Thursday, August 26, 2010

Coping with depression - guest post by Maryanne Osborg

Coping With Depression and the Loss of a Loved One
There are times when I’ve looked at people with mental illnesses and wondered how they got that way – if it’s not a degenerative disease like Alzheimer’s and dementia, there must be a stressor that caused them to lose their mind and become half the person they were. The most common trigger seems to be the feeling of loss – it could either be the loss of personal possessions or the loss of a loved one. The most devastating effects are caused when a loved one dies, especially if the death is sudden and unexpected. It’s like the survivor’s heart stops and refuses to beat on.

The finality of death makes it hard to accept; and if you’re weak in spirit or beset by other problems simultaneously, you could slip into a depression so deep that only medical intervention can help. Having been around people who suffer from depression, I’ve found that it is a millstone around the necks of the sufferers – it weighs them down even as they try to keep their heads above water. Therefore, the best thing to do is to prevent sadness and the irreparable sense of loss from turning into depression through timely intervention.

If you feel yourself moping around with no interest in anything in life, it’s time to turn to friends and family for support. You may not realize the depths to which you’ve sunk, but if well-meaning friends tell you that it’s time to start living again, seek their help if you’re unable to do it on your own. In my experience, I’ve found that work is salvation when coping with the loss of a loved one. It keeps your mind and body occupied and soothes your tortured soul. Once you start to get back into your routine, vary it a little; go out and meet friends, spend time doing the things you love and with the people you love, and avoid being alone as much as possible.

Sometimes, this feeling of intense loss arises even when a relationship goes sour and you’re left bearing the emotional brunt of it. You know you can never go back to the person you thought was special and that you must move on; however, it is difficult to accept the change and cope with it because your trust could have been betrayed or you could have been abused mentally and/or physically.

Whatever the loss, depression is an ominous omen to more severe problems, especially if it persists for days together and affects your ability to function normally. Seek help immediately, for both peace of mind and sound mental health.

This guest post is contributed by Maryanne Osberg, who writes on the topic of RN to MSN Online (you can visit the site by clicking on the title of this post). She can be reached at

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