Although grief is a natural and normal response to our loss, grief depression does not have to be part of it.
I say this all the time – there is no “right” way to grieve. Just because you are grieving differently than someone else doesn’t mean that you are depressed.
Some widow never cry and others may cry all the time. Lack of obvious emotions doesn’t mean they are emotional blocked, and crying doesn’t mean they are having a more difficult time and are depressed. Everyone grieves differently.
Grief is something we learn to live with because it’s not a straight path to the end. We heal but sadness and pain can still flare up over the years. We grieve (although it softens) forever because we are forever working to blend our past into our new life.
Having said that, there are widows that cross the line from grief to grief depression and we need to be aware of the symptoms so we can get the help we need. Many symptoms of depression are also the symptoms of healthy grieving. It can be difficult to determine the difference between the two.
Personally I would not be concerned if you had these symptoms at the beginning, but pay attention if you are feeling no relief at all after a few years.
- Feeling totally hopeless.
- Frequent crying.
- Total fatigue.
- No interest in activities you love.
- Not able to make decisions.
- Either sleeping too much or not enough.
- Expressing thoughts of dying.
- Socially withdrawing from others.
- Stop caring about their personal appearance.
All these symptoms can be natural after the death of a loved one, but if they are preventing you from functioning than it could be grief depression. Depression is more than grief and we need to watch out that we don’t fall into that black hole.
Grief depression isn’t a shameful secret, you are not crazy or weak, but you may need some professional help. We all need a ladder to climb out of that black hole at one point or another in our life. That ladder may be professional help, family, friends, hobbies or goals we are passionate about. If you think you need help please reach out and ask for it.
Mary Francis, The Sisterhood of Widows
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