Have questions on Mental Health? You can ask them in this forum, share personal experiences, or suggest how to help people living with mental health conditions to navigate their way to recovery.

Sadness vs depression


  • Community Admin

    What is the difference between sadness and depression?



  • Dear @maitatoy, thank you for your question. I think that it is something that a lot of people wonder when they question if they/someone they know are depressed.
    Based on personal experiences, the difference between depression and sadness is whether you can function in your daily life despite feeling it. I think that you can still feel sad for no reason, or that the reason is so deep seated that it is your subconscious leading you to feel sad. Similarly, people can slip into depression due to a trigger in life, or simply because they woke up today feeling depressed.
    Depression is defined as having the symptoms for 2 weeks and above. I think the defining difference between depression and sadness is that if your symptoms persists for 2 weeks and above, it means that it has a major impact on your life and how you function daily, your work/studies, your interpersonal relationships and your health (such as sleeping patterns/insomnia/bingeing).
    If you have depression (symptoms for more than 2 weeks), it would mean a major impact on your life. Two weeks of leave from school or not doing your work well is half a month of suffering already. That is not counting the amount of time people take to seek help, and the time before any therapy or medication can have its effect. I believe that when you are sad, something outside of the sad circumstances can make you feel better. However, with depression, it often seems that nothing helps, and you need to seek professional help in the form of therapy or medication, as it is a biological cause with neurotransmitters involved, just like any physical ailments.



  • As a person battling depression myself, I'd describe depression as the feeling of being stuck in a dark void. A constant feeling of emptiness. You could be laughing one minute and the next, you're on the floor crying and you're not sure why. It feels like you're running in circles, unable to get to the other side. You'd feel tired even though you have had 8 hours of sleep.

    I don't associate depression with sadness. With sadness, I cry and feel better. With depression, it feels like your tears are "stuck".


  • Tech Admin

    We all get sad sometimes, and we are usually aware of the reason. Had a fight with your best friend, lost your favourite thing... that's sadness, in general.

    As for depression, as least the way I see it, one does not know the reason why one is down. You could be in Maldives, floating on crystal clear water, away from all concerns of life, sipping a pina colada... and yet feel an overwhelming sense of sadness. And you do not know why.

    It can be posited that there are still reasons, perhaps deep-seated issues, that have been repressed... But to the person experiencing depression, it is simply a loss of logic as to why one can feel as such.



  • sadness usually lasts for a shorter period of time (could be over a couple of days) whereas depression or feeling depressed generally lasts for more than 2 weeks.


Log in to reply