When Does Sadness Become Depression?
I just got nothing today.
Nothing at all. This is not a post about writer’s block, this is a post about emptiness. I feel like life has lost its lustre, but I can’t be too despondent here because I don’t want to cry. I want to be positive.
It’s really hard to keep looking on the Brightside. I have had trouble with negative-self-talk before, so it’s nothing new for me. I guess that I feel sad because even though things are generally good in my life, I’m feeling a bit like the world has lost its colour and that there’s nothing to live for.
Yeh – it’s not fun.
Of course, even though I feel like that today – it’s not necessarily true. In fact, it’s not true at all. I have to keep reminding myself that My Thoughts Are Not My Reality.
By brain is not me, my heart is not me. I remember being taught in high school that back in Shakespeare’s time, feelings of love were thought to come from the liver, not the heart. One of my favourite Shakespeare plays is The Twelfth Night. Here is the liver quote:
Alas, their love may be called appetite,
No motion of the liver, but the palate,
That suffer surfeit, cloyment, and revolt.
But mine is all as hungry as the sea,
And can digest as much.
Liver, heart, brain, amygdala – I’m not sure which part of my cursed body is responsible for flooding me with these terrible, distressing feelings day and night. I found a post yesterday that mentioned that when we go through something traumatic (in my case a break up) our minds have to process the information and this can be distressing.
I have to remind myself that these feelings are normal. This is ok. I don’t have to feel happy all the time. It’s ok to be sad. It’s ok to feel desolate. Hang on… do you think I’m depressed?
I found a post on About.com on called Sadness is Not Depression. Phew! They provide some useful tips on how to be sad, the healthy way (really!):
- Allow yourself to be sad.
- If you are feeling sad, plan a sadness day. “Plan a day or evening just to be alone, listen to melancholy music, and to observe your thoughts and feelings.”
- Think about the context of the sad feelings.
- Sadness can result from a change that you didn’t expect, or it can signal the need for a change in your life.
- Know when sadness turns into depression.
Personally, I couldn’t think of anything WORSE for me now than “planning a sadness day”. What a crappy idea. Even writing this sadness blog post is depressing the f**k out of me.
Anyway – the last time I felt so truly awful I did go to see a doctor. They did the same thing they always do and tell me I’m fine, which I know I am. My depression/sadness is always linked to an actual event in my life, and never lasts for more than a few months. This has only happened about 4 times in my adult life, and only once did I really let it get on top of me, and that was when I was separated form my family and friends as I was living interstate.
But am I depressed or sad?
Another great article from the Huffington Post – telling me that it’s OK to be sad, and that sadness is not depression. Depression is this:
To have a diagnosable “major depressive disorder” you must have at least one of two particular symptoms — called “cardinal” symptoms. Deep sadness (“depressed mood”) is one of the two cardinal symptoms. The other is called “anhedonia” (Greek for “without pleasure”), which means not taking pleasure in pretty much anything, even in things that used to give you pleasure — your work, your hobbies, your grandchildren, your friends, etc.
Don’t end up in a cycle!
The article seesm to tell me the only danger is not to get into a depressive cycle – but I’m not in danger of that. In a away – I’m kind of glad I am allowing myself to feel my feelings. I know I will get though this very sad period. It’s only a matter of time.