With such a focus on mental health we often get asked “what is the difference between feeling depressed and sad” or “how do I know if I am depressed”? Humans suffer a wide range of emotions and feeling sad from time to time is just another part of those emotions. If you feel a sense of sadness, you can usually trace the cause of that sadness back to a particular event. It could be caused by regret or by losing someone you love. When you feel this sadness, you can still experience those moments of laughter. It doesn’t feel like the end of the world, or that you are weighed down by something and it passes.
Depression is life changing and much more complicated. Feeling sad is just one component. Other feelings might include feeling like the world is weighing you down, finding it difficult to get out of bed, just unable to go on with life due to feeling exhausted. It’s a mental illness that affects your whole life so if you have been diagnosed (or feel you may suffer from it), it’s important that your work colleagues are aware of it so they can help. Someone might talk about feeling ‘depressed,’ but if it goes away on its own and doesn’t impact on your life in a big way, it probably isn’t actually depression.
It is not only adults who suffer from depression. Unfortunately, some children suffer from it too. There are different types of depression such as clinical depression, major depressive disorder, or major depression. It can arise up for no reason, and it can last for a long time. People who experience depression may feel hopeless. Some may experience depression as anger or irritability. It can also change the way the body functions. Stress hormones are increased, digestion slows down, and changes occur in the interactivity among connections in the brain. The physical signs of depression include sleep deprivation, loss of energy and unexplained aches or pains. As a result, it can be hard to concentrate and make decisions. Those who suffer from it find it very difficult to explain to others how it feels, or what’s happening in their head, as they don’t understand it themselves. They don’t want to feel like this and that can make it even more stressful.
Signs to watch out for; most people lose interest in things that they used to enjoy and may isolate themselves from others. They may stop interacting with friends and people they care about. This sense of “feeling down” or worthless will go on for longer than two weeks and doesn’t tend to go away on it’s own
We hope that this has helped to explain the difference between feeling depressed and sad and that there is a real difference. Depression is a real illness, but it is treatable. It’s very important to seek help if you’re concerned about someone that may have depression and to support them as much as possible. There is nothing to feel ashamed of it. It’s okay to not feel okay, our job is to give you tools to cope.