Tackling bereavement and depression – how to return to normality

Bereavement holds the power of divesting a person of everything he once enjoyed. In no time, mourning may lead to a mental illness leaving him clueless about moving forward. Besides, his response to grief may be different and could be influenced by the extremity of loss he went through. According to the American Cancer Society, one out of five bereaved people have the potential to develop major depression.

Initially, a person may feel numbness and coping stage would be nowhere near. In fact, he may go through a state of denial that something of sort has actually happened. This is led by intrusive memories, nightmares, loss of interest in daily activities, and inability to socialize.

Holding on to grief

Grief is a part of coping up with a loss. However, it might altogether be a different phase for someone and he could take it seriously. Healthy grieving helps to an extent as it gives the person time and space to move out of his numbness and state of shock. Ben Brewer, a psychotherapist in Denver, Colorado, who specializes in grief and loss, was quoted by CarePages in an article as saying, “About 50 percent of people who lose a partner show symptoms similar to major depressive disorder for up to two months following the death of their loved one.”

Though grief can help a person initially, it could lead to the development of certain disorders like change in sleep patterns, lack of appetite, loss of interest, and fatigue at a later stage. It is also possible for a person to experience hallucinations related to the loved one they lost. They could feel their presence or hearing their voice. These symptoms may enroot other major disorders, forcing a person to stay stagnant.

Understanding the complexity of grief, Brewer suggested, “A person struggling with this kind of grief should seek professional help from a therapist who has experience working with grief and loss.” He further said that physicians and psychiatrists can be consulted for proper treatment. If one goes months without improvement, it may be a sign of complicated grief. During this period, a person may develop certain self-assumed notions about life and death, and divert his mind towards making them practical.

Putting things in perspective

The loss of a loved one might take a toll on one’s health. Ending the dilemma may seem a bit difficult, but with right counseling the road seems worth traveling. The phase of grief might go if a person initiates sharing talks with his loved ones, seek spiritual help or consult a psychiatrist or psychotherapist. Support groups are helpful as they make the bereaved talk about his grief, and he may find other people suffering from the same loss.

One can always search a nearby hospital or an organization which can refer such groups. If a person is not comfortable speaking with others on such issues, it is always good to conduct a one-on-one session with a therapist. Antidepressants taken on medical practitioners’ advice can also be helpful, otherwise the grief may lead to a minor or major mental illness. Exercise and stress management activities are other alternatives to get someone out of that grief-stricken phase.

A bereaved person should not be compelled to share his grief until he starts speaking willingly. If you know someone who is grief-stricken and need help, please do not hesitate to approach the 24/7 Mental Health Helpline via online chat or on phone at 855-653-8178.