Sadness is a common feeling that accompanies other mental health issues, including depression and grief. While there is overlap between sadness, grief, and depression and they can often accompany one another, they are different mental health challenges.
Knowing more about each one can help patients seek the right kind of therapy and improve their thinking. While it may be easy to feel, sadness, grief, and depression should not be self-diagnosed and can be helped through therapy.
Stages Of Grief
Grief usually begins after a loss, death, end of a relationship, financial loss, or major life change. Many of which are traumatic. It is very personal and can change from situation to situation and from person to person. There are 5 common known stages of grief that present in most patients, but other models may say there are 7 or more. Grief comes with feelings of sadness and depression that may last longer or shorter than expected.
Denial- The first step in the grief process is denial that the situation is occurring or happened at all. This can look like the acceptance stage of the grief process at first, but dealing with the situation is the only way to get over grief. This stage can also include shock or the shutting down of cognitive processing.
Anger- This stage is used to mask the feelings of sadness, depression, and true loss that the person may be experiencing. It may seem easier to be angry at something than to face what is really going on. Some patients focus their anger on inanimate objects, other people, or themselves. It also presents itself as bitterness and resentment.
Bargaining- Statements such as “what if” or “if only” tend to come out during this stage. This is a mechanism to help the person regain control or have a sense of control. Those who are religious may also try to bargain with God to try and make a deal to let them live or relieve the pain. Some people may say “If only I had done ______, then this wouldn’t have happened.”
Depression- Although this is a stage in the grief process, those who are clinically depressed may have different symptoms than those who are in the grieving process. Depression can be difficult and messy and will often be the landing point of any loss. Depression can come from a deep feeling of not knowing what the next steps are or fear of the unknown.
Acceptance- The final stage is acceptance of the loss. While this is the final part, it may not come with happy or uplifting feelings. Over time, happier feelings may come, but just because someone reaches the acceptance stage, does not mean they will not experience sadness or moments of weakness. Acceptance is looking at the situation as moving forward and that there are more good days than bad.
Symptoms Of Depression
Unlike grief, depression does not need a situation or trigger to present itself. Those with depression can have everything in the eyes of the beholder and still feel intense sadness. A diagnosis of depression can save a life and help the sadness to be less debilitating.
Symptoms of depression include:
- Feelings of sadness and hopelessness
- Reduced appetite and weight loss
- Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
- Frequent thoughts of death or suicide
- Unexplained physical symptoms (headaches or back pain)
- Slowed thinking
- Loss of interest in normal hobbies
For many, this can lead to a decline in academic performance, child neglect, drifting away and straining relationships, struggle to keep a job, and being miserable without really knowing why. Depression is also extremely common in the postpartum period after a woman has given birth.
Between children, teens, and adults, symptoms can vary. Although some instances may seem normal, depression should not be taken lightly and signs should be considered detrimental. Skipping school, or poor performance can be more than just an act of rebellion and should be cause for concern.
When To Seek Help
Living with depression is hard for people of all ages. Those with suicidal thoughts should seek help immediately, and if your grief seems like too much to bear on your own, there is help available. Therapists and counselors can listen to your concerns and help you work through feelings of helplessness.
If you are a parent and suspect that your child may be dealing with symptoms of depression, there is just as much effective therapy means for younger children. If you and your family have experienced grief, therapy can be helpful in limiting childhood trauma and teaching healthy coping mechanisms for young minds.
Therapy With Ogden Psychological Services
We are here to help patients feel at ease and cope with hard life situations with a focus on their unique needs. Our therapists can work with those who have mental health diagnoses or other issues. We have experience treating people of all ages and work to develop goals that are attainable.
You can count on us to help you feel comfortable in our office, while also putting in some hard work to improve your mental situation. We believe that everyone can grow and change with hard work and cognitive therapy. Ogden Psychological Services also offers Neurofeedback therapy which can help to reframe your thinking. You can view more about our services on our website and read faqs. Fill out a contact form to get started today.