Sometimes people do not know whether they are depressed or just genuinely sad. Have you ever felt that way? In the modern day, people are becoming more aware of mental health, especially depression. However, sometimes depression and sadness often get intertwined but they are not the same thing. While sadness is a normal and natural response to life’s challenges and disappointments, depression on the other hand is not natural and it is a condition that goes beyond fleeting feelings of unhappiness.
The following article will discuss the differences between depression and sadness. I believe that after reading this article you will have a better understanding of whether you are genuinely sad which we all feel from time to time or if you are properly depressed.
Sadness is natural and cannot kill
Sadness is a fundamental human emotion that we all experience at some point in our lives. It is a normal emotion that results from a negative event that results from loss, disappointment, or grief. Common triggers of sadness can include the loss of a loved one, terminal illness, poverty, divorce, or even just a bad day. For example, when a loved one dies it makes us sad because we will miss the companionship and memories that we have shared with the person. In a way this adds to the experience of life, although it is painful I feel that there is sometimes beauty in sadness because it can add to the human experience.
Sometimes death of a loved one can make someone a person better, in the sense that they realize that life is short and not to take the people that they have in their lives for granted. Therefore they start to enjoy the little moments that they have with the people they love. Although the death of a loved one produced tears of sadness and grief at that time but as time goes there is a sense of appreciation and love. It is not just the death of a loved one that can make a person better. The person who is divorced can learn from their previous marriage and become a better partner, or the person who has contracted a terminal illness can learn to live life to the fullest while they still can, etc. Easier said than done of course but it is possible. Sadness is usually time-limited, and it tends to diminish as we process our emotions and circumstances. Sadness cannot kill you but depression can.
Depression is not natural and can kill
Depression on the other hand does not add to the human experience but it takes away from it. Depression is an illness of the mind and as Dr. David Burns says it is one of the worst forms of suffering( Burns, 1980). When a person is depressed there is nothing good that can come out of it. There is no beauty in depression just suffering, pain, and sometimes suicide. Sadness does not involve a person’s self-esteem, sense of worth, or self-image but depression does. Depression involves some form of distorted and destructive thinking but sadness does not. For example, let me use the example of the death of a loved one. Sadness would be: “ I miss my mother so much, she was always there when I needed her. I will think about her every day but I wish that I can be just like her one day. She has taught me so much and I am going to miss her so much. “
Depression would be: “I will never be happy again with my mother gone. I wish I was a better child but now she is gone, Why am I so useless? Why did I not do better? This is so unfair but I also hate myself for not being good enough.” Do you see the difference? That kind of thinking will make a person go to a very dark place. As you can see there is no growth, just dark and unhealthy thoughts that only add pain and internal suffering.
A person who thinks like that will feel that all is lost, that there is no hope, that they are worthless and there is nothing to live for. That is not sadness, that is depression. I can not be able to diagnose someone with depression but what I can say is that if you are feeling like that, what you are experiencing is not genuine sadness but something unnatural which you may need assistance with.
In summary, this blog article attempted to define the difference between depression and sadness because sometimes people confuse the two. In short, sadness cannot kill you and can sometimes add to the human experiences in some way other the other hand depression takes away from it and can kill a person. It is important to know the difference between the two so that one can know if one is just sad and will diminish with time with no negative consequences or if one is depressed and needs some assistance. For more interesting topics click on the BLOG page or you can also look at my book on the ABOUT which can help people who are depressed, anxious, unhappy, or even suicidal.