Am I Depressed Or Just Sad?


Learn the difference between sadness and depression…

Today’s been a difficult day. You feel tired, crabby and sad. You wish it was over already. Your coworker stares at you and says, “Wow girl, you look depressed”. While you think about her words, you let out a loud sigh and wonder….”Am I depressed?”

Many people confuse depression with sadness. First of all, depression is a clinical diagnosis that you should not take lightly, while sadness is an emotion, but how can you tell the difference?

If you are not depressed but just down, it is usually temporary. You can probably trace it back to something you judged unpleasant. Maybe you had a setback at work, you flunked a subject at college or you had a fight with your boyfriend.

When you are sad but not depressed, you snap out of it sooner than later. Moreover, you may be gloomy because your best friend moved across the country, but you are nevertheless able to enjoy other aspects of your life: You adore going out with other friends, you still happily drive to your swimming lessons and most of the time you feel good.

Now, depression is something else entirely. With depression, the sadness doesn’t go away easily and it affects many areas of your life. Do the following symptoms seem familiar to you?

  • You have been experiencing a low mood most of the day, almost every day
  • Your interest in activities is diminished
  • There are changes in your weight or appetite
  • It’s difficult to fall asleep, you wake up way too early or you sleep a lot more
  • You feel agitated or slowed down and others have noticed
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • There is a reduction in your ability to concentrate on your everyday tasks
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

If you have been feeling like this, please talk to your doctor as soon as possible. You may have clinical depression and not just sadness. Your physician can provide effective treatment; don’t wait for all these symptoms to go away on their own.

In conclusion, there is a very big difference between depression and sadness. What do you do when you are down and you want to feel better? I look forward to hearing from you! Please leave your comments below.


Dr. Jessica Diaz-Nagel

I am a bilingual psychiatrist, writer, and life coach from Caracas, Venezuela. I love helping people, reading, and writing on different health topics. In my spare time I like to take long walks, learn new things, and travel.