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Stage Four – Depression
Depression is one of the most worrisome stages of grief. While it is classified as the fourth stage, it can in fact occur at any point in time. This is what makes depression such a problem. The stage is generally classified between bargaining and acceptance because that is the point when people are more vulnerable to this mentally draining process. After one goes through the bargaining stage they realize that they cannot truly change anything and that their loved one is gone. This knowledge brings with it the honest truth of the situation they are now in, and they will have to face the hardships of day to day life knowing that the person they loved is not coming back.
The following are some of the signs that someone is going through depression:
~ Increase in sleeping patterns
~ Rapid changes in moods
~ Irrational behaviour
~ Unwillingness to leave the house
Dealing with Depression
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms of depression then you should realize that these are a normal part of the grief process. However, while depression is an important step to dealing with your situation, you do not want to give into these temptations to crawl into bed and ignore everything. As hard as it may be, even simple tasks like getting up, putting on your clothes, and going to the store to do some grocery shopping can signal an important return to normalcy. You should try to make sure that you do at least one thing each day that will get you out of the house, and if possible you might also want to go out with friends and family to eat or see a movie.
Feelings of guilt may accompany these outings, and that’s also normal. It’s normal to feel guilty that you are doing things you enjoy while someone you love has passed away and can no longer do these things. The combination of depression and guilt can be a strong one, and different people will handle this differently. It’s important to note that there is no set time period for how long it takes to deal with the depression. However, if you find that you cannot throw off the depression on your own, you may want to seek the help of a therapist. This is not something to be ashamed of as many people find that they need help getting over depression.
Helping Someone with Depression
Those people who are around those who have lost someone that they are close to may notice some of the signs of depression. If you do, you will need to walk a fine line. On one hand, the person needs to go through this stage and grieve but on the other you do not want them to sink into a deeper depression. You should remain vigilant and notice if there is any increase in the intensity of the depression. In order to alleviate some of these symptoms, you may want to try and get the person who is depressed out of the house on some normal errands. If this does not help to break up the cycle, then you may want to suggest that the grieving person attend some form of group therapy or see a grief counsellor who can help them through this difficult time. It is important to remember that this is a situation that should be handled with extreme care. Stress to the person that you are concerned about them and that you are there for them.