Grief and Depression

While grief and depression share similar symptoms they are not the same. You can grieve without being depressed and without your grief leading to depression. The symptoms of grief are seen as a normal and healthy part of the healing process. It is also normal for us to have low moods and feel depressed from time to time. However, if that depressive low feeling lasts for a considerable length of time, and if you are struggling to maintain normal daily routines and functioning, you may be suffering from depression.

We grieve for the loss of someone or something. Yet depression is how we feel about ourselves, a general sense of low personal value and unworthiness.

Depression and grief may be linked depending on personal circumstances and individual vulnerability to depression, This is generally if we are vulnerable in some way such as a previous history of depression, a genetic vulnerability to depression, unresolved pain and depression of previous generations, intense grief and depressive symptoms for a considerable time, limited support networks and/or minimal previous experience of death can all contribute to grief and depression.

What is Depression?

Depression is a serious mental illness which can persist and significantly interfere with our day to day ability to function. It has been suggest that depression is the result of believing that personal value and self worth is attached to proving that we can beat life by achieving goals. Greg Neville in The True Cause and Cure of Depression says: Depression is a subconscious state of mind where a person reaches the point of believing that their major life achieving goal is no longer possible. He suggests that the person believes their chance of ever proving their value is gone, along any chance of ever receiving their requirements for development.

A society based on achievement tells us that we can do anything and obtain anything we desire if we try hard enough. If we try hard enough we are told we will eventually control our life and our universe.

The wisdom of grief and depression tells us that we if we are flexible and change our desires and goals from time to time we can fit in with and accept the changes of life.

What are the Symptoms of Depression?

Clinical depression can be like a pervasive and persistent sadness. It may make it difficult to maintain responsibilities and even difficult to maintain employment.

Other symptoms of depression include:

  • Lowered self esteem
  • Sleeping patterns being disrupted
  • Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
  • Motor skills may be slower and limited energy
  • Loss of motivation and difficulty concentrating
  • Fluctuating appetite or weight
  • Inability to enjoy things that once gave pleasure
  • Persistent sad mood and frequent bouts of crying
  • Small incidents might cause considerable upset
  • Difficulty concentrating and remembering
  • Difficulty expressing anger. Often turning emotions inward If you feel that your grief has in fact turned into depression it is important to seek help and an assessment from a health professional.

Depression Help

Sadness and guilt stem from experiences of loss. It can help to realise that you are not responsible for all that happens in life. You did all that you could do.

Depression can be helped by:

  • Antidepressant medications are widely used for depression help
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapies
  • Many treatments combine both therapies and medications
  • St John’s Wort, hypericum, a herbal supplement, is said to have antidepressant properties
  • The support of family and friends
  • Counseling and therapies addressing the underlying belief that it is pointless even trying to have a goal. Greg Neville suggests that the secret to fixing depression is simply to reach the point of believing that it is still worthwhile trying to have new goals even though life may not conform to our desires.

    Accepting change, being open to learning and understanding new information, and by trusting that there is purpose in everything may also help through times of depression.


    Much information and research is available on depression. The following links and references will provide further information on grief and depression help. (click on underlined header for link).

    Please note: while we will only provide links to what is believed to be authentic and genuine sites, there is no guarantee given on the the quality of the information provided.

    Psychology Information Online
    Psychology Information Online provides information about psychological diagnosis, disorders and problems, psychotherapy and counseling.

    HealthInsite is an Australian Government initiative, funded by the Department of Health and Ageing. It aims to improve the health of Australians by providing easy access to quality information about human health.

    BluePages – produced by the Centre for Mental Health Research at the Australian National University and CSIRO Mathematical and Information Sciences with the assistance of an Advisory Board and feedback from Consumers and Health Professionals. QUESTIONNAIRES YOU MAY FIND USEFUL

    Beyondblue checklist
    The Beyondblue checklist can help you to see if you are possibly suffering from a depressive illness. The site states there is no record kept of test results or identity.

    Anxiety & Depression FREE on line questionnaire
    This Way Up is part of the Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety and Depression (CRUfAD). CRUfAD is a joint facility of St Vincent's Hospital and the University of New South Wales established to reduce the impact of anxiety and depressive disorders on individuals.

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