Sadness and Depression
Sadness is a common emotion sometimes caused by an event or loss.
Everyone feels sad sometimes. You may feel sad for different reasons. You may have experienced major life changes or disappointing events.
Sadness may cause you to react in different ways. You might cry, listen to sad music, or spend more time alone.
Being sad is a normal reaction in difficult times. But usually, the sadness goes away. When a sad mood lasts for 2 weeks or more and interferes with normal, everyday functioning, you may be depressed.
Symptoms of depression include:
- Feeling sad, empty, or hopeless often or all the time
- Not wanting to do activities that used to be fun
- Weight gain or loss, or changes in appetite
- Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, or sleeping too much
- Feeling irritable‚ easily frustrated‚ or restless
- Lack of energy or feeling tired
- Feeling worthless or overly guilty
- Trouble concentrating, remembering things, or making decisions
- Thinking about suicide or hurting yourself
If you are experiencing several of these symptoms nearly every day for 2 weeks or more and they interfere with day-to-day activities or cause significant distress, talk to your health care provider.
This information is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis or suggested treatments for clinical depression and cannot take the place of seeing a mental health professional.
- Acknowledge what’s happening.
It’s OK to not feel OK. If you are feeling sad, know that you are not alone.
- Take care of yourself.
Eat well, exercise, and rest. Take time for yourself. Acknowledge your successes. You are doing the best you can.
- Be mindful of how you’re feeling.
While doing an activity you enjoy, focus on the here-and-now. Notice how each part of an activity gives you satisfaction, hope, joy, or stress reduction. This can be as simple as staying present while you are making dinner and enjoying each step in that process.
- Maintain connections with others.
Reach out to people you want to connect with, like your friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers.
- Get help from a professional, especially if your sadness does not go away.
If you think you may be depressed, the first step to seeking treatment is to talk to a health care provider. This is especially important if your symptoms are getting worse or affecting your daily activities. Depression is not your fault. Getting support helps you and your loved ones.
- Make an appointment with a counselor.
- Contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.
If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org.
- Get Help Right Now
- Find Services and Treatment
- Depression in Women: 5 Things You Should Know (National Institute of Mental Health, NIMH)
- Men and Depression (NIMH)
- Chronic Illness and Mental Health: Recognizing and Treating Depression (NIMH)
- Tips for Choosing a Provider & Where to Start (Mental Health America)