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Am I Experiencing Grief or Depression?

TMS Maryland Associates Examine When Complicated Grief Turns to Depression

Losing someone close to you can cause you to feel great pain and grief. While these feelings are unpleasant, they are natural. Most people experience them after dealing with a great loss. This mourning process plays a crucial role in your overall healing process.

But sometimes these emotions turn into feelings of hopelessness and despair. They can start to take over your life and impede your ability to function normally. When this happens, you might be experiencing depression.

In our latest article, the TMS Maryland experts from the Psych Associates of MD, examine:

  • Different causes of grief
  • Dealing with grief
  • The connection between grief and depression
  • Treatment options for dealing with depression

Different Causes of Grief

Losing a loved one can cause grief, but it is not the only type of loss that does so

woman consoling upset man

Losing a loved one is a common cause of grief. But it is not the only life event that can make people feel grief and loss. Other events include:

  • Losing a job or retiring
  • Going through a divorce or breaking up with a partner
  • Seeing their children leave for college
  • Losing a pet
  • Drifting away from a close friend
  • Failure to achieve a personal dream
  • Receiving a bad medical diagnosis

Living with Grief During the Pandemic

With the pandemic, people may also grieve their old lives. Some people were laid off. Others lost a family member to the coronavirus. Simple things like traveling or going out to restaurants now come with the risk of contracting the virus. With the knowledge that life won’t be the same for a while, many people are grieving the olden days when a pandemic didn’t constantly take up space in their heads.  

How to Cope with Loss and Tragedy

Going through the grieving process is never easy

people at a funeral

There are typically five stages of grief that people go through:

  • Denial: A common defense mechanism to hide you from the overwhelming emotions that grief brings
  • Anger: A masking effect that can hide the pain you feel from the loss you experienced
  • Bargaining: Typically characterized by “what if” or “if only” statements where you try to look for ways to gain back control of your life
  • Depression: Feelings of sadness and even confusion that can be hard to move past
  • Acceptance: The stage where you accept what has happened and you are ready to come to terms with it

These stages were written by Swiss-American psychiatrist Elizabeth Kübler-Ross in her book On Death and Dying. After working for years with terminally ill patients, Kübler-Ross structured these five stages of grief in her 1969 book. Some experts theorize that there are seven stages of grief while others discuss only two stages. However, the Kübler-Ross model is probably one of the more well-known theories on grief.

Healthy and Unhealthy Methods for Coping with Grief

Some people try to ignore the negative feelings that come with grief. They might bury themselves in work or turn to drugs and alcohol to numb their pain. Others cut themselves off from certain people in their life or engage in emotional binge eating. When these behaviors become consistent, they can cause serious problems in your personal life and mental health. 

But it is possible to cope with your grief in a healthy manner. Acknowledging your pain, accepting the different emotions that come with grief, seeking out support from loved ones, and taking care of yourself can help you through this difficult process. 

Understanding the Connection Between Grief and Depression

TMS Maryland experts explain when and how grief and turn into depression

depressed woman drinking wine

People who are experiencing grief tend to exhibit symptoms of depression, such as intense feelings of sadness, withdrawing from loved ones, and losing their appetite. These symptoms typically wax and wane over time. One day, they might feel fine and happy. The next, they start to slip into feelings of grief and sadness. Certain events or reminders could trigger them and bring up these feelings again.  

However, grief does begin to decrease over time. Depression, on the other hand, is typically more pervasive in one’s life. If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, you need to talk to your doctor. They can identify treatment options for you that help you effectively cope with your grief and depression. 

Treatment Options for Depression

TMS Maryland experts explore your different treatment options for coping with grief and depression

There are numerous counseling services available for people experiencing grief and depression. Talking with a mental health counselor can help you articulate your thoughts and express your sadness. Discussing your feelings with your family members is also an important part of the healing process. You can also join a support group filled with people experiencing the same troubles as you, whether they have recently lost a loved one as well or are dealing with a divorce. 


Dealing with the loss of a loved one or living through a tragic event can take a toll on your mental health. As you grieve, it is crucial for you to deal with these emotions in a healthy manner. Depression can sometimes result from this grief. But there are numerous treatment options available for you to try. 

Are you dealing with grief and depression? TMS Maryland experts — the Psych Associates of Maryland — can help you heal from the trauma and grief you are experiencing. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our associates

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