When someone dies, it is normal to feel sadness. You may feel despair and an overwhelming sense of loss. Grief is a normal response. However, it is important to pay attention to the way you feel over time. During one of the hardest times of your life, prolonged grief can lead you down a very dangerous path. Depression can easily become more than a temporary concern for those facing significant loss. If you have a loved one in your family that you feel is suffering from depression, rather than just grief, it is important to take action to help that loved one through this potentially dangerous time.
When Does Grief Become Depression?
It is hard to see the difference between depression and grief. Often times, the symptoms seem quite similar. You may feel physical symptoms such as a fast heartbeat, hyperventilating, and restlessness. Emotional symptoms include sadness, shock, confusion, and guilt. All of these symptoms of grief are normal. However, the physical symptoms should not go on for more than a few weeks. Long term healing is required to relieve the emotional symptoms of grief. It can take weeks and can take much longer, even up to a few years, but they too subside.
The biggest difference is that grief continues to improve. Depression tends to be a static place where a person seems to be “stuck” and unable to get through. If you are suffering from this yourself and your symptoms of grief don’t seem to get better, you may now be suffering from depression. Depression is a psychological condition that warrants medical attention. If the feelings you have over a loss significantly impact on your daily life or you begin to think negative thoughts about yourself, such as wanting to hurt yourself, it is important to seek out treatment for depression.
What you feel after the loss of a loved one will improve over time. If it does not, your grief may be depression. In many cases, it is this depressive feeling that warrants seeking medical attention to help you get back to your life.