By Jan Merrills (MBACP)
Clients who come to therapy saying they are suffering from depression are often not in fact depressed, they are sad and sadness and depression are not necessarily the same thing even though they share many of the same symptoms.
Both can lead to a person withdrawing, shutting down, avoiding people, avoiding talking about things, feeling numb, feeling guilty and lacking in motivation.
Both sadness and depression can be linked to loss, fear and pain, however, whereas sadness has been described as an emotion that we experience as a natural part of life (most of us have been experiencing loss and pain to varying degrees since we were young children) depression is seen as an unhealthy reaction to life events and frequently involves feelings of shame, worthlessness and self-loathing.
Sadness therefore can be easier to alleviate than depression as it can actually have intrinsically positive aspects to it. It is an emotion where the feeling is telling us what really matters to us in life. Yes, we can lose motivation when we are sad but we are being given an opportunity to feel, to express our authentic selves; who we really are and what we really want. To feel the pain and to build resilience opens the door to finding the joy in our lives whereas continuously suppressing our emotions is more likely to feed into a state of deeper and deeper depression.
You can contact Jan using the contact form on the Contact Us page on our website or by phone on 07807 466174.