How to Handle Grief When You Have Depression
Grief and depression are difficult to deal with, but they're even harder when you're dealing with both at the same time.
Grieving While You Have Depression
The death of a loved one is one of the hardest things we will ever have to experience, and unfortunately, it's something we will all go through at some point in our lives. Grieving when you have depression is an experience in itself, and we'll tell you how to handle grieving when you have depression.
The death of a family member or friend aren't the only things people grieve. Sometimes it is the death of a pet, the lose of health of youth, the loss of a job, or some other experience that is traumatic. Whatever it is, it creates a complicated grieving process in someone with depression that requires extra care.
Read on to discover some ways to care for yourself if you are experiencing grief and depression at the same time.
1. Get Into A Routine
Both grief and depression can disrupt your daily life. People need time to grieve, but when it gets to be too disruptive, making a routine for yourself is a great way to ease yourself back into normalcy. According to Sherry Hamby, PhD, research shows that maintaining a routine is actually "one of the best ways to cope with grief." They can actually be very healing for the person experience grief. Not only do routines help us get back on track, but they can also help us remember things as simple as eating and bathing while our minds are otherwise occupied with grief. You can read how to rebuild your routine here.
2. Practice Self Care
Self care is important when you have a mental illness like depression. According to the Mayo Clinic, depression can manifest physical symptoms in the body such as weight loss or gain, insomnia or sleeping too much, and unexplained body pain, along with anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and guilt. Grief can compound these symptoms, making self care all the more important after you experience a loss.
Raphailia Michael, MA, defines self care as "any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health." While it can seem pretty simple, Michael says that it actually something that many people overlook. When done correctly, self care can both improve your mood and reduce anxiety in your life.
3. Prepare Yourself
When it comes to grief compounded by depression, some days are going to harder than others. Some days may seem unbearable while others are hard but manageable. It's important to prepare yourself for the bad days. Creating a self care kit for your bad days can help when everything feels like too much.
Things like photographs, gifts from your loved one, and even recalling a memory may cause grief. It is best to accept that it will happen. It hurts, but fighting grief will hurt worse in the long run. Birthdays, anniversaries, and other important days are also likely to be grief triggers. These are a bit easier to prepare yourself for because you know they're coming. Consider journaling as a way to express what you're feeling and to monitor your progress.
If Things Become Too Much
Sometimes we we need help healing from our grief and depression. Talking to a professional can do wonders because they have the resources to help folks through their grief.
It may be time to talk to a therapist if:
• you're having difficulty doing every day tasks
• you lose interest in your social life
• life no longer feels worth living or purposeless
• you feel guilty or blame yourself for the death of your loved one
• you wish you were dead too
If you are feeling suicidal or like you might self harm, check out these resources:
• The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a phone line you can call any time of the day at 1-800-273-8255. There is also a Lifeline chat service.
• The Crisis Textline is a text service for those in need. Text the word "home" to 741741.
• IMALIVE allows people in distress to chat with a volunteer.
• Calling 911 is always an option.