Bereavement and grief are a necessary part of living. This aspect of life may be an unpleasant one, but that doesn’t make it any less real. Grief and depression are very different, however, they can look quite alike.
This is because the line between the two is blurred when their symptoms are somewhat similar—both include people crying, having trouble sleeping, losing appetite and not doing activities of daily living. It is because of this similarity that the American Psychiatric Association urges physicians to not diagnose Major Depressive Disorder in individuals who have recently lost a loved one.
How do we react to grief and loss?
Grief comes in stages. They are a common reaction of people as they try to make sense of their loss, and get used to it. It is also an essential part of healing and acceptance. The common stages of grief are denial, shock, numbness, and acceptance.
The stages of grief can occur in almost any order, but commonly the initial stage of almost every sort of loss and grief is denial. People have a hard time accepting their loss and go into denial. This is mostly followed by numbness and shock. The brain protects itself from the intensity of loss through this phase, and it should never be confused with ‘not caring’. Lastly, acceptance comes through time and healing.
How to deal with grief driven depression?
Grieving and bereavement are not linear. They can take multiple forms, and can ebbs and flow at times; they never really go away, however, one learns to cope with it. Here are a few suggestions to help you deal with the death of a loved one:
- Expect to feel depressed—loss of appetite, and decreased interest in normal daily activities. This is part of normal grief, and its best to not interfere with this process.
- Rely on your support network. You friends and loved ones are there for you; be sure to talk to them when you feel down or when the burden seems unbearable. You will feel better after talking to Moreover, it is better for grieving individuals to have someone to rely on—especially those who took care of the terminally ill loved ones.
- Grief takes its time to ebb away. One day you may be fine, and on another, it may hit you hard. So expect it to wax and wane.
- Prepare a distraction for yourself, or a hobby that gives you pleasure. This way your brain will be distracted from the sad emotions into happy ones.
- Start a new tradition in honour of your loved one. It could be anything as simple as planting a tree or making a small donation in their name, but it’s bound to make you feel better.
- Consider seeking professional help when this depression is making you unable to function. Thoughts of suicide, serious weight loss are some of the examples of serious depression. It is best to go to your healthcare provider and psychiatrist in such a scenario.
Dealing with loss and grief can take a toll on mental health. Book an appointment with a top psychologist in Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT professional for your concerns.