I keep trying to explain to people (well, a few of them) the difference between grief and depression. I AM experiencing grief because my husband died June 6, 2009, and the heart revisits other losses and the grief they brought (especially if it was not fully felt.)
But depression is different. A lot of people have theories as to what depression is and what to do about it.
The point I would like to make is that real clinical depression and Bipolar depression are a physiological disorder and have to do with brain chemistry or brain processing things like (and I am not a professional here) electrical synapses or neurotransmitters.
I would prefer to have NO comments about this, since understanding or learning ABOUT or hearing what people's helpful comments are as to what depression it, doesn't HELP. In fact, comments from people as to what they think it is are really not supportive at all.
Knowing about depression is not the same as knowing depression.
Here is the difference from my experiential perspective.
Grief is centered in the heart. When a bout of grief hits me, my heart aches (it is real pain) and I cry and feel it intensely. When I feel my grief and express it (mostly with crying and/or body language, whatever) the feeling is one of release and healing. When the bout is over (until the next time it strikes) I feel relief and certain healing, a wellness of being, a love of life, and hope or even eagerness for the future. It's like drawing closer to the light at the end of the tunnel and I see the light growing bigger and brighter. It has a spiritual context for Light, too, but that is not important in this blog entry here.
However, depression is centered in the head. It's a thing of thoughts. It's a psychic experience (not the ESP meaning of psychic.) I experience it like I have a hamster wheel in my brain and I run around and around looking for a comforting though. And can't find one. Like running down a long hall way and trying to find a room to go into to feel safe, but all the doors are locked. That kind of feeling. The sadness is not related to circumstances or situations, it's just that everything appears to be unbearably sad no matter what it is -- things that a little while ago were okay, acceptable, manageable, maybe joyful even.
Crying with depression makes the experience worse and worse until the pain brings on despair. When grief hits, the expression of it occurs and it's alleviated and bearable.
But expressing depression doesn't feel healing, it is not alleviated. The "end" of feeling depression is a state of numbness when I don't feel anything at all.
Expressing and feeling grief turns me back on to life, experiencing depression removes me from life.
So, this is my opinion. Keep in mind arguing about this won't make anyone feel better. I don't need opinions. If you want to comment, send some love to me..
Please go to the link published on my blog above for a good entry on grief vs. depression. Thanks.