Managing Depression After A Loved One’s Death

June 20, 2021

Life can be beautiful, filled with love, joy, and happiness. The experiences shared with family and friends have created lifelong memories; as such, when a loved one passes it’s natural to feel a sense of loss. However, such emotions can trigger intense feelings of grief during bereavement; in some cases lead to depression. If you’re experiencing grief or depression, or both, there are several outlets to help with your healing. 

The First Orlando Counseling group has a succinct description for the difference between grief and bereavement. “Grief describes the response to any type of loss. Bereavement is grief that involves the death of a loved one. Grief includes a variety of feelings that go along with the process of moving on from a significant change or loss.” 

If you’ve recently experienced the death of someone, or can anticipate your passing due to a terminal illness, you and your loved ones might find it difficult to adjust to these significant life changes. Everything about your beliefs and perspective of reality can be altered significantly during a period of grieving. There is no right or wrong way to process the passing of a loved one. Everyone experiences loss differently and heals on their own timetable. 

Seeking Help

If you’re unable to process grief without slipping into depression, consider seeking professional assistance. A mental health practitioner specializing in grief can provide tremendous help. These therapists can suggest treatment options, including healing processes or medication. Here’s a list of Grief, Loss, and Bereavement Support Groups.

Guidance with grief and bereavement support can provide help during these difficult times. Speaking with a mental health professional, or connecting with a support group, can often provide solace and coping solutions to help with your loss, and eventually lead you to healing. If you want to better understand the grief that accompanies such loss, conventional psychological models like “the five stages of grieving” and the “four tasks of mourning” may help you.  

The Five Stages of Grief by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

  1. Denial 
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining 
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance 

Four Tasks of Mourning by J. W. Worden

The four tasks of mourning divide grief into its essential functions: 

  1. Accepting the reality of the loss.
  2. Working through the pain of bereavement.
  3. Adjusting to life without that person. 
  4. Keeping a connection to the deceased as you move on.

Grief Recovery Period

Everyone experiences bereavement and grief differently. In some instances, you can feel better and get back to normal activities within a few months; however for some people the process can take several years. 

Grief and Depression

While everyone grieves in their own way, some people will have symptoms similar to depression; which could include withdrawing from social activities and acute feelings of sadness. 

Distinctions between depression and grief:

  • Grieving will have fluctuating symptoms, often coming in waves.
  • Depressed individuals often feel continuous feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed.

Another distinction between individuals experiencing grief versus depression is the ability to accept help. Depressed individuals tend to isolate themselves from others; however, people grieving may avoid social gatherings, but will accept support from family and friends. Additionally, grieving individuals will still go to work, attend school, and function with normal daily activities. Members who are clinically depressed may experience such severe loss they are unable to perform important responsibilities.

Complicated Grief

It’s natural to grieve a loved one’s passing. These are normal and expected emotions everyone experiences after the loss of a friend or family member. Unfortunately, you might feel a deeper and longer-lasting period of sorrow, which is known as complicated grief. 

Someone with complicated grief will share many symptoms associated with depression. In fact, this person may become depressed; in some cases, an individual with existing depression can become worse. 

Complicated Grief Symptoms Include the Following:

  • Focus entirely on a loved one’s passing.
  • Prolonged longing for the individual.
  • Trouble accepting a loved one’s passing.
  • Resentment over the loss of the individual.
  • Life lacks meaning after a loved one’s gone. 
  • Deepening, intense grieving rather than healing.

Leaving Messages of Love

You can provide messages of love, comfort, and peace of mind from your HereToday account. Within the Legacy Vault you can leave personalized notes for your spouse, partner, family and friends. These messages will only get distributed upon your passing. We hope this feature will help loved ones cope with the grief of your passing. 


If you’ve recently experienced the passing of a friend or family member, you might find it difficult to adjust to the significant changes occurring in your life. We encourage you to seek personal care if needed, including professional assistance from a therapist. In time you’ll heal and move forward with life; hopefully, celebrate and honor your loved one for years to come. 


Disclaimer. HereToday is not a legal service. This content should not be taken as legal advice. Before drafting any legal document, please consult an attorney.

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