In my last blog post I talked about the difference between sadness and depression. I want to explore this popular topic a bit more today. What is sadness? It is defined as follows:
the condition or quality of being sad.
“a source of great sadness”
synonyms: unhappiness, sorrow, dejection, depression, misery, despondency, despair, desolation, wretchedness, gloom, gloominess, dolefulness, melancholy, mournfulness, woe, heartache, grief; informalthe blues
Depression is defined as follows:
feelings of severe despondency and dejection.
“self-doubt creeps in and that swiftly turns to depression”
So, what is the difference? Clinically speaking, depression is an abnormal emotional state, a mental illness that affects our thinking, emotions, perceptions, and behaviors in pervasive and chronic ways. Depression does not necessarily require a difficult event or situation, a loss, or a change of circumstance as a trigger.
When making a diagnosis of depression, at least five of the following symptoms must be present:
- A depressed or irritable mood most of the time.
- A loss or decrease of pleasure or interest in most activities, including ones that had been interesting or pleasurable previously.
- Significant changes in weight or appetite.
- Disturbances in falling asleep or sleeping too much.
- Feeling slowed down in your movements or restless most days.
- Feeling tired, sluggish, and having low energy most days.
- Having feelings of worthless or excessive guilt on most days.
- Experiencing problems with thinking, focus, and the ability to make decisions most days.
- Having thoughts of dying or suicide.
Being sad is usually the result of an event or life trigger. Sadness is temporary and healthy, where depression can be a genetic predisposition or caused by underling medical issues (aging, post-pregnancy), or feelings of sadness without the trigger.
When I speak to groups about depression and sadness, anxiety and the workplace are often involved. It’s important to inform peers about depression and sadness if you notice a problem and then offer help. Understanding and providing tools and resources is always suggested. Want to know more? I am available to speak at your next corporate event.