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How do I know if I'm sad or depressed?

340 Answers
Last Updated: 02/19/2022 at 3:19am
How do I know if I'm sad or depressed?
★ This question about Depression was starred by a moderator on 5/12/2016.
1 Tip to Feel Better
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Stacy Overton, PhD.


I am an enthusiastic life-long learner and also a professor of counseling. I have a passion for peoples stories and helping to guide and empower the human spirit.

Top Rated Answers
- Expert in Depression
June 10th, 2016 1:59pm
If you're afraid that your depressed, there are many things you can do to help figure it out. Here on 7 Cups we have a great test tool that will help you possibly figure out if you're depressed or simply sad. Hopefully taking this test will help you figure out something new. Best wishes!
December 27th, 2014 12:32am
You can know if you're depressed because everything makes you feel sad. You feel tired all the time, maybe you don't wanna eat, or by the contrary you eat aaaall of what you see, you cry all the time, you have suicidal ideas, feeling extremely alone and lonely even if you are sorrounded by people. That's being depressed, feeling numb and empty ALWAYS.
June 19th, 2015 7:03am
Based on my experience, I knew I was depressed by lack of motivation, constantly sleeping (or wanting to), rarely eating, messy room, excessive laziness, feeling extremely negative towards myself, and feeling hopeless.
December 21st, 2014 9:37am
There is a clear difference between being just sad and being depressed. But it becomes difficult to distinguish for the person going through this. Being sad is temporary feeling that one overcomes in some time (may take several hours or sometimes days) and the person regains it natural mood after some time. But depression is when the feeling isn't ending, it isn't going away. Depression becomes a part of you, it affects you and your activities. You find it difficult and rare to regain your original moods. Life seems to have taken this road and these feelings have become permanent.
December 4th, 2014 10:39pm
Sadness is usually a temporary feeling, that is triggered by some sort of event.. Depression can start out as sadness, but it persists for an extended period of time, and oftentimes, there's no particular reason as to why you feel so bummed out. If it's a prolonged sadness that you just can't get over, it never hurts to talk it out with someone, which is why we're all here. :-)
November 24th, 2014 7:33pm
Depression is a dark cloud hanging over your head constantly, whether you feel awful that second or not. You still have the sense of being separated from everyone. Also when you're sad you know you won't be sad forever, but with depression you can never see the end.
January 27th, 2016 10:28pm
Sadness is crying when you want to be happy. Depression is wanting to cry but not feeling the tears come. Sadness is an emotion, depression is a monster.
August 16th, 2015 3:57am
Depression isn't just sadness, It's feeling nothing, Your personality changing a bit and not wanting to be alive anymore for some periods of time. If you have a type of depression, you'll know. :)
January 5th, 2015 7:37pm
Usually, the most prominent difference between depression and sadness is how long it lasts: if you've been sad for a while, and no matter what you do or when or how, you don't get as happy as you remember yourself being, even if those same things used to make you happy. It remains for weeks on end, sometimes longer.
November 28th, 2014 6:56pm
Sadness is your immediate reaction to bad things that happen to you, these feelings usually disappear when you talk about things or in their own time. Depression is when you feel sad, worthless or useless (and many other symptoms) for a long period of time. It is often characterised by low mood, but you can also lose interest in hobbies, over eat or under eat or see some significant changes in your sleeping pattern. If you have any of those symptoms or are worried, it's always a good idea to see your doctor.
November 25th, 2014 3:28am
Many ways to describe depression is a loss of interest in things you usedd to love. Feelings you used to have are now gone, and there's an unnecessary sadness.
December 14th, 2014 10:23pm
Good question. Online there are many lists of symptoms of depression which can help you get a general idea. Talking to a doctor can help a lot. One major part of depression is how long it is, and how greatly it impacts your ability to function in carious aspects of daily life (concentration, sleep, eating are just a few examples)
August 16th, 2015 3:25pm
in my experience depression is inward and sadness is outward. i mean, ifyou think YOU are the reason for your feelings... you feel worthless or you feel hopeless or you feel like no one likes you and those feelings are accompanied by constant tiredness, difficulty concentrating, loss of interest in things you usually enjoy, intrusive thoughts and, in particular, thoughts and/or attempts at self harm, and they are over a long period. then its more likley depression. if on the other hand you can look at a situation you feel sad n and identify an outside, one time cause like... a family pet dying or missing out on a spot in a team and none of the other symptoms are present, its likely sadness. if you are sad for a long time or have feelings or thoughts of suicide, you should see a health professional
March 11th, 2018 1:31pm
Change in sleep patterns and apetite, negative thinking, thoughts of hopelesness and suicide, feelings of sadness...
June 19th, 2015 11:28am
Depression is no fashionable affliction. In it is real, insidious, and when in full bloom, debilitating. Yet far too many people are oblivious to their own deep sadness or simply refuse to recognize it. Many people assume that depression is easily identifiable, manifesting itself as persistent sadness that doesn't lift. In fact, symptoms of depression can take a variety of forms.You may find that you are tired all the time, and all you want to do is sleep. Depression can also trigger insomnia, forgetfulness, and an inability to take pleasure in normal activities.It is not just feeling sad,depression doesn't just occur when something bad happens in your life. It can happen even when things seem fine.Biggest difference is, depression doesn't make you sad all the time.One of the most popular, enduring, and irritating myths about depression is that it means depressed people are sad all the time – and that by extension, people who are happy can’t be experiencing depression, even if they say they are.
November 25th, 2014 11:14pm
Depression is the state of being sad constantly for a period of more than 2 weeks. The sadness is very hard to get rid of and often can have no real cause or reason, or be triggered by certain events rather than sadness which comes and goes, or simply goes.
January 1st, 2015 12:48pm
well typically people define depression as when the sadness prolongs, stays with you. the sadness can go up and down, in waves, it can be an extreme low for a while, weeks even, then back to a point where you're just resting or waiting for an ultimate low to hit again. this is something i've struggled with, i have major depressive disorder, also can be referred to as recurrent depression. there are many areas of depression and bipolar disorder that can have the same kind of characteristics. if you feel like there is something wrong, you are unlike yourself or anything is off in the slightest. your best bet is to seek help to get all the support and more that you need to be able to combat whatever it is that you may be feeling and dealing with! :)
November 25th, 2014 5:59pm
The difference is that depression is more profound and much more than just a mood. It involves other things such as a feeling of loss of energy, inability to meet a challenge and a negative self image. You are right. It is beyond 'sad'. Although, you may draw no comfort from this fact, that although the condition is very common it is easily misunderstood by those who have never actually experienced it. Yes, she needs help although she will most probably reject it strongly. She needs to receive the kind of counselling that only a true professional in the field can offer. She also needs your help. The help that only someone that loves her can offer. Love is strong and should never be underestimated.
June 24th, 2015 3:41pm
You will just know, depression is where you enter a temporary, or permanent state of sadness. Lose interest in things you love, won't want o do anything. If these sort of things occurr, you'll know.
August 18th, 2015 4:11pm
Depression is a serveraty of sadness and other emotions like anger and pain and brokenenss. Sadness is just sadness.
July 5th, 2015 10:51pm
Sadness will pass in due course. But, if the feelings are interfering with your life and don't go away after a couple of weeks, or if they come back, over and over again, for a few days at a time, it could be a sign that you're depressed
July 29th, 2015 5:44am
Depression has specific symptoms that go beyond sadness. Depression includes a lack of interest in things we used to like, fatigue, lack of motivation, feelings of helplessness, feelings of hopelessness, and so forth. While many of those things can also be related to sadness, they are stronger emotions when associated with depression and they last longer than general sadness would last. Additionally, sadness often has a trigger (or preceding event) where depression may or may not have one.
May 22nd, 2018 6:51am
You will know if you are sad or depressed because your mood will be very down. You will most likely want to be alone and not have an interest in doing the things that you wanted to before. You may experience feelings of numbness or the urge to cry, you may also feel very confused and lonely, since these feelings sometimes cause isolation. Sadness is a feeling that comes with heaviness and normally despair, and depression normally brings along irritation, seclusion, apathy and more. You will normally be able to identify these feelings without a lot of thought, and if you can't then it is best to speak with a therapist about what the disconnect between you and your emotions is.
August 9th, 2015 6:40pm
Sadness can often be traced back to one specific event or thought, depression is more of a general sadness that you feel weighs heavily on your shoulders, and can make you feel apathetic, or like every day things are really difficult to manage.
June 20th, 2015 10:28pm
There's a list of official diagnostic criteria, but if you're trying to figure it out for yourself, a good thing to ask yourself is if you can still have fun, enjoy things you've always liked, and be happy when you get good news. If the answer is no, and this has gone on for more than a few weeks, you're probably depressed (although there are also some physical conditions that can cause this so it might help to see a doctor if you can afford it).
July 12th, 2015 12:31pm
Depression feels very different to sadness. Every witnesses and sees sadness in their life. Depression is feeling like you are worthless. It is on a much higher scale than sadness and can do much more damage. If you do ever feel like you are worthless or this life just isn't for you, please talk to a friend, parent, doctor or a listener on this site.
March 19th, 2016 4:44pm
As I've experienced something, it's mostly about time and the effect. Sadness is something that doesn't feel good at the moment, it may weigh you down or even leave you desperate, but you mostly know the reason and a strategy to cope, and you know that sooner or later (maybe sooner) the pain will go away. Meanwhile,depression is persistent, it totally drains your energy, takes your ability to focus, is paired with feelings like guilt, shame or anger. You might not even always know what is causing your depressive episodes, it just happens. And you can't always see a way out either. But believe me, there is a way out, and you can win this fight.
December 7th, 2014 7:30pm
If it interferes with your day to day activities and daily life, then you may suffer from depression and will probably benefit from consulting with a doctor.
July 9th, 2015 7:25pm
Depressed feeling is probably you will feel fatigue, loss of interest on your activities, loss of appetite for more 2 weeks time. But sad will be okay after a while.
July 12th, 2015 4:48pm
Depression lasts much longer. Wait it out. If every morning your feel like you can't get up, and it feels like a weight dragging you down, if you are tired whilst doing everything, with sadness always lurking in your mind, for weeks, then you are most likely depressed. sadness will come and go, but depression stays for a while longer.