I am very depressed due to multiple issues (death, love…) I was very social and happy but now I don’t want to eat, bathe, play video games…nothing! I come home and sit in my dark room and sleep. The more I want to change the more I can’t change. Why?

Thanks for your question. It sounds like you are experiencing symptoms of depression often referred to as anhedonia, which may be related to grief. Anhedonia is common amongst those processing the passing of loved ones and/or romantic matters.

What are other symptoms of depression and grief?

In addition to your reported symptoms, some other common associated emotions are:

  • anger
  • sadness
  • fear
  • numbness
  • difficulty focusing
  • guilt

There are many other feelings too. It’s important to know we all react differently to loss. The pain of these experiences is unlikely to dissolve immediately, but it can become more manageable on a day-to-day basis.

What should I do if I’m having symptoms of depression or grief?

It’s natural to push away painful emotions because, well, they are painful. This can be a very effective intervention, assuming we process them at a later time. Sometimes when we notice big changes in our daily functioning, it’s a sign that maybe these emotions have not been fully processed. Change becomes difficult, and, like you mentioned, the more you try the harder it becomes. If we can find the strength to turn towards our painful emotions and truly experience/process them, it becomes easier to move forward in our lives.

If you choose to allow yourself to process these emotions, it’s critical to seek support from loved ones. Maybe they are feeling similarly or notice changes in your behavior and are concerned, wanting to help. This may be the opposite of your immediate instinct, as many people fall into isolation over sharing, not wishing to “bother” others. But, sharing connects you to the world, strengthens existing bonds, and frees up energy to complete necessary tasks. Make sure you do this with a trusted person.

Some other things that can be helpful:

  • Consider consultation with a mental health professional. This could be an attractive alternative if you do not feel safe sharing with your loved ones. If you are not already seeing a therapist, you can contact your primary care office or insurance provider and ask for therapy resources.
  • Consider adding some structure to your days. Schedule healthy activities and make sure you have things to look forward to. You might be feeling a bit out of control of your life at this time- increasing the number of decisions you actively make can help improve your mood. Focus on the things that you can control.
  • Get physically active. Give your mind a break and get in touch with your body.

Lastly, it’s clear that you have a deep capacity to love others and it’s important to take a moment to recognize this as a big strength. Thank you for reaching out and taking this first step in your healing journey.

What if I’m thinking about hurting myself?

If you’ve been thinking about hurting yourself or committing suicidethe most important thing to do is get help so you can find a solution to your problems and be safe. You MUST tell a trusted adult that you need help. Talk with your parents/guardians, your health care provider, religious leader, school counselor, or a mental health professional about your feelings. These people are all there to help you.

There are also confidential hotlines for teens who have suicidal feelings. These hotlines are free and the counselors are trained to give you resources and advice so that you can get further help.

Available resources: