Sadness vs. Depression
Depression is a term that gets thrown around a lot by many people as an umbrella term to mean they are sad. However, there is a big difference between the two. Sadness is a normative emotional state, while depression is a serious condition that requires treatment, such as counseling and medication. People confuse the two perhaps because we tend to associate depression with its primary symptom of sadness, says Psychology Today, and therefore have a hard time deciphering the difference between these two common psychological states.
Let’s look at the difference between the two.
This is a normal human emotion. We all experience it to some degree on a regular basis, up and down, again and again. One day we may be sad, the next happy. Perhaps we may be sad for several days in a row. This emotion tends to be triggered by a specific event or experience such as the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or even just a bad week at work.
That sadness may go on for a few days or even a few weeks but as we get over the trigger, that sadness recedes like the tide.
By contrast, depression is an abnormal emotional state. This is a form of mental illness that pervades our entire thinking, emotions, behaviors and perceptions in chronic and long-lasting ways. You don’t have to suffer a particular event in order to be depressed. In fact, depression often comes on in the absence of such triggers. Your life may look perfect on the outside. You may seemingly have everything you want. In effect your life looks good on paper. But you still feel horrid inside.
Depression colors every part of our lives. Things you once enjoyed no longer bring you happiness. Things are not as interesting as they used to be. Pursuits that used to seem worthwhile just seem unworthy now. That’s because depression sucks out our energy, stalls our motivation and dampens our ability to feel true pleasure, anticipation, joy, excitement, connection and indeed meaning within our lives.
Depression makes us impatient, quick to temper and frustration. It breaks us down fast and hard, which means it takes much longer to bounce back up.
Symptoms of Depression
In order to be diagnosed with depression, you must display five of the following symptoms for a long duration, usually at least two weeks. Severity of symptoms will also come into play.
- Depressed or irritable mood
- Loss or decrease of pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
- Significant changes in weight or appetite
- Inability to get enough sleep
- Sleeping too much
- Feelings of restlessness
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Difficulty concentrating, focusing and making decisions
- Thinking of death or suicide
Contact Midwest Psychological Services
Contact us at (715) 381-1980 if you find yourself saying yes to several of the above bullet points. Our therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists are here to help you. Please reach out.