‘Sadness’ and ‘depression’ are not interchangeable words


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When we substitute the word depressed with sadness, the mental health disease which is known as depression is minimized.

Sadness is a small piece of the bigger picture. People who are sad aren’t necessarily depressed, and our generation has difficulty understanding the difference between the two.

Individuals with the disease know that depression doesn’t just start and end with the symptoms of sadness. They know that it consists of more than just the occasional “wow today is a bad day”  or “it is just not my week” kinds of things. Sadness is a normal reaction to tough times and is undoubtedly difficult to deal with, but it is different from depression.

It is not uncommon to hear the phrase “I’m so depressed” when a bad grade pops up under a test score, or a strike of bad luck hits. But again, that is not depression.

Depression is the never ending feeling of sadness for some. For others, it may be described as a loss of interest in activities they used to find enjoyable. Depression for someone else could be like having a heavy gray rain cloud follow them around all the time. It can also be the feeling that you are hopeless, helpless, and worthless or angry and irritable. The effects and feelings caused by depression are unique from person to person, but in the end it’s the same disease.

For me it was a little bit of it all.

Five years ago if someone were to have told me that in a couple years I would be severely struggling to keep my emotions under wraps because I was so UPSET, I would have looked at them with a puzzled face and probably asked if they meant I couldn’t control myself because I was so happy.

I have everything to be happy about. My life is honestly wonderful. I have parents who support me in everything and anything. I have a sibling who is always there and will always just talk about whatever. I have a boyfriend who is one of the most thoughtful and caring people I have ever met, and I have friends who would stop the world for me. My grades are decent, and my life genuinely couldn’t be better. Who would I to be if I were to ask for anything more?

Well I certainly didn’t ask for this. No one ever asks for this.

In the beginning I didn’t think much of it. I just felt that I was having a couple of off weeks but after those passed, I would progressively get better. I’d get back on my feet and I would be the person I knew myself to be. But those days of elation didn’t come. Those couple weeks turned into a couple months of glum, and for reasons I only wish I knew.

I had a heavy heart. No one begs to be awake at 2am awake with warm tears rolling down their face. No one hopes that certain days after school they can race to their car to sit in it and break down, because today wasn’t their day, and it hadn’t been their day for the past six months. And NO ONE asks for it to happen for no evident reason.

People with depression will often hear these platitudes:
“Happiness is a choice.”
“Why are you upset? You have a good life.”
“It’s all in your head.”
“Everyone has bad days.” 

No one who is going through actual depression ever really appreciates these comments.

If it were that easy to fix depression by just “thinking happy thoughts,” then those of us with depression would have all done that by now.

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