Often we get confused between sadness and depression, even though there are significant differences. Being sad means being upset for some period. After a bad experience, your mood is affected for several weeks. In time, your sadness will vanish by itself. Whereas, depression can have a tremendous effect on your life. This article will help you understand why sadness is not depression and how severe the latter can be.

Emotion Vs. Illness

Sadness is merely an emotion that is a common aspect of human nature. We all know what sadness feels like. Being sad could be beneficial in overcoming difficult life experiences, such as losing a relationship, rejection, or feeling disappointed.

Persistent sadness is just one aspect of depression. Depression is a severe mental illness. It manifests in various symptoms of depression for at least two weeks. Things that once brought you joy or lifted you no longer do so. You’re constantly exhausted and lacking motivation.

Time Duration

Emotions are momentary experiences that diminish with time. A feeling present throughout a particular phase of life will show itself in lapses. It could be present for a couple of hours before diminishing to a minimum. Even in a time of sadness, there are times in your day when you are at ease. It is possible to be happy or enjoy your favorite song or the company of a loved one. 

Depression can last for longer with no proper care. The symptoms last throughout the day, for at least two weeks, to be precise. The symptoms appear continuous, although they may be more intense in the early morning. Nonetheless, depression defines your entire day. It’s impossible to believe you’ll ever get rid of this feeling.

Changes Your Life

Your mood can change when you have a bad week or day. Your mind may be distracted and get back to negative thoughts. Anyway, you can get through your day as usual. If you’re clinically depressed, your life becomes difficult to bear.

You’ve changed your lifestyle. Perhaps your friends are seeing it as well. It could be that you are experiencing difficulty falling or sleeping. Perhaps your appetite has decreased, or your sex drive has diminished. You are losing your self-esteem. You continuously feel tired and lack energy.

Diminishing Interest

If you’re feeling down, you might be upset about an event or something you’ve to face; however, it isn’t enough to discourage you from doing things you like. You may be feeling down today, and although you’re aware of the sensation, you’re looking forward to watching a movie, reading a book, or hanging out with your buddies.

However, if you’re depressed, you lose passion for life overall. There is a state known as anhedonia or the absence of pleasure in the things and activities you once enjoyed pleasure from. It’s like you’re no longer seeing the value of these things like how you did, and life is monotonous and unattainable for you.


An incident or event can bring on sadness. However, there are instances where you cannot pinpoint why you suddenly feel sad. The feeling may be quickly forgotten when you’re distracted by other tasks until you realize you’re not sad anymore.

A person who is depressed might react negatively to an incident or event, however, in a more intense way that is not normal. They may keep the incident hurt for weeks, months, or even years because others have already left it behind. Depression can happen without any trigger as well.

Suicidal Thoughts

We may blame ourselves for what’s occurred during extreme sadness. However, as time passes, we accept that there is nothing we can do except take the lessons learned and move on. But, the case is different for people suffering from depression.

People who suffer from depression are more prone to thoughts of self-harm to make amends for what they believe they did wrong. Some hurt themselves physically, and some even try to commit suicide. Some people develop plans for suicide to follow when they won’t be able to bear depression anymore.

Diagnosis for Depression

Sadness is something that you feel subjectively and without a doubt. Depression is, however, a condition with a set of criteria and needs confirmation of diagnosis. It is not just the time frame that is essential to determining the diagnosis but is also a specific mix of symptoms that are not core. Therefore testing for depression is essential.

Reaction Vs. Condition

The most common cause of sadness is due to something, like an unpleasant incident. You feel sad because of this specific experience, which is a normal, healthy, but often uncomfortable emotion. It is not uncommon for depression to occur without explanation.

It could be that your life is going to be okay. When you’re depressed, the symptoms aren’t just when contemplating a specific individual or event. They occur in almost every scenario. You may have a negative outlook on the future. You may feel guilty in a way or have a feeling of being in control.

Now you understand why we say that sadness is not depression. Sadness and depression, both can be managed and conquered. All you need is the will to assist and to be assisted. If you have someone you think might be nearing the edge or is already experiencing depression, do your best to support them. Take medical and professional help whenever you feel like it.


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