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

339 Answers
Last Updated: 11/19/2020 at 9:56pm
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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Shawn Wilson, LCSW

Clinical Social Work/Therapist

I provide supportive counseling and psychotherapy. I utilize cognitive-behavioral and solution focused strategies to address client concerns. Personal coaching is available.

Top Rated Answers
July 10th, 2015 7:06pm
Because the depression lasts for quite a long time and it affects you physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually whereas sadness affects you but not for that length of time.
July 10th, 2015 9:47pm
Depression continues over a long periods of time, while sadness comes ang goes and usually doesn't last that long.
July 11th, 2015 3:28am
It's not just a little hard for you to get up in the mornings. It's the most difficult thing in the world to force yourself to get up, to force yourself to do what you need to do. You just want to lay down and sleep rather than live your day. Things that once made you happy do not seem to have any affect and you go into these down moments where you honestly wouldn't care what happened to do. It's very hard to confuse sad and depressed if you're both.
July 11th, 2015 5:40am
Because you literally can't face the world and your mood is changing all the time. One minute your ok the next minute you are shouting at someone or getting irritated. You just want to sleep and be by yourself and sleep.
July 11th, 2015 5:55am
Depression goes on for a long period of time. You may want to stay in bed, shut off from the world, stop contact with people. Stay in your pj's all day long. Feel your worthless and life is not worth living. When your sad you normally do not go to the extreme of depression. You might mope around and feel pretty terrible about a situation but you do not normally focus on taking fault with yourself.
July 11th, 2015 1:01pm
Your best bet would be to take the 7 cups emotional wellness test. It can help you pinpoint if you are depressed.
July 11th, 2015 10:05pm
Depression is a long-term and recurring disorder that affects how a person functions in everyday life. Depression is a deeper feeling than sadness. Often times, depression doesn't even have a reason for being there. The person is just deeply sad and there's not even a reason why. Depression isn't always just deep sadness, however; it can often be characterized as the feeling of complete emptiness/devoid of any feeling at all. It drags you down and it rarely goes away. It saps your energy, takes away the joy in things that used to make you happy and makes everything in life dull and pointless.
July 12th, 2015 2:52am
Depression lasts for a long period of time and has this certain....pit wrenching (for a lack of terms) feeling with it. Sadness vanishes.
July 12th, 2015 7:24am
Look into the symptoms of depression, and speak to someone about it. We all feel down sometimes, but if you do have the symptoms of depression, then you should get some help.
July 12th, 2015 8:41pm
If you suspect you might be depressed it is always good to consult with a professional. He/she will be able to give you the best diagnose and advice. It's also best to refrain from making your own diagnoses based on information on the internet. Only an expert with adequate knowledge and experience can be a reliable source of information on your mental condition.
July 15th, 2015 1:22am
Usually depression lasts longer than a few days versus when we are sad we are feeling sad for the moment and never really exceeds a longer period of time. Some times they are things that have happened in the past that we still continue to dwell on because we feel like we can't let go. It's different for everyone but if things normally bring you down and you feel like staying inside more often than not there could be something going on.
July 15th, 2015 7:51am
If you are depressed, your sadness is not in proportion to the actual event that happened. You might even be very sad without any obvious reason at all. A persistent sad mood that won't go away may actually be depression. This often causes difficulty sleeping and changes in appetite. It may cause you to feel like being alone and push family and friends away.
July 16th, 2015 7:38pm
Depression is an illness as apposed to a mood. Depression can affect your sleeping, appetite and motivation to do things. Sadness is a normal emotion that we can experience from time to time due to an event or disappointment. Depression is when a normal human emotion, sadness, goes to a point where it is out of control and having a severe negative impact on a persons life.
July 17th, 2015 3:39pm
Many people use the terms depressed and sad interchangeably. "oh I am really depressed today." But depression is a severe form of emotion that is more complex than sadness. It also encompasses a general lethargy and lack of energy and ambition. It is like being paralyzed where it seems too difficult to get out of bed. So if you hear someone say "I am depressed" and they are going through their day like normal, maybe they mean they are sad. You may not even see the person who is depressed because they can't even start their day. When they say they are depressed, they really need someone to reach out to them.
July 17th, 2015 7:25pm
Depression is constant. It makes you not care about anything, and you just want to lay in bed and forget the world. It's different from being sad, because sadness can go away once something makes you happy again, but depression is always there hovering over you.
July 18th, 2015 6:51am
Sadness is normal but depression is not. Depression is a serious thing that can affect your health.
July 18th, 2015 5:53pm
If it lasts longer than 2 weeks, you may be depressed. Reach out for help and a professional can tell you.
July 19th, 2015 3:14am
Sadness passes quicker, and at times can be very sharp and noticeable. With sadness, we know the immediate cause and can say with ease "These are the reasons why i am sad." Depression, on the other hand, is paradoxically a more subtle thing, yet is larger and more damaging in experience than sadness. Indeed, sadness can even be a manifestation of depression.
July 19th, 2015 5:45pm
When you start feeling like there is no point in doing everyday activities such as taking care of yourself.
July 19th, 2015 10:08pm
Your sadness if most likely depression if it is chronic, meaning it comes up more so than you would expect. Also, another obvious sign is having no reason to be depressed at all. Your life could be going smoothly, yet you find yourself feeling numb and lost.
July 22nd, 2015 3:22pm
There are tests to determine depression. There are web-based depression tests which you can take for assessment. Some sites offer a comprehensive and interactive depression analysis, along with anxiety analysis and analyses of other neuroses. Some common websites are MoodGym and DepressionCenter. However, these are the ones I like the most, as a conclusion to my research in this area. Select the one that suits you best.
July 22nd, 2015 4:09pm
Time is the easiest way to tell. Emotions change regularly and spontaneously, but being depressed is different. You're depressed if you're in a *constant* state of low emotion for at least a period of 2 weeks. Being depressed affects you physically and behaviour wise. You lose interests in things you once loved, you sleep too much or too less, your desire to socialise is practically non-existent and generally you feel quite numb to the world. Even your relationships with your family and friends change for the worse. Usually, sadness (although intense) doesn't last long enough to produce these negative effects.
July 22nd, 2015 7:12pm
Depression is generally characterized by feelings of sadness, emptiness, hopelessness, and sometimes irritability, change in weight or sleeping patterns and energy level lasting for a significant period of time. Depression is often not situational; it won't improve simply because a situation changes. However, depression can be triggered by a particular situation.
July 23rd, 2015 12:17am
If you seem to be sad almost all the time every hour of the day for more than a year you might want to see a doctor so you can get properly diagnosed.
July 23rd, 2015 12:02pm
Sadness lasts for a short period whereas depression is kinda " it just follow you everywhere and stays there like your shadow . " when you're sad people around you can cheer you up , and you can just be fine by doing some silly thing . But when you're depressed nothing makes sense and think pessimistically.
July 23rd, 2015 5:15pm
Depression is like long term sadness. They usually say if it lasts for two or more weeks you should seek professional help.
July 24th, 2015 2:15pm
Sadness is a temporary state that has been triggered by a specific event. Depression is a mental illness and is a permanent state (over weeks, months or even years). Depression can lead to suicide.
July 24th, 2015 6:14pm
Everyone feels sad sometimes, it's normal. Sadness is an emotion, which means it's there for a short period of time, and is then replaced by another emotion. Depression, on the other hand, is not simply an emotion but a true illness. A depression will stay with you not for a couple of days, but rather weeks, months or in some bad cases even years. Also, if you aren't sure whether you suffer from depression or just 'general sadness', depression comes with more symptoms than just feeling gloomy. For example, a depressed person will not enjoy the activities that did bring them joy in the past. Or, you could be experiencing trouble sleeping when you are depressed (either sleeping not enough, or way too much). Of course, if you want to be absolutely sure, I would always advice you to talk about this with a professional (you could start at your general practitioner, for example). Hope this helped!
July 24th, 2015 8:27pm
Depression is preety different from being sad. Depression may be felt as if there's no way out. Your chest feels empty and lonely. Sad is upset and sad is sometimes felt once a day or for a while. Depression is usually for a longer period of time.
July 25th, 2015 8:50am
Go back to the last time you were happy. And remember carefully what happened next. We all say we have mood swings and turn sad for no obvious reason, but small things like a text from someone can boost or lower your mood. Find if that is the case, if yes; then it's just sadness. For a little reason yes, but still just sadness.