The grieving period that follows the death of a loved one can take many months or years to overcome. During this time, the bereaved individual may feel intense sadness or pain, withdraw from social connections, or become angry at others or themselves. For some, the grieving process may never really end. They may feel okay for most of the time, but give in to grief at certain moments, such as during memorable dates.
Unfortunately, grief — just like any significant stressor — can trigger depression, a condition that can severely alter a person’s quality of life and may lead to thoughts of suicide. If you have someone close to you who has recently experienced a personal upheaval, such as the death of a loved one, it pays to know whether they are simply grieving or already depressed.
Grief and depression experts emphasize the importance for the bereaved to talk to others while they cope with their pain. This means your physical and listening presence, as well as gestures of sympathy such as the giving of remembrance gifts, can help your friend or a family member cope better with grief and its debilitating symptoms.
When Grief is No Longer Just Grief: The Telltale Signs of Depression
Grief and depression are not necessarily the same. Depression is a medical condition that may be addressed clinically. Grief is a typical, normal experience that one may go through after losing a loved one.
The American Psychiatric Association has long discouraged doctors from diagnosing depression in grieving individuals. Recently, however, grief and depression have been recognized to possibly occur at the same time.
It is also possible for grief, just like any stressor, to set depression into motion. Some of the possible tell-tale signals of depression in grieving individuals are the following:
- Prolonged, persistent grieving
- Disconnection and/or isolation from others
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Unexplained guilt feelings
How Your Presence Can Help a Grieving Friend or Family Member
One of the most important things you can do as a friend to a bereaved someone is helping them seek clinical help, especially if the experience of grief has begun to escalate into full depression. Depression typically results from a brain chemical imbalance that may be treated through medication and therapy.
Your presence, however, may just help someone cope with their grief in a healthy, normal way. A network of listening family and friends can significantly help someone cope with their pain and guilt. One of the recommendations of Dr. Nowinski, a supervising psychologist at the University of Connecticut Health Center, is for the bereaved to maintain a circle of friends and family members with whom they can share thoughts openly and without judgment.
Perhaps you can offer your friend a listening ear, a lending hand, or a shoulder to cry on. Or, you may invite them to a weekend getaway or to a meditation retreat. You may also show your thoughtfulness through simple gestures, such as the giving of sympathy gifts and tokens.
Let Sympathy Gifts Communicate Your Tangible Love and Sincere Sympathy
Although gifts may not necessarily cure your friend’s grief or even depression, a well-thought-out remembrance gift can show your love and comfort in many ways.
It takes a lot of care to choose a sympathy gift which someone will really appreciate. It means you have taken the time to know more about the recipient’s unique preferences and choices. To someone in grief, this alone can mean a lot.
Whether you’re looking for sympathy cards, remembrance jewelry, or customizable sympathy tokens, your effort can already be a reflection of your sentiment and understanding.
Let your love speak more clearly in this time of sorrow and mourning. Find worthwhile sympathy gifts at the Comfort Company here.