When to seek professional help for grief
Speaking with a therapist during a difficult time is often helpful and comforting, so nobody should shy away from the prospect if it sounds productive. Experts highly recommend seeking professional help if you might be experiencing either of the following.
Right after a loss, you will probably feel depressed. In fact, many of the most common symptoms of grief overlap with those of clinical depression. But there is a difference between grief and depression. Here are some signs that you might be experiencing clinical depression:
- Your sadness does not subside over time
- Your sadness is omnipresent, rather than coming in waves
- You feel hopeless or even suicidal, as though life will never get back to normal
- You’ve pulled further and further away from your friends and family
- No grief-coping strategies seem to have worked for you
Complicated grief is defined by an inability to move on after a loss. We know that grieving is a process with an unfixed duration, but regular grief takes the griever on a journey toward healing. Somebody experiencing complicated grief will generally become fixated on his or her loss, resulting in prolonged and painful symptoms. If you find that over a long period of time, you haven’t found the ability to accept the loss and embark upon a normal life, you may be experiencing complicated grief.
If you identify with the descriptions of clinical depression or complicated grief, seek out the help of a mental health professional immediately.