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Is it grief or depression?
3 replies to this topic
Posted 21 March 2006 - 03:33 PM
Hi there, new on the list thanks to a friend's recommendation.
Is there a way to tell the difference between grief or if you are slipping into depression?
About 4 weeks ago we discovered our baby's heart had stopped beating at 18 weeks. We have also lost babies at 14w, 8w, 12w & 20 weeks...but also have had 3 wonderful healthy full term births (for which we do know we are so lucky). The last two losses (20w + 18w) have been particularly difficult but I have never felt so sad as I have this past month and it's a much more uncontrollable sadness than I have experienced with our other losses. So...how do you know if it is the normal grief of losing our baby (and the cumulative effect of our other losses) or the march of depression (which I've never had)?
I'm sure someone out there might be able to help - and I'm sorry that you can cause it means you probably have or are going through something similar.
Posted 21 March 2006 - 06:46 PM
Oh dear, ranbowwish, I'm so sorry for your loss. That is so sad, you must be desperatly missing your babies. It is pretty recent and as you say, recurrent loss has a different set of issues. this is a good place to hang out for support.
After my first miscarriage I was miserable but it was almost a healing kind of miserable. My little one was little, about 19 months at the time, and I would just cry. If i was at the supermarket and there was someone there with the type of double pram i had planned to buy, or a new baby or very pregnant, I would just cry. I had no problem just telling people (concerned onlookeers) that there had been a loss in our family and I wasn't fine, but I would be. And I was. the 2nd miscarriage was very early at 3 weeks and it was a bit like, well, ok, sure, never mind, take a month off and try again etc. The 3rd miscarriage was a delayed miscarriage with a d&c at 10+4 weeks. I was utterly miserable, as you would expect, but then I became too miserable, if you know what I mean. It just didn't feel to me like a functional kind of grief. Although I had been depressed years before, I had never been anxious in my life, so sudden attacks of anxiety over nothing were a shock to me. I was pretty sure I was depressed.
A counsellor suggested to me that the degree of medical intervention (I had a problem after the d&c and the ward staff didn't know what to do and i had to go to the emergency romm and just nothing major but stuffing around) combined with the feeling of having told someone I wanted to have tests and being told I shouldn't and needing to "qualify" for treatment with a 3rd miscarriage were probably what tipped the scales. I don't know if that's true. I used to work in the hospital system, so I didn't feel powerless in it and even the clueless resident in the ER - who sai9d something so stupid she had the sense to apologise - was doing her best. It wasn't great care all the time, but I din't take it personally. Maybe that was a factor, i don't know. I was really sure I was clinically depressed, not "grieving depressed", but I actually had to change doctors and counsellor because I had a hard time persuading people that something was really wrong, not the "grief comes in many forms" routine. In the end I told the new gp 6 weeks out when I was feeling worse, not better, that i didn't have the energy or the emotional willpower to do any more grief work or to feel any more feelings and my sons mental health was starting to suffer in my opinion. After about 2 weeks on antidepressants i started to feel better. I didn't take them for very long, but they gave me enough of a break to find a counsellor who was supportive, and help my son, who was struggling and all that. I have since had anouther son and am currently pregnant. I had pnd after the birth of my second son. Luckily I knew the sign and got treatment quickly. again, i was on antidepressants for a short time, but it was worth it.
It is very hard to tell the difference between grief and depression, but at a gut level, i think you know. the behavior and outward expressions (crying, guilt, poor sleeping ETC) can be the same, but if you just know in your heart that something isn't right, that you've run out of energy to grieve or are making no progress or feeling worse, I would suspect depression. If you are having troubloe looking after the emotional needs of your children (or even aren't sure anymore what to do for them, or how they feel) that might also be a sign to watch for, that was something that worried me alot. On the other hand, if you feel in your heart that this is just gut wrenching grief because something so terrible has happened, and then happened again, then go with that feeling.
Either way, you should get as much help and support as your can. you can pm me anytime. I really hope that you can heal and move foward when you're ready.
Posted 22 March 2006 - 08:54 AM
Rainbowwish, I'm so sorry that you're here to share this terrible journey with us all. You aren't alone - you have all the support you could ever want here.
There is a stage between grief & depression that I got to after my MC earlier this year, it's called "Complicated Grief". Its like grief that is complicated with the first signs of depression, but hasn't gone all the way into full-blown depression. I'm sorry, I'm not explaining this very well.
I ended up speaking to a psychologist who was terrific, and explained it very well to me. I had got to the stage of wanting to suicide because I thought that it would be the best thing for my family - including 2 gorgeous kids. Despite this, it still wasn't true depression, it was still grief. I couldn't function at work (couldn't dial a phone number, couldn't type), couldn't deal with my kids or speak to them normally. My 3YO was so worried that she constantly asked me "Are you okay Mummy, Are you happy today?"
It's been a helluva road back to normality - not easy, but well worth it. I'll never be the person I was before the M/C, but a lot of that is lost innocence - terrible things happen, and sometimes they happen to US. I will possibly always grieve for my lost son (we have 2 DD), but I will get used to it, he and his loss are now a part of who I am, and how I got to where I am in my life.
Please know that you aren't alone, and that all losses aren't the same. I truly think that you could possibly benefit from talking to someone. I'm not qualified (except by having a MC of my own), but would be happy to listen if you ever wanted to talk. If you are in the SE Qld region, I could reccomend a great counsellor.
Please let me know if there's anything I can do.
Posted 22 March 2006 - 02:40 PM
Hey everyone, thanks so much for sharing your words of advice, really, really appreciate it. Will see how it goes over the next few weeks I suppose and will take your experiences on board. Many thanks again.
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