Are you grieving or depressed, and how do you know the difference?

It can be very difficult to distinguish between grief and major depression.

How Grief and Depression Are Similar

Depression is often masked as Grief because Grief and Depression, they both have several symptoms in common, such as, intense sadness, insomnia, poor appetite, and weight loss. In fact, the symptoms of grief and depression can appear to be exactly the same.

With grief, it is normal to experience sadness and to cry. It is normal to experience changes in sleep patterns, energy levels, and appetite. It is normal to have difficulty concentrating and to have moments of anger, frustration, loneliness, isolation, confusion, and more.

The difference between grief and depression is that grief subsides after 6 to 12 months.  When is lasts for years and years it becomes depression or even complicated grief.

What Is Complicated Grief?

Complicated Grief does not seem to heal with time.

Symptoms of complicated grief includes intense sadness, anger, or irritability that lasts a long time.   You have difficulty accepting that your husband has passed away. You focus excessively on the one moment in time when you became a widow, or not face it at all, mask your feelings and emotions and carry on regardless.. You may engage in self-destructive behaviours or even contemplate or attempt suicide.

How Grief Differs From Depression

So what is the difference between Grief and Depression.

Grief decreases over time , 6-12 months and comes in waves that are triggered by thoughts or reminders of your husband.

In other words, you feel amazingly better for a period of time, and then something triggers your emotions, such as your husbands’ birthday, the anniversary of his passing, your wedding anniversary, Christmas, when a grandchild gets born and so on, these all trigger your loss and cause your feelings and emotions to resurface again.

Major depression, on the other hand, tends to be more persistent and pervasive.  If you are dressed, you will show symptoms that are the opposite of those experienced with grief, such as sleeping excessively, eating more, and gaining weight.

Other Differences Between Grief and Depression

Other clues that you may be depressed and not grieving are :

  • Feelings of guilt not related to you husbands passing
  • Continual thoughts of suicide—even though in grief there can be thoughts of “joining” the deceased
  • Morbid preoccupation with not being worthy – the loss of selfworth and self confidence (self-confidence  and loss of selfworth does not long long while grieving)
  • Sluggishness or hesitant and confused speech
  • Prolonged and marked difficulty in carrying out the activities of day-to-day living

Coping With Grief vs Depression

If you are wondering if you are experiencing grief or major depression, it is very important to talk to your loved ones and seek help.   Untreated depression is not only dangerous ​but can rob you of days that your lost loved one would long for you to enjoy.

Grief is our body’s way of working through difficult and traumatic experiences.  We all grieve differently and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. If you are facing grief in your life, make sure you can talk openly to a friend or family member.

It is not a sign of weakness to seek out help in coping with your loss.

If you think you are stuck in depression, let’s talk, schedule a free breakthrough call with me where we will go through where you are now in your grief journey, see what’s keeping you stuck and see where you want to be.




Denise Dielwart – Widows Living Beyond Grief and Loss

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