I was working with someone who lost their spouse a few months ago. They shared that certain people were concerned about this person’s possible depression. 

We had been processing the loss over the months and I was certain that they were not depressed.

They were grieving, absolutely!

With all the feelings, thoughts, and sensations that come with grieving.

From my perspective they were doing just fine with that process.

There have been and continue be good days and hard days. There are painful times and times of gratitude. There are days of feeling new beginnings and possibilities and times of great missing of what once was there.

All this is part of the grieving process. But it’s not depression.

Grieving is a process. Depression is a state of mind.

Grieving is moving through the impact of an event.

Depression is staying stuck in a constant mindset loop about an event.

If the grieving process is not allowed to happen, or avoided, or denied, then I can see it leading to an unresolved state of mind that keeps a person stuck in the past. This can lead to being ‘depressed’.

With this client, they have been allowing themselves to go through the process of grieving.  It’s not an easy process considering the event of losing a spouse. But they are moving through this process in whatever time it takes to do so. They have been picking up the pieces and slowly creating a new kind of identity and life.

That is very different from being depressed. In fact, the grieving process is giving them the energy to step forward everyday with reflection, gratitude, and a sense of creativity.

Grieving leads to a person’s inner light shining again. Depression shuts it down.

As this person continues their grieving process, their light is growing as well.  I see can see and sense it, as they can too.

But sometimes people just don’t see or understand how that can be possible.

The grieving process allows the unfolding of inner healing to happen. But if a person refuses to look and process, then the healing cannot take place, this eventually shuts a person down.

Shutting down leads to depression.

With this client, they may be taking time away, but they are not shutting down.

This client may be sad at times, but they are healing and processing.

This client may be taking small steps moving forward, but they have gratitude in their heart about the past with all the learnings and experiences that came with the relation they had.

They are not depressed, they are grieving. Good for them.

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