Sadness and depression are not the same thing, although depressed people do usually feel
sad. Sadness is a response to loss, and is the way our psychological systems deal with and
"process" this loss. Depression, on the other hand, is a medical condition in which
a person suffers from almost constant and profound feelings of sadness and lethargy which do not go away over a period
of more than two weeks, and which are not due to some external cause such as bereavement.
Sadness is an emotion that affects everybody. Some days you just feel "blue", and it is hard to say why.
Changes in mood are normal. This does not mean the sadness has no cause. Losses big and small are a part of every life
and everyone has cause to feel some sadness about things in their life. Feeling sad is not necessarily something that
should be resisted at all costs. We need some sadness, just like we need all our emotions. However, we can
learn to manage our sad moods in order to make it less likely that they will turn into an actual depression.
The following are some ways of dealing with sadness that are generally positive.
On the other hand, the following responses may make sadness worse:
Grief is the process we go through when we lose something important to us.
The most obvious example is bereavement, when a person we love dies. But grief
can also occur for any important loss, such as the loss of a cherished dream,
loss of one's homeland (for example, migrants and refugees), or loss of physical
health. The sadness we experience in response to a loss can look a lot like
depression, but it is not the same thing. Anti-depressants, which are effective
in treating depression, are not effective in removing the sadness of grief.
There is no "right" way to grieve. Many people feel anger and guilt
as well as sadness. Sometimes people feel nothing at all for a long time, and
this can make them feel guilty, as if they "should" be feeling more.
The length of time that it takes to get over a loss can vary widely too. It is
wrong to assume that a person will be over their grief within six months or even
a year. People grieve for as long as they need to.