Whats the Difference Between Depression and Feeling Sad?

300 million people worldwide suffer with depression, it is therefore estimated that 15% of the adult population will experience depression at some point in their lifetime. Suicide is the most common cause of death within men aged 20-49, and in 2017, suicide accounted for 5,821 deaths in the UK. So how do we know what depression is? What’s the difference between sadness and depression? Here’s 5 points to get you started.

Sadness is a normal human emotion that everyone will experience in their life at some point. Life events can cause sadness, for example, breaking up with a partner, failing an exam or losing a loved one. Someone with depression is primed to react badly to a negative situation but after it occurs will experience a deeper more general feeling of depression. This can last for a substantial period of time. Also depression can arise without an event being the cause, it can arise for no obvious reason.

Feelings of sadness usually won’t prevent you enjoying yourself and with persuasion you can have a laugh and a nice time even if feeling sad. Depression however is a diagnosed mental health illness. If feeling depressed you will have lack of interest or enjoyment in doing things you’d normally enjoy.

When experiencing feelings of sadness, you’re still able to eat, work out or sleep in most cases. The feelings won’t effect your ability to carry out everyday tasks. Depression however is known to seriously disrupt your every day activities like eating and sleeping. Some people with depression will become an insomniac or be asking themselves “what’s the point in eating at all”.

Those who have feelings of sadness don’t often get permanent sense of worthlessness or guilt for feeling sad. Depression however is well known to be linked with self-punishing, where it’s difficult to see yourself in a positive light. You’ll blame yourself for everything and think of yourself as worthless.

Feeling sad won’t usually lead you to have thoughts of suicide. Sadness is a temporary emotion and one that most people expect to experience at some point in their lives. Depression however can led to intrusive thoughts of committing suicide. With depression, the self-punishing thoughts can lead you to believe that the world would be better off without you, and that no one would care if you weren’t here. This can lead to people creating suicide plans or even worse, taking their own lives.

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