It’s normal to feel sad after grieving, being lonely, or going through other difficult situations. In challenging times or after a traumatic event, it is common for people to feel a great deal of sadness. The emotions of grief and sadness, while powerful, are not the same as those of clinical depression. What is the difference between sadness and depression?
Depression can mimic expressions of sadness, but they don’t go away over time. Some of these symptoms include:
Change in Appetite
The symptoms of depression can vary from person to person, but many people suffer from a change in appetite when they are depressed.
Decreased appetite is a common sign that someone might be experiencing a depressive episode. Additionally, it can lead to weight loss or weight gain, affecting other aspects of life, such as physical appearance and self-esteem.
If you are either gaining or losing a significant amount of weight without trying, it might be a sign of depression.
Change in Sleep Patterns
A person can experience many sleep-related problems if they suffer from depression. Sleep patterns change, and insomnia is more common. Individuals with depression may find it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. They may also have trouble staying asleep through the night, waking up too early in the morning, and they may feel unrefreshed after they wake up.
Feeling Worthless, Hopeless, or Guilty
It is normal for people to experience feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and guilt sometimes. These types of negative emotions are often a result of specific events in our lives. These emotions usually go away once the event has passed, and we are able to heal. However, sometimes these negative feelings can persist and begin to color our outlook on life; this is when we may need help.
For some people, struggling with depression means feeling hopeless. It can make even the simplest tasks seem impossible, and it’s hard to imagine ever feeling happy again.
Lack of Energy
A lack of energy is one of the most common symptoms for those suffering from depression. It can make it hard to do anything because you feel slow, tired, and unmotivated. If you haven’t been sleeping or eating well, you might feel even more unwell, which will make it harder for you to do anything.
Loss of Pleasure
Depression can make it difficult for a person to keep interested in certain facets of daily life, such as conversing with others, developing plans, and accomplishing everyday tasks. If you feel as though nothing you do brings you joy or happiness anymore, it may be time to talk to someone about depression.
Thoughts of Death or Suicide
Death and suicide is a topic which many people like to avoid. However, we must recognize the symptoms and talk about them.
Regardless of whether you have a plan to commit suicide or not, recurring thoughts of death or suicide are a clear red flag. Thoughts like these can indicate that depression may be clouding your judgment and that you should seek help from a mental health professional as soon as possible.
When to Seek Help
Mental health professionals generally agree on a diagnosis of depression if you experience at least five of these symptoms on most days for two weeks or more. It’s always a good idea to seek help if you suspect that you or a loved one suffers from it. A professional can help you determine whether you are dealing with sadness or clinical depression. The best part is that they provide you with the tools and support to manage your symptoms and improve your mental and emotional health.
We would like to give this reminder that depression is a treatable condition. By knowing the signs, you can help yourself, or others get the help needed to improve.