I once had someone ask me if I was truly depressed or simply just sad. It made me think, because it is a good question, definitely. I used to think about this all the time when I first started experiencing depression.
It is perfectly normal, that you don’t wish to admit to anyone, let alone yourself, that you are always feeling sad or unhappy. Personally, I wanted to believe that it was just a phase, but those feelings never went away. The difference between depression and sadness can be explained this way:
Depression: “is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest”.
Sadness: “a feeling of being sad or unhappy”.
Difference between feeling sad and being depressed
It can be very difficult to see the difference between the two of them. Let’s take an example. If you have just lost a loved one, you will feel sad for a while. However, unless you are depressed, those feelings of sadness will pass eventually given time.
This is also the major difference between the two of them. Time! Everyone will feel sad at some point in their lives, all though it might be very different how you deal with sadness. These feelings will pass, but for people with depression, the feelings of sadness and unhappiness will stay with you.
Depression is a long-term illness. Feelings of sadness and unhappiness become extreme enough in some cases, that it can interrupt your everyday life, such as work, school, social and other daily activities. Something as simple as brushing your teeth or getting out of bed can seem overwhelming to someone who is severely depressed.
If you have had steady feelings of sadness and unhappiness for more than one month, I would advise you to seek help from a professional. Around this time is when these emotions start to become permanent if you don’t get any help.
It is important to remember, that depression doesn’t necessarily start because you are feeling sad or unhappy for a while. Depression can come from anything. Your life on paper might be totally fine and people will even admit that they are, but on the inside, they feel horrible.
Depression can become so extreme, that it affects everything in your life. It makes everything less enjoyable, less interesting, less important, less lovable and less worthwhile. Depression makes everything less. It drains you of energy, motivation, and joy. Instead, people with depression tend to become more impatient, quick to anger and easily frustrated. It is easier to have a breakdown and it takes longer to recover from any of this.
Can you treat feelings of sadness and unhappiness?
Yes. If you are feeling sad or unhappy, you can try and implement the following lifestyle changes:
Get out of your room
Staying by yourself all day and isolating yourself from everyone else is not going to help you. Even if that is what you want to do. Connect with other people. If you don’t feel like being around a lot of people, you can simply make a call to a friend or a family member.
Do an activity every day that you enjoy
If you enjoy reading, spend an hour every day reading something you enjoy.
Do a physical activity or sport
Doing some form of physical activity or sport can help you take your mind off of your sad feelings. It can simply be a walk around your block. You don’t need to run, swim, etc. Just do some easy activity.
Don’t drink alcohol or take drugs
Because you are feeling bad about something. They will not help you.
Try to treat yourself kindlier
Meditation can be a good help if you find that you have trouble falling asleep in the evening.
Read my article about how 10 minutes of meditation a day can change your life.
Simplify your life – don’t make things complicated, if you can avoid it.
If you are depressed, these changes in your life can also be a good help, but it may not always be enough. If you, like me, have experienced or are experiencing severe depression, psychological counseling will help you as well.
Depression can be treated, but simply implementing lifestyle changes may not be enough. Allow yourself to get the help you need. Don’t ignore your feelings and seek help, if you really need it.
Trying to get over a depression takes time and effort. It will not be coming to you easily. If you have a family member or a close friend, explain to them how you feel. Sadness is a normal reaction that everyone can experience several times in their life.
When did you realize that your situation had turned into actual depression and not just feelings of sadness or unhappiness?