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|04-17-2005, 09:10 AM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Deeeep South
How does Grief differ from depression?
What is grief and how does it differ from depression?
The concept of grief describes the emotions and sensations accompanying the loss of someone or something dear. The word itself was originally derived from the Old French grève, meaning a heavy burden. In English “grief” connotes an experience of deep sorrow, one that touches every aspect of existence. Grief can literally “weigh down” the person who must face the reality of a gut-wrenching loss, taking both a psychological and physical toll on the bereaved person. Complex physiological and psychological responses may be extremely painful but can be overcome if faced and experienced.
You may experience any of the following when you grieve:
* numbness, the sense that none of this is real—you’re just imagining it
* expecting your deceased loved one to come back and be able to resume life as usual
* experiencing your loved one communicating with you after death
* difficulty paying attention or remembering things as well as you did before your loss
* a sense of anger, injustice, vexation or helplessness about your situation
* feelings of incredible emptiness, loneliness, self-accusation or despair
* guilt—if only you had done more, been nicer, not left home, etc.
The following are typical physical symptoms of grief:
* difficulty going to sleep, or waking in the middle of the night
* weight loss or gain; over- or under-eating
* low energy or fatigue
* headaches, chest pain or racing heart
* upset stomach or digestive problems
* hair loss
When you understand that grieving people have similar thoughts, feelings and physical sensations, you can be assured that what you are going through is completely normal. For example, mood swings (you feel fine one minute and then all of sudden you burst out crying) need not take you by surprise. What’s more, it is entirely possible to have a decrease in symptoms for quite a while and then suddenly experience a ‘relapse’ when something reminds you of your loved one—or for no explainable reason at all.
What makes depression different from grief is the absence of positive feelings – a moment of awe at glimpsing a baby or a particularly beautiful sunrise or sunset, or hearing an inspiring peace of music. About 2 in 10 people develop a depressive disorder in the year following the death of a loved one, with symptoms beginning roughly in the third month. This is different from the deep sorrow which naturally results from losing someone you love. Some refer to that sadness as ‘depression’ when technically it’s not.
The major warning sign for clinical depression is when you don’t experience even rare moments of pleasure, for extended periods of time. Symptoms such as these may interfere with your life:
* life seems meaningless and you can find nothing pleasing or positive
* you are drowning in despair with no relief: no laughter, no smiles … no sense of a future
* you have trouble sleeping, or you sleep most of the day
* you have a drastic weight loss or gain
* you are unable to function in everyday life
* you have persistent thoughts of ending your life.
If you find yourself in this situation, it is essential to seek the assistance of a mental health professional, who can help you regain hope for living.
More on Grief and Loss to follow...
|04-17-2005, 12:09 PM||#2 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Anytown, USA
It is important to note that there is a rule out for depression when the primary cause of the depressed mood is grieving. If the depressed mood persists past the grieving process, then another evaluation is needed.
"If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere." - Frank A. Clark
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