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What Do I Do If I Was Depressed Before Dad's Death?


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With this I mean to say, I have been going through a depressive period for a very long time independent of my Dad's situation. I ended a relationship with someone I wanted to marry last November and really plunged down after that whole thing. In April I was finally starting to do a bit better then got the word that Dad was going into Hospice. Well, then I really went downhill. Dad passed on August 28th and I just don't know what to think anymore.

I can't tell what is depression and what is grief here. All I know is that I am not functional and can't even look for a job now, even though I need to be doing this. The therapist I've been seeing was helpful during the hospice process (I spent many an hour just in tears over my Dad), but I went to see him yesterday and he just told me I have to do the work to get out of the depression. I started a new medication that will take quite some time to get up to therapeutic levels. So I am stuck in limbo. If I could just sleep around the clock that would be my choice.

There is so much wrong in my life I can't even describe it here. But I have to get a grip and soon. I see the Dr (psychiatrist) today and will see what he says, but I'd really appreciate any thoughts. Thanks.

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Hi Lostdaughter. Can i know your first name? My own grief was also compounded like yours. First I lost my job, then my Mother died, then a woman friend went her own way, and after that I had pneumonia. I had so much anger, despair and depression. I am much better now, but it took months for my unruly emotions to settle and clarify. After the 3rd month I finally felt some measure of confidence that I would survive the experience with my integrity intact. Now it's 10 months for me, and finally I am able to attend to employment, and reclaim relationships with family and friends. It takes time to recover from grief. It also takes effort, but even that's not the main thing. It's hard for me to explain how to recover when grief is so raw. Part of it is just accepting this time in your life as a legitimate time-out. Time-out means a lot of things get put on hold. Time-out means a time to recuperate and recover.

Somehow we have to cope with very difficult emotions: desperation, anxiety, anger, profound sadness. None of it is easy. The solution is to give expression to emotion. Don't bottle-up or shelve your feelings. Many people here write their way through the difficulty; that might help you. I kept a journal for those first months and it helped. Posting here will definitely help you get your emotions out into the open. Talking with friends or health professionals does the same thing. So long as you express grief, then it becomes manageable and you can work with it. Curiously, getting exercise seems to keep our emotions in better balance. The out-of-doors just has a way of dispersing gloom.

Sometimes it's really hard to be gentle, caring, and kind to ourselves. When we feel desperate or depressed, we can hardly do much of anything. But still we have to survive each day. You may not want to take care of yourself, but it is important to do so. Sometimes it's an effort just to eat, sleep, or maintain contact with other people. Marty, our on-site grief counselor, calls the effort 'grief work'. Even within a few hours, an effort to better our situation can raise morale. Recover a little pride and basic dignity whenever and however you can.

Everybody on this site has rotten days, sometimes running for weeks. Accept the downtime, but when you are able, recognize uptime and take advantage of it. Find those things and activities that make you feel better. No need to fret so much!

It's the raw grief in the first weeks that is the real hurdle. Once you get past that, the rest is just hard work!

Ron B.

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Hi Ron B.

My name is Kathy. It's 3 a.m. where I am and I am not sleeping so thought I'd write back.

I can relate to your multiple losses. Thinking back, there was my dog's death in 2008 (which was devastating for me), then a job which I never should have taken immediately following my dog dying that only lasted six months, then some health issues I had to deal with, then the exiting of this guy from my life, then my Dad. And I notice you live in the SF Bay Area (I left there seven years ago which was a huge mistake) and my life has just gone downhill since.

You mention the time-out but I've already had a LONG timeout and haven't had a real job for quite some time. So I don't feel like I can afford the luxury of a time-out. Still, I may not have a choice in the matter if things continue on as is.

I did go to a grief group today which helped, so I don't know why I can't sleep tonight. I did manage to sleep for a couple of hours earlier. I do have a prescription for sleeping pills but just don't feel like going out at 3 a.m. to get it filled. Tomorrow. Anyway, I live for sleep as it's the only escape that is healthy for me and so on this note (and after a Benadryl), I am going to try to get some.

Thanks for writing.

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Hi Kathy,

I'm sorry for your loss. I have been dealing with feelings like this too. Before my grandmother died in January eight months prior my great uncle (who was like a grandfather to me) passed away, my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and a friend of mine who was helping me work on my faith issues moved away and my faith slipped again. I was taking blow after blow and I did fall into a depression and with that I started to push back my grief and not deal with it because I thought "if I can block the grief and the pain I will get better". Then my grandmother got sick and died in January. Since then I have been dealing with "is this my grief or am I depressed or is it both? Am I losing my mind?". Like you all I want to do is sleep and when night comes I don't want to sleep because I feel like I can't let go of this day because I made it to the end and nothing bad happened and if I fall asleep and start a new day something bad might happen and I might not make it through. I made the mistake of not talking to anyone - not friends, family or even a therapist. I applaud you for seeking help as where I did not and I regret it every night when I cry. I didn't want anyone to see me as being weak so I mask it a lot. The only thing I can tell you is keep seeking help and try - even if it hurts and you break down a lot - to keep going and try and remember that your dad wouldn't want your life to come to a halt. I hope that helps. You really aren't alone. This is the first time I have told anyone how I have been feeling for the last 8 months.


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Marie, dear, if I've said it once here, I've said it a thousand times: It is never too late to do the work of mourning. Grief does not "go" anywhere. It just lies there, waiting for us to take care of it. If we don't give it the attention it requires, it may come out in ways we cannot control: every which-way but straight. Obviously your grief is still there, demanding your attention! If you've been masking your pain for eight months, you've still got grief work to do, and there is no reason not to go get help for it! Please go read this post, and follow the links you'll find there: Reluctant to Seek Counseling

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi LostDaughter,

I know how you feel, when you say you dont know which is grief and which is depression. Because of my dads death I was forced out of my job and had to pack up and move back across the country because I was alone in a state where I knew no one, just worked there...not that where I am now is any different. I know people here, but I am still alone, no one calls and I dont call anyone...guess I should have stayed where I was at least I liked it there. Anyway, I came back and two months later had to watch my cat of 22 years die in front of me. Luckily I have the ability to teach online because I go on interviews and cry in front of the interviewer, so I stopped even looking for a job. I am about to lose my home because online does not pay enough to live on and all my shrink keeps saying is go bankrupt and stop crying over your dad he wasnt worth it!

Yes, stopped going to the shrink and just locked myself in the house....not good, but I dont know what else to do.

I hope you ahve gotten the help you need. If anyone has anything to share and help me move on it is greatly appreciated.

My dads birthday is coming up soon and I am dreading that. Everyday I want to call him and knowing I cant I just sit here and cry....how can I make it stop, I am too young to stop my life now. :-(

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