Grief Versus Depression: Similarities And Dissimilarities



More often than not, a lot of people interchange depression with grief. While both manifest comparable symptoms, they are entirely different. According to Christopher Lane Ph.D.,  “Doctors can – and should – be able to distinguish grief, a normal response to loss, from depression, a mental disorder.”


Having a good grasp of the similarities and differences of grief and depression is crucial in seeking help and treatment. While knowing how to cope with grief will help people to eventually pull through, knowing what to do with depression can save a life.


The difference lies in the way the two are experienced antithetically. Because symptoms are alike, there are complications regarding differentiating one from the other, and for this reason, the distinction is vital.


Distinguishing Grief from Depression

Due to the overlapping of symptoms, knowing the dissimilarities of grief and depression can be quite challenging. To settle discrepancies once and for all, here are facts about grief and depression with their similarities and dissimilarities.

Margaret Wehrenberg, PsyD explains that “Sadness over loss is not depression. Grief must be experienced, not stifled or medicated.” She adds, “But people can become depressed from persistent and unremitting stress, or as the outcome of trauma.”



  1. Loss Is A Significant Qualifier

So between grief and depression, which accounts for loss as the primary qualifier? It’s grief. Grief is primarily due to the death of someone or something that has been a considerable part of a person’s life; this could either be a significant other, a parent, a pet, a job, or a child. Grief is intrinsic in human existence and it is important to note that it comes and eventually goes. “Grief tends to occur in waves; it has an ebb and flow to it,” Leon F Seltzer Ph.D. describes.


Depression, on the other hand, is inevitably related to internal causes, which means that loss might be involved. However, it is just a way to worsen the mental illness and is not mainly the reason why the condition happened in the first place. Depression is a psychological disorder that incapacitates those who experience it due to several factors like:


  • Genetics or a family history
  • Psychological and environmental causes
  • Stress and pressure
  • Major life altercations and changes
  • Pre-existing physical conditions
  • Substance or alcohol abuse




  1. Onset And Duration Play A Huge Part

Unresolved grief can worsen and turn into complicated grief which somehow has similar symptoms to depression. Here, what is presumed to be a natural grieving process has gotten more severe and intense that it lasts for more than six months. Out of extreme guilt and the feeling of being mainly responsible for the loss, the grieving process has been extended. Sometimes, complicated grief has become severe that it reaches a point where the person is having difficulties accepting the loss. Most of those who are experiencing complicated grief may yearn to see or talk to the deceased and sometimes get upset with feelings of emptiness and loneliness.


When talking about onset and duration, depression is primarily triggered by a particular life-changing event, death included, and the feeling of melancholia can cloud the mind and affect the person for more than six months and can persist for years if untreated. Furthermore, depression requires monitoring because depressed people tend to have bouts of suicidal ideations. People who are depressed have minds that are flooded with negative thoughts and feelings that are difficult to ignore.


  1. Prevalence Is An Important Aspect

Grief is universal; while depression, even if experienced by people all over the world, is uncommon. One way or another, everyone will go through loss and will eventually get over it. Depression, being a mental disorder, can only affect a percentage of the population. As previously indicated, grief is mainly caused by a deficit in a person’s normalcy and is not due to biology, whereas one of the leading reasons for the existence of depression is a family history and not everyone has it in their genes.


The Similarities

Due to these similarities, people tend to identify which is which mistakenly. What are the typical coincidences?


  • Fatigue and inadequate energy to perform
  • Disturbed sleeping pattern
  • Feelings of helplessness or hopelessness
  • Mixed emotions of sadness and anger
  • Not wanting to participate in enjoyable activities
  • Sense of despair with episodes of considering suicide


Handling Grief and Depression

Whether it’s you or someone you know, managing grief and depression is essential for immediate recovery.


Dealing with bereavement is a trying time. Here are the ways on how to handle grief:


  • Embrace and accept the loss and the pain that comes along with it.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself; death is part of life that everyone has to experience.
  • Comparing other people’s grief to yours is not beneficial for your path to self-healing; people grieve differently.
  • Follow regular routines and as much as possible, do not introduce changes in your life anytime
  • Veer away from drugs or alcohol for it may cause further complications and can lengthen or worsen your grieving process.
  • Reach out to family and friends.




Dealing with depression can be much more specific. The treatment options are as follows:


  • Psychotherapy
  • Medications
  • Exercise and a healthy diet
  • Seeing a therapist and joining support groups


The bottom line is, whether it’s grief or depression, what matters is how you cope. It is advised that self-care and mental health treatments should be considered significantly so that none of the two can affect your life and relationships.




Living In A Depressing Environment


A lot of individuals may ask what makes them better individuals. Yes, there is education, well-mannered upbringing, and life status in some cases. But what they do not seem to include on the significant factors is the environment they currently have. A lot of individuals believe that the totality of their personality has something to do only with how they see, know, and learn things. But, of course, that is not true. The environment plays a significant role in making them exactly who they are.

Talking about the surrounding that people may have; what if the environment is toxic and depressing? How will it benefit them from having a better outlook in life? If the things around these individuals often make them anxious, stress, agitated, and depressed, what betterment can it give to the overall emotional, physical, and mental development?


The Change Of Perspectives

Having a depressing environment is sometimes not anyone’s fault. Since life has no certainties, there are cases that individuals cannot control their sufferings. It is very unfortunate because a lot of people with strong emotional and mental capability get consumed by their surroundings. The sad part of that is those emotionally and psychologically stable individuals eventually engage in a change of perspective. Meaning, the more they surround themselves with negativity, the more they become unable to get better. Ultimately, though they are confident and aware of themselves, they will lose the value they have for what they supposed to believe is mentally correct.

Sometimes, even if these people know what they are doing and understand the things that are happening, they start to ignore it. That is because the environment they have is unintentionally telling them to stop fighting for growth. That explains why a considerable percentage of poor-mindset individuals stay that way. These people linger to negativity instead of trying to get out of their comfort zones. These people tell themselves that it is okay to be like that because everybody is the same. And when someone is trying to work his way out, he then becomes a trying-hard outcast.

You see, that kind of mentality is nothing but complete garbage. People lie to themselves and force themselves to think that they are satisfied with everything. But the truth is, these individuals long for overall development. If given a chance, they will try and change things the way it is supposed to happen.



A depressing environment is a choice. Yes, if things matter, people will try and create a better surrounding. And it is not due to their wants, but because of their needs. There should always be a consideration when it comes to choosing what is beneficial for emotional and mental health. Because if there is none, the individuals can already expect the worse to come in their lives. Determining what is best for one’s development is not hard, though the process is not simple. But regardless of that, no one should deprive themselves of having a better environment. That is especially when the growth of their personality gets dependent on it.

Physical Manifestations Of Depression: When Feelings Are No Longer Sadness


Just when you thought that what you’re feeling is just sadness, think again. Sometimes, people are so naïve about the multitude of signs and symptoms that they usually deny having depression. Depression is more than just the act of being sad; it is debilitating and can lead to radical outcomes like suicide.

“Clinical depression impacts every aspect of a person’s life. It generally doesn’t go away on its own, and it’s not the person’s fault,” says John M. Grohol, Psy.D.




How Depression Affects People

Somehow, depression is usually associated with people refusing to get out of bed, but the condition is profoundly complicated than just being lazy. Depression can severely interfere with a person’s musculoskeletal and digestive systems along with neurologic functioning. Sleep is mainly disrupted, and emotions are often triggered. There will also be “diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day,” according to Steve Bressert, Ph.D.


Signs and Symptoms

“There are gradients of depression — mild, moderate and severe — but it’s a serious condition that requires treatment,” says Margarita Tartakovsky, MS. To give you a more unobstructed view of what depression looks and feels like, here are the typical physical manifestations of the mental illness that you have to watch out for which you may not be familiar with.




  1. Having Regular Headaches

Tension headaches usually feel like there’s a tight rubber band that’s squeezing around your head that’s continually throbbing and causing discomfort. This kind of problem happens because the head and neck muscles become strained. People who have depression often have tension headaches that occur intermittently. Therefore, if you are continually experiencing an unexplainable pulsating headache right around the forehead, it is a typical sign of an underlying mental disorder.


On the other hand, not all tension headaches are due to depression. Therefore, to have a more definite diagnosis of what you’re feeling, it is best to consult with your physician.


  1. Impaired Sleeping Pattern

Sleeping, whether too much or too little, is a primary sign and symptom of depression. Losing sleep happens when too much anxiety and stress bothers you that your mind cannot seem to stop contemplating on them even though it’s too worked up from digesting information. What’s worse is being able to get some sleep and then waking up in the middle of the night until morning. Depression and insomnia usually go hand-in-hand in having a profound outcome on a person.


Oversleeping, on the other hand, is usually due to the feeling of fatigue that cannot be dealt with by napping. This condition makes the person extremely sleepy for the rest of the day, and because of this, people tend to become anxious and lethargic with memory problems.


  1. Unhealthy Appetite

People who have no gusto whatsoever or are not feeling motivated even at the sight of mouthwatering food is said to have depression. Additionally, those who are always hungry and are craving for different varieties of food, mainly those high in saturated fats, can also be categorized as depressed individuals. Remember, depression symptoms can severely affect people’s appetite, and it’s different from one person to another.




If you have been feeling these manifestations lately, along with other clinical signs and symptoms like having difficulty focusing on tasks, loss of interest in specific activities, and having thoughts of taking your life, seeking out a professional is advised. It is imperative that you get diagnosed whether you are suffering from depression or not so that you can get

How Often Do You Feel Sad? (Depression In Silent Mode)



We all know that it is usual for humans to feel sad. I bet you already know what it is and experienced the kind of emotion, not once but a million times. Some factors can trigger this emotion. It could be a loss of someone close to you, such as friends or family members. It could be due to some disappointing or embarrassing moment. It could be due to relationship issue or social anxiety. It could be anything. Sadness is just around the corner when things don’t go as you wish.

Now, talking about sadness, how often do you feel it? Are you often in a state where you have this sense of loneliness that goes deep beyond your inner thoughts? Are there times that your emotion is trying to pull you out of reality and become obsessive towards being alone? Are there times that you cannot seem to explain how and why the feeling is taking over your life? Well, perhaps that is not sadness anymore. The inability to find the right way to become emotionally okay once again has nothing to do with a mild emotional crisis. What you are having is depression.


The Mental Illness That Not Everyone Understands

Depression is not something you can quickly identify. Some symptoms and signs may tell if you have it, but it does not guarantee a diagnosis. However, not until you seek medical advice, only then you would know that what you are experiencing is the cause of the mental condition. In this world full of toxicity and stressful situations, you can never say that your sadness or emptiness seem entirely connected to depression. It is a natural occurrence that none of us can control. However, prolonged sadness is different. And when everything in life becomes complicated, when decision-making is becoming an impossible task, perhaps that is where we can make a better understanding of what is psychologically going on.

The truth is, a lot of people when sad now assume they have depression. Well, we can’t blame them. Since the mental condition appears sensationalized these days, some individuals are trying to connect their current emotional state to such a psychological problem. I am not affirming that it is not something one should look into. All I am trying to emphasize is some people do not entirely understand what if feels like to have depression. Some people try to convince someone with a mental condition that things will be okay in an instant. There are those persons that believe that because they managed to survive their emotional crisis; those individuals with a mental health issue will also make it without a fuss. Definitely, NO! It is not like that, and it will never be the same.


In your case of sadness, think about how you can make things better for your emotional and mental health. If you feel like the process is becoming way too complicated, then reach out and ask for help. Talk to someone. Tell a friend or a family member what you are going through because it is the only way for you to get better.

High Functioning Depression – Have You Asked Your Therapist About This?

The truth about high functioning depression is that there is no definite diagnosis about it. If you ask your therapist, it is merely an alternate name for the real term dysthymia. It is a state where a person is in the state of unusual depressed mood most of the time. Usually, mental ailment indicates a personal approach or may come from the observation of others.


There is nothing much to see in a high functioning depression. But that does not mean it doesn’t deserve any medical treatment. “Those with high-functioning depression may still be able to have a stable romantic relationship, perform well at their job, have a social life, and not outwardly appear depressed. Inwardly, however, this person may have symptoms that decrease their quality of life,” explains Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW.

It is just that there is no sign of it being capable of making people wholly incapacitated. It also does not make a person becomes dysfunctional for a more extended period. The state is comparable to the existence of an emotional and mental condition that hangs around. But keep in mind that though the mental illness doesn’t change anything, it can still make things a little bit difficult for someone who has it.

The Importance Of Knowing

Like major depressive disorder, Dysthymia shares the same signs and symptoms of the latter. There is insomnia, poor appetite, fatigue, low energy, poor concentration, low self-esteem, difficulty in making decisions, and the feeling of helplessness. As you can recognize, the indications are very much similar to most depressive disorders. However, in Dysthymia, these signs and symptoms are more manageable in day-to-day life.  “Some people with depression can’t go to work or school, or their performance suffers significantly because of it. That’s not the case for people with high-functioning depression,” says Ashley C. Smith, LCSW. So with this, the individual with this high functioning depression is still capable of getting up in bed. The person can look okay on the outside as well. Yes, he may feel a little frustrated and exhausted, but that doesn’t mean he can’t function. Sometimes the individual may feel terrible about his life situation, but his emotional and mental skills can handle the pressure.


Watch Out For These Signs

Avoiding Social Situations – A person with Dysthymia, though he may feel emotionally and mentally drained, can focus on functioning daily. However, the problem associated with a neutral feeling of high and low depression leaves him with no extra effort for social interaction. There are instances that the individual often cancels plans with family and friends.  “When you have high-functioning depression, you often will isolate yourself from others. Your friends may think that you are being flaky, but you are actually just too depressed to be around people,” says Crystal I. Lee, LP. There is the urgency of always wanting to be alone. The person is capable of withdrawing himself instantly from the people he cares for and love.

Experiencing Fatigue – When a person has Dysthymia, everything he does overwhelms him. There is too much energy to handle. So when he begins to drop the high amount of those positive vibes, that person gets drained automatically. There is an instance that he may feel alive when he wakes up, but then feel depress and tired after a couple of hours. There is seems to be a battle of having a neutral mental and emotional condition in a day that leaves him entirely exhausted.

Feeling An Intense Irritability – High functioning depression is not all about being low in energy all the time. It is not always about the consistent battle with sadness as well. In Dysthymia, a person is not at his best, and he has a minimal amount of patience for a lot of things that surround him. That goes for the people in his life too. The individual becomes unpredictable and starts to see everyone as a pain in the ass. It is as if every people and everything around him is extremely annoying and frustrating.


Having A Hard Time Concentrating – An individual with a high functioning depression may not often see it, but he usually experiences having a hard time concentrating. Sometimes even reading and understanding an email becomes way too impossible. A person with the condition often experiences a tough time following easy step instructions. It causes them to go back and do things all over again, which is, by the way, very time-consuming.

Using Unhealthy Coping Methods – In unfortunate circumstances, an individual with a high functioning depression doesn’t care that much. That explains why even though he knows there are existing unhealthy coping mechanisms, he will not care. The person will rely on activities he thought are helpful. These include drinking alcohol every night, zoning out in front of the TV daily, and playing too many videogames.

It is vital to realize that the signs and symptoms of high functioning depression differ from everybody else. It supports no consistency over what you or others would experience. However, though there are differences in behavior, thoughts, and responses, all things about it connect with the emotional and mental state. There is no way a person can numb out instantly. With that, one must consider seeking out for health advice.

Anxious Parents Equals Anxious Kids? No Way!


When a child sees her parent in an anxious state, it can produce a tremendous impact on her. Children depend on their parents for what to do in scary, sad, or uncomfortable circumstances. So if you are going through a tough time and you are unusually anxious consistently, your child will know that there are a lot of situations to be worried about. Psychologists believe that anxious parents pass their anxiety to their children probably because they have learned it, or you can blame their genetic makeup.

It’s depressing for us parents to think that no matter how much we want to protect our kids, we don’t notice that we are the reason for the stress that they might be in. But I’ve learned that we must not feel guilty about it. Anxiety is not something that we feel intentionally, and it’s not that easy to turn off as well. Having said that, transmitting anxiety from you to your child is not uncommon. So the best thing that we should do first and foremost is to find ways to prevent this as much as possible. We must manage our anxieties as much as we can so we can help our children learn to manage their own anxieties as well. “Kids need the steady strong presence of a parent who will stop them in their tracks, let them rant and rave, and still be standing there when the kid needs a hug,” says Erika Krull, MS.

Practice Stress Coping Strategies

It would be hard to convey calmness to your kid when you, yourself, are finding it hard to manage the turmoil in your life. Seeking help from a mental health expert is one of the best moves to make. This professional can walk you through some effective anxiety coping methods that are customized to produce positive outcomes. As you gradually learn these methods, you can then teach your child – who is obviously taking signs from your behavior – how to manage anxious or fearful situations. “One of the most important gifts a parent can give a child is their presence, validation, and security,” says Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Practice What You Teach


When you’ve come to learn some techniques by heart, you can practice them and at the same time, sharing them with your child when she is feeling sad or nervous. For instance, if you’re doing some breathing or relaxation techniques while you’re stressed working on a deadline, let your child sit with you and ask her to do the exercises with you. Also, when you’re on the verge of having an anxiety or panic attack, try to maintain your composure in front of her while trying your best to manage your attack. You have to model patience and tolerance to your child. Be mindful of your facial expressions, your emotions, and the words that you speak out of your mouth. Children are great mind readers, especially since they’re very much connected emotionally to their parents.

Explain What, Why, And How

Though you have to generally protect your child from anxious outbursts, there can be times when it’s okay – and healthy – for her to witness how you well you manage your stress and anxiety once in a while. However, you’ll have to be ready with a sensible explanation. Tell her what just happened, why it happened, and how it happened.

“Validate your child’s feelings by acknowledging the fear. This lets him know that you are in his corner and that you are going to help him,” says Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D.

When you shouted to the driver beside you earlier this morning, you might want to explain to your child what that was all about. Tell her that you were running late and the driver almost hit you, causing you to panic. That was panic working on you, which is why you flared up and shouted. However, you calmly closed your eyes and took a few breaths, and eventually, things mellowed down. Let her know that it was something out of temper, and the next thing you did was another way of expressing that outburst.

Keep Away From Inevitable Situations

If there are things or circumstances that cause you excessive stress, stress that you know you can’t manage, for the time being, perhaps you might want to avoid these situations so you can spare your child from unwanted anxiety herself. For example, if you’re not too eager to drop your child off to school because you get scared, paranoid, and nervous, then ask help from a neighbor or a co-parent to do it for you. Don’t let your child see the tightening of your jaw every time she gets out of that car, as she might think there’s something scary about getting dropped off to school.



On the whole, when you’re feeling anxious and your child is with you, try to take a moment. Remember the anxiety coping skills that you learned. Carry them with you at all times because you’ll surely be able to make use of them. Go on a walk, drink a cup of coffee, or get some fresh air. Tell yourself – and your child – that every anxious moment will come to pass, and things will be all right – because they will.





Signs You Might Have Depression

For most people, depression is not that obvious or easy to spot.  That’s perhaps because every individual differs in every situation. However, in a lot of circumstances, it contains ranging mood swings and intense feeling of hopelessness. Depression can also vary from mild to severe cases depending on the factors affecting it. But whatever reasons there may be, still, it has the habit of crawling up and destroying people’s functions in an everyday routine. It is the main reason why a lot of people often struggle with mental condition silently. So with that, we present a therapist’s top signs that can determine if a person is struggling with depression. Continue reading Signs You Might Have Depression

Turn Your Anxiety Into A Mental Health Weapon

You probably heard a lot of experts that say fear or anxiety is not real and it is only a thing that goes into your mind. That’s not true. It is real, and it can have a lot of manifestation in your life. According to Dr. Sahib Khalsa, MD, Ph.D., “stress is an important factor in the emergence and maintenance of anxiety syndromes. Patients who need to return to the workforce can experience increased stress that in turn may cause re-emergence of the symptoms, again resulting in decreased productivity and even loss of employment.” Therefore, anxiety affects your work, social connection, relationships, and daily duties. When you are afraid, it robs you all the experiences that you want to have in your life. It limits your capacity to do the things you are supposed to do and lets you become incapable of handling even personal issues. There is no room for expressing ideas when you are full of anxiety. Yes, managing the mental condition is tough, but it doesn’t have to be like that. You can always find ways to do something about it. In this article, I’m going to help you fight fear and anxiety.


Anxiety On The Move

Anxiety is a mental condition that can control some of the physical states of your body. It is somehow the same as having excitement. It becomes normal to feel your heart race, you tend to sweat, there’s tightening in your chest, and sometimes you feel a pit in your stomach. That’s because it is how the body reacts to the psychological condition. It goes into a hyper-aware state because it feels different every time there’s an excitement. Its only difference with anxiety is the effects it gives to the brain. Therefore, the critical thing about understanding anxiety is to know how it can work positively.

You may hear a friend or someone you know may tell you to feel the fear and do what you got to do anyway. Maybe they all encourage you to calm down when you have a panic attack. You might also read some article that tells you to focus on your positive thoughts. With all that good advice, you know deep down inside that it will not work. And when you try to ignore your fear and anxiety, you know it will only get worse. So what do you have to do?


The Transition

Your brain is so compelling that it can affect all the functions of your body. With that, you need to anchor yourself and reframe what you’re mind is doing and change how your brain reacts to things. Alicia Clark, Psy.D., even advised to “get panic under control, by changing your mindset. Instead of fighting panic, learn to dive into it. Like a large wave approaching, bracing yourself isn’t as effective as diving through it.” For example, when you are feeling afraid of something, tell yourself that you are excited. That instead of having panic attacks and extreme fear, you need to condition the brain to acknowledge the physiological signs as the opposite of the mental condition. Yes, the process of transitioning from negative to positive is not that simple. But when you continuously repeat the thought, it sends a message to the brain that eventually turns it into a fixed idea.

Let’s say you want to do something different in your life. You know thinking about doing it makes you feel nervous. Therefore, before you do it, you need to come up with an anchor thought that could help you focus. You need to come up with the idea that will not engage in any escalation to a situation that supports anxiety and panic attacks. Better yet avoid screwing things up with your “what ifs,” Anchor your thoughts in a different direction so you can maintain the control over the stuff in your head and respond to its consequences positively. It is essential to understand that when you are creating an anchor-thought, you need to pick up something that supports your mental, emotional, and behavioral state.


The Art Of Conditioning The Mind

The success of mental conditioning is fantastic. The process does not only remove you away from fear and anxiety, but it also opens a positive disposition. You can have instant access to happiness and satisfaction whenever you want.  In Dr. Bethany Teachman’s, Ph.D., study, she and her colleagues found that “the practice of making mostly positive interpretations is helpful because it shifts the relatively rigid, negative interpretative style that characterizes anxiety disorders, helping the person to expand their repertoire of interpretive options and increasing their cognitive flexibility.” The art of picturing something good in your head provides significant benefits in all areas of your development such as emotional, mental, behavioral, and even spiritual. So whenever you feel like you are about to struggle with negative thoughts, always condition your mind to look for the good in it. Take your time to reduce fear and anxiety in your system and practice the right mind conditioning process.

Teenage Depression

During the time that teenagers undergo puberty, they experience a lot of things and pressures like trying to fit in, finding their identity, accepting their sexuality, treading on love, and more. With their hormones all in chaos, thanks to biology, it’s difficult to know whether they’re depressed or not. However, your support and love as their family can significantly help your teen in this fragile state.

Continue reading Teenage Depression