When the bundle of all those mixed emotions has ended, that's when the depression part strikes. This is probably the longest part of every grieving process, and for complicated grief, it can even last for years if not decades.

Deep sadness and feeling of depression are one of the main parts of the grieving process, especially the one related to the loss of a child.

Once the shock and disbelief have disappeared and you went through the stages of anger and guilt, mixed with bargaining, you'll start to feel very tired, but also very sad.

Now that all those toxic emotions that brought rage are gone, you're left alone there together with dark thoughts, sadness, and without a sense of purpose. 

This is depression, a state that usually lasts the longest in the grieving process. For many bereaved parents, the deep feeling of sadness can be present for years. 

*Know that most bereaved parents finally start to feel at least a bit better after approximately 5 to 7 years after the loss. Then, you'll be able to breathe deeply again as you should, eat some delicious food and actually feel its taste, and maybe even catch yourself laughing again, from time to time. Then, you'll be able to see that the grass is green again and that the birds are singing their song.

In some of our previous texts I have already talked a bit about complicated grief and there said how the prolonged feeling of despair and deep sadness can be linked to it. I will talk more about complicated grief in one of the upcoming blog posts. What's interesting to know and I would like to mention here is that complicated grief is usually a very prolonged depression phase. 

Of course, depression can be masked and can look different, but in this grieving process you can recognize it by these signs:

1. Lack of sense. When it comes to the definition of depression, it's usually called a state where people continue living in the past and suffering because of what happened in the past.

Although it may be easy to say that events from the past are gone and that you should live now, in this moment and present, as a bereaved parent I know very well that you cannot simply continue living your life because the tragedy that has happened is still rapidly shaping your every single day.

You'll feel a lack of sense. Nothing will make sense, not even the future. You'll not be happy with the things you used to enjoy once. Even the biggest passions and hobbies will look completely ridiculous to you and without meaning. 

2. Difficulty doing daily basic things. Going to work or doing housework becomes very hard because you can barely concentrate, and you're also lacking physical strength and energy. Yes, sadness can really make you feel physically sick and tired. 

3. Craving loneliness. You'll probably try to escape all those people who can ask you something about your child or how you feel. Social interactions will be very hard for you in this period of time because you'll feel like you have to act „normally“ or socially acceptable. It's like wearing a mask, and yes I understand, it's very tiring. 

4. Nightmares. Experiencing nightmares and insomnia are also very common. Dreams can be bizarre and exhausting and continue to affect you even when you wake up and during the day. 

5. Panick attacks. You may find yourself completely lost and such moments can be followed by panic attacks. You'll feel a very fast heart rate and like you're staying without oxygen. Some people claim that when a panic attack strikes, they believe they are going to die or lose control completely. Many visit doctors believing that they are truly sick. I always recommend to check your health. It's better to find out it's anxiety, than to miss some potential illness that can be cured when found out on time. 

Some thoughts that'll hunt you during this stage may be even related to thinking about losing your own mind. This is especially related to derealization. 

6. Lack of care for self. You may lose a lot of weight or gain it, stop taking care of your looks and how you behave. Many claim that a lot of friendships have been ruined during this period of time. Be sure that you try not to act impulsively - I know it's hard and have been through this experience, but do your best. You'll be sorry later on when the impulsive moments end. I'm sure you don't want more feelings of guilt. 

7. Suicidal thoughts. When you feel like nothing makes sense anymore, and you barely believe that you'll even feel like yourself again, that's when suicidal thoughts may come in. It's very important to seek professional help if this happens to you. Don't stay silent about suicidal thoughts. At least, share them with someone you can trust and rely on. 

8. Addictions. I've said many times that the depression stage is usually the longest part of the grieving process for the bereaved parents. For years, you'll feel very bad, drained, and exhausted and you'll probably start seeking help in various addictions. It's an alarming sign and should be acted upon as soon as you recognize an addiction pattern. 

9. Physical symptoms. Physical symptoms, as already mentioned, can include severe tiredness, exhaustion, unknown pain throughout the entire body, IBS, and other gut problems and issues, as well as problems with breathing. Depression is affecting your health in a very negative manner so you can experience more common colds and infections of all sorts. Your immune system is weak, so it may be good to try to do something about it.

How to strengthen your immune system?

Stay away from the processed food. Such food can cause inflammation in your body. It would be best to eat unprocessed and fresh food, which will bring you tons of useful nutrients that will help your body through this hard period of your life. Don't forget to hydrate your body.

Stay active. Taking a walk on a daily basis can help a lot, especially if you haven't been active in the recent past. If you like sports, that's great and it will definitely help you to get rid of toxic emotions and hormones, such as cortisol - a hormone of stress that is present during the grieving process.

Physical activity will boost natural hormones of happiness and well-being, including serotonin and dopamine. 

Try to fix your sleeping schedule. Consult your doctor or a specialist to help you fix your sleeping schedule. Maybe you're lacking melatonin, a hormone that'll bring you a good rest. 

10. Anxiety and social withdrawal. Anxiety comes together with panic attacks. Actually, it causes them. You'll probably suffer from social anxiety or even create agoraphobia, especially if you've been inside your home for a while. Although social withdrawal may sound like a good idea at first, please take care that it doesn't get to extreme levels. When alone and in silence, use the time to work on yourself. 


If you're not capable to tell others how you feel, this article can help you – share it with your family members or friends so they know what you're going through.

I said this because I can remember those times when I was completely exhausted to explain how I feel, but would be helpful that someone has written everything about it instead of me.