But it could also be a case of pandemic-related grief.
Grief, for example, is exerienced by those who are forced to leave a country due to war, or who learn they have a long-term and life-changing physical condition.
Grief can also be felt when we lose a lifestyle, a job that we identified with, a precious heirloom, or, in the case of covid-19, the very world we relied on.
Wondering how it’s possible to be in a state of grief when you haven’t really lost that much? You were, say, already a freelancer, living in the countryside… and not much has changed? But you feel sad?
You might be experiencing what psychologists call ‘anticipatory grief’.
Anticipatory grief means we grieve in advance of a possible perceived loss. We know something inevitable lies ahead, and we start to emotionally ‘prepare’ for it, like a sort of coping mechanism.
It’s easy to mistake grief and depression because they have most of their symptoms in common, such as:
But grief can have some symptoms that are less common with depression, such as:
The famous ‘five stages of grief’ are only a guideline for grieving, and are not prescriptive. You might find you go through only one or two of the steps, and in a totally different order.
The five stages are:
Grief is sadness due to something outside of yourself -- a loss of a person, situation, or thing.
Depression is sadness that is about yourself. It can be triggered by an event, but it looks inward. You are sad as you perceive that you aren’t good enough, are unloveable, are flawed, or can’t see how your life is worth living.
If you already experienced depression before Covid-19 started, then it’s possible that lockdown and social isolation has triggered it again for you. Ask yourself these questions to determine if it is grief or depression:
The thing about ‘pandemic grief’ that in some ways makes it harder than normal grief is that there are less people to turn to to be our support system, simply as so many of us are experiencing mood difficulties.
So while we can find many people to understand our feelings of sadness, which can be a great comfort? We might not have our ‘go to person’ because this time around they, too, are feeling down.
And if we are experiencing anticipatory grief and then DO lose someone we love to coronavirus, it might mean we are then more likely to have a difficult bereavement and go through depression. A study on the partners of deceased cancer patients found that anticipatory grief can see you struggle with actual bereavement more than usual.
Yes. If you find that your thoughts have become very dark, and are attacking your own self worth, then it is more than time to reach out for support.
Feeling overwhelmed by how you are feeling during the pandemic? You don't have to be depressed to benefit from talk therapy. Book a session now to talk to a therapist about just how it can help you personally.