Sadness vs. Depression: What’s the Difference?
Sadness is a regular feature of life, but depression is more concerning and often best handled with clinical care.
In modern society, we often hear people say, “I’m depressed” or, “this is depressing” when they feel down about something that has recently happened to them. Although they might not in fact be clinically depressed, this is common parlance today, and many people express their occasional sadness or their emotions of sorrow and heartache in this way. Meanwhile, many other people who are in fact clinically depressed suffer silently. Unbeknownst to those around them, they may appear perfectly happy and perhaps even upbeat, their mannerisms and wide smile belying the turmoil that they feel within.
If you are sad or in low spirits for a week or two because your family pet died or because you received some bad news at work, but then you spring back a short while later and feel like yourself again, this would not likely be considered a depressive episode. We all experience ups and downs in life, and feeling sad about something for a limited period of time like this is a perfectly normal response. However, if your feelings sadness persist beyond two weeks, possibly worsening, or is combined with loss of hope in the future or increasingly negative thoughts about yourself and your life, then this might be an episode of depression. Moreover, such feelings may seemingly arise out of nowhere, unprompted by external events.
Regardless of how you appear on the outside, it is important to recognize that you are not alone, and that help is always available. The first step is to reach out to someone you know and trust to discuss some of your symptoms; this could be your primary care provider, a psychologist, or even a close friend or family member--perhaps one who has already experienced a bout of depression, or someone who will be able to empathize with your situation. If you are depressed, rest assured that it is a treatable and manageable disease. Just as we are able to treat diabetes, so to are their interventions for depression. Speak with someone today.
Rule Out Depression
Please take this survey to see if you’re having symptoms of depression:
If you score greater than a 10, you should contact a clinician, such as a doctor or therapist: