I know there are a lot of similar blog posts floating around the world wide web, and by no means am I trying to “copy” anyone, I just wanted to add my two cents to the topic.
First, and probably the most important, depression is not the same as sadness. This is a common misconception that I have personal experience with. Sometimes sadness can feel so debilitating that you may think you are depressed; very understandable. With that said, sadness is a completely normal human emotion, that we all experience within our lives. It usually occurs when you have experienced a disappointing event, a hurtful situation, or when grieving over a loss. However, once you overcome said event, or situation that brought on this emotion, the sadness dissipates.
Depression is its on demon. Really! That may seem dramatic but, for those who suffer from it, will understand what I am referring to. Depression is a mental health disorder that effects your mood. Common symptoms associated with depression are trouble concentrating, racing thoughts, insomnia, excess sleep, low energy, weight loss or weight gain, and thoughts of suicide. I can definitely see how some of those symptoms can also relate to sadness, but, with depression, it takes more than just overcoming a disappointing experience to feel “happy” again.
In my experience, it takes a lot of personal work (i.e. therapy) as well as medication. I am not ashamed to say that I need antidepressants to function in every day life. If anything, I feel proud that I took the steps necessary to start treating my mental illness versus spending the rest of my life curled up on the couch and losing myself in whatever Netflix show I chose to watch that day. Because there is such a stigma surrounding being on medication for a mental illness, it was difficult to make the decision to move forward with it in the beginning. Society can make you feel “less than” because you require pharmaceutical assistance. No one should ever have to feel this way, especially when they are essentially trying to better themselves.
The point of this post isn’t to demean anyone who is experiencing sadness, but to briefly explain that there is a difference between that and depression. When someone you know is suffering with this, or any, mental illness, try being more mindful of what they could be experiencing. Some days we can climb out of the trenches and fight, other days we just lay down and play dead, waiting for it to be over. That’s battling depression. That’s more than sad.