You might not know this yet, but feeling depressed and actually being depressed is not the same.
We are accustomed to using the word depression when we actually mean a period of being sad.
To understand the difference, you need to realize that depression is a serious medical condition that is much more serious than just being sad for a while.
As a psychological issue, depression has its symptoms such as loss of will power and concentration as well as physical problems such as troubles with sleep and nutrition.
However, these symptoms might appear when you are just sad, as well.
In this article, we will discuss how to recognize if you are depressed or just feeling sad, and list the tips for getting better.
But don’t be afraid to seek professional help as well. And trust me, you are not alone.
Depression is a common illness in modern times, and a lot of people suffer from it.
Depression is defined as a state of bad mood and resistance to any kind of activity. It influences the way a person thinks, acts and feels.
People who suffer from this illness are in a very bad mood, they feel lonely, anxious, hopeless, helpless, and feel like they are not good enough, not worthy, and even ashamed.
It results in losing interest in all the activities the person enjoyed before.
The person is also experiencing diet changes, whether it’s the loss of appetite or overeating.
As for the sleep, the person who is suffering from depression will also be either suffering from insomnia as well or will sleep too much.
Are you actually feeling depressed, or are you just sad?
When you are sad, it usually has a trigger, and it is a normal reaction to a certain life event which passes so the person can continue with their life without the feeling of sadness since the reason for it has passed or the person has found a way to deal with that reason and adapt.
However, depression doesn’t have an ending like this.
Sadness is one of the basic human emotions that all of us experience from time to time.
However, if your sadness doesn’t seem to have a trigger or an ending and interferes with your daily life making it hard for you to function properly, you might be suffering from depression.
Depressed people often contemplate the idea of suicide or even try to commit suicide, which is not the case with people who are just sad.
So if you are wondering are you just sad or actually depressed, you should consider whether there’s an ending to your sorrow and how severe it is.
If something happened in your life that caused you to become this way, you should let time heal the wounds because you will most likely stop being sad, but if the sadness is severe and it continues on, you might actually be suffering from depression.
Sadness is some sort of information on what the person doesn’t like, what is hurting them, and what they should change in her life.
It is often a healthy reaction to a certain life circumstance.
Depression, however, is a sign of a psychological disbalance and a sign that a person needs help to become functional again and find new ways of behavior that will bring them joy.
Every person feels sadness from time to time, whether it’s because of a loss of a loved one, a stressful life event like a divorce, or in case of getting fired from a job.
But that feeling lasts for some time, and then it passes.
People who are sad can take care of themselves and their homes because they are able to maintain their professional and personal life.
People who are depressed, however, have the need to isolate themselves from everyone else and are incapable of work because depression negatively affects all aspects of their life.
It is like looking at the world through dark glasses – everything seems darker than it actually is, and we can’t seem to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
But trust me, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and you will feel better and become your old self once again.
You just need to recognize your problem and do your best to fight the depression.
You can’t just suddenly stop being depressed like it is with the sadness, but with the help of our useful tips for fighting depression and maybe a professional help, you will be back to being your old self because depression can be cured.
How to know that what you are feeling is depression?
The person that is depressed will not be capable of making decisions and performing everyday tasks.
The feeling of sadness, helplessness, and the lack of will power is overwhelming, so words like “Lighten up, it’s a beautiful day” are useless to the person who is suffering from the depression and can even hurt them.
The person who is depressed for more than two weeks should seek professional help.
Some people have the tendency to become depressed, and it could be hereditary.
They react with depression to tough life circumstances.
Statistics show that women are more prone to depression than men, as well as elderly people and people who are not married.
While sadness is often a reaction to the loss of a loved one and with time has less intensity until it passes completely, depression doesn’t have to be a reaction to a loss, and it lasts for a long time while its intensity is often increased.
So if your sadness is not lasting for days but for weeks and months, you might have developed a problem.
A person who is depressed will feel sadness and grief for no apparent reason.
They will move slowly, often cry, and appear lifeless. They are miserable, without any interest in their surroundings or any kind of pleasures.
They will often be moody, upset, and tense because they are feeling powerless, hopeless, and empty.
People who are suffering from depression will talk and think slower.
They will have negative thoughts and think pessimistically about the past, present, and future and about themselves as well, which will lead to lower self-esteem.
What often accompanies the feeling of depression is the feeling of guilt.
The person who is suffering from depression will think they’re guilty for the events that happened to them.
They won’t see the purpose of their life and will often contemplate the idea of suicide.
It will be hard for this person to make decisions and concentrate as well as remember things.
A person suffering from depression will lose all interest in everyday activities and won’t even have the will power to get out of the bed in the morning.
They will spend most of their time alone while excluding their friends and family or a partner from their life.
You might not know this, but depression also has physical symptoms, and these people will often feel like they have a physical illness and will act that way.
But it shouldn’t be assumed that all depressed people show all these symptoms because many of them will hide their illness so it will be harder to spot the symptoms.
But if you recognize yourself in this description, you might have a problem and should read on to discover tips for getting better and maybe even try seeking professional help if the problem continues.
Mental signs of depression:
1. You are feeling miserable, and the feeling is constantly present even though it changes intensity.
But it lasts for weeks, and you don’t seem to see the ending of your misery.
2. You no longer find pleasure in activities that used to interest you.
You can’t seem to find joy in them anymore and don’t even have the will power to engage in any activity that you used to find pleasure in.
3. You are noticing that you are becoming slower since you are thinking and talking more slowly than before.
You are also finding it difficult to concentrate and make decisions.
4. You have negative thoughts, especially about being guilty for things that happened to you, and you also think you are an unworthy and bad person.
5. You have thoughts about hurting yourself in some way and think you would be better off dead.
If you are experiencing any or all of these symptoms, you are probably suffering from depression, and please realize that it is a serious medical condition that is causing you to think those bad things which are not true, and you shouldn’t be thinking them.
Read on to discover the tips for getting better, but if nothing helps, don’t be afraid to ask a professional for help.
Depression is a very common problem, and it shouldn’t be ignored. You are actually a wonderful person worthy of love, and it’s time you realize that.
Physical signs of depression:
1. You are eating differently, whether it’s too little or too much. If you have been experiencing a loss of appetite, which leads to weight loss, you might have a serious problem.
2. You feel like you don’t have energy, even if you haven’t been physically active.
It is simply hard to get out of the bed in the morning and perform the usual tasks, which now seem hard and not important.
3. Despite the feeling of exhaustion, you find it hard to fall asleep, and when you do, you are restless, and you are waking up earlier than usual.
However, some people have a completely opposite effect of depression, and they sleep more than usual.
4. You are becoming slower. Whether it’s moving slower or talking slower, your lack of will power definitely shows.
As I said before, depression is a serious medical condition, and if you are experiencing physical signs of depression, you should not take them for granted but try to get healthy again.
You will read about the tips that could help you feel better, but if the problem continues, don’t be afraid of seeking professional help.
Depression is making your life harder than it should be, and there is always a solution to get back on track and make yourself happy again.
Why would you choose to stay depressed and miss out on all of the great things life has to offer when there are so many reasons for you to be happy and enjoy your life?
What To Do When You Are Feeling Depressed
Tips for getting better:
1. Reach out and get the support you need
Any illness is hard to fight on your own, especially with such a lack of will power that depression is causing you to have.
And I understand that the depression is making it hard for you to reach out and get some help because when you are feeling this way, you have the need to isolate and withdraw so that connecting with other people can be tough even if they are your close friends or family members.
You might be feeling too exhausted to reach out or even feel ashamed of your problem and feel guilty for it, but you should understand that that’s just the depression talking.
Staying connected to your friends and family and being active in your social life will make a huge difference in how you feel.
You need to understand that there is nothing to be ashamed of, and reaching out for help is not a sign of weakness but a sign of the will power to fight this illness.
All of us sometimes need an extra hand to help us get through the tough times we are caught in.
Here are some suggestions on what you could do:
• Find support from the people around which you feel safe
• Talk face to face with them
• Try to maintain a social life even if you don’t feel like it
• Support others as well
• Get a pet or care for the one you already have
• Find and join a support group
• Talk to someone about how you feel
• Help someone or volunteer
• Have coffee with a friend or have lunch with your family
• Ask someone you care about to check in with you on a regular basis
• Go with someone to the cinema or a concert
• Get in touch with an old friend
• Go for a walk with someone
• Arrange weekly get-togethers
• Meet new people
• Confide to someone you trust
2. Do the things that help you feel better
If you want to beat depression, you have to find things that energize you and do the things that relax you.
You should have a healthy lifestyle and learn how to manage stress and have fun activities during your day.
You must push yourself to do things and to do the fun activities because you will see how they will help you feel better even though you weren’t in the mood to do them.
• Find a hobby
• Engage in a sport activity
• Express yourself creatively
• Go out with your friends
• Sleep for eight hours
• Relieve yourself from stress
• Find relaxation techniques that can help you
• Do yoga
• Spend time in nature
• Make a list of what you like about yourself
• Pick up a good book
• Watch movies and shows that are funny
• Enjoy a hot bath
• Play with your pet
• Enjoy music
• Be spontaneous
3. Be on the move
The most powerful fighter against depression is exercise.
Even though you don’t feel like working out, you need to understand that regular exercise can be as effective as antidepressants.
Go for a walk, join a gym, or find videos on Youtube with the best exercises for you.
This is necessary if you want to get batter, and even though it will be hard at first, once you get used to daily exercising, it will become a great habit that will help you cure your depression.
Even though you are feeling exhausted, exercising will help you feel less fatigued and energized, which will influence your overall mood.
• Exercise for 30 minutes every day
• Rhythmic and continuous exercises are the best choice
• While exercising, focus on the way your body feels
• Find a partner for exercising
• Walking a dog is a great exercise
4. Eat healthy
We are what we eat, and that saying isn’t famous for nothing.
Your diet directly influences the way you feel, and overall health is important when it comes to fighting depression.
You should avoid alcohol, caffeine, trans fats, and the food that contains high levels of hormones or chemical preservatives.
• Eat every three to four hours
• Don’t skip your meals
• Minimize the intake of sugar
• Minimize consumption of refined carbs
• Make sure you are getting enough vitamin B
• Omega-3 fatty acids are important
5. Expose yourself to sunlight
Believe it or not, but sunlight can actually improve your mood because it boosts your serotonin levels.
Spend time outside as much as you can, and enjoy the sunlight for at least 15 minutes every day. Don’t wear sunglasses, but use sunscreen if needed.
• Start gardening
• Take a walk
• Take coffee to go
• Exercise outside
• Try hiking
• Play tennis or golf
• Open the blinds and drapes
• Sit near windows
• Use a light therapy box
6. Identify and replace negative thoughts
The truth is, your thoughts actually shape the world you live in, and you should be aware that your negative thoughts aren’t true and are just a symptom of your depression.
You can try telling yourself to just start thinking positive, but that doesn’t always work.
What you need to do is challenge your negative thinking.
Always try to identify negative thoughts and then try asking yourself for evidence that what you are thinking is the truth.
Imagine if someone else told you they had a thought like that and consider what you would say to them.
Aim to find another view on the situation or a different explanation.
The best tip of all is to ask yourself how would you look at that situation if you weren’t suffering from depression because the depression is like wearing dark glasses that are causing you to see everything darker than it actually is.
You might be surprised how quickly you will beat your negative thoughts if you just put them on the witness stand by asking yourself these questions.
• Don’t look at things as they were black and white
• Don’t generalize a single negative experience
• Don’t ignore the positive things by focusing solely on the negative ones
• Stop diminishing the positive events
• Don’t jump to conclusions
• Keep in mind that the way you are feeling doesn’t reflect reality.
• Stop making rules on how you should live
• Stop labeling yourself
When to get professional help?
If you have tried all these tips and have made positive changes in your lifestyle, but you are still feeling depressed, it’s time to go to a professional for help.
This doesn’t make you weak; instead, it actually makes you strong because of your determination to put an end to all the negative thoughts and fight your illness.
And what you should know is that depression can be cured and you will finally feel good again.
Use the tips we listed to help you in your battle but also try professional help.
Maybe you will need some medication like antidepressants, but you will only have to take them for some time, and then you will finally be your old self.
But don’t ignore the lifestyle changes we suggested, because you don’t want depression to return and it’s never a bad idea to have a healthy lifestyle that will make you happier and more satisfied with your life.