Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, see our mental health web guide which can point you to expert advice.

Can anyone tell me how you know the diferrence between grief and depression?

(22 Posts)
WonOnBingo Tue 28-Oct-14 00:16:17

I went to the doctor and came back on her computer test of 15 questions as severely depressed, and got the same result doing some other online test but I think I am just sad / grieving after going through a pretty horrible time.

How do you tell the diferrence?

I just don't think I am depressed. I was trying to get some counselling from the doctor (which is why I went) but she was recommending medication. I just don't think I am depressed.

I cry every day for a lot of hours, I lack the interest in seeing people, I feel sad most of the time, I feel quite bleak and frequently wish I wasn't here anymore but isn't that all natural when you are grieving?

I'm not keen in the idea of going on anti depressants because they had a bad effect on a loved one once and made his character change considerably

Shesparkles Tue 28-Oct-14 09:33:46

My mum died almost 5 years ago and I grieved like I wouldn't have thought possible. I also have depression, but for me the difference was that after a few months following mum's death, there were chinks of light in the grief, and I didn't feel quite as flat as I had when it was newly raw.
I'm only am "expert" on my own depression, but from the little you've said, it does sound a but more than grief alone. I do understand Wyler reticence to go on drugs,but if it weren't for mine, I'd not be here. There are a lot of anti-depressants out there, maybe do some background reading on some before you completely make your mind up?
Grief does get better, whether it's following a death or some ther traumatic event, you deserve to not feel so low

carlsonrichards Tue 28-Oct-14 09:39:22

I think a lot of people underestimate the magnitude of grief, what a journey it can be, and are quick to try to fix it with pills or labels. There is precious little understanding of it or patience for it because our society is so removed from death it has become taboo.

pippinleaf Tue 28-Oct-14 09:40:43

Can you afford private counselling or to go to CRUSE? I'd avoid anti depressants if at all possible and doctors are keen to dish them out as they're cheaper than counselling and there's no waiting list.

carlsonrichards Tue 28-Oct-14 09:42:42

And yes, what you describe is a natural part of grieving.

If YOU do not feel depressed, if YOU wish to seek out other treatments besides pills for now, then push for that.

Canshopwillshop Tue 28-Oct-14 09:48:26

Wononbingo - I have been thinking about this lately. I too have been feeling very down lately. I lost my sister 14 months ago, my dad the year before and my mum 7 years ago. I was starting to get back on track a bit and then I lost my dog 6 weeks ago and it seems to have triggered a major low. I feel so anxious all the time and everything seems like too much effort. I tried a session with a bereavement counsellor but decided it wasn't for me. I don't like the idea of anti depressants but think I am going to try 5-HTP which seems to have good reviews - have a look, it sounds worth a go.

Sending hugs ((()))

MerryMarigold Tue 28-Oct-14 09:56:04

You sound like you are grieving and depressed. Tbh, I don't think there is much difference. The grief has made you depressed, very natural. Of course grief will affect your mental health. You can use the pills like any medication to take the edge off it, so that you can function more normally until the grief gets a little more manageable on its own, with time. I think people see anti depressants as a 'magic' pill which will suddenly make you unnaturally happy and that you will be addicted to them forever. Or that taking anti depressants means you have a MH 'problem' which will never go away,

They don't really work like that, in my experience. They seem to take the edge off, like a painkiller won't get rid of a bad headache, but can make it seem more bearable. They just stabilise me a bit until I get myself back under control. I have taken them a couple of times, but it doesn't mean I am on them for life. I am ok for now, but I can imagine if something bad happens, I may need them for a bit again as I do have a tendency to get depressed in difficult situations.

willowisp Tue 28-Oct-14 10:10:54

Just a qyickie as going out, but the reason the Dr wants to give you AD's is to get rid of you quickly.

I was 'depressed' a few years back & would come out with various prescriptions of AD's all of which made me feel terrible - a zombie a worst. I spent weeks trying to adjust & then ended up weeks coming off citalopram.

All they do is mask the feelings & of course, in irder to get through grief, misery, you need to cry it out.

I had private healthcare & a persistent nature so managed to get counselling but a particular therapy (private) worked best for me.

There is an effective herbal remedy called 5htp which you can buy from Holland & Barrett which will give you a pick-up. The sort of feeling you get when the sun beams through a cloud.

Canshopwillshop Tue 28-Oct-14 10:46:29

Willowisp - I am thinking of the 5htp - have you actually tried it?

willowisp Tue 28-Oct-14 22:15:52

Sorry, been out all day. Yes I have tried it & I think it sort of saved me. I thibk when you are miserable/sad etc your brain forgets how happy actually feels. Taking this stuff showed me there was another alternative. I liken it to sitting in a car with frosty windscreen, one you can't see through & then, as the car heater starts to melt the frost & you get a glimpse of through to the other side. It gave me hope.

I understand it's best taken with a carbohydrate snack & at bedtime. It's very powerful & may take a bit of tweaking. I sometimes take a low dose when I've struggled to get up for a few mornings, brightens me up.

I spoke to my GP about it & her words where 'oh I can see how it would work' . Obviously they can't prescribe or recommend it.

Feel free to PM if you want to talk smile

willowisp Tue 28-Oct-14 22:21:21

canshopwillshop - sorry, an on my phone & didn't realise you aren't the original poster.

So sorry to hear you have had all that to deal with. I have pets too & can understand that would be a but of a last straw.

My DH was very stressed with a non work issue about 5 years ago & I insisted he take it, just for a few days. He was amazed the difference it made for him.

Ref the poster that can dip into AD's I'm not sure what you take, but d everything I had took at least 2 weeks to take affect. Then everything had something like a 1/2 life, which means you get withdrawal symptoms.

5htp is instant & has no withdrawal issues.

Canshopwillshop Wed 29-Oct-14 12:37:16

Willowwisp - thank you flowers. I am definitely going to give it a try!

MerryMarigold Wed 29-Oct-14 12:47:33

That's interesting, maybe I will give it a go. I'm worried I'd get a bit addicted to that lovely feeling though.

I am the AD 'dipper', although we are talking a year/ 2 year stretches and a very long 'coming off' phase the second time (learned my lesson the first time!). There was never a dramatic change, just slowly getting better over a couple of months and then a reduction in the depths of lows.

willowisp Wed 29-Oct-14 22:02:03

Merrymarigold (lovely name !) it doesn't work like that though - as I understand it, it sort of 'creates' or boosts serotonin levels, which gives you that nice feeling which is probably unfamiliar or forgotten. If you don't need to take it, but do, you don't get extra, iyswim ?

I would definitely recommend trying it over prescribed AD's.

There is a product by Patrick Holford called Mood Food, which I saw in Tesco the other day, which has 5htp in & other mood boosters. Might be worth looking into that.

Hope my experience helps smile

MerryMarigold Thu 30-Oct-14 21:54:44

Thank you smile

WonOnBingo Fri 31-Oct-14 10:54:36

Thanks all for the responses. By the way I see things, if you are very sad and down for an obvious reason it's best to face the grief and work through it naturally without trying to mask it or boost yourself? Not sure if I am being naive

MerryMarigold Fri 31-Oct-14 13:16:32

I think you will work through it naturally even with medication. It is not a fake 'boost', but sometimes depression/ grief/ negative emotion can be immobilising. If you feel it is becoming hard to function normally then I think it's best to take some medication so that you are able to process things better.

WonOnBingo Fri 31-Oct-14 16:07:01

Thanks MerryMarigold. I'm going to take on board that I might need a bit of extra help and maybe begin with forcing myself into some daily exercise and see how that works. If I can't pull myself out of this by Christmas I will go back to the GP I think and admit I might need some medical help.

MerryMarigold Sat 01-Nov-14 09:10:34

That's great Bingo, to give yourself a deadline. You don't sound too depressed yet! Don't worry, though if you can't pull yourself out of it; it is no failure or black mark on your character to require help even though so many people think they should be able to manage themselves. Take care...

Lottapianos Sat 01-Nov-14 09:20:11

WonOn, I have been depressed and grieving for the past few years. I agree that working through it as naturally as you can is the best way forward. I did take ADs for 6 months when the pain was just too much and I'm glad I did, but I had a rough time going on and coming off them. They mask the symptoms, that's all - they certainly have their place but they are not a magic bullet.

What has worked for me - seeing a psychotherapist, crying it out when necessary, getting lots of sleep, eating well, exercise, allowing myself to feel the way I do and not trying to force myself to put a brave face on it. It WILL get better, even when you think that you might never smile again. I really do feel like I'm coming out the other side and its a wonderful thing to find pleasure in life again. Good luck to you on your journey

WonOnBingo Sat 01-Nov-14 10:33:37

Lottapianos, did you find that when you were on them it basically masked the grief and pain and it returned to you eventually after you came off them, or did you find that it just got you through the worst of it so the grief calmed down by the time you came off them? Did you find after coming off them you were much more in touch with the pain?

Lottapianos Sat 01-Nov-14 18:48:39

Hi Won, they definitely gave me breathing space from the pain and allowed me to get some rest in an emotional sense. I continued with psychotherapy all the way through so continued working on coming to terms with the cause of my grief and depression. There was still loads of grief waiting for me when I came off them, and its ongoing, but having had a break, I guess I was in a better place to deal with it. So I guess I would say that if you use them for respite, not as a quick fix for the grief, they can work well

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now