Depression vs Sadness

The Counselling Corner – Martensville, Saskatchewan
Child, Youth, Adult, Couple, & Family Counselling

Depression vs Sadness

Submitted by Wendy Kritzer BSW MSW RSW

Many people struggle with either depression or sadness and are confused with the distinction between them. Both depression and sadness are two common psychological states, but they are completely different. Some individuals will ignore depression just associating it with being sad. This can be a problem if the individual fails to reach out and get help for a serious condition that may require treatment from trained professionals. On the other hand, some people are overly alarmed during a normal state of sadness. Understanding the difference is important as depression can affect our mental or physical health.

Sadness is an emotional state we have all experienced and will continue to experience from time to time in our lives. It can be the result of a hurtful, disappointing, or difficult experience. The sadness experienced from a hurtful, disappointing, or difficult situation will eventually fade and/or the individual will adjust from the experience and the sadness will soon disappear.

Depression is an emotional state that alters our way of thinking, perceptions, emotions, and behaviors and you can feel like it is inescapable. Depression is not necessarily connected to a unique event or situation. Depression can just be a dark cloud that appears for no particular reason and will not move along. Life may appear fine visibly for outsiders looking in, but for the person experiencing depression, they feel horrible within themselves. Depression can seep into all areas of our lives distorting our experiences and making things less enjoyable and seem less worthwhile. Depression can take an individual’s energy, joy, and meaning for life. Depression can make life’s entirety seem worthless. It can make an individual who once was easygoing quick to frustration, anger, and impatience.

Some key symptoms of depression are:

-An unhappy and irritable mood that will not leave
-A decrease of interest in a majority of activities once enjoyed
-Serious changes in appetite or weight
-Difficulties with sleep or staying asleep
-Lack of energy
-Feelings of insignificance or guilt
-Struggles with concentration or decision-making
-Suicidal ideations

For a diagnosis of depression, an individual needs to be experiencing some of the above symptoms for at least two weeks. If you feel that you may be suffering from depression then it is extremely important to connect with a trained professional for diagnosis and recommendation for treatment. Depression is a very common mental health difficulty and there are a variety of treatments that can assist individuals seeking support.

If you feel that you may have depression it is important to visit your family doctor. If it has been determined that you have depression your family doctor will direct you to possibilities for treatment. It will be decided between the family doctor and the individual seeking help whether a pharmacological or psychological treatment (or both) is the best avenue for treatment. Various health professionals and counsellors have specialized training to work with an individual experiencing depression.
(Canadian Mental Health Association)

If you have further questions concerning depression or sadness, please email me at

If you have topics that you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at

Until next time –

From The Counselling Corner


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