When Depression Is Real

Depression is one of the most misused words in the English language. It often appears in casual conversation as though it were an everyday phenomenon. People say, "I'm depressed over the C I got on my test," or "I'm depressed because Ned didn't call," or "I'm depressed about my chances of getting into a good college." Because the word is used so casually it becomes difficult to get people to hear and understand when you are really depressed--say after the death of someone close to you.

Do you feel empty inside, devoid of interest in anything? Do you wish you didn't have to get up in the morning? Are you unable to concentrate? Do you no longer care how you dress or how you look? Do you want to spend all your time in your room? Do you refuse to take phone calls? Has music become depressing to you? Have you lost your appetite? Are you getting behind in your school work? Are you having difficulty sleeping--or sleeping too much?

Feeling depressed is part of the grieving process...like the healing of a wound; you don't have to feel guilty about it.

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When a loved one dies, people who feel like this are experiencing what is called "bereavement depression." It's real depression, but it's different from other kinds of depression in that its cause is immediately apparent and its duration is likely to be a lot shorter. Of course, for you right now, it may be hard to see anything changing, and the prospect of feeling better may seem pretty remote.

Feeling depressed is part of the grieving process, which we all have to go through when we have suffered a great loss, like the death of a loved one. It's somewhat like the healing of a wound; you don't have to feel guilty about it. On the other hand, it's important that you not allow your sorrow to immobilize your life since, no matter what you are thinking right now, you still have a life to live.

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Helen Fitzgerald
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