My experience with depression after the death of a loved one was, at least partially, a docile one.
When my grandfather died I was largely apathetic and couldn’t really bring myself to care all that much.
I mean, sure, I loved him a lot, but a certain part of me was dead at the time – I couldn’t bring myself to feel any emotion out of this revelation.
When my grandmother died, on the other hand, I took it quite hard.
You see, it was my grandmother that raised me, my parents weren’t home nearly enough and it was up to her to raise me into the person that I am today.
Still, I shed no tears, I felt as though I lost something very important, a piece of my heart, but I couldn’t bring myself to get further depressed by this fact.
Most people aren’t me.
Grief can be turned into depression
I was able to live through the experiences without much trauma.
Despite my closeness to my grandparents, my apathetic and depressed heart couldn’t really bring itself to bleed out over them all that much.
But for most people, the loss of a loved one is a harsh blow that may seem like a complete and utter tragedy.
It’s not rare for people to wonder how will they continue their lives without their loved one.
This grief can cause depression over time.
depression can be attributed to a bad experience traumatizing a person.
Bullying is one such example, depression is much more common among bullying victims than the average people. I actually talked about the subject before.
But here’s the thing, all negative prolonged experiences can lead to depression.
Grief is a terrible experience to go through.
Yet, much like with most things in life, this type of pain, this type of depression, they only last for a short while in most cases.
When they don’t, they can lead to you experiencing depression.
This type of grief is called “complicated grief”, and is an in-between stage for grief and depression.
It just raises the question, though – why does grief persist in some cases, but doesn’t in others?
Your stages of grief are getting stuck
Grief is a sense of loss, a general lack of something that causes you to have this bad feeling all around.
Breaking up with you partner, losing a valuable friendship, being forced to retire from a career that you love.
All of these are experiences that are packed with grief, it doesn’t have to be the death of a loved one to knock you into such a state of depression.
The normal process that people go through regarding depression can be broken up as such:
- Denial – “This can’t be happening!”
- Anger – “This is NOT happening!!!”
- Bargaining – “Please don’t let it happen, I will do anything!”
- Depression – “I can’t believe it happened…”
- Acceptance – “I am at peace with what happened”
As you can see, depression is the final stage before moving on, but it isn’t one that normally lasts.
This implies that any of the first three stages of depression causes you to get stuck with it and not pass onto acceptance.
So, what are a few common mistakes that people make when it comes to grief that make them go over the edge and experience prolonged depression?
1) “What could have been”‘s and guilt
One critical mistake that people make is to think “what if”
“What if I was there sooner?”
“What if I was a better boy/girlfriend?”
“What if I didn’t push my friends away?”
What if’s don’t do you any good, so stop with them!
What could have been doesn’t matter, you should be focusing on what’s going to happen next.
Regret will do you no good, you can’t change anything, and simple hope and “I will do anything to change that!” won’t actually change “that” at all.
nothing that happened to that person was your fault, life is life and death is death.
You aren’t a part of their passing, so there is nothing that you could change about it.
The best you could hope for is to take this as a learning experience
2) Trying to move on without closure
Here’s the thing, people often times tell themselves that they are fine, maybe because of their false belief that
One big mistake that you can make is to try and move on without coming to terms with your loss, believing that these feelings will pass by themselves.
They might, of course, but only if you let them.
You can’t just act as though everything is fine when it isn’t, you will be carrying a lot of baggage that really shouldn’t have been there at all have you confronted your problems properly.
This type of understanding is crucial, if you aren’t at peace with your loss and try to move on, you will be experiencing prolonged, repressed, grief that may very well end up becoming a case of depression.
Don’t try to be a hero, the only thing that you need to do to avoid this scenario is to simply let yourself be sad without any regrets.
Simple acknowledgment can go a long way.
3) Sinking into your depression
One mistake you could make regarding your grief and loss would be to let it consume you.
The symptoms of depression are likely to be seen during the “depression” part (big shocker, right?), but are very likely to pass by themselves if given the chance.
As such, the last thing you would want to do is to “work alongside” your depression.
Now, some of you may say that points two and three contradict each other, and to some degree, you would be right.
After all, how can you both let yourself feel your depression yet not sink into it at the same time?
The answer lies in your behavior and the difference between accepting your feelings and being controlled by them.
Don’t let yourself become isolated, don’t waste your time thinking about it and don’t disconnect yourself from the outside world.
Don’t ignore your feelings on the matter, but fight them through contradicting action rather than running away, that’s the difference right there.
Let yourself be you, but also live your life to the best of your ability from that point on.
It’s okay to feel said, it’s okay to admit that you are sad, but the last thing that you want is to use these feelings as an exucse.
It may not feel that you are doing it this way, but you are.
You really, really are.
4) You aren’t the only one that cared for them
Like I’ve said before, depressed people are selfish, they always put their own pain above everything else.
And that’s fine, we all prioritize ourselves in the grand scheme of things, but by forgetting about others you are wasting a very important tool.
A sense of comradery.
Do you think that you are the only person that lost a loved one? Do you think that your pain is exclusive? Of course it isn’t!
Believing that you are the only one that suffers, and that you are the one that suffers the most, are two huge mistakes that you should be avoiding.
Not only are these patterns of thought unhealthy for you, but you are also ignoring something that may very well end up being your answer to both your grief and depression.
By being around other people, by getting support from them, by sharing your loss, you can achieve a certain sense of freedom that would be impossible otherwise.
We, humans, are social creatures, we draw much of our strength from our communities.
The sole knowledge that you aren’t alone, that other people are with you, is a source of mental strength.
The very type of strength that you need to overcome your grief and move on.
Share your feelings with others, for all you know they might be feeling the same way as you do.
Depression or grief? It’s up to you!
Grief only remains for a short while, even the sense of depression that normally accompanies it can be gone over time.
Depression, on the other hand, is mostly there to stay.
As such, the last thing that you want to do is to give it an excuse, any excuse, to do so.
Assuming that you don’t fall into any of these pits then you will find yourself going through all the stages of grief without much fuss.
No matter how difficult your loss is, it’s only as bad as you choose to make it.
With that being said, here’s a question for you to consider – Which one of these tips did you like the most, and why?
Make sure to leave your answers in the comment section below, I read every single on of them!
Also, if you got any question you would like to ask me personally then make sure to send me an email and I’ll answer it as soon as possible.