Most people don’t know the difference between being depressed and just having a bad day. On social media, it all sounds the same. But there’s a distinct difference. The difference matters as perhaps the best way to avoid further health complications arising from depression is to deal with it in its early stages – the sooner the better.
It is normal to feel sad from time to time. Sadness is a natural reaction to something upsetting which has happened in your life. Like any emotion, sadness is part of life. Depression on the other hand is more extreme. Some say it’s an emotional or mental illness which has a lot more symptoms than sadness and can, if not treated, lead to more trouble down the road.
Sadness vs. Depression
One huge difference between sadness and depression is that a person experiencing feelings which they find disconcerting can reasonably tell you what it is that is causing their unhappiness, however a person suffering from depression may not necessarily be able to do so. When someone is sad, we tend to know that things will get better over time; on the other hand, a person going through depression may not see an end to his or her problem and may consequently think things are or will get worse. In case of depression, the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel” isn’t always there.
This may lead to a depression that could last for a long period of time. With the negative feelings being so intense and overpowering, they become a defacto part of your environment. Depression is oftentimes not something one just can simple snap out of, as easy as your surroundings may think that imaginary solution would be from their perspective.
Though it is safe to say anyone going through depression experiences sadness, not every sad person is necessarily depressed. However, since depression is usually more burdensome than just a state of sadness, one needs to be able to distinguish between the two to determine the amount of effort that may need to be done to correct either state of these negative emotions.
In order to be able to attack depression -preferably in its earlier stages- below is a common list of symptoms (in no specific order):
- Irritability and mood swings.
- Hopelessness and extreme pessimism (a negative outlook on life)
- Loss of energy, extreme fatigue and tiredness.
- Loss of interest in hobbies, having a good appearance and even associates and loved ones.
- Extreme feelings of helplessness and no self worth.
- Suicidal thoughts (in extreme cases)
- Insomnia (lack of) or excessive sleep.
- Inexplicable weight loss or gain thereof, triggered by eating disorders.
Though not a conclusive list as characteristics vary from person to person, these symptoms of depression are the most common ones.
You’re (Probably) Definitely NOT Going Crazy
If you happen to experience most, even if not all, of these symptoms, the first step, in my opinion and based on research will be to look within. Ask why this may be occurring. Speak to your family doctor if appropriate. You’re likely not going crazy but will need some external help to get through. Regardless of how grim your circumstances may appear to be today, the easiest way out is always to get through whatever you may be experiencing. Thoroughly assess your situation to see what it is that could be triggering these symptoms of depression within you. Could it be a failure at something or the loss of something or someone of importance to you?
If you go over the problem carefully, you might be able to find the root cause and consequently solve that underlying issue for you. Remember, the mind is the most powerful force on the earth. He who can control the mind can control all things.
Steps You Can Take
For both sadness (a symptom of depression) and for depression itself, there are some steps you can take on your own. The goal is to focus your mind on something else (even if you don’t feel like it). For example, engaging in some form of physical activity such as exercise or other hobbies. Signing up for a gym membership and forcing yourself to go (even if you don’t feel like it), or committing to any regular program ever so slightly out of your comfort zone might me the push you need to break your mind out of the depressing pattern. You also might need external help from a doctor or therapist, and there’s no shame in seeking that external support even if you think it won’t work for you.
Finding something else to focus on exercises the center of your brain, making the blood flow away from the emotional activity center. Consequently you’ll become more receptive to positive thoughts as you stick to the new pattern over time.
At this stage, also try and seek out the company of uplifting friends, relatives and associates. As much as possible, purposely surround yourself with uplifting and positive elements – whatever they may be for you. I could be you favorite comedy show, book, sitcom, music, or any other thing of that nature.
So if you are unsure if you are truly depressed or just sad, take heart, neither of these negative emotions can overpower you – as long as you take charge and overcome them. It may not always be easy and you may need external help, however, what matters most is to take your first step towards success.
You Are Not Alone
If your life is in danger or you know someone’s life is in danger DIAL EMERGENCY NOW (often 911 in your area) DO NOT HESITATE! You can click here for Emergency services in your area.
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, you need to know that you’re not alone. You can also call if you are not in crisis, seeking additional information.
Continue reading? Get my bestselling Freedom Project book series.
The Freedom Project: Happiness shares how Travel is an appetizer of true freedom. Too often, I used travel as an escape from a life I didn’t even like in the first place. When travelling, I felt less confined by time, money or location. I could do whatever I wanted, I could spend some extra cash I had saved up, and go wherever I wanted to go. Yet after coming home my stress levels quickly spiked back to where they were before I had left. Instead of tacky souvenirs, I wanted to take that experience of freedom home with me. I became passionate about implementing my “traveling lifestyle” right at home, reconnect with my passions and live a meaningful life.Happiness
In my Happiness book, I shared that I’m not necessarily a big believer in marriage anymore, and even dared announcing that sentence might become a topic for a future book. You’re holding that book. This book is not about travel souvenirs. It’s about my greatest nemesis: love. ‘Love 2.0’ has to do with finding harmony and bringing it into concert with your life.Love 2.0