The Difference Between Grief and Depression

As I mentioned in the post Help for Grief, grief is a natural response to divorce but it should not last forever, and it should not control your life.

What is Grief

The definition of grief is this – Grief is the normal response to sorrow, emotion, and confusion that comes from losing someone or something important to you. Grief is typical of a person that has lost a loved one, lost a job, or gone through a divorce.

There is no doubt that you will feel depressed and grief when going through a divorce. You will feel empty and numb as if you are in shock. You will likely have a physical reaction to the grief such as; trouble sleeping, lack of appetite, dry mouth, trembling, muscle weakness, trouble breathing, and nausea. The whole situation and subsequent ones may make you angry. You might even feel anger towards your ex, yourself or just be angry. Almost everyone in grief will also experience guilt, which is often expressed as “I could have, I should have, and I wish I would have” statements.

You may also experience other signs of grief such as having strange dreams and nightmares, be absent-minded, withdraw socially, or lack the desire to get back to work. Remember that these feelings are all normal and they should pass.

When it comes to depression, it is more of a physical disorder and can take over the way you think and feel. If the feelings of grief have lasted a long time and you continue to feel sad, anxious or empty, you may be depressed. Other signs of depression include; loss of interest in what you used to enjoy, fatigue, trouble concentrating, feeling hopeless, feeling worthless, thoughts of death or suicide. Obviously, these can all easily fit in with the feelings of grief, but you should be able to tell the difference; if this feeling persists without lifting, you should consider asking for help.

There are many ways to deal with grief and depression from getting physically active, cognitive behavioral therapy, counseling, naturally changing your eating habits, and prescription drugs. The point is not to let depression control your life, and this is no way to live. Don’t be scared to get help and start feeling good again.

5 Replies to “The Difference Between Grief and Depression”

  1. I just found your website and I am excited. Today I decided to come home to the Lord after 2yr. 7 months of divorce proceedings. Now it is the return visits to court and the clean up after the storm. I read your article on Grief and Depression, I wanted to Thank You for giving Christians permission to take prescription medication for Depression if a qualified Mental Health Professional deems it necessary. Many Lives and Souls are lost due to the judgement from those in the Christian community who say “God does not want you to take those Medications”. I believe we all have a cross to bear does a ailment have to be Physical or can it be Mental. No one has ever requested either I will assume. Thank you for your website. D. Johnson

  2. People can be very judgmental when they don’t understand the problems of others. We seem to have so many afflictions these days and if we say we can’t take meds for depression then why should we be able to take them for headaches, ulcers, anxiety, weight loss, etc… ? I don’t really think God draws a line in the sand and says it is okay if the ailment is physical but not mental, heck we could argue that a lot of physical ailments are caused by mental ones. 🙂

  3. Its been over 2 years now since my ex waled out on me. I don’t feel any better than I did about a month after that. I don’t go out, unless I have to for groceries, ect. I dread even doing that. I take my kids where they need to go while putting on my happy face for them. I’ve seen 2 friends in the past 2 years, once each. I’m closed myself off from society as much as I can. I dont trust anyone. I homeschooled my kids until this past September when I felt they’d be better off in a public school, I just couldn’t do it anymore. I haven’t worked in a very long time since i decided to dedicate my life to my kids. I have herniated discs in my low back, one in my neck from being rear ended & to top that off I’ve recently been diagnosed with fibromyalgia (this diagnoses explains so much), so im in constant pain 24/7. My ex is making my life as hard for me as possible. He’s the one who was having affairs, was never home, not even for the kids. He has as addictions & walked out on us, he’s currently with one of the girl (I say girl since he’s in his 40’s and she’s in her early 20’s). I’m embarrassed for anyone to see or talk to me. I hate all the pity looks I get. I feel like a failure. My kids are for sure the only reason I still exist. I don’t live, I exist enough to be the best Mom I can be for my kids, the 2 most important people in my life. I have no family closer than 12 hours away & I’ve not seen any of them in over 10 years. I do talk to them weekly on the phone but I never talk about how I feel. My parents are quite old & I never want them to know how hard this really is on me. I see the pain in my children and that breaks my heart. I always hear how time heals all wounds, I wonder if that will ever happen to me. Anytime I’m not with my kids I just cry & cry, feels like this happen yesterday. The last 2 years feel wiped from my life, just a big blurr. Sure I’m feeling like a victim but how do I change and come out of this despair I’ve been in for so long?

  4. I think a big part of moving on and getting over the pain is to trust in God. Trust that He has a plan for you and desires good things for you. We all have to do our part but you can break the chains that are holding you back. Look for things to be grateful for and pursue happiness, you can do it…

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