Depression does not equal sad

Someone sent me an article to post on a comment so it could be seen by my viewers as additional information. The article is so false I will include it here and properly dismantle it..

Depression and Anxiety in their clinical forms are NOT sadness and stress.

Sadness gives a reason. If you’re extremely sad, in the pit of despair, then you have something that is putting you into the pit. Usually a very good reason. There are legitimate reasons to be sad. There are also legitimate reasons to be stressed. Stress is part of life, you learn to live with it and minimize bad sorts of stress when they come.

With clinical major depression or generalized anxiety disorder, there are no reasons. They are brain issues. They are instabilities in the human mind.

Think of it this way. When you exercise your muscles you can have microtrauma, small injuries to the muscle that are essential in building it. When you tear your ACL it’s not microtrauma. It’s not even close. It’s an entirely different sort of injury, and even calling them both injuries seems to degrade them.

Think about your response to sadness. You grieve. Grieving is natural, your mind and body are processing a strongly emotionally disturbing event, such as the death of a loved one. Or stress. You get stressed at work. Sometimes it’s bad stress, it can cause serious problems. But you don’t have panick attacks with normative stress. You don’t start cutting because of reasonable sadness. Perhaps that’s the best way to think of it, though it’s quite a dark issue. You don’t cut when your mother dies. Unless you have a serious problem outside of a death, you don’t cut. You wouldn’t think to. It is depression, it is the abyss for which there seems no lowest point, it is the neverending darkness, it is emotional depth. It often gives the person a sense of apathy. Grieving people don’t usually get apathetic. They’re sad, they have a reason to be sad, they are processing that event.

Clinical depression is very hard to understand for a non-depressed person. Sadness we can all relate to, if even only a little bit as we haven’t ourselves experienced that.

Cutting, in my experience, is a method of control. I can control pain. It is the answer to an endless morass of emotional distress and pain. It is the depressed individual shouting at the abyss.

Actually that sort of also explains why it’s not helpful even though it may seem so at the time. Shouting at the abyss won’t get you anywhere.

Depression and Anxiety in their clinical forms are not the result of societal pressures. Higher levels of stress, higher levels of distress, maybe. But Depression and Anxiety are not. Just as injuries sustained in football are culturally accepted as normative, breaking ones back in a horrific accident is not.

We need to realize this dichotomy and not confuse the two.

We need clarity, we need understanding, and we need knowledge. And that’s what I’m trying to provide, if only in a small way.

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2 thoughts on “Depression does not equal sad

  1. Delila says:

    Thanks for this post. I have dealt with clinical depression for about 10 years. My husband often confuses sadness with depression or “feeling depressed” with actual depression. It is very hard to explain to someone who doesn’t suffer from it.

    • justamathguy says:

      You’re welcome. Part of the point of this blog is to do my best to explain and promote understanding, along with showing those with mental illnesses that they are not alone.

      I hope this weekend finds you well.

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