The Difference Between Sadness and Depression
Unlike depression, sadness is normal. We can’t escape the occasional blues because life is a combination of positive and negative experiences. What is unnatural, however, is when sadness persists whether or not there is justification for it.
Depression is an emotional state that makes people’s lives an overall “lesser” experience. It saps our energy, and as a result, we end up with little or no motivation to do anything, we enjoy things less (or not at all) and everything makes us sad.
It’s important to know the difference because depression is not something you can just “get over,” it requires a lot of effort and professional help. Here’s a list to help recognize the differences, though it shouldn’t substitute for a proper diagnosis.
1. Sadness Is Usually Justified
We don’t feel sad unless there is something to be sad over, like losing a job or a relationship ending. If something happens that is known to cause pain and sadness; it could be just that. However, sometimes people are generally sad about most things that happen, unable to distinguish between what warrants sorrow or not, a major sign.
What’s worse, depression can amplify stressful times in one’s life to an unbearable degree. Ordinary life is complicated enough as it is.
If you find yourself thinking that regularly, you might be struggling with depression.
2. Sadness Doesn’t Always Stop You From Doing What You Like
When we’re feeling down, we don’t like engaging in our regular activities (and sometimes we don’t), but
when essential responsibilities come up, we snap ourselves out of it and get things done. This ability is
usually unavailable to depressed people; they can’t just come out of their depression (otherwise they’d do it
in a heartbeat). Even things you previously loved doing become unappealing when battling depression.
3.People Can Cheer You Up When You’re Sad
Pep talks from loved ones can be helpful when going through difficult times, but no amount of motivational speeches can cure a depressed person. Trying to cheer up sad people can backfire because it adds to the helplessness that depression comes with. It’s better to give them tools to cope than a temporary good feeling. Therapy is always the best place to start.