Sadness Vs Depression Handout

A Comparison of Sadness and Depression

In Sadness

  • The primary feeling is loss/grief
  • We feel full of emotion
  • We experience anger, weeping, mourning
  • We want to connection to others
  • We are in touch with feelings
  • The feelings will not last forever. There is still a future, maybe not as bright
  • We can express our reason for being sad
  • Feels like a normal experience
  • Allows profound connection

In depression:

  • The primary feeling is isolation, and numbness
  • We feel empty of emotion
  • We feel like we are beyond tears
  • We want to isolate
  • We feel great emotional pain
  • Feelings are overwhelming and endless
  • We can’t find reason
  • Feelings of shame and stigma
  • Keeps us isolated

Both sadness and depression have the potential for profound transformation. Sadness unexpressed, unnamed, uncommunicated can become depression.

Depression is a disturbance in mood. The mood seems to have a life of its own and permeates all of the person. This makes it harder to experience the comfort of others.

From The Noonday Demon by Andrew Solomon

Depression is the flaw in love. To be creatures who love, we must be creatures who can despair at what we lose, and depression is the mechanism of that despair. When it comes, it degrades one’s self and ultimately eclipses the capacity to give or receive affection. It is the aloneness within us made manifest, and it destroys not only connection to others but also the ability to be peacefully alone with one self. …In depression, the meaninglessness of every enterprise and every emotion, the meaninglessness of life itself, becomes self-evident. The only feeling left in this loveless state is insignificance. (page 15)

Grief is depression in proportion to circumstance; depression is grief out of proportion to circumstance. …Grief is a humble angel who leaves you with strong, clear thoughts and a sense of your own depth. Depression is a demon who leaves you appalled. (page 16)

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