There is a huge difference between clinical depression and “feeling depressed.” We will all feel depressed at some times in our lives because of the conditions of those around us or because of a loss or disappointment in our personal lives. Clinical depression is not just “feeling depressed.” Clinical depression is an ongoing, lingering condition that needs medical care and professional counseling.
You may feel sad for many reasons. Some of these may include:
- You have been disappointed
- You have been rejected
- You have been ignored
- You have lost a friend
- You have been dissed
- You have lost a family member, a spouse, a friend to death
- You have failed to keep a promise, a pledge, a vow
- You have lost a job, a scholarship, a promotion
- You have had a frightening health diagnosis
- You feel stuck in a position, personal or professional
- You have failed to succeed in a chosen area
- You think you have nothing left but broken dreams
Depression lingers. Motivation is gone. There seems no future, no hope. Depression is described as being like a cloud enshrouding the person. And it lingers. The depressed person needs attention – professional help. The darkness comes frequently, and it remains, relentlessly.
Conversely, sadness may come and go – and laughter can fill the in-between spaces – and improvement is seen if we graph it.
Depression needs professional care. Help someone find that care if you think they are depressed. You may be the one that helps them understand that they need professional care.
Symptoms of clinical depression may include having constant feelings of sadness, lingering fatigue, irritability, sleep and eating pattern changes; feelings of deep, unwarranted guilt, physical symptoms such as headaches or body aches that do not have a specific cause, feelings of worthlessness, constant thoughts about death, and suicidal thoughts or actions.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Hours: Available 24 hours
If someone is feeling sad, listen to them, perhaps cry with them. Then give them words of hope and encouragement. Walk with them, laugh with them, watch them become lighter in step as time goes by. They need a friend.
They will walk through the sadness. They may retain a sadness, but they have grown stronger. Those experiencing sadness and bouncing back will gradually become stronger people, yet they will retain the softness of empathy, understanding, and love toward others in their life.
Sadness is a part of living. It surely moves us to appreciate the times of joy and sunshine in our lives.
How to Deal with Sadness
Sadness is a human emotion that all people feel at certain times of their lives. Feeling sad is a natural reaction to situations that cause emotional pain. Feeling sad is an important emotion because it can motivate us to do something about a distressing situation. Or reach out to encourage another in the depths of sorrow and pain. We can learn how to deal with sadness, embracing it, and allowing it to make us ready for the next step in our life.
Remember, it’s OK to be sad sometimes. And there are some ways you can help yourself be OK with feelings of sadness:
- It’s ok to release it – to cry, yell, sob – whatever helps you safely vent those feelings. The release of emotion is healing and restorative.
- Breathe. Focus on your breathing as you allow your body to become calm.
- Inhale the comfort of believing our forgiving and loving Heavenly Father who loves us. He will never abandon you.
- Allow a friend to walk with you through your season of sadness.
Crying helps us feel better. The release allows us to function rationally again. Sadness is temporary and fades with time. In this way, it differs from depression.
One of the most therapeutic statements made to me was from my boss upon my return to work following the death of my spouse. “When you need to leave, just go. We understand.” Helpful, because I did not have to blurt out what would invariably land me in a heap but would give me permission to quickly escape by leaving the office without fanfare.
Connect with other people – a yoga class, jogging, bird watching – a group that interests you. Sharing a common interest with others is an essential part of mental health.
Do not isolate yourself. Allow others to love you and empathize with you. Forgive them if they awkwardly but unintentionally offend. Not everyone is a born counselor.
Join a life group in a church. Become involved with those who are seeking God’s guidance in their lives. Grow together. Laugh together. Share together.
Engage in physical activities or sports. The chemicals released after a workout boost our endorphins, the brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters. Stress-busting benefits improve our mood and sense of well-being.
Eat healthfully and get adequate sleep. Our bodies are intricate and priceless. Treat them as such. We cannot function without adequate sleep. Likewise, foods convert to the energy our body demands in order to produce optimal performance. Do not neglect your health when going through a season of sadness.
Again: Do not isolate yourself. People often do not know how to help someone who is sad. They feel inadequate. Let them know how just their presence is helpful at times. Accept offers of meals and invitations to games, theater, and other interests you may all enjoy.
The death of a loved one will leave sadness that reappears throughout the years.
It becomes less painful with time but remains definitely sadness, mingled with a sweetness of memories. This is a part of you as a person. The experience will allow you to reach out to others with an understanding tear, words of hope and faith, and a gentle testimony of how healing has come into your life.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”