Thoughtful words can bring comfort when you need them most.
Losing a loved one is heartbreaking — the grief you experience is a normal part of dealing with loss.
While many of us know grieving is part of life, when we’re experiencing it, it can feel like it might never go away.
During times of grief, you might feel like you’re alone or that no one understands what you’re going through.
But according to The Recovery Village, about 2.5 million people die each year in the United States, and each of those people leaves behind an average of 5 grieving people.
If you’re grieving, sometimes just hearing or reading words of comfort can bring you hope and remind you that you’re not alone.
When you’re overwhelmed with sadness due to your loss, you might be wondering if it’s something more like depression.
For example, most of the time, grief doesn’t require treatment like depression does. Depression is typically treated with medication, therapy, or a combination of both.
Grief, on the other hand, takes time and patience for healing and recovery. Resources — such as counseling and support groups — might be helpful.
The length of time and intensity of grief and depression might also differ. Depression can last for weeks or months, often interfering with work, school, and relationships.
While there’s no timetable for how long a person grieves, unlike depression, the intensity of your feelings tend to lessen over time.
Hearing words of comfort and encouragement while you’re grieving may help you feel supported and not alone.
But what do you do if your grief seems intense and you’re not sure how to handle it?
The newest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) and the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-11) include criteria for a new mental health condition — prolonged, or complicated, grief.
If your feelings of grief seem more intense after 6 months, and you notice it has started to interfere with day-to-day life, you might be experiencing complicated grief.
While there’s no timetable on grief, if you feel like you just can’t “shake” these feelings, and it’s been more than 6 months, consider reaching out for help. You can start by talking to someone you trust or your family doctor, if you have one.
If you need additional help, consider reaching out to a mental health professional who specializes in grief. You can use these tools to find a pro:
- American Psychiatric Association
- American Psychological Association
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America
- Psych Central
If telehealth is a better fit for you, online therapy might be a good option.
Online support groups might also be a great way to connect with others who have gone through or are going through a similar experience.