Experiencing a significant loss in life can sometimes be the root our depression, or may at least be a causal factor. I know that this is true of myself at least, however I was unaware that there are different types of loss and suffering with more than one is distressing to say the least.

It was explained by Archibald Hart in Feeling Free that there are actually 4 different types of loss, and that it can be helpful to try and identify what is affecting us in order to understand and come to terms with it.

Real Loss; real and tangible loss of something physical

  • The death of a loved one
  • Separation from someone you love
  • Moving from a house you love

Abstract Loss; more related to personal life

  • Loss of love in a separation
  • Loss of self-esteem through heavy criticism
  • Loss of self-esteem and ambition, eg, in being rejected for promotion

Imagined Loss; the losses we brood in our minds, embedded in paranoid thoughts

  • I’m stuck with life as it is and I can do nothing to change it
  • I will always fail
  • I have no friends

Threatened Loss; fear of the future, worry about what we could lose

  • Death of a partner or child
  • Loss of a job or career
  • Loss of health

I have suffered 3/4 of the types of loss within the last year, and believe this has something to do with my most recent episode of depression. For me, imagined and threatened losses are sometimes more powerful than the physical loss I have experienced. It is possible to change these negative thought processes but commitment is required.