Is It Depression Or sadness?
Are you feeling blue, or are you feeling depressed? Is it the same? Feeling a little down is not the same as full-blown depression. And of late, it’s probably more common.
I’m not sure if I’m sad or depressed.
I’ve seen clinical depression and experienced it first hand. I was raised with it and a mother who spent as much time in bed as possible. Prozac, the wonder drug, had not been invented. Nor were there any kinds of SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors).
Serotonin has been called the “feel-good chemical” because it helps us feel relaxed. If there isn't enough or it is used up too fast, this causes a deficiency, and we can become anxious or depressed.
SSRIs don’t create serotonin; they help our bodies use it more efficiently. As the name implies, if your body is using it up too quickly, the SSRI slows the body’s absorption thus allowing it to remain in your brain longer.
So you may have enough, it’s just not lasting long enough.
But if it’s just an occasional feeling of being down, you may not need it. Only you and your doctor can decide.
Does depression run in your family?
It runs in the family, so yes, I am predisposed to it.
Depression is genetic, like any other medical condition. It is a brain disorder and affects your outlook on life and your behavior. You cannot control it anymore than a person with diabetes can control insulin production in their bodies.
Anxiety is a form of depression.
If you grew up with it as I did, there’s a dark pervasive energy, a heavy feeling. And Sundays are the worst.
Think of it as a vaporizer or incense; only it’s not a smell that’s filling the space. It’s a feeling and once it’s in your body, you never forget the feeling. So in a sense, depression is not only genetic; it’s your environment.
It’s not your fault if you’re depressed any more than it was my mother’s and any more than it’s mine. But there are days that I’m down.
Very down. Then it’s just gone.
Sadness vs. Depression
My sadness isn’t as intense.
And even when I’m sad, there are moments when I can laugh. I can function, and I don’t want to stay in bed all day. Well, maybe a little longer.
You can’t laugh with depression. There is no joy in life.
It surrounds you, creeps into your life and makes it impossible to enjoy anything, including the things that once made you happy. Your body may ache. You may feel worthless or suicidal.
I often feel a sense of worthlessness as opposed to usefulness.
Why I am here, really, if it’s it’s not to make a difference? Did I? In anyone’s life? But then it goes away.
Yes, it’s intense sadness. But probably not depression. When I’m going through it, it’s difficult to tell.
Ask yourself if there’s a trigger for the way you feel. Depression doesn’t have one.
Are you sleeping? And sleeping well? If you are depressed, you may not be sleeping or sleeping well.
How is your energy level overall? Depression sucks the life out of you, and like my mom, you have no strength to do anything.
If you’re saying yes, to these, you may need to talk to your doctor. You don’t have to continue feeling horrible every day. Have the courage to ask for the help that all human beings sometimes need.
If sadness is not going away, then it’s more and you need to treat it.
What gets me through is to keep moving. I have my go-to’s.
They are: work 40-hours a week, teaching yoga, practicing yoga, meditation, and writing. We all have things that lift us.
I even managed to clean this past weekend. (Housekeeping is not one of my strong points.) I figure a little bit of organized mess doesn’t hurt anyone, but the dirt and dust are no-nos.
Moving and any exercise can help kick-up those endorphins in your brain and snap you out of your sadness streak. It’s worked for me for years, though getting motivated is an effort.
I waiver between wanting to give up and forget it, yes, to wanting to take on the world. But the point is, I waiver and go for periods of time feeling well.
I want to write. Make money. Quit my job and the working world for good.
In other words, retire.
There are always reasons to feel sad.
Life is hard and it’s easy to see the bad stuff as all-encompassing.
We feel the way we feel. And we have every right to. We just can’t let our feelings run our lives. If it’s sadness, not depression, we have a bit of control.
According to Psychology Today, I don’t have five of the eight symptoms listed below to be officially depressed. Nor do I have the severity or longevity of these symptoms to warrant that diagnosis.
I’ve given it a lot of thought and evaluated each symptom. My reply is in bold letters. The symptoms are:
- A depressed or irritable mood most of the time. Does 40-hours a week count for ‘most of the time?’ Yes, I hate my job a lot of the time.
- A loss or decrease of pleasure or interest in most activities, including ones that had been interesting or pleasurable previously. NO.
- Significant changes in weight or appetite. NO.
- Disturbances in falling asleep or sleeping too much. NO. But I love to sleep. Nothing new.
- Feeling slowed down in your movements or restless most days. NO.
- Feeling tired, sluggish, and having low energy most days. NO.
- Having feelings of worthless or excessive guilt on most days. A little worthless, but not most, just some days. A big NO on the guilt.
- Experiencing problems with thinking, focus, concentration, creativity and the ability to make decisions most days. NO.
- Having thoughts of dying or suicide. Are these the normal ups and downs of life? Am I confusing sadness and depression? Big YES, but NOT on suicide.
So where does this leave things?
Depression colors everything in a darker color and robs you of your joy. You need professional help to pull yourself out of it. You need that serotonin we talked about earlier.
But, my mood does not color my ability to enjoy life. When I have reason to celebrate, I do. I look forward to these events. Things I enjoy are not less interesting, less important, or less joyful.
And I always look forward to Fridays.
My mood just makes the shitty stuff more shitty.
I know I am sometimes sad and maybe sometimes a little depressed.
The two intertwined. Decide what you’re dealing with and act on it. Get off your butt and move, dance, sing, or do something that lifts your spirits.
The fact that you’re willing to try is an indication that you might not be depressed, just sad. And that’s bad enough. But if you’re not sure, talk to a healthcare professional. It’s better to err on the side of caution.
Everyone is dealing with something. You can do this. You’ve got your whole life ahead of you.