It’s been years since your loved on passed away. Yet, the grief that you feel over that loss is till very real for you.
You miss them every day.
It’s just been very hard to live without them. However, it goes far beyond feeling as if you won’t ever fill the hole that’s now there in your heart. You also have trouble taking care of your own family responsibilities.
Could it be that your grief is actually depression? How would you know?
Understanding the difference between grief and depression is important. Although there are many things that connect these two conditions, there are marked differences.
What Is Grief and What Is Depression?
First, it’s important to define what grief and depression are.
- Grief – The emotion you feel when you experience a loss. Often we associate grief with the loss of a friend or relative. However, grief can occur when you lose a job or experience the devastation of a natural disaster as well.
- Depression – A medical illness that affects your brain and mood. It influences how you see and approach the world around you. People with depression can experience both emotional and physical symptoms associated with the condition.
As you can see, there are similarities between grief and depression. Both involve dark and negative feelings.
Moreover, grief and depression can also significantly impact your life. They are reminders that life isn’t always rosy. For all that is positive in our lives, there will also be times when we experience the negative.
What Are Critical Differences Between Grief and Depression?
One way that these conditions are different is how they exist in life. Specifically, how do they exist in your world and influence your life?
Depression often causes you to see your world very negatively in general. Grief, on the other hand, is not an overall outlook on the world. It is attached to a specific event or events that you experience.
You can experience grief for a long time, yet, it does not have to affect how you interact with the world. In fact, while you may grieve over a period of time for someone, that feeling can ease during this time and not be the focus of all your attention.
Another difference between grief and depression is the time it takes for each to develop.
With grief, you normally experience the emotion very quickly. For instance, you may start feeling grief as soon as you get the news of someone’s passing. Perhaps, you feel yourself begin to choke up. Tears form in your eyes. You clutch your chest and begin to feel that emotional pain.
On the other hand, it takes longer for depression to set in. For a diagnosis of depression, you must have the symptoms for at least two weeks. Plus, a diagnosis requires an evaluation by a mental health professional. Whereas, it’s not hard to recognize when someone is grieving.
How Does One Condition Affect the Other?
Of course, depression and grief have a close connection. Depression can be caused by grief. Yet, depression does not cause grief.
The symptoms of depression can develop because of specific events in your life. And that doesn’t just include a loss. It could be from experiencing trauma, such as emotional abuse. You can even have depression simply because of your brain chemistry!
Yet, grief does not arise because you are depressed. Grief occurs because you lost something important to you. However, grief could occur after you have experienced a bout of depression and recovered. But that’s because you may grieve the time (months, or even years) you’ve lost to depression and how it affected your relationship with others.
As you can see the relationship between grief and depression is complex. But there are certainly distinct differences between the two. If you are concerned about grief and depression or need help to understand the difference, don’t hesitate to reach out for professional support from a therapist.
I would be delighted to help you find the answer if you’re unsure about which you’re experiencing—grief of depression. Please, feel free to contact me today about depression treatment and grief counseling.