Distinguish Grief from Depression
By the age of 65, half of American women will be widows. And in 10 to 15 percent of spouses, the loss of their loved one leads to chronic depression. The questions is: what's normal grief and what's depression? Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, distinguishes the two in this way: "The sadness of grief usually comes in waves, with varying degrees of intensity and bouts of crying, and feelings of intense sadness, guilt, anger, irritability, or loneliness. A person experiencing grief, however, can enjoy some of life's activities. Grief is generally time-limited and resolves on its own. Depression is a more persistent and unremitting sadness."
In other words, a depressed person is unable to enjoy life activities, merely slogging through life. She may also start to abuse alcohol or other drugs, experience difficulty eating (or overeating), and suffer from sleep disturbances.
If you’re feeling "down," ask yourself if a grief support group or depression counseling are the right fit for you.