The incidence of depression in our society seems to be on the rise. Recent estimates suggest that as many as one in three of us will experience some form of depression within our lifetimes. Others claim that depression may even represent a symptom of our times which are characterized by alienation, lack of strong community bonds, and hopeless economic situations for many.
It is normal to feel sad and experience down days occasionally. Most people go through normal periods of feeling dispirited, especially after they experience a loss or any other period of stress.
But what specialists call clinical depression is different from just being “down in the dumps.” The main difference is that the sad or empty mood does not go away after a couple of weeks – and everyday activities like eating, sleeping, socializing, or working can be affected.
We don’t always have the full range of words to explain what we are going through.
For example, we might say that we feel sad. Yet, in fact, we might have clinical depression and not even realize it. Alternatively, we might recognize depression in someone else who insists that they are “just sad.”
Honestly, it can be hard sometimes to tell the difference.
Sadness is a regular, temporary, human emotion. Depression, in contrast, is a mental health condition. Usually, it requires some kind of dedicated treatment before the condition will improve.
Here are seven key differences between sadness and depression.
1. The Cause for Sadness or Low Mood
One key difference between sadness and depression is whether or not something provokes the emotion. We feel sadness in response to something. For example, a breakup causes people to feel sad.
In contrast, depression doesn’t have a specific cause. We can sometimes point to reasons, finding a cause. However, when the mood doesn’t lift, we see that’s not the real reason. Something underlying it all is at the root. If we can’t find a concrete cause for feeling blue, then we need to consider that it might be depression.
Addiction is more than an annoyance or inconvenience. It sucks the life out of you and leaves you feeling drained.
When trying to overcome an addiction this fact is even more exacerbated.
That’s why self-care is so important for your recovery.
When we commit to a relationship, we usually expect that our partner will have roughly the same level of emotional involvement that we have. Many of us hope to find a soul-mate, a partner who can share and understand our feelings and ways of thinking on an intensely personal level. Others don’t expect such an intense level of involvement and feel more comfortable maintaining personal privacy in the relationship.
Conflicts may arise when partners have different about how close they should become. One partner may feel emotionally stranded, feeling abandoned and craving more closeness, while the other partner may feel smothered or pressured into providing more of his or her emotional self than can possibly be given.
Only the lonely
Know the way I feel tonight
Only the lonely
Know this feeling ain’t right
– Roy Orbison
If you feel lonely, you’re not alone.
Loneliness is a subjective sense of isolation – a feeling of not being able to connect with other people, a sense of being apart. As humans, we feel the need to be with other people. We need to relate to others, to get involved in their lives, to work with them, and to express our emotions around other people. Our social needs are nearly as powerful as our other basic needs, like our needs for food, water, and shelter.
Most couples who end their long term relations are forced to come to terms with a number of fears. “What will people say? Who can I trust to talk to? How can I handle my partner’s anger toward me? How can I deal with my own anger? Am I a complete failure? How can I be a single parent? Will I be able to keep my children? What about money? Can I handle my loneliness? Am I completely unlovable? Will I ever love anyone else again? Do I have the energy for this much change?”
When we hold on to our fears and refuse to do anything about them we increase the likelihood that these will be the very areas where we experience trouble.