You've recently lost a spouse, family member or good friend to a major illness. Grieving is a natural reaction to the trauma of such a loss. But if your grief becomes prolonged and begins to get in the way of doing your normal daily activities, your grief may have changed to depression. Learn how to recognize the symptoms of this change and to know when it may be time to seek out depression treatment.
Grief is Temporary - Depression Has A Lasting Impact on Your Life
In the early stages, grief can look a lot like depression. You may cry, have difficulty sleeping and you may not have much of an appetite. Your sadness can ebb and flow throughout the day, while you are at work, school or home. Your life's routine goes on while you have these feelings. There is no standard timeline for how long someone grieves. Eventually, the sad feeling and behavioral changes diminish, replaced by the good memories of the person who passed away.
If you are depressed, your sadness and other symptoms don't go away, and may increase in intensity. They begin to impact your life. You can't get enough sleep to function at work. You lose weight because you aren't eating. Your mind is focused on your sadness so that you have little time or motivation to do or think about anything else. When grieving affects your life this much, consider getting help for the potential depression that's setting in.
Grief is Often a Group Function - Depression is Isolating
People tend to support each other during their grieving process. Friends and family members will frequently connect with each other as they grieve. There is a communal aspect to grief with the group watching out for each other as everyone works through their own version of grief. You may often feel like being with others as you deal with the sadness.
Depression makes you want to be isolated. You'll prefer to stay at home and not go out to see friends and family. You may call in sick at work to stay home in bed. You'll stop answering the phone or knocks on your door. Your friends and family may first point it out that you've become isolated before you are aware of it yourself. Isolation is a sign that it's time to get professional help.
Grief Gives Way to Healthy Thoughts - Depression Creates Darker Musings
Gradually, your thoughts lighten up as the grief subsides. You will still feel sadness, but it doesn't consume you or prevent you from doing your normal daily activities. You'll be able to speak about the loss without feeling as if you're about to lose control of your emotions.
Depression takes your thoughts into another direction. You may begin to feel guilty and blame yourself for the person's death. You may look for ways to punish yourself such as by not eating. If allowed to become severe, the depression may cause you to have thoughts of suicide.
While grieving is a healthy way to respond to the loss of a loved one, an escalation of sadness, isolation and guilt are signs of depression. Professional help is the way to prevent the spiraling of feelings into more harmful reactions to the loss. For more information, contact a facility such as Dr Kuris Counseling Centers.