Did You Know...

The difference between sadness and depression? 

Many people will say that they are depressed when, in actuality, they are grieving or sad - what I would call 'good' depression.  If you are feeling sad, you will notice certain physical phenomena which you have learned to label as sad.  These sensations might include tearing, a heaviness in the chest, the feeling of a broken heart for someone who has experienced a loss.  Sad feelings can become quite intense, but gradually will lessen as you work through the loss.  On the other hand, depression can consist of a feeling of being in a black hole.  There is a sense of hopelessness.  There may be feelings and thoughts of self-hatred and self-devaluation.  Depression is really a shut-down of the body.  Sometimes, intense sadness can shade into depression if typical ways of coping with or regulating sadness break down (these coping methods may include relaxing, distraction, exercise, etc). Depression is the body's way of getting away from your real feelings about things by going into shut-down mode.  While it is definitely OK to feel sad in response to events, it is important to feel that you can handle your feelings and that you can function even if you are having negative feelings.  But if you are in a depressed state, functioning becomes difficult and even getting out of bed can become a chore.  Being able to tell the difference between 'good' and 'bad' depression is important.  If you are sad or grieving, that is fine, as long as you are not feeling them in amounts which are more than you can handle.  If you think you are depressed, do see your physician as well as a mental health professional who can help you decide if indeed you are depressed.  Psychotherapy alone can make a big difference, and professionals can help you decide if you need medication in addition to therapy.