Grief will enter all our lives at some point or another, but if you’re suffering from depression, the pain of losing someone that you love can feel like too much to bear. While there is no right or wrong way to grieve, sometimes acceptance of the fact that you are hurting and have every right to do so can help you find ways to cope with the loss.
Here are a few helpful tips for coping with bereavement when suffering from depression:
Try not to punish yourself:
Kindness is indeed a virtue, and there is perhaps no more important time to be kind to yourself than after suffering the loss of a loved one. Allow yourself time to grieve while remembering that your body and mind will likely not heal quickly, so don’t punish yourself if you don’t meet a recovery timeline that you may feel is expected of you. Be kind to the good person that you know you are… to yourself, first and foremost.
One of the first things you may do when you lose a loved one is experience feelings of regret: that you should have spent more time with them or should have told them that you cared about them more often, for example. You may even feel guilty for not reacting to the bereavement in a way in which you feel you should: perhaps you can’t cry, or you feel guilty for being relieved that they are no longer suffering. Accepting that there will be myriad emotions connected to the loss, and forgiving yourself for how you might be feeling, is a hugely important step in the healing process.
Establish some small routines:
While there will naturally be some changes to your usual routine when you’re coping with a bereavement, you could try to have some small routines you do regularly, to help prevent you from shutting down and ceasing to function.
Accept and/or seek help from others:
At a time of deep loss, others will want to help you, and even if they’re performing some simple acts for you, such as running errands or walking your dog, you may benefit greatly from letting them in. If you’re struggling to cope with how you’re feeling and are not able to talk to friends and family, then consider seeking professional help from a caring therapist.
Sometimes, someone unconnected to you may be the best person to guide you through the range of emotions that you’re experiencing, and with their training and experience, they will help you achieve kindness toward yourself, and permission to go through your own process, after losing someone you love.
Coping with depression is challenging enough, but add a bereavement to the equation, and it can take feelings of despair and sadness to new lows. However, no one should have to go this through alone, so no matter how you’re feeling, remember that there is always someone who can help you, and that you are worthy of that help.