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Depression, The Fourth Stage of Grief

Updated: May 24, 2020

This is the fourth of the five-article series discussing the stages of grief: Shock and Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. The depression stage is the lowest point of the healing process following a loss; therefore, it must be handled carefully. Depression usually occurs when the bargaining phase of grief has not produced the results the griever wanted, and the reality of loss is evident. It is the negative energy of depression that must be addressed, and this is when the griever must turn to the positive energy of virtues as an aid. In my opinion, one of the primary virtues to use during this stage is defiance.

Defiance is a virtue that is needed in grief, but it is most essential during depression. I believe defiance is necessary because it produces contrasting energy to the low energy of depression. This virtue is first expressed in the decision to heal and the desire to overcome depression. Other virtues such as discipline and resolve may be employed, but they anchor on defiance and the decision not to allow depression to rule your life.

Engaging in positive activities at a time when you feel emotionally uncomfortable is one way in which you can express defiance. Healthy defiance and resistance used repeatedly will bring results. The knowledge and the understanding that these activities are beneficial, and even necessary, demonstrates defiance.

Another virtue, encouragement, is helpful in overcoming depression. The support of others, if available, often hastens the recovery in this stage of grief. Asking for help from others, if needed, is another good way to overcome depression. Defying the easy path of “doing nothing” helps to lift the energy of sadness from a loss.

Having a strategy to overcome depression is a good idea, and there are models of behavior available to assist in this area. A qualified counselor can be very helpful. I believe, however, that you will notice that all counselors require the use of virtues in their programs.

My metaphysical model of using virtues is useful because it allows for flexibility in resolving depression and in the healing process. The model is a paradox because it is simple yet complex in nature. The model involves twelve principles to “Heal the Heart.”

The principles are as follows: Decide to Heal, Express gratitude, be Adaptable, Learning to cope, Take positive action, create and maintain Healthy habits, Engaging others by socializing, a sense of Humility, Exerting integrity, have Ambition, express responsible Reflection, and allow Time to pass.

My book, Open the Mind Heal the Heart discusses these ideas and explains them in more detail. These principles all describe necessary actions with virtues to overcome depression, and these actions fit well into the stages of grief.

Depression, as the lowest point the grief cycle, gives way to the final stage of grief, acceptance. Acceptance represents the energy of lifting the weight of depression away from the griever. As the last stage, acceptance is the ultimate virtue needed to complete the cycle of grief after a loss and is the subject of next month’s article

John Cappello is a psychic medium who has been in practice for over 25 years. You can visit his website at for more information or to set up a private consultation.

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