having lots of negative thoughts, and seems to feel quite worthless. Perhaps they are more tearful than usual. If your loved one is feeling like this, they may be depressed. Depression is very common once people have retired, and can be difficult to come out of without support.

If you think your loved one might be depressed, click here for what you might do now.

Click here for help if you think the situation is a crisis.

Is the person you care for feeling tense and worried, thinking something bad is going to happen and avoiding some situations?

The person you care for might be feeling tense, agitated and panicky much of the time. They might be lying in bed at night trying to sleep, but with worrying thoughts going through their mind. Perhaps they describe physical symptoms such as a racing heart, a dry mouth, breathlessness and “butterflies” in their stomach. These really strong physical sensations can be due to anxiety, but perhaps the person you are caring for also worries that there is something physically wrong with them. Anxiety is a normal human emotion, but it can be like a faulty smoke alarm, raising the alarm when there is no danger. Perhaps your loved one finds that certain situations trigger this reaction, and then avoid those situations, only to find out they feel more frightening next time. Perhaps they do certain things to try to feel less anxious, like checking things several times or repeating certain actions. If your loved one is feeling like this, they may be anxious. Anxiety is very common, and can be difficult to change, as sometimes the things you do to try to feel better inadvertently increase anxiety.

If you think your loved one might be struggling with anxiety, click here for what you might do now.

Click here for help if you think you might be in a crisis.

The page was last updated on 05 May 2020 by carers.editor.


Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust
Elizabeth House, Fulbourn Hospital
Cambridge, CB21 5EF

T 01223 219400 (open 8:30am to 5pm)
F 01480 398501

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