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I feel sad a lot, unmotivated, and I often can't stop crying for many hours. But I sleep and eat decently and I also can smile or laugh sometimes. Am I depressed or just sad?

256 Answers
Last Updated: 11/29/2020 at 9:17pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
Moderated by

Jui Shankar, Ph.D


My worldview offers a systems perspective that values diverse clients and their struggles. I believe supportive and nonjudgmental therapeutic relationships empower clients.

Top Rated Answers
October 27th, 2018 11:42pm
I can't say for you personally if it is depression or just saddness; however I can say from my own personal experience that depression can show itself in many different ways. I have times when I can smile and laugh as well but then I have a depressive episode in which during those times I am down, I cry a lot. I am not motivated, I often may even find it hard to do the simple things like get out of bed. These episodes may last for a few days or even weeks but they do lift and I have time to smile again. So to answer your question. Only a professional can say for sure if you are experiencing feelings of depression or just sad.
November 10th, 2018 6:27pm
Not every depression case has to look like a model textbook example. There're overall 9 criteria for major depressive disorder diagnosis in DSM 5. You have to meet just 5 of them to be diagnosed. Those must include either depressive mood or markedly diminished interest or pleasure in daily activities but it’s the only additional requirement. You don't even have to exhibit both depressed mood and diminished interest or pleasure; one of those 2 is more than enough. In addition, virtually every diagnostic criterion listed included expressions like "nearly every day", "most of the day" or "almost all". In other words, yes! You can definitely be depressed while not showing decreased appetite or sleep disturbances. These are just 2 criteria out of 9. The fact you sometimes smile or laugh certainly doesn’t mean you can’t have depression. The thing is most people don’t actually feel 100% depressed, tired unmotivated and down 24/7. The symptoms are sometimes stronger, sometimes milder, just as it goes for any other illness. And even if you didn’t meet all the required criteria from diagnostic manual, you can still be depressed. Your feelings are the most important thing here. Our diagnostic system isn’t based on biology but on observation, which makes it pretty imperfect. If we were able to diagnose depression based on (for instance) a MRI scan, many people may turn out to by depressed even though our current diagnostic system says something different. Finally, it’s important to mention that DSM allows doctors to add acertain specifiers to major depressive disorder diagnosis, including one called “with atypical features”. Having this kind of “atypical depression” means your mood is reactive, i.e. improves in response to positive events. So, in that case you’re generally depressed but still feel much better or even happy when you experience something positive, you can still be officially diagnosed.
November 21st, 2018 8:36pm
I'd say that, if you're often crying for a long amount of time, that you're probably depressed. Having a depression can bring a lot of different symptoms, but you don't have to have all of them to be depressed. Not eating or sleeping enough are indeed symptoms that you may get, but not everybody get them. With that being said, being sad or unmotivated at times is completely normal, especially if something negative has happened in your life. The difference is that a depressed person might take a lot longer to cope with something negative than someone without depression. If however, you feel sad and unmotivated without any particular reason, you should probably ask a professional for help.
November 23rd, 2018 3:48pm
Sadness is a normal reaction to a loss, disappointment, problems, or other difficult situations. Feeling sad from time to time is just another part of being human. In these cases, feelings of sadness go away quickly and you can go about your daily life. Depression is a mental illness that affects your mood, the way you understand yourself, and the way you understand and relate to things around you. It can also go by different names, such as clinical depression, major depressive disorder, or major depression. Depression can come up for no reason, and it lasts for a long time. It’s much more than sadness or low mood. People who experience depression may feel worthless or hopeless. They may feel unreasonable guilty. Some people may experience depression as anger or irritability. It may be hard to concentrate or make decisions. Most people lose interest in things that they used to enjoy and may isolate themselves from others. There are also physical signs of depression, such as problems with sleep, appetite and energy and unexplainable aches or pains. Some may experience difficult thoughts about death or ending their life (suicide). Depression lasts longer than two weeks, doesn’t usually go away on its own, and impacts your life. It’s a real illness, and it is very treatable. It’s important to seek help if you’re concerned about depression.
November 30th, 2018 3:49am
I'm sorry that you're feeling sad. Often it's hard to pick yourself up and feel motivated. But I reckon the best way to do it is by surrounding yourself with things and doing stuff that you love to do. Listening to music, hanging out with your friends/family, and trying to enjoy life. You'll find it's easier to be less sad when you're comforted by other people and they'll be able to support whatever you're going through, and be a more lot happier. And know in your heart that things will get better. Focus on the positives in life, and journey forward into a happier one.
December 6th, 2018 10:38pm
Depression manifests itself in many ways. It's different for every person. If you have recently suffered the loss of a loved one or a breakup, you could just be sad, but depression is more than possible to begin that way. If you're feeling like this for more than a month or two, you should definitely get professional help. Undiagnosed and untreated depression can permanently alter the chemistry in the brain. For this reason, if you have any doubts, you should speak with someone you trust like your parents or a teacher/professor to decide whether it would be best to see a professional.
December 8th, 2018 5:49pm
Depression is different for every person. People with depression can still sleep, eat, smile, and laugh. Often sometimes you might not even be able to tell apart a depressed person from a non-depressed person. If you're experiencing these symptoms severely and often, then it is worth it to consider seeing a professional about the problem and discuss these things with them. A professional can also give you a diagnosis and determine for sure whether or not you have clinical depression, or if you're 'just sad'. Either way, keep your head up and focus on taking care of yourself, because depression and sadness will both pass. You got this, good luck!
January 9th, 2019 4:18am
As I'm not a professional I can't say for sure, but based on my experiences of having depression it does sound similar to my feelings. I would almost always feel incredibly sad and tired, and I would cry multiple times a day. I found it hard to find energy or interest in doing anything, including things I enjoy. I certainly did smile and laugh sometimes, and I did have the odd day where I felt happy and did something fun. Some things I found really helpful to get through depression was seeing a counsellor, making myself spend time with friends, making myself do hobbies, and keeping a journal of little achievements like when I managed to socialise or do something fun. It was super hard to keep going at times, but the important thing is to keep trying. It's great that you're managing to eat and sleep well, keep up the good work! I hope things look up for you soon
January 10th, 2019 12:43pm
I am so sorry that you are feeling so sad. Crying for many hours and being unmotivated point to depression. Some people can smile and laugh through depression all the time around others, but when they get home and are alone, the tears and overwhelming sadness has a way of finding them. Being depressed is a big challenge, and I am here for you. 7 cups also has trained therapists, and I can help you with finding one if you would like to explore that option. Are there any specific obstacles in your life that you’re currently facing that you think could be causing you to feel so sad? What is something you could do to be nice to yourself today?
January 13th, 2019 11:35am
Hey, Depression has many faces. I am no psychologist so don't value my answer heavily. Out of personal experiences, I'd say you sound like you suffer from Depression or a Depressed episode. When I first got my diagnose, I felt exactly the way you did. My psychologist also told me to go to the doctor, because that behavior can also be caused by less iron in your blood ( also fewer vitamins than you actually should have etc.) In case you haven't talked to your family about it, I'd highly advise you to do so. I know, that this might seem to be frightening at first but I felt more relieved after I did so. Sadly my parents first kind of"underrated" my problem, so I started to isolate myself more than I already did. If this happens to you as well if you choose to tell them, I'm begging you to not isolate yourself because it ends u making things worse.
January 19th, 2019 8:22pm
Is there something in your life that you think could be the cause? Or are you living a normal and uneventful life? Sometimes when something happens, even if it was years ago it can still have a great effect on us, maybe you wish your life to be more then it is? Perhaps you need someone you can talk to without any restraints, if so, I'm here and I'll be happy to talk with you, so will many other listeners, and if we can't help, don't worry, whether you are depressed or just sad, we are here to help you, in whatever way we can,
February 10th, 2019 6:40pm
Depression is a medical word used to describe sadness and the behavior that comes with sadness. You could say that feeling sad a lot and also unmotivated is depression. It sounds like in this situation there are also good days or at least moments that there is relief from feeling sad. If you want to call it depression or sadness that is up to you. It does sound like it would be good to have more relief from the sadness so you do not feel so bad as often. Ask yourself why do I feel so sad. If you know what is causing it it can help in knowing what to do about it. Be kind to yourself and try and give yourself what you need when you feel sad. Take Care.
February 10th, 2019 8:58pm
You don't need to experience all the symptoms of depression to be diagnosed with it. A prolonged feeling of sadness is a very common depressive symptom and should be taken seriously. The ability to smile or laugh genuinely also does not mean you don't have depression. Depression comes in varying forms depending on each person - and severity differs for each person. Seeking professional help and talking to others to overcome it is the best course of action to avoid feeling this way. I know people who have been diagnosed with depression and their only symptom was feeling sad all the time.
February 14th, 2019 12:08am
You feel unmotivated and sad a lot, and you cry for hours on end. You can sleep and eat regularly, and you smile and laugh. But you're still feeling terrible throughout the day. I sounds to me that you're depressed and have been having a difficult time. I know just how hard it can be to get yourself out of that space and how helpless it can feel. But I'll tell you that you are strong and have the will to get yourself through this. It's okay to feel the way you're feeling and it's nothing to feel ashamed about. I've gone through what you're going through and I can tell you that you will get out of this and overcome it.
February 15th, 2019 4:51pm
It might be that something has happened, i.e. the loss of a loved one (even if it has been a while ago), a relationship that is not going well, a divorce, dealing with a difficult boss, feeling lonely etc. Sometimes we are not even aware of the underlying reason. It is good to recognise the feelings of sadness, feeling unmotivated or if you can't stop crying. I usually take time off to think about what is causing these feelings and use the simple technique of keep on asking why, why, why to try to get to the root cause. Once I understand where the feelings are coming from, I can make a better choice on how to deal with them. Sometimes easier said than done, but truly listening to yourself helps me get through these difficult times.
February 16th, 2019 4:30pm
First, it is important to remember that both depression and sadness can manifest in different ways for all of us. If you feel like you might be experiencing depression, making an appointment with a mental health professional is a good first step. If you can't start there making an appointment with your primary care doctor is another good place to start. In that appointment you can discuss what you are feeling and your symptoms and get the appropriate help that you need. Even if you don't end up having depression, therapy can be incredibly beneficial for a lot of people. I hope this helps.
February 23rd, 2019 11:39am
If these feelings persist for weeks, you might be depressed. The way that you sleep and eat decently and smile and laugh might just mean that you're at the beginning of depression. You should be careful because at first, we all think we can go through it alone, that we're strong but comes the tough times when we can't even get out of bed when depression strikes at its worse. Anyway, if the feeling doesn't persist, maybe you are just sad for a particular reason and you just need the time to heal your scars. Mostly, sadness is due to a specific reason unlike depression.
March 17th, 2019 5:08am
It depends; are you feeling this way from time to time? Is this a constant thing? Has it happened for a while? Depression is much more than just being sad, but it can come in many different forms. One only knows that they have depression when they seek a professional and get a clinical diagnosis, so to truly know whether you are depressed or not, it would be best to seek a professional. Crying for many hours, lack of motivation, and intense sadness is completely abnormal, but not uncommon. The best thing to do right now is to take a look at the depression section of 7Cups and talk to a therapist, doctor, or other professional.
May 3rd, 2019 6:50am
The American Psychiatric Association defines depression as a persistent feelings of sadness that can include other symptoms such as loss of interest or pleasure in activities you usually enjoy. Having a normal appetite and sleep schedule and being able to occasionally laugh or smile does not negate these symptoms; if the feelings of sadness and lack of motivation persist and remain severe to the point of crying for hours, then these symptoms are consistent with depression, not mere sadness. You should consult a health professional for a full diagnostic evaluation, and continue a healthy self care routine to the best of your ability, eating and sleeping properly.
June 22nd, 2019 7:06pm
I can't diagnose you, only a licensed professional can. However, you could be depressed and are just showing a few symptoms of it. Again, only a professional can give you an accurate answer so I would at least advise you speak to one if you feel like that is becoming a problem. Sometimes they are only small symptoms but can either develop into bigger issues, or maybe not. It would still be the best advice to speak to a professional before it becomes a major issue, or if you are still unsure. I hope I helped you out even a little!
July 5th, 2019 5:34am
It sounds to me like you may be depressed. Depression comes in waves; sometimes you can be feeling perfectly fine, but other times it can seem like the world is coming down around you. In my personal experience, depression seems to linger. It may fade or wane, but it always seems to come up again in varying degrees of severity. Sadness is often the result of a specific event, while Depression is something constant that, while certain things can make it more prominent, is there whether or not something has happened to trigger it. Sadness is an emotion, depression is something far deeper.
August 2nd, 2019 7:36pm
Depression is a severe case of sadness. It may help to think about things that may have caused this, as many cases have been the result of a significant change or event which may have taken place to trigger your sadness. Depression can't be diagnosed from anyone other than a professional. Talking about your emotions to a loved one or someone you trust may help. It may also be beneficial to talk to your doctor to get some professional help who may refer you to a specialist. However it is always best to talk to friends and family first. Best wishes
August 7th, 2019 8:28pm
having regular sleeping and eating habits, as well as being able to smile and laugh on occasion, doesn't somehow invalidate the times when you feel unmotivated and sad. both parts of you are completely valid, and while i'm not qualified to tell you if you have depression (or even dysthymia), i urge you to seek professional help and find a therapist who can help support you. you're not alone, and you deserve love and support.
August 10th, 2019 2:04pm
The human mind is very complex. Being sad can be caused by depression as well as sadness can cause depression. Life goes fast and most of the time you don't have time to focus on yourself for a few and wonder what is happening. The answer to your question is within you, it always is. Whatever pain you may face, accepting it is part of the healing process. I know I like to meditate when something bad happens. And it helps. Find your own way of dealing with sadness and/or depression, and soon enough you will start growing happy again!
October 9th, 2019 3:20am
To have depression, a person must have a chemical imbalance in their head that makes it difficult for them to be happy, even when good things are happening in their life. It usually has to affect someone for three months before they can be diagnosed. That being said, depression does not effect everyone in the same way. Having depression does not neccessarily mean that you don't eat well or sleep, or that you can not smile or laugh. You can have depression and still enjoy a good joke. If you are honestly thinking that you may be depressed, it would be in your best interest to speak to your doctor or a therapist about the situation.
October 9th, 2019 10:36pm
I personally think this sounds like depression, but I'm not a medical professional and cannot make a diagnosis. If you think the sadness, crying, or lack of motivation is getting in the way of your life, I'd also learn further to depression. Depression doesn't always mean depressed 100% of the time or having each and every symptom. Everyone is different. There are ups and downs, good days and bad days. I'd recommend talking to your doctor about this! They'd be able to refer you to a psychologist or psychiatrist who could officially diagnosis or help regardless of a diagnosis or not!
October 16th, 2019 2:39am
I think you are simply letting your emotions come and go which is good. Feel the emotions and let them be visitors. Good tip though do more of what you love, and have things planned that you look forward to. when you are feeling sad, right a journal entry with your non-dominant hand (proven to be more insightful) and become more self aware about why you are feeling what you are feeling. Practice gratitude and self love and even maybe reciting affirmations. Stay positive and come up with a really good routine that you can follow to develop good habits.
October 17th, 2019 8:37pm
Unfortunately, no one here can give you a straight answer to this question, only a professional can. However, please be aware that you do not need to fit a cookie-cutter version of a mental illness definition in order to be diagnosed. Symptoms vary for each person, and a lack of certain symptoms does not make your condition any less valid than someone who has double the amount of symptoms you have. I suggest consulting a professional on this, because you may have a form of depression, but you may also just be facing a rough patch! Even if you are not diagnosed with depression, please do not think that your feelings are not valid. I hope this answer has helped, and I hope you receive the answer and/or treatment that you are seeking.
October 26th, 2019 3:13am
I experience the same symptoms you do and I have been diagnosed with depression. I would say what you are going through right now is, in fact, depression. You don't have to look depressed to be struggling so someone with depression can still smile while hiding the pain from everyone. Depression is characterized by a constant, intense sadness and bouts of crying are included along with it. I wondered for a long time if I was just sad or actually depressed. I realized that my sadness was great enough to warrant a visit to my doctor so I made an appointment to get a diagnosis and see what I could do to start feeling happy and alive again. Doctors can help and you can feel better again!
October 27th, 2019 7:30pm
I do not know if this is right but my opinion is that I think you are just sad. That could be because you went through a lot of things in your life. When you go through hard times in your life you feel sad because things make you sad. I could recommend that you should talk to family or friends no matter what age you are. Another thing I recommend is that to improve your motivation is doing the things you love or that you have interest in or you have never tried it before and you have been thinking about it earlier.