What is the difference between depression and sadness? Are they the same or are they completely different altogether?
Just a reminder that I am not a mental health professional. I am talking about my own experiences and what I have learned from my time seeing a psychologist and psychiatrist.
I have always assumed that depression was just prolonged sadness.
It is so much more than that.
Depression has always been a confusing thing to experience personally. Much like anxiety, I’m never really sure if what I’m feeling is part of my mental illness, or I’m just having a bad day.
I’ve since learned to not think of it in those terms.
It doesn’t really matter if it’s my depression acting up, or if I’m having a bad day. One is most likely playing off of the other.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SADNESS AND DEPRESSION
Everybody has moments of feeling sad, but this is not the same as depression. Depression can come in many forms and is usually a prolonged period of feeling flat or down.
What really matters is how you take those moments of sadness and depression, and cope with them in a more healthy way.
When I am depressed, I generally just feel flat and have a feeling of nothingness.
I try to laugh and act like nothing is wrong, but I get irritated easily answering the same questions from people.
Health Direct have a fantastic article on supporting people with mental health issues and encourage you to give it a read here.
“Are you alright?” Sometimes I answer with “I feel anxious” or “I feel funny.”
However on days when I’m depressed, my answer is “I have no idea.” I have no idea how to explain to someone that there is a difference between depression and sadness. I tend to get a little aggressive and snappy.
That’s how I know I’m not feeling right.
DEPRESSION AFFECTS PEOPLE DIFFERENTLY
Depression will affect people differently. I can’t speak of how it fully works, as I’m not a professional but I can explain what I’ve been told of how it affects me.
I get withdrawn and irritated quite easily. It’s like I’ve just had enough of everyone and everything, even when they have done nothing wrong. I know deep down they are just trying to help, but I can’t deal with it.
The problem with that I find at times, is that people in trying to help sometimes can make your depression and sadness symptoms worse.
This is of course isn’t their intention, and I’m not blaming people for talking about mental health.
I think it’s extremely important for people to understand how to talk to someone with a mental illness, such as depression.
For example, with my health anxiety, I’ve stopped telling people about my treatment.
LIMIT WHAT YOU TELL PEOPLE ABOUT YOUR ILLNESS
Everyone has an opinion. As soon as I tell them what I am taking and how often, they know it all.
I know full well that my psychiatrist knows what he is talking about and is doing what is best for me. My anxiety and depression hears the words of criticism and I question whether what my doctors are doing is right.
What I’m really saying is, when someone opens up to you about their depression and sadness, or any health issues they are having, all you need to do is listen.
Don’t feed them your opinions on what ever it is they confide in you with. Just listen.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing distress you can reach out to Beyond Blue: Beyond Blue’s support line is available 24/7.
Lifeline: For crisis support, Lifeline provides a 24/7 line, as well as online resources on a range of issues.