Depression often includes many of the same physical, emotional and social symptoms as grief and bereavement: tearfulness, sorrow, fatigue, insomnia or hypersomnia, isolation, and a deep sense of loss. But depression includes other unique features that do not seem to lift or resolve the way bereavement does after a period of mourning. These features include a sense of worthlessness, profound guilt, gut-wrenching emotional pain, sometimes suicidal thoughts, hopelessness and prolonged social withdrawal.
Depression is not just a matter of brain chemistry. Although anti-depressant medications have been shown to reduce some of the more debilitating symptoms, they do not cure depression. Depression involves one’s sense of self to a such degree that the complex of symptoms can only be truly addressed by speaking freely in a therapeutic or analytic setting. Many of my patients find relief during this very dark time in their lives when that pain can be spoken of, heard, and addressed with attuned therapeutic listening.
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