Depression and Grief

Sometimes, caregivers don’t realize the toll that the job takes physically and emotionally. Especially after the death of a loved one, it is normal to feel depleted and down.
However, while grief is painful, most responses are a result of the sadness associated with the death of a loved one. There are things you can do to help you feel more in control: 
• Recognize that you need to care for yourself. 
• Get some physical activity.  
• Be sure to eat regularly. 
• Be sure to get enough rest and sleep.
• Return to activities that you’ve enjoyed in the past.
• Seek help. 
A bereavement support group might help validate your feelings. Being with others who have had a similar loss can be helpful in ways you have never imagined.
Although feeling down is an expected response after a loved one dies, we each grieve in different ways and there is no timeframe for when grief ends. If some of the steps above don’t seem to help, or you continue to feel even more helpless or even hopeless, it may be time to talk with your physician. Be sure to let him or her know about your loss, in order to help make a medical determination between sadness and clinical depression. 
If your sadness is more than grief and is actually clinical depression, there are medications and therapies that can be helpful. Your physician will discuss these with you.

Developed from Journeys with Grief: A Collection of Articles about Love, Life and Loss, edited by Kenneth J. Doka, Ph.D., MDiv., copyright Hospice Foundation of America, 2012.