If you are sad, does it mean you are ‘depressed?’ Confusion often exists between using the word ‘depression’ informally when you are sad and feeling low, and a serious illness called ‘Depression.’ Lack of clarity can make you feel worse than you already do. And worse, it may hinder your recovery.

Many people think that sadness and depression are the same thing. Sad people often say they are ‘depressed’. But when you are sad, does it mean you are depressed? No, not necessarily. In fact, in most cases, you’re probably not. Being sad is a normal part of life. It would not be realistic to be ‘jolly’ all the time, or not to have sad feelings when you’re let down, or lose someone or something precious.

Life is Unpredictable

No matter who we are or what we do, life brings us many ups and downs. There are setbacks and disappointments. Life is peppered with large and small tragedies. Whether we like it or not, life is not always going to deliver what we order.

Sometimes we feel that no-one else could feel as bad as we do. Life is awful and will never get better! But when we realise that others have similar experiences, and that sadness can be overcome, things look different.

The Difference

Part of coping with life’s difficulties is the ability return from sadness to normal equilibrium. When we can’t do that, we are inclined to say that we are ‘depressed.’ Depression is when sadness lingers and won’t go away. This can happen for many reasons. If you suspect you have something more serious than ‘ordinary sadness’, your GP or therapist can give you an assessment to help you find out.

But if you assume you have a serious illness when you do not, your motivation to work on yourself and lift your spirits could be thwarted. Whatever the cause of your low spirits, there are things you can do to feel better – even if you do have the serious form of depression.

Thoughts and Actions

Regardless of the reason for our sadness, changing how we think can make us feel better. We may not be aware of how we could be fuelling our depression by the thoughts we think and the things we do. Taking charge of thoughts and actions improves mood, and move us forward into brighter feelings.

To know more about depression check this link: Depression, and to learn more about how you can beat it, see: Managing Depression. And do get in touch if we can help you further.

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Between Stimulus and Response, man has the freedom to choose (Stephen Covey)