Depression can happen to anyone, but there are some factors or experiences that can make it more likely to happen, such as in this case – a bereavement.
It is important to note that all-consuming sadness after a bereavement is very normal and entirely appropriate considering the circumstances. It is also not unusual for sadness to last a long time.
The difference between sadness that lasts a long time and depression can be a bit of a blurry line. However, there are certain ‘symptoms’ that people may experience when they are depressed that some people may not get when they are sad. People who are depressed may experience some of the following symptoms;
- A persistent low mood
- Trouble sleeping
- Low energy levels
- Loss of interest in activities or hobbies
- Changes in appetite
- Difficulty concentrating
- Having thoughts about wanting to end their life
Vicious circle of depression
The way we think when we are low in mood can affect the way we feel and the things we do.
People who are low in mood can find they are thinking very negatively about themselves, others, or the world in general. These thoughts can be all consuming and people may find themselves dwelling on the negative thoughts, such as going over things that happened in the past, thinking regretfully about things that did or did not happen, or asking lots of “why” questions.
People who are depressed may find it hard to stop having negative thoughts, and may find that the thoughts make them feel exhausted. It can be hard to find the motivation to get up and do things when you are having these thoughts and feeling this way, and you may find that you stop doing things that normally help lift your mood. You might for example isolate yourself from friends.
Sometimes this can lead to a vicious circle of depression. A vicious circle could look something like this for example;
Breaking out of the cycle of depression
When people feel depressed it is not unusual for their motivation to be very low and for them to find themselves doing less and less. However, one of the first recommendations for people who are feeling low in mood is to increase their activity levels. This may be the opposite of what you feel like doing but it can have a positive effect.
Increasing activity levels can in turn increase your energy levels and can help break a negative cycle of thoughts. And an activity does not have to be a physical activity – it can also include doing activities for your mind.
Some examples of activities to try include;
- Going for a walk
- Visiting a friend
- Meditating or listening to a relaxation CD (we have one we can send you if you would like – just contact us via the Contact page)
- Clear out that cupboard you’ve been meaning to get around to for a while
- Engage in a hobby you used to have
- Talking to someone
- Going to the cinema
These can be done in small doses but are definitely worth a try!
Remember that it is normal to feel low after a bereavement. If you are suffering with any of the above symptoms on a persistent basis it may be worth visiting your GP to seek support. If you have any questions about any of the above do not hesitate to get in touch with us via the Contact page.