Is It Sadness or Depression?
Sadness is a normal emotion that all humans experience. When you’re sad, you can usually trace the cause to something going on in your life or maybe a negative memory from the past, says Wyatt Fisher, Psy.D., a psychologist in Boulder, Colorado. Sometimes, you can also feel sad for no apparent reason. But you can still function relatively normally in your life: seeing friends, fulfilling obligations, taking care of yourself, and so on. Another way to think about it: Sadness is like weather, says Jo Eckler, Psy.D., a psychologist in Austin, Texas. “It tends to come and go, and it can lift quickly if something positive happens,” she explains. In other words, you can snap out of it—sort of like a rain cloud moved aside by the sun.
Depression, on the other hand, lingers like a season, Eckler says. “Depression moves in and stays for a while, most of the day, every day, for weeks at a time,” she says. It can affect your mood, your physical health, and the way you perceive just about everything. Rather than an emotional state, depression is a health condition. Signs of depression include feeling achy or tired, difficulty focusing, loss of interest in socializing or hobbies, and changes in sleep or appetite. And it doesn’t look the same for everyone. “You might find yourself not hungry at all or wanting to eat everything in sight,” Eckler explains. “You might have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, or you might sleep for hours and hours at a time.”
Life can be really difficult….