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Am I sad or depressed?


Am I sad or depressed?



veryone feels down at times. Life events such as the loss or absence of a loved one, divorce, loss of job or income source, financial troubles, problems at home, failed romantic relationships, problems with peers or societal issues can leave people feeling unhappy or sad. While feelings of sadness may be difficult to handle, it is important to know that sadness is a normal, healthy and natural emotional response to a stressful or hurtful life events. Also, sadness is temporary and usually fades away with time.


Is it sadness or depression?

The question is how to understand if the sadness one is feeling is going to pass or has it turned into something more serious in nature? Often times people do not realize that they themselves or somebody close to them are going through depression because there may be lack of physical symptoms with which to identify depression. Moreover, some symptoms of depression can be only noticed by the individual suffering from depression only. Thus, depression is often silent.


What is depression?

Depression (major depressive disorder) can be described as a mental health issue that affects an individual’s social, occupational, cognitive and other areas of functioning. While depression is a longer-term mental illness, it is also treatable. If a person experiences extreme sadness or low moods constantly for a period of at least 2 weeks or longer, as well as some other symptoms such as hopelessness, loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, significant weight loss or gain without trying, changes in sleep cycle including insomnia or increased amounts of sleep, tiredness and low energy, feelings of worthlessness, feelings of guilt, inability to concentrate and having suicidal thoughts or suicidal ideation etc, it is a good idea to see a mental healthcare professional. 


Get to know depression better

Despite increased awareness of mental health issues, major depressive disorder is still misunderstood and stigma surrounding mental illness exists even today. As a result of which two things happen. Firstly, people who are dealing with depression tend to think of themselves as lesser people or lacking than the other group of people who are considered normal because they do not have depression. So, they may try to hide their troubles and not reach out for help. Secondly, people who do not have clear concepts about depression and other mental health illnesses may feel the need to avoid these individuals with mental health issues isolating the first group. Thus, the in-group and out-group are formed. It is important to understand that anybody can develop depression at any phase in life and so it is not a contagious disease to be feared.


Depression can be hard to talk about and the thought of asking for help from a professional can seem very overwhelming. People with depression often feel that they will never be able to get away from the dark shadow that engulfs them when the truth is that even the most severe form of depression can be treated with help from experts in the field such as a psychiatrist or psychologist. Treatment may include medication, therapy or even a combination of the two. Of course, the medication will not magically cure a person. There needs to be a willingness to get better on the part of the individual and support from friends, families and their loved ones is vital to the recovery as it is with any other disease or disorder.